Reviewed by Mandi
Debut author, start of a great fantasy romance series, great banter, terrific sexual tension and romance. That is my short review. I think you all should just go read it now.
There is a lot that goes on in this book, with a really well done world. I don’t want to give too much away, and drag down the review with all the details of the world, so I’m going to focus more on the characters and their interactions with each other. I will say the world mixes greek mythology with magic. Cat, our heroine is the God Daughter of Poseidon – which helps her a bit in this book.
“You’re exactly what I think you are, aren’t you?”
The woman who divines the truth through falsehood? The most coveted diplomatic weapon in the realms? The Kingmaker?
“There’s one of you every two hundred years.” The warlord stalks me through the crowd, his long strides devouring the space between us. “Kingdoms rise and fall for you. Because of you.”
She is a rare kingmaker, and can tell if someone is lying. She also had a very, very horrible childhood. Caged and tortured, she eventually escapes and spends several wonderful years hiding out in a traveling circus. She is known as a soothsayer, and while she always has her guard up, she comes to make friends and learn to live a life free of pain. But one fateful evening, Griffin, a warlord and the new second in command of a region called Sinta, comes to her circus. Griffin has taken his army and overcome what was magical royalty, stealing the throne for his sister. Griffin and his people don’t hold magical abilities as the previous royals, so Griffin needs someone who is powerful to help him keep his reign. This person is Cat. (you find out how he knows she is powerful in the book)
He abducts her (to her great frustration) and starts to make the slow journey back to his castle. He uses an enchanted rope to keep her tied to him, and Cat is not happy.
“Control your temper,” he advises, releasing my hand with a soft shove.
There are some things about my blood even I can’t deny. Temper is one of them. “I’ll show you temper, you oversized, egomanical, murdering son of a Cyclops!” I ram my foot into his groin.
She spent her entire childhood in a prison of torture, she is NOT going to spend her adult life being someone’s slave. But Griffin reassures her, that well, yes, she must come with him, he is a good person. She will have anything she wants at the castle. As long as she provides her skilled magical abilities. Cat, through almost the entire book, hates the fact that she is bound to him.
The woman who tortured Cat for all those years, the leader of the region Fisa, who is called Alpha Fisa, wants her back – she can track Cat through blood and other ways. Alpha Fisa is ruthless and that is another reason why Cat doesn’t want to get attached to anyone. Alpha Fisa will use anyone Cat loves against her.
As Cat travels with Griffin and his crew, her traitorous heart starts to fall for Griffin. How do I explain Griffin – he is a huge, beastly man with a very kind heart. Yes, he is a warlord. Yes, he kidnaps Cat and doesn’t let her go. But I totally fell in love with him. Cat often questions how in the world he slaughtered his way to the throne, as he is for the most part gentle. He is growly, and he falls for Cat hard and fast. Cat is so, so, SO stubborn – and he recognizes this, as they needle each other constantly in this book. It made me smile a lot. There were times I got a little tired of Cat and her constant pushing away of Griffin – but I also had to remember she grew up without love and a family – and she also knows that same woman is still after her. The more Cat falls for Griffin, the more chance Alpha Fisa will use him against her.
Cat feels vulnerable that she starts to need Griffin. When she sleeps near him, her nightmares aren’t as bad. She misses the smell of him and his good humor when he isn’t around her. All things she would never admit out loud – she has survived so much on her own, she has to learn that it’s okay to want to rely on others.
The sexual tension between them is very well done. Cat is young, and not experienced in romance at all. Her inner monologue is so cute when Griffin does something romantic, her heart smiles first, and then her brain is says – eww no! boys are gross! But by the end, they do fall in love and I really liked the fact that the author really takes her time with letting that happen. Cat is kick ass, and smart, and a true warrior, but a little immature in the romance department. I liked her journey.
This book is also funny. Cat and Griffin together made me laugh, but even more so, I fell for Griffin’s three brother-at-arms who are with Cat and Griffin as he drags her back to his castle. Flynn, Carver and Kato. I adored them so, so much. They are family to Griffin. They are funny, and warm and become super friendly with Cat. When they do reach the castle, I was a little sad that we had to meet other people. I wanted it to just be the five of them – they are that much fun.
There is also great action in this book. Dragons, evil people – and our heroine is kick-ass:
I advance, my footsteps charring the ground as bolts radiate from my feet, long, jagged, and intensely hot. There’s a tearing pain in my back, along each shoulder blade. I don’t stop to question it, or the lightning, or the wind. I don’t question anything. I am mighty, and I will kill anyone who gets in my way.
“Run.” The command is deep and echoes eerily. It doesn’t sound like me. It hammers my enemies like a storm from Olympus.
Really great start to the series. There is a solid HEA, although the big conflict with people in the realm who want to hurt Cat and Griffin is not over yet – Breath of Fire and Heart on Fire release next year.