Breath of Fire (The Kingmaker Chronicles #2)
Published: Jan. 3, 2017 (Sourcebooks Casablanca)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reviewed by: Jo
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
Note: While this review will be spoiler free, it will make reference to the previous book. If you haven’t started this series yet, check out VBC’s review of book 1, A Promise of Fire.
Cat has once again found herself at the heart of Thalyrian politics, the very place she’s been running from for the last eight years. This time though she has a family to stand with, rather than battle against. Cat would be happy with just keeping those she loves out of danger but her love, and Beta Sinta, Griffin has a vision of taking out the vicious magical Royal Families and uniting Thalyria once again. Cat may be starting to want the same goal as Griffin, but with a long ago prophecy naming her as The Harbinger, she’s terrified she may be the very reason it fails.
With the neighboring kingdom of Tarva looking like it may make a Power Bid against Sinta, Cat, along with Griffin and his Beta Team, must travel to the foothills of Mount Olympus in the hopes of securing aid from powerful magical creatures to protect the Sintan borders. But with gods involved things are never simple and quests rarely run smoothly.
Breath of Fire and I got off to a rocky start. It opens with Griffin discovering Cat is in fact the lost princess of Fisa, leading to a brutal argument that sees Griffin destroying their bedroom with a sword and walking out on Cat. It’s all sorted out within the matter of a chapter, and I didn’t really understand the point of it, other than giving me emotional whiplash for seemingly very little pay off and damaging Griffin’s character with behavior that just didn’t sit right for me. These first few chapters also seemed to offer very little in the way of recapping, leaving me feeling pretty lost on some key details from the previous book. (I still can’t remember why Griffin is immune to magic.) This confusion, and a relatively slow pace to begin with, lead to me picking this book up and putting it down a number of times in the first third.
However, after that point something clicked and once again I was utterly swept up in Cat’s story. The quest-vibe gave me nostalgic memories of a favorite childhood film Jason and the Argonauts, with tasks and obstacles constantly challenging our characters. I was really pleased there was more explanation of the world in this installment; I finally understand exactly how Greek mythology fits in and it’s totally working for me. It’s rich and vibrant and I could read about it for days.
Cat and the guys careen from one life or death situation to another, barely pausing for breath, and man do they do it with swag. I love the dynamics between these five; the dialogue had me snorting out loud at times. Cat and Kato in particular form a strong bond when they have to tackle a certain foe together, but her relationships continue to strengthen with all those around her, including Griffin’s sisters as Cat teaches them to kick ass.
Cat’s past, present and future play a big role, and I honestly felt for her as she tried with everything she had to shoulder the weight. She is riddled with self doubt, which she covers with, at times reckless, courage and a wonderful talent for sarcasm, but she’s an easy character to get behind. She discovers some big truths in Breath of Fire, and I can’t wait to see how she goes forward. One things for sure, she’ll be doing that with Griffin firmly at her side. Their romance is absolutely at the heart of this series (get ready for plenty of sexy time), and while Griffin’s overprotectiveness grated a bit for me at times, I loved that their relationship felt rock solid.
All in all, Breath of Fire is a great follow up to A Promise of Fire. While it didn’t give me all the feels like the first, it did make me fall even harder for these characters and this world. I cannot wait to see how it all comes together in the third and (sadly) final book.
Sexual content: graphic sex