Disclaimer: Review may contain slight spoilers from the first book A Promise of Fire; you can find my review here.
Thank you Netgalley and Sourcebooks Casablanca for the review copy!
When I first got this book, I PRETTY MUCH SCREAMED IN EXCITEMENT – *ahem* hold up. I was actually in the middle of English class when I got the email, so I kind of bounced-squealed in my chair and had my friends worrying over my behavior. TOTALLY WORTH IT though, as I started immediately when I was free and finished it in one night. Breath of Fire picks up pretty immediately after the second book ends, and finished with the same non-cliffhanger-but-still-keeps-you-grasping-for-pages that the first book subjected us to. I loved coming back to this world, these characters, and the fantastic action and plans that the plot has in store for us.
Catalina, or Cat, was an awesome main character. I adore the fact that we get to see growth in both her and Griffin, who is the Beta Sinta in that region. In the first book, we see them come together as a couple and in this book, we see them develop into people ready to conquer the world. Readers knew that Cat had huge secrets hidden under her sleeve throughout the first book, and I was glad to see that the issue is quickly resolved in this one. She is quick to hide her secrets and even quicker in temper, but eventually Cat does know what’s good for her (with or without the prodding of Griffin), and confesses her past and history. As a character, Cat also does some idiotic things that endanger her and her party. She’s the type of character to put others first, and forget to take care of herself. It takes an almost near-death experience to make her realize that she needs to exercise caution.
In this setting, the land is split up between three kingdoms: Tarva, Sinta, and Fisa. Griffin has plans to conquer all three kingdoms and merge them together into one, peaceful kingdom. And he’s lucky to have Cat, the Kingmaker, at his side. Cat realizes her destiny in this book, and throughout it we can see her struggling. She’s constantly conflicted on whether she should just protect the small circle of important friends she has, or the whole population. And although she says that she cares about the former, the nature of her personality extends to the latter. Griffin balances her out in their relationship dynamic and keeps her grounded. He’s the one who helps her think through things and supports her when she’s having a hard time. They are total couple goals.
“‘A stubborn’ – I roll my eyes – ‘albeit wise man once told me that someone has to decide what needs to be done, to make decisions and not turn back.’”
ALSO, there are so much smexy scenes! I was seriously fanning myself near that beginning. It was really hot and steamy and although I enjoyed them, they also didn’t take too much of the action and plot away. It was a great balance of these aspects of the story (thank the gods it wasn’t just sex and swords).
Anyways, I really like how the storyline is working itself out. I have a minor complaint though, and it’s one of the reasons I almost docked a star: deus ex machina. A plot device that comes conveniently to solve the problems of a character. Sound familiar? I found that a lot of situations that the characters get into are solved with the help of the gods. In this world, the history of the people stem from the Greek gods and goddesses. We see familiar faces and names like Artemis and Hades to pop up time to time. It was especially popular in this book, because the story starts stressing a prophecy and how Cat is meant to do “great things.” I normally do not enjoy the Special Snowflake card in stories, and this one reached pretty hard for it. Every time she was at near death or something went wrong – SURPRISE! The gods were there to help in some way or another. In the end I didn’t put too much thought into it in my rating because I still loved how Cat managed to learn throughout her adventures, but it was still a bit annoying to see that cop-out in the storyline.
“No more hiding. No more head in the sand. No more going back.”
Bouchet continues a gripping, fast-paced story with enough action to keep readers on their toes and enough romantic, sexy scenes to keep them clutching at their hearts. I really love the direction where this book and series is taking, god/goddess help or not. We also get to see some developments with the other characters in this book, whom I also adore. The Beta Team from book 1 continues to develop their relationship with Cat, and Griffin’s family become Cat’s as well. I hear that the author might plan to write stories about some of these supporting characters, and I can’t wait to grab ahold of those! It’s going to be interesting to see how the politics play out in the third book, as well as how people will react to it. There is a lessening divide between the Magoi and Hoi Polloi (who don’t have magic in them), and there’s already steps towards peace playing out in different areas.
“Times are changing. I have a feeling they’ll come around. And if they don’t, I’ll come back here and make them.”
Breath of Fire breathed life into ME. I was completely enthralled by the world and characters that Bouchet writes about. Cat and Griffin remain couple of my heart, while the rest of the cast also pulled on my heartstrings like no other. THEY’RE ALL SO DEAR TO ME. The political maneuvering is always accentuated by a dose of action, making it a never-boring moment in the book. There was a perfect blend of romance, storyline, action, and character development that has made this series one of my favorite in the end 2016/early 2017 year. Definitely pick this one up for a fun time if you’re up for spitfire and stubborn main characters, immense amounts of graphic action, and a thrilling romance that will keep your toes curling.