Sexy and addictive, this white-hot fantasy broke all the rules:
- with a fierce woman cursed with powerful hidden magic,
- abducted by a dangerous warlord determined to save his country,
- igniting a forbidden attraction that will make them burn.
KINGDOMS WILL RISE AND FALL FOR HER...
Cat Fisa isn't who she pretends to be. She's perfectly content living disguised as a soothsayer in a traveling circus, avoiding the destiny the Gods―and her dangerous family―have saddled her with. As far as she's concerned, the magic humming within her blood can live and die with her. She won't be a pawn in anyone's game.
But then she locks eyes with an ambitious warlord from the magic-deprived south and her illusion of safety is shattered forever.
Griffin knows Cat is the Kingmaker―the woman who divines truth through lies―and he wants her to be a powerful weapon for his newly conquered realm. Kidnapping her off the street is simple enough, but keeping her by his side is infuriatingly tough. Cat fights him at every turn, showing a ferocity of spirit that burns hot...and leaves him desperate for more. But can he ever hope to prove to his once-captive that he wants her there by his side as his equal, his companion...and maybe someday, his Queen?
Fans of Jennifer Armentrout and Sarah J. Maas will burn for A Promise of Fire.
Exclusively available in hardcover through the Fox & Wit special edition box. The edition features the new cover design, bonus material plus a map not included on the original edition, and sprayed edges.
What I really like most about A Promise of Fire is its unique setting. It takes place in a fantasy world called Thalyria, but it’s home to familiar gods--the Greek pantheon. This is the first time I have ever read a novel that combined fantasy with recognizable religion and I think the author does a good job of pulling this interesting amalgamation off. Although I am fairly rusty on my Greek mythology so I can’t speak to how accurate it really is. But I certainly enjoyed details like the travelling characters having to maneuver around cracks in the land caused by Zeus’s lightning bolts. I also thought it was great that the author balanced the Greek Gods with her own almost god-like original characters who ruled the land with their own terrifying powers.
“The mark of Zeus stretches as far as the eye can see in both directions, a charred scar cutting across dust, stones, and yellowed grass, proof that the Gods are never far from Thalyria.”>
Main character Cat has perhaps the most interesting mixture of powers I have ever read about in a book. Not only can she turn invisible, but she can tell when someone is lying (think Safi in Susan Dennard’s Truthwitch), something that gives her the designation of Kingmaker, and she can also steal and absorb the magic of others. I felt like this combination of powers was kind of weird, unbelievable, and over the top, with one of these powers alone being more than enough. It requires a certain suspension of disbelief that Cat’s absorption of magic makes her able to take a dragon’s power and breathe fire, but I guess in a world of Greek Gods, anything is possible when a character has the favor of these gods and their oracles. And let’s be honest, we don’t always read these types of books for believability, we read them for the fantasy and the fun. I think I’m just so used to reading the works of Brandon Sanderson, who masterfully explains all of his magical systems and powers in such great detail that I feel his worlds and magic systems are completely realistic and plausible, that it gives me pause when other authors don’t do this.
who divines the truth through falsehood? The most coveted diplomatic weapon in the realms? The Kingmaker?”
But it wasn’t Cat’s strange and completely overpowered mixture of powers that I liked the most about her--it was her sassiness and stubbornness. Though kidnapped for her powers by the male lead, Griffin, she gives him and his companions hell every step of the way. I like that she isn’t helpless without her magical powers either, she’s an expert knife-thrower, and is intelligent and resourceful. She also puts her friends’ safety first no matter what. I did find it somewhat hard to believe that someone as strong-willed as Cat fell for her kidnapper, but no one is perfect.
And her love interest, Griffin, as well as their developing romance, is anything but perfect. The novel does not do an amazing job at the kidnapper turned true love trope, with it mainly being insta-lust, but it takes long enough for anything serious to happen that it’s still enjoyable. I still think Cat has been through too much trauma to ever fall in love with anyone so quickly, let alone her kidnapper, who literally bound her to him with a magic rope--but that’s basically the point of a romance novel--falling in love--so I feel that I can’t fault A Promise of Fire too much for serving its purpose. Though I did honestly wish the novel had taken more time developing the characters outside of their romantic relationship and focusing more on the interesting world-building, which is probably a sign that the romance is not the strongest or the best part of the novel, a bad thing in a book focused on it.
I’m not your enemy, Cat.’ I scramble back as far as the rope will let me.
‘Everyone is my enemy.’”
