Thursday, January 14, 2021

Amanda Bouchet - Heart on Fire

Who is Catalia Fisa?
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. 

Comment: This is anticipated last installment of the Kingmaker chronicles trilogy by Amanda Bouchet. At the time the books were published they made quite an impression on so many readers and I know I'm late to the hype but that's the beauty of books, they can last for a long time to be appreciated by anyone.

In this final installment, we have the conclusion of the adventures Cat, Griffin and the rest of the team have faced in order to unite the kingdoms again and make the new ruling a better one for everyone. The gods have helped putting the players in motion but it's up to Cat to finally own her heritage and her powers to defeat her evil mother. However, there are more obstacles in the way than what thy believed. What if Cat can't overcome the challenges thrown at her? What will happen to those who help her? If Cat wants to ensure the union of the kingdoms, then she needs to face the things she has always dreaded...

I had high hopes for this last story. I admit what motivated me the most was how invested I was, by this point, in all the characters, including the secondary ones, and what would happen to them in the final moments leading to the big battle which would certainly happen in the conclusion of this story. I was looking for to see not only what tasks Cat and Griffin had ahead of them but also how their supporting friends and family members would offer key help in the decisive moments.

Sadly for me, this book was slightly depressing, the fun bantering and cute scenes between friends in arms, between characters who learned to care for each other was not there as I expected. It wasn't so much that the focus was on Cat, after all she is the main character. But I hoped the same "sense" I got from the other books was still present but I ended up the book with the feeling the author wanted to convey too much why Cat was special, why she was destined, why her goal was meant to be, why she had to face adversity and so on... I think this book didn't have that amazing flavor of the first book, when everything felt special because of the interactions with the other characters.

I have also liked the little hints, the almost unobtrusive clues about potential paths to follow... I also really liked the way my imagination run free on what might happen between this or that character and here too I created expectations about where the author would lead the characters into. However, besides a few important moments, most characters simply played a role and didn't feel as vital to this installment.

The big battle was not so big after all. I suppose most readers would expect epic and the result was too mild. It was even more disappointing to me because before there were great fights/battles and now that the big finale was approaching, the balloon deflated quickly. I don't mind how the clash of forces went and the end chosen for the villain but after such much leading to it, I think the taste was one of not enough. Added with the lack of definite development for the secondary characters...oh well.

The book was rushing to the end, the villain was defeated, the heroine had learned her lessons and she was as in love with her hero as he was with her, some reveals had been done, but once the big last scene of the last chapter ended, I turned the page and... nothing. Where was the sweet epilogue with the confirmation of the couple's HEA and a last explanation on the few loose ends addressed through this book but which weren't explained to the reader? I won' share spoilers but there were some things left in the air about three characters which I wanted to see solved/clarified.

Seriously, for me what a disappointment! I was glad some characters found their HEA, others a compromise, but no matter how good my imagination, I wanted closure and to me, this was not given to the reader. The book worked well for many people, I know, but for me, I wished there was a cherry on top of the cake too. 

Grade: 7/10

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