Review: Heart on Fire by Amanda Bouchet

Reviewed by Jen

I have mixed feelings about (what I assume is) this final installment of The Kingmaker Chronicles. I absolutely loved the first book, A Promise a Fire. Book two was strong as well. My issue here is that I felt like this book was a little all over the place and the ending was a bit anti-climactic.

This story picks up right on the heels of Breath of Fire. Cat and Griffin are king and queen of Thalyria and expecting a baby. Cat now has her younger sister with her and a powerful new guard in the form of a former Thalryian Princess. All that is left to do is to conquer her evil mother.

But things take a detour right off the bat. First of all, I have to admit being a little overwhelmed by all of the characters. I honestly couldn’t remember who all of these people were and it hasn’t even been that long since I read the last book. A little reminding would’ve gone a long way to help me marshall my thoughts. Then there’s the fact that a big betrayal happens at the beginning. It felt more like a plot device to reveal the identities of two undercover Gods than to move forward any other arc. In fact, what happens with the offending character seems to just fall off into nowhere. I kept expecting it to come full circle, but it never did.

I thought this book would be all about Cat preparing for the confrontation with her mother and, in a way, it was, but there were tangent adventures first. They weren’t bad, but they felt disconnected to a big build that I wanted for the end. Cat’s mom shows up a few times, but it feels like… you know those scenes in romance novels where the couple is about to have sex and there is this great build up and something ridiculous happens that kills the moment and you know it’s just about teasing you for the pay off later in the book? It’s like that. Part of me tells myself that the point of the aborted confrontations is to maybe show Cat’s indecisiveness about whether she can kill her mother. But after the second time this happened, I was just irritated. Then when the big battle finally did arrive, it was pfft. Same thing with Cat’s struggle to control her powers. It’s this big deal for the whole book and then she just figures it out (*snaps fingers*) like that. In both cases, there is all this building and the payoff is underwhelming.

All of this is not to say the book is bad. It’s not bad. There we’re parts I enjoyed. Particularly, I was a big fan of Aries and his relationship with Cat, and of course I love Cat and Griffin. I just found the book uneven. And vaguely–not unsatisfying, but underwhelming. There are also so many threads left hanging, like Kato… like Cat’s sisters… Carver. Maybe this means more books. Maybe this is just the end of a particular arc and we will see these characters again. I hope so. I’m invested in them.

I don’t know. Obviously I’m conflicted here. There are great characters and a fabulous world constructed in this series. If there ends up being more books, I will read them. But that is probably based more on what I know the author is capable of in the previous books than this one.

Still, if you read the other two books in the series, you can’t miss this one. And who knows, maybe it will be a better hit for you.

Rating: B-/C+

*ARC provided by publisher

Click to purchase: Amazon

Heart on Fire
by Amanda Bouchet
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Comments

  1. I agree with you. I gave this book the lowest rating of all. It almost felt more like a lesson for Cat than anything else. The gods were all over the place, the fun was missing, and the excitement that I felt with book 1 and 2 was non-existing. I’m looking forward seeing what other books she’ll write. And how long it takes her to write another one. 😀

  2. I liked this better than book 2 but I agree with some of your points. I did rate it more highly because I enjoyed it and it did make me feel. But the buildup didn’t go anywhere. I also wondered what happened to many of the characters; I felt they were left hanging. Anne

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