What made it lacking for me the most, other than the whole lifelong trauma angle for Cat, was that Griffin does not have much development as a character standing on his own two feet and what he does is fairly predictable. He does not really exist outside of Cat, except as the perfect brother, son, and warlord-who-is-not-like-other-warlords and has noble ambitions to change the world for the better--something with which Cat can just so happen to help him. Despite being boringly perfect, he’s attractive, the right amount of possessive of Cat, and fits the romance mold, so I can forgive him for being so bland. His family, on the other hand, is too perfect for my liking. They all welcome Cat with open arms, and are everything she never grew up with. They’re basically The Brady Brunch of rulers and Cat puts aside all of her trust issues to settle into her new home with far too little issues for my liking. Griffin's family is also extremely dismissive of the problematic nature of Cat’s arrival into their home:
"“He abducted me. He threatened my friends. He kept me tied to him with a magic rope. I couldn’t even pee by myself. He’s awful.’
‘You’ll get over it….See you at dinner.’’’
But the biggest issue for me by far in A Promise of Fire was that in Cat’s new home, she finds a very contrived new enemy in Griffin’s wildly jealous ex-lover, Daphne. Daphne is not only extremely petty but murderous and the pun intended, cat-fights that ensue felt so silly, pointless, and incongruous to all the Greek God, fire-breathing, Kingmaking stuff. I really don’t feel that two women, one of which seems to have no redeeming qualities, fighting over a man in such a shallow, middle-school-esque way is something that fits in any fantasy novel, let alone this one. I really wondered at the fact that the author could not come up with a better conflict in a world so filled with Gods and magic.
Despite the novelty of Greek gods in a fantasy world, parts of the novel are extremely predictable. These include book are not limited to the hints to Cat’s true identity she's obviously the lost princess of Fisa, and the often seen trope of blood burning, and the kidnappers to lovers trope, None of these tropes are very subtle at all and I can’t imagine a single reader not figuring out who Cat really is. Sometimes this predictability is part of the fun of novels, and I think that is the case in A Promise of Fire. However, it does kind of ruin the impact of the reveal and I wonder how epic it would have been if the author had laid her bread-crumbs a little more sparsely.
Promise of Fire is not perfect, with its predictability and sometimes weak character development, I really enjoyed reading it. It’s a great escapist novel, with a female character who is not afraid to speak her mind, and Greek Gods meddling in the affairs of humans. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a light, fun read with romance and fantasy mixed in.
So, this is a high fantasy romance story set in a world that has the Greek Gods but a completely different human history. There is magic, dragons, cyclopes, giants, and more! I absolutely loved the world and the cruel politics depicted in it, and I loved hope actually HOPEFUL this whole thing is. Like, no, we're not going to lie down. Yes, we are going to change the world with kindness and good rulers.
As for our main characters, I loved Cat and Griffin and Flynn and Kato and Carver and the whole gang. They are a lot of fun, though I admit sometimes Cat frustrated me with how she kept going back and forth about almost everything. And Griffin sometimes annoyed me with his high-handed ways, and the way I did think Cat was allowed some of her responses (she was kidnapped, for gods sake!) and yet everyone treated her as if she's crazy and weird for it.
I am really interested with how things are going to go from here, and when will some secrets be revealed??
Griffin is an interesting character and good foil to Cat (whose patron god, Poseidon, apparently gave him to her for healing). Maybe he should have put some effort into seduction then maybe, just maybe, things might have been a bit easier all round, though the sarky reaction to the kidnapping is entertaining.
About eight years before the beginning of the story Cat ran away from her abusive, powerful family and joined the circus and now she reads fortunes. Sometimes she knows a little too much about what's going on with a person but she dismisses it as coincidence, mostly. She also can tell when you are lying. In a world with Magic users who have most of the power and the commons who are starting to question the world order, she is straddling both sides, not really interested in power but often forced to use it. Powerful enemies on all sides and she has to try to find the least worst.
Despite issues I enjoyed the read, Cat is fun, even if she does protest a little too much occasionally. She also is deeply aware that she can't ignore the problems around her.
Oh boy, cliches abound in this book – the special snowflake, Cat; the alpha male, Griffin; the high risk stakes of kingdoms; the mysterious pasts of several characters (including our snowflake). And yet, it all worked for me. Sometimes all I want in a book is something easy to digest – consider it my version of chicken soup in book form. It allows me to drop seamlessly into the world and devour it in one quick reading session.
