A Promise of Fire

Amanda Bouchet. Sourcebooks Casablanca, $7.99 mass market (448p) ISBN 978-1-4926-2601-5
Debut author Bouchet makes a very strong start to her Kingmaker Chronicles, combining a richly developed political landscape defined by the influence of powerful ruling families, meddling gods, and destiny with a broad exploration of the relationship between might and magic in a social context. In a fantasy world where access to magical power is tied to geography and bloodline, Warlord Griffin, second in command of kingdom Sinta, is guided by a oracular dream from Poseidon to soothsayer Catalia Fisa, who’s hiding in a traveling circus from her family history and her magical role as Kingmaker. Griffin hopes to use Cat as a tool in his challenge of the status quo, in which the minority Magoi rule the hoi polloi. Their smoldering erotic burn hits charged love/hate buttons without falling too far into glorifying Griffin’s abduction of Cat, and by the end of the novel, they become a powerful team well situated for the fights ahead. Bouchet writes believable camaraderie, dramatic fight scenes, and moving personal angst, but worldbuilding purists will hate the insertion of the Greek gods into this secondary-world fantasy context. Agent: Jill Marsal, Marsal Lyon Literary. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/04/2016
Release date: 08/01/2016
Genre: Fiction
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