The Kingmaker Chronicles #1
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Catalia "Cat" Fisa is a powerful clairvoyant known as the Kingmaker. This smart-mouthed soothsayer has no interest in her powers and would much rather fly under the radar, far from the clutches of her homicidal mother. But when an ambitious warlord captures her, she may not have a choice…
Griffin is intent on bringing peace to his newly conquered realm in the magic-deprived south. When he discovers Cat is the Kingmaker, he abducts her. But Cat will do everything in her power to avoid her dangerous destiny and battle her captor at every turn. Although up for the battle, Griffin would prefer for Cat to help his people willingly, and he's ready to do whatever it takes to coax her…even if that means falling in love with her.
A Promise of Fire is a fun start to this series, a romance lighter in tone beautifuly paired with a dire prophecy and impending battle with a villain of seemingly epic proportions.
Cat is a little tricky in the beginning, letting Griffin and his team know frequently and sometimes violently how she feels about being kidnapped, and while her situation is clearly not one that should cause her to jump for joy (and it's easy to appreciate her unwillingness to passively accept her circumstances), her constant insults and well-timed barbs start to get a bit tedious after a while. Just shy of the halfway mark though she starts to change her tune, and the banter between her and Griffin thankfully loses its edge, becoming significantly more genuine while still making us laugh. After her shift in attitude, her sense of humor becomes a highlight rather than a source of frustration, and the bond between her and Griffin–as well as that between her and his men–has us glancing at the clock late at night and saying "just one more hour".
We get a few glimpses of Cat's past, enough to be able to hazard a guess as to who she really is despite not getting confirmation in this first installment, and it's clear that behind the snark and the badassery are shadows and blood, lying in wait make her a victim once again. She shows a great deal of growth over the course of this first book, from hiding at the circus with impenetrable emotional armor in place in the beginning to standing tall and unleashing hell in order to protect those she's come to love by the end. She will undoubtedly continue to grow as her story unfolds, and it should be nothing short of a delight to bear witness to the woman she will become.
The final death-defying moments are a touch anti-climatic given the epic dragon battle midway through and the impressively brutal fight leading up to the last few chapters, leaving us just a tiny bit underwhelmed when our final "battle" is with someone of so little importance to the overall story. That very minor complaint aside though, A Promise of Fire is an outstanding read overall, and January cannot come soon enough to reunite me with Cat, Griffin, and his immensely lovable family.