By: Amanda Bouchet
Kingmaker Chronicles at a Glance
- Overall Rating: ★★★★
- Dude Ranking: Go ahead and tie us up with a magical rope, Griffin
- Brutality Scale: Like Hunger Games, only the Mom is President Snow
- Emotional: Our hearts are in a million pieces
- Steaminess: Damon Salvatore wink and grin
Pairs Well With
Girl on Fireball
- 1 bottle hard cider
- 1 shot fireball whiskey
Beware. Spoilers are coming…
I am a sucker for anything Greek mythology related, so if you market a book to me with a badass female character and some Greek gods and goddesses, I will buy it because I am weak. Cat is my queen. She is a badass, dark and twisty, warrior queen. So, she gets captured by a hot warlord with a magical rope. Don’t we all want that to happen? Yeah, Griffin talks her into joining his team, then into a relationship, and then into taking over the world. But honestly, I would probably eat vegetables if Griffin asked me to, he’s a convincing dude, okay? He also buys her towels and deals with her when she gets accidentally high on magic. He’s a keeper. He lets Cat be the badass chick that she is, loves her when she’s twisty and isn’t threatened by her QUEEN status. All you toxic masculinity assholes out there, please look at Griffin for #inspo.
But, what is it about fantasy books that every single book has a truly monstrous parent? Mom, girl, you the real MVP, thanks for not locking me in a cage for months or killing my puppies. I almost didn’t finish the book after the puppy thing. I had to hug my cat after that. But, where is the dad during all of this? Complicity is not okay.
I fell in love with Griffin’s Beta team, Kato, Flynn & Carver. What a solid group of dudes. When they rescue Cat from her nightmares, and when Kato cries when he thinks Cat died and blabbers about Griffin. #dead.
I loved that the gods are like Cat’s fairy godmothers who just bippity boppity boo her powers and magical fire coats that somehow don’t burn her. Where can I sign up for Poseidon to be my fairy godmother? The magical ice cave chapters where you meet Atalanta are…creepy? I mean it is cool that for once its a sex-crazed lady, not dude, so props to Bouchet for going against that trope. I’m 100% here for the super adorableness of Ares posing as her bodyguard/bff.
All I’m gonna say about Breath of Fire is that can an author *please* give a girl a warning before a scene where someone SWALLOWS A GIANT SNAKE?!!! And WTF at Griffin not telling Cat she’s pregnant until AFTER SHE FIGHTS IN A GIANT DEATH BATTLE?!? C’mon, man. You’re struggling at this whole parenting thing even before the kid is out of the womb.
Heart of Fire was…. underwhelming to me. First off, holy loose ends Batman?!? What’s going to happen to Piers (don’t get me started on this dickwad)? Kato’s death destroyed me circa Rue in the Hunger Games (RIP, Rue) but what was up with where his body went? Did he really die? Can he be saved from the Underworld? And what’s going to happen with Flynn and Jocasta? Ianthe and the hung Centaur dude? If you promise me a trilogy, make it a trilogy – no loose ends and a million spin-offs. Second, things just fell flat. The whole mess with Cat in Tartarus and talking to Titans? And bringing back a Titan? Why? What freaking purpose did this serve? That part was never-ending and boring. And the scene with Griffin ending up with Acantha? Dumb. Don’t disrespect Griffin like that with me. And the ending was straight up boring. *Insert McKayla Maroney Not Impressed Face.* Her mom suddenly has some humanity? No. Lady was a b*tch, straight up. And no one puts up a fight in Fisa? Realistic? Not so much. So, overall I loved the series but the trilogy deserved a better ending.
Bouchet starts strong with A Promise of Fire. Out of the gate we meet Cat who is one badass b*tch. She clearly had a rough life, but has taken those lessons in stride, using them to stay alive. Cat is followed by a Sintan warlord and his band of sexy, merry men. Bouchet brings it with the men of Beta Team, Griffin, Flynn, Carver and Kato. Griffin, clearly, will be our main squeeze and is just a giant, hot, bear of a man. Bouchet, you had me at warlord. Cat has magic, he doesn’t, so in true warlord style, he kidnaps her with a magic rope and drags her around for days.
The sexual tension between Cat and Griffin is top shelf. Honestly, this man is the perfect balance of jerk and reasonable. Did I mention the grizzly bear thing? Kudos to Bouchet for using the hilarious and sexy, brother Carver to stoke the fire. For me, the bonding between Cat and Beta team brought this book home. We already loved her, but these giant warriors start to follow her and essentially become her backup dancers.
Cat is a beautifully constructed character, not just a special peanut because she was born with this “great and amazing power.” Sure, she has power, but she worked her a** off for it; went through hell and came out stronger. *Cue that country song about walking through hell before the devil knows you’re there.*
The first few chapters of Breath of Fire gave me emotional whiplash. I was ready to throw my phone, but somehow managed to keep reading. Griffin finds out who Cat truly is [insert dramatic couple fight]. I am not the emotional one and I felt like I had somehow caused my parents breakup.
After I picked my heart up off of the floor, I followed Beta Team to an ice cave where Kato gets a cool tattoo by involuntarily swallowing a GIANT SNAKE. I hate snakes. However, I love men with tattoos. Kato became my main man after their camping trip in the cave. He took one for the team… literally, with Atalanta the sex-hungry she devil.
Cat and her backup dancers fight some battles to the death, but not without Griffin and Carver’s sister Jocasta. Because Bouchet gives us MORE THAN ONE tough as nails female character. I appreciate her devotion to empowering women even if said women have questionable sanity.
Here’s my problem. As a “thank you for reading Breath of Fire,” Bouchet decides to tell us that Griffin knew Cat was pregnant BEFORE fighting in the death battles. I mean there is girl power and then there are questionable choices. Griffin tried to explain his reasons, but I think he is just a stone cold warlord trying to take over the world.
In the first two installments, Cat and Griffin manage to successfully take over two of three territories and are headed to take Fisa from mommy dearest in Heart of Fire. This book made me say “WTF” too many times. Griffin and pregnant Cat run off to the ice plains again and half-battle with her mom again. The whole “my mom keeps trying to kill me, but I just want her approval” thing is getting old.
During a battle my heart and Cat’s are broken (Kato where are you???). When she FINALLY tries to use her god-given powers to save someone’s life, Zeus sends her to Tartarus! Hasn’t this whole series been about how much the gods love her and want her to use her powers? Was I even reading these books? I honestly felt like I was in Tartarus with her. Those chapters were like watching a toddler draw on the walls with the contents of their diaper.
All in all, the series was definitely worth the read if only for the characters, but it seems like Bouchet was pulling a SJM and leaving open threads for spin-offs (Kato, Flynn & Jocasta, Piers). #Catisourqueen #Idon’tcarewhathappenstoPiers
Let us know what you thought of The Kingmaker Chronicles in the comments!