Author: Amanda Bouchet
Genre: Adult, High Fantasy
Source: Piatkus via NetGalley
Kingmaker. Soothsayer. Warrior. Mage. Kingdoms would rise and fall for her . . . if she is ever foundReview by Nara
In the icy North, where magic is might, an all-powerful elite ruthlessly guided by a glacial Queen have grown to dominate the world. Now rebellion is stirring in the rough, magic-poor South, where for the first time in memory a warlord has succeeded in uniting the tribal nations.
Stuck in the middle is Cat - circus performer and soothsayer - safely hidden behind heavy make-up, bright colours and the harmless illusion of the circus. Until someone suspects she's more than she seems . . .
Captured by the Southern warlord Griffin, Cat's careful camouflage is wearing thin. For how long can - or should - she conceal the true extent of her power? Faced with dragons, homicidal mages, rival Gods and the traitorous longings of her own heart, she must decide: is it time to claim her destiny and fight?
So I may have requested this book on NetGalley solely on the basis that the cover looked awesome, but I'm glad to say that the gamble paid off: the cover wasn't the only thing that was good about this book- a high fantasy influenced by Greek mythology with a fast paced plot and interesting characters.
On the whole it was a bit generic, but it had a lot of the elements that a lot of people like, so I guess I can't really fault it too much on that front. I think likely the thing that most bothered me was that main character Cat was a bit overpowered. She didn't really seem to have many faults at all in terms of her power, and this doesn't give her a lot of room to grow as a character. I guess things could arise in sequels; we'll have to see.
The writing wasn't quite as polished as I would have liked. There was a very informal tone to it, which is fine, but then the author would also make the narration almost juvenile, which is definitely not the type of writing that I like to see in a high fantasy (or actually in any book, to be honest). On the other hand, the dialogue was quite good, as the snarky tone of the narration translated well to the banter between the characters, especially between Cat and the love interest, Griffin. I did really like how the setting was influenced by Greek mythology, with various gods making appearances or being mentioned and an interesting world where there are numerous types of magic and creatures (including dragons) and I hope it will be explored further as the series goes on.
There are a few mysteries surrounding Cat's background which have been partially revealed and partially left hidden- one of the main reasons I want to read on in the series is to see if I'm right about these mysteries. Hopefully Bouchet is able to break the predictability, although to be completely honest, I'm not terribly optimistic.
Well, overall, A Promise of Fire was a pretty solid start to a new series. I'll be continuing the series, and we'll see where things go from here.
World Building: 3/5