Monday, January 1, 2018

Dual 4 Wine Glass ARC #Review for Heart on Fire by Amanda Bouchet

35157131Title: Heart on Fire
Series: Kingmaker Chronicles #3
Author: Amanda Bouchet
Format: Kindle/Paperback, 448 pages
Expected publication: January 2nd 2018 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 0349412626
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Source: NetGalley
Reviewer: Crystal & Linda
Rating: 4 out of 5 Wine Glasses

The riveting conclusion to the Kingmaker Chronicles, available January 2018!

Who is Catalia Fisa?
With the help of pivotal figures from her past, Cat begins to understand the root of her exceptional magic, her fated union with Griffin Sinta, and Griffin's role in shaping her destiny.

Only Cat holds the key to unlocking her own power, and that means finally accepting herself, her past, and her future in order to protect her loved ones, confront her murderous mother, and taking a final, terrifying step--reuniting all three realms and taking her place as the Queen of Thalyria.

What doesn't kill her will only make her stronger...we hope.

Crystal's Thoughts:
Heart of Fire was an electrifying ending to a series that was beautifully brutal in every way.

In A Promise of Fire, readers were first introduced to the world of  Magoi's, a magical race from the north that descend from the Gods, and the Hoi Polloi, a mundane southern race looked down upon because of their lack of magic. Where we met Catalia Fisa, the Kingmaker, and her match in every way, Griffin Sinta. Mysteries abounded, tension sizzled, tempers flared, trust took it's first tentative steps, and a romance bloomed.  In Breathe of Fire though, that same trust and love was shattered and rebuilt, friend's were lost, and new beginnings made. Now, in Heart on Fire, Cat and Griffin must unite all of the kingdoms in Thalyria, including Cat's childhood home of Fisa, in order to complete Griffin's vision of reuniting the three realms and fulfilling the God's ultimate plans. Which means confronting Cat's own mother, who is as terrifying as she is powerful, and her own painful past.

Amanda Bouchet, who debuted with this series, excels at weaving a compelling world of magic and myth. The vivid world-building, heart-pounding action, memorable humor, and fervent romance has had me enchanted from the start. Mythology lovers can rejoice with this final installment. Not only do we find out that some of Cat's friends are more then what they seemed, but several more God's, Titan's, and Goddesses grace the pages of Heart of Fire too.  Epic quests will ensue and prophecies will be fulfilled. I was on the edge of my seat throughout, just waiting to see what would be thrown Cat and Griffin's way next! The chemistry and passion between Cat and Griffin was intense as ever. The love that they share is beyond sigh-worthy. I am desperately hoping for a spin-off from this series that feature Griffin's family and Alpha/Beta Team. The dynamics between this group of characters was as lively as always, especially with the addition of a new fiery member. The loss of one or two key members, shakes their foundation, but with the support of each of these charismatic characters, there is never any fear of it crumbling.

What I found to be disappointing in this final installment (which is why I am rating this a 4, instead of a 5) was Cat herself. In the first two books she was a bad-ass, take-no-shit, independent woman with an ever-developing soft side when it came to those she loved. In Heart on Fire though, Cat seemed to loose all of those strong, endearing qualities that I enjoyed so much. At times, I couldn't even fathom her thought process and decisions. There were many instances where she would be on the verge of giving up completing and needed rallying from outside sources. This didn't jive with the Cat I've come to know. I could see her character softening up a little, that would have fallen in as part of her natural growth, but this seemed like a whole new character at times and disturbed the flow of the book and series ARC.

That discrepancy notwithstanding, I still found Heart on Fire to be a captivating, satisfying, unforgettable story. I'll be keeping my eyes out for news on more stories from this world in the future! If you're a fantasy and romance lover, the Kingmaker Chronicles is a series not to be missed. You'll definitely want to start at the beginning, as this is not a series that you can jump into mid-way, but it will be well worth it!

Linda's Thoughts:
“My heart is on fire, Griffin. I don't know when it'll stop.” 

Heart on Fire is the emotional conclusion to Amanda Bouchet’s spectacular Kingmaker Chronicles trilogy which blends magic, mystery, mythology and wonder with Amanda’s storytelling genius. I have utterly inhaled this series from the beginning and genuinely could not wait to dive into this finale.

This is veritably a series that needs to be read in order as Catalia Fisa, the fabled Kingmaker, and Griffin Sinta, her match in every way, have undergone a compelling and breathtaking journey spanning all three books in their noble quest to re-unite the three realms in the kingdom of Thalyria. There’s still much in store for the couple herein including multiple gut-wrenching confrontations with Cat’s powerful and heartless mother.

Heart on Fire takes up right where Breath of Fire left off as the power couple of Cat and Griffin are mobilizing their forces for the upcoming invasion of Fisa. Throughout the series to this point, Cat has been becoming more familiar and proficient with her powers; but they are hit and miss, and lately, more absent than not. So, the two leave their Alpha/Beta team to continue training the masses who are joining with them daily and just the two of them embark on a dangerous pilgrimage to visit the hermit of Frostfire, a powerful witch who resides in Cat’s childhood home of Fisa, her monstrous mother’s domain. The witch is purported to have a potion to unlock magic. It almost seems too simple and easy. Indeed, it is…

I loved this installment, but not quite as much as the previous two. That is not to say that it didn’t hold my interest and that I didn’t enjoy it. The story is still addictive. There are thrills and chills galore with plenty of action and tense suspense. Griffin is still Cat’s relentless stalwart rock. Their love is verily timeless and their love scenes are intoxicating - literally taking my breath away with their fervor. However, Cat has her kickass moments – but, instead of continuing her metamorphous into the powerful, confident super being she is meant to be, she doubts herself and her ability to do what she needs to do for much of this installment. Cat and her power, when they do manage to coalesce, lack balance. It’s frustrating! Thankfully, she does pull it together at the end, but I – along with her strong support structure of gods and goddesses - wanted to thoroughly shake some sense into her too many times to count along the way.

Following please find a few of my favorite quotes from Heart on Fire:

“You'll still be my light in the dark, Cat. Even if you fall.” 

“I thought you of all people would understand.”
“Understand what? Being an idiot? I am an expert idiot,” I say. “I practice all the time.”

“How do you know?”
I look at him like he’s one Centaur short of a herd. “Soothsayer, remember? I know stuff.”

I’ve read that Amanda is writing more stories set in this world and I couldn’t be more thrilled! I want to be there when Little Bean makes her appearance! I also want to read more about Griffin’s family and his team including their recent fiery addition and, please, we need Ianthe’s story and Kato’s too!

I’m so glad to have been onboard for this phenomenal epic romantic fantasy series. I’m an avowed mythology lover and have been since I was little. I also enjoy suspenseful mysteries with plenty of fast-paced action and this series has delivered all of those elements and more. Heart on Fire is the happily-resolved, captivating ending to a beautifully written series.

Suggested Reading Order:
A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #1) 

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