Cat is a lovable, snarky badass fully capable of fighting her own battles with words or her own mighty powers. I enjoyed her interactions with the secondary characters, especially Griffin and his men. I was less enamored with the kidnapping plot, although it was similar to my favorite book, Snyder’s Touch of Power. Instead of men using their muscles, their sidekicks, and their special Wonder Woman lassos/ropes to kidnap the main female protagonist, how about they negotiate with words for the main heroines help? I wouldn’t mind the “kidnapping ” trope disappearing from the romance genre all together.
My favorite part of the entire story is not the characters or the plot, but the setting. I adored the mixture of fantasy and Greek mythology. Surprisingly, I’ve never seen another story mix the two successfully. Cat and company interacting with mythological creatures and multiple gods was highly entertaining.
tl;dr An entertaining romance with a phenomenal setting mixed with familiar tropes.
One of the problems with reviewing audiobooks is that you see and sometimes read reviews of a book for several weeks and sometimes months before you get the audiobook. This audiobook was released after the release date of the original print/ebook release date. So for months, I saw all of these reviews of how great this book was. I was actually very scared to start this book. I was worried that the book wasn’t going to live of to the hype that I was reading. I had this book on my iPod for almost a month before I finally forced myself to start it. I found that my fears were unfounded. This is a great start to a new fantasy series.
This series is about a realm with three different kingdoms, Fisa, Tarva, & Sinta. The old Sinta ruler, the alpha, has been overthrown by a non-magical family. The warlord has his sister as the new Alpha Sinta. He is the new Beta Sinta. As a non-magical family, he knew that he would need help to hold onto the kingdom. He sets out to find someone. He stumbles upon a circus where he meets Cat. She’s working as a soothsayer. When she doesn’t go willingly with him and his Beta team, he abducts her. Now, this doesn’t sound like the way to start a relationship, but Beta Sinta is ever the gentleman. Even though he does have feelings for her, he doesn’t take advantage.
Cat has some really big secrets about her past. Some of these come out throughout the story. Some we know as readers, but those around Cat don’t know them. These secrets make things very hard on the rest of her team, but not as much as it does for her relationship with Griffin, Beta Sinta. She fights the relationship for a very long time. While she has very good reasons for not wanting to be close to anyone, it was still frustrating at times. As I was listening, I really felt for Griffin. He could see that she cared for him, even if she didn’t want to admit it, but she was holding herself back so much.
I really enjoyed the Greek Mythology in this book. There is talk of Zeus, Cerberus, Hades and Poseidon, just to name a few. They even go to a temple of Poseidon to offer their offerings. Poseidon is the god that Cat prays to the most. She also has a relationship with Cerberus. She’s one of the few who isn’t scared of him.
There is some great snark between Griffin and Cat. Also between Cat and the Beta Team, the group of warriors who travel with Griffin. They are a pretty amazing team. Not only are the loyal, they also work great together. While Cat’s relationship with Griffin’s sisters isn’t as good as the Beta Team, she does seem to make a connection with them.
Cat is an interesting character in that is both mature and immature. She is very mature in the fact that she’s seen more than most. She had to grow up quickly, because of the situation she was in as a child. But, she is also very immature in her socialization. Especially when it comes to the moves that Griffin is making on her. She talks like a second grader and he has cooties. Other times, she talks more mature (see quote below).
This is a good start to a series. This book is full of everything you would expect to see in a light fantasy. There’s a great cast of characters, but not an overwhelming number of them. There’s also a great world built around these characters. The author did a great job of mixing in the Greek Mythology while making it her own. There’s plenty of action and just the right amount of romance. I’m very eager to see what’s next for Cat and the gang.
“Now that that’s settled, you’re coming with me.”
“Never in a billion suns. Not even if Zeus showed up as a swan and tried to peck me in your direction. I wouldn’t go with you even if my other option was Hades dragging me to the Underworld for an eternal threesome with Persephone.”
I think this is the first full length novel that I’ve listened to by Mia Barron. I’ve listened to her narrate some of stories in a few anthologies by Kelley Armstrong. I have to say that she does just as good of a job with this full length story. She nails the larger cast of characters. I like both her male and female characters. I think she handled the pace and tones of the many different action and sex scenes really well. I will be staying with the audiobooks for this series going forward.
I can't wait to jump into book 2. I see more trouble on the horizon.
