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Wanda's Book Reviews

I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles.  (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).

Currently reading

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Ann J. Lane
Wizard and Glass
Stephen King, Dave McKean
River of Blue Fire
Tad Williams
Richard Ford
Progress: 36/420 pages

Breath of Fire / Amanda Bouchet

Breath of Fire - Amanda Bouchet

"Cat" Catalia Fisa has been running from her destiny since she could crawl. But now, her newfound loved ones are caught between the shadow of Cat's tortured past and the threat of her world-shattering future. So what's a girl to do when she knows it's her fate to be the harbinger of doom? Everything in her power.

Griffin knows Cat is destined to change the world-for the better. As the realms are descending into all-out war, Cat and Griffin must embrace their fate together. Gods willing, they will emerge side-by-side in the heart of their future kingdom...or not at all.


Better than the first book but not one that I will ever likely re-read. What improves this offering, in my opinion, is that it veers away from the Kate-Daniels-like pattern that the first volume followed. Cat gets to be her own kind of reckless and crazy in this one. I still found the dialog to be a little too modern for the Greek-mythology-type setting, but it didn’t grate quite so much in this one. Either I’m getting used to it or the author toned it down some.

Although there isn’t a doubt about the Cat/Griffin romance (that’s settled at the book’s beginning), there are new relationships budding. Griffin has sisters and they have admirers (and those they admire) and Bouchet uses those to add the romantic tension here. I’m already fond of Jocasta and hope that she can convince her man to declare himself in the next book.

And that right there is why this book doesn’t rate more highly with me. I’d really like the fantasy-part of the plot, the quest to build a new kingdom with better governance, to take the foreground and have the relationships recede to the midground, please and thank you. Books aren’t realistic without relationships and the lead-up tension can be lots of fun, but really the romance shouldn’t overpower the actual plot. Love and sex are both great as seasonings, but they should never overpower the entire story.

Somewhere between “clueless about relationships” and “totally devoted to romance,” that’s my happy place. (Read Ilona Andrews’ Hidden Legacy series or Innkeeper series to see this done well.)