Earlier this year, I stumbled across A Promise of Fire, which was the alternative pick chosen for the month of December for the Vaginal Fantasy book club. Initially, I had my doubts about whether or not the book would be one for me, which were turned around so suddenly upon reading that I could hardly believe it. It’s really easy to judge a book by its cover, especially when it falls into the romance category. Upon reflection, the cover is a beautiful representation of Cat, but I am typically not drawn to book covers that feature a single, realistic looking character. My love and appreciation for A Promise of Fire completely changed the way that I think about book covers – even if a cover isn’t appealing to you, read the book; you never know what you might find, as Amanda Bouchet is now one of my new favorite authors.
From her captivating style that really makes you feel as if you are living inside of the characters themselves, to her unique world-building that is based off of mythology, Amanda Bouchet has crafted a romance that is believable in every aspect. Fantasy romance is generally one-sided and results in one of two options – incredible fantasy with little to no romance, or over-the-top romance that has almost nothing to do with fantasy. Bouchet takes all of the qualities that are lacking in the fantasy romance novel and puts them all together in the Kingmaker Chronicles, a three book series that features an in-depth world, fleshed out characters, and detailed episodes of romance all packed into a moving, action-filled adventure. Needless to say, Amanda Bouchet currently has one of the most promising voices in the fantasy romance genre.
Who is Amanda Bouchet?
Amanda Bouchet is an up and coming romance author that grew up in New England, but currently lives in Paris, France with her husband and children. Drawing off of her Greek heritage, she created the world for the Kingmaker Chronicles, which is full of mythology and wonder. Her characters come to realize that they are a part of a world in which the gods are incredibly active, which can be seen through through the people, places and objects that appear as everyday aspects of society in her works. From Cerberus, the three-headed dog, to the presence of oracular dreams, Bouchet’s use of mythology in her work is fresh and inviting to those who may not be familiar with classical Greek mythos.
The first novel in the Kingmaker Chronicles, A Promise of Fire, won multiple awards in its unpublished state from the Romance Writers of America, including the Orange Rose Contest, as well as the 2013 Golden Pen.
Where should I start?
As Amanda Bouchet has only written one series (so far), you should start with A Promise of Fire.
Following the kidnap of Catalia Fisa, the first book in the Kingmaker Chronicle series establishes the world of Thalyria and hints at its mythological history, while a budding relationship develops between Cat and her captor, Griffin (it’s not as bad as it sounds, I swear). Establishing Cat’s inner monologue and providing readers with an incredible amount of detail regarding her background, A Promise of Fire will pull you into a world that you will never want to leave as you get swept up in the relationship between Cat and Griffin.
From there, you will probably want to pick up the sequel, Breath of Fire, immediately. Danger continues to follow Cat and Griffin in the fast-paced follow up that builds upon the mythological background by introducing new characters, mysteries, and incredible, yet seemingly impossible feats of strength. Romance abounds in the second novel in the series, and fans of sensual and erotic scenes will not be disappointed.
I finished both novels, now what?
Aside from waiting for the final novel in the series, Heart on Fire, to be released, there are a few things other things that you can read. In addition to a few articles that discuss how the covers for A Promise of Fire and Breath of Fire were made, you can also take a look at a short story explaining the origins of Thalyria.
If that isn’t enough for you, Bouchet has also written a few scenes from Griffin’s perspective that really shed some light on his character, which you can receive when they are released by signing up for her newsletter.
Last but not least, Bouchet recently announced that she is working on another series, which is titled Endeavor, and is set to be a trilogy.
Why Amanda Bouchet?
Amanda Bouchet has managed to do something incredible with this relatively unknown series. While some people may feel as though the romance between Cat and Griffin is forced, I would argue against it. Although they are brought together as the result of less than ideal circumstances, the thought processes that these characters experience regarding intimacy and affection are incredibly real. Sensual and erotic scenes do not feel forced as they do in other romance (hybrid or otherwise) novels. Instead, the reactions of both characters are genuine and relatable. Similar to how we are unable to control our natural thought processes, these characters think and feel according to their inner desires and motivations. The amount of depth that can be seen in Cat’s actions, as well as her internal monologue is astounding, making this a must read work of fantasy romance.