Heart on Fire by Amanda Bouchet (Kingmaker Chronicles #3)
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca on January 2, 2018
My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a digital review copy. No compensation was provided for this review, and all opinions are my own.
Who is Catalia Fisa?View Spoiler »
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. « Hide Spoiler
Powerful seer and Kingmaker Cat Fisa is about to fight the biggest battle of her life…but is she ready for it?
As always, the Greek mythology-inspired world building in this series is delightful. In HEART ON FIRE we learn more about the unique relationship that Cat has with the gods of the Greek pantheon…which means that we get to see them up close and personal. And as you might expect, with heavy-hitters like Ares involved, it’s a wild ride! Seeing Cat, Griffin, and the rest of the Beta Team working together to neutralize threats and unite the kingdoms was also fun, and those scenes reminded me of how much I enjoyed the first book in this series.
Much to my chagrin, the romantic aspects of this fantasy-romance story were some the least enjoyable for me to read thanks to shaky characterization. Despite the progress made in previous volumes, Cat reverts back to old habits and wallows in crippling low self-esteem while Griffin is over-protective and seems to forget what a total badass his wife is. When she’s not out there saving everyone’s butt, Cat falls prey to the whole “I’m a hero and therefore anything bad that happens ever is my fault” thing. Had this happened a handful of times in the story I would’ve been fine with it, but she had a guilt-induced meltdown after every semi-negative event in the story.
HEART ON FIRE being the final book in a trilogy, there are many “bad things” going on and the characters have to grapple with significant loss. There are a lot of loose ends and ambiguous endings for certain characters, which I found somewhat frustrating. The confrontation between Cat and her mother, the Big Bad of the series, finally comes to pass and it was underwhelming. Since the entire series was building up to that moment, I didn’t expect it to be over and done with in a few pages.
I’m also disappointed that Bouchet didn’t follow up on the character who was raped in the second book; personally, I thought it was brushed aside in the previous book BREATH OF FIRE and it was completely forgotten in HEART ON FIRE. Using sexual violence to manipulate readers is a cheap tactic, and given the conversations going on in the publishing world and in society at large, I’m genuinely surprised that any editor would let that slide.
Ultimately, I thought that HEART ON FIRE was the weakest book in the Kingmaker Chronicles trilogy. The world is still fascinating and the action fun, but for me, the magic of the series is gone.