So let’s start with what I did like. The world building has some pretty amazing things going for it. The use of the Greek mythos in a fantasy world is pretty cool, and I liked how involved the pantheon is in the life of the people. The use of Oracles and the different god granted powers are quite cool, though I do wish I could understand exactly ‘why’ when it comes to the more specific aspects. Cat’s powers are pretty awesome as well, and I loved the versatility of the magic she comes into contact with.
So that leaves the things I had issues with. Overall, the writing left a lot to be desired. It read a lot like a mediocre fanfiction…which I know is an odd comparison but it just sort of fits. The characters are kind of one-note and stick to a singular personality trait to define them. Cat is the quick tempered fighter, Griffin is the alpha, most of his sister personify wide-eyed innocence, etc. The plot progressed much the same way. There were moments where the plot was lost in all the “I hate you…let me kiss you” fight happening, and then moments where the plot had to play catch up to where it should be. Which also brings me to the romance…I have a problem with super-alphas. I’ve mentioned it in several reviews before. I don’t like premature ‘claiming’ and I definitely don’t like guys who are told to quit and instead give a “you know you love it” response. Maybe it’s real life seeping in and killing the allure of it, but damn if it doesn’t piss me off. I get that Cat enjoys his attention, since we are privy to her thoughts, but he doesn’t know that…further more it doesn’t matter if her back arches in pleasure if her mouth says no. A lot of people like the mega-alpha male characters, and that’s cool…but I’ve dealt with too many in real life to ever find it sexy.
Overall I like the idea of this book, and I really liked the set up of the world and magic system. I’m all for books with the use of mythology, but this one loses me on the character exploration and the execution. I’m not sure I’m going to continue this one, but if my library gets the second book in I might give it ago. It has a lot of potential.
You love strong, kick-ass heroines who are destined for greatness despite their reluctance. Catalia “Cat” Fisa is a powerful clairvoyant who can tell when someone lies. She can absorb and reuse your magic and more. She is known as a Kingmaker, and is coveted by those in power. Cat is hiding, at the circus, and doing everything in her power to avoid being discovered. After escaping the tortures of her seriously demented, evil-mother, she only wants to live free. Cat is witty, brave and filled with snark. I loved her inner banter and her quick-witted remarks.
You love fantasy from the magic to the different realms and mythical beasts but you do not want multiple perspectives, different storylines and two hundred and fifty characters to keep track of. The world in Kingmaker Chronicles offers a world that reminds me of King Arthur’s time with kingdoms and classes. Now shake in magic, Greek mythology and supernatural creatures.
The rules for magic are simple, you are born with it or you are not. Of course, some are more powerful and the magic is different for all. There are gods, and these all come from our Greek mythology providing familiarity. In the Kingmaker Chronicles there are three kingdoms Fisa, Tarva, & Sinta. A Promise of Fire takes place in the kingdom of Sinta where the non-magical Hoi Polloi have overthrown the magical Magoi royals.
The Warlord Beta Sinta “Griffin” is seeking a magoi to aid his kingdom when he discovers Cat. he asks her to go with him, when she refuses he abducts her. With the help of neighbors to the south, Beta Sinta removed the corrupt regime in his land and placed his sister on the throne. This confounds Cat and you will love discovering the why of it all.
You love a Kate and Curran (characters from Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews) type romance filled with snark, undeniable chemistry, stubbornness, laughter and heat. Oh lordy this haters to lovers romance was sheer delight. While this started out as an abduction, Griffin was honorable and patient. I know, I know but just go with me on this. As the tale unfolded we discover he is not only ruggedly handsome but of noble character. At times Cat's strong personality outshines his, and I look forward to getting to know him more.
You love action, adventure, deception, scheming and more. Oh the battles were brilliant and sometimes, more often than not four against many. Giants, creatures, and oh yes my friends DRAGONS! Bouchet brought the world to life providing vivid imagery. She keeping the flow of the story moving at a steady pace with burst of action that had me holding my breath. Then she added a health dose of romantic moments that made me gigglesnort and swoon.
Secondary characters that are fleshed out, humorous and unique make you giddy. Wait until you meet Kato, Flynn and Carver. The banter and interaction between Beta Sinta, Cat and these three men was wonderfully addictive. I loved the Beta Sinta’s sisters, a certain healer, the Gods and more.
Mia Barron narrates and was completely new to me. I wasn't sure at first, but honestly I cannot image Cat without her. She captured the snark and tone of Cat's character from her inner dialogue to her struggle with feelings over Griffin and her own fears of discovery. Her male voices were discernible for each character and I am looking forward to her continuing this series. This review was originally posted on Caffeinated Book Reviewer