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Review: Heart on Fire - Amanda Bouchet

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Heart on Fire by Amanda Bouchet
My rating: {★★★☆☆}

Adult Fantasy Romance
Published January 2nd 2018 by Sourcebooks Casablanca

Source: ARC received from Sourcebooks
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.
Well this is awkward....

I have gushed and raved about this series since I first laid eyes on A Promise of Fire.

I absolutely adored the first two books and even though there was a bit of second book syndrome apparent in Breath of Fire I still really enjoyed it and I had such high hopes for the finale and unfortunately this book kind of burst my bubble.

Look, it wasn't all bad - I really did enjoy the book for the most part but the previous two books had just led me to expect so much more from the author and from this series so it became a serious disappointment for me when I found myself thinking 'this is just okay' instead of 'OMG I'm so amazed'.

Cat used to be so sassy and snarky and full of fire.... But this is a completely different journey and in this book she just seemed so self-absorbed and had plenty of pity parties for herself along the way, and the reader gets to hear about every single one of them because the narrative is all in Cat's head. I wanted to see her character completely broken and torn apart and then be able to watch her and cheer as she rebuilt even stronger but I didn't get that and the whole emotional balance thing was just so drawn out.

There was a lot of repetition both of the key elements of the plot devices (Cat needing 'balance' to access her powers, whether or not people have free choice if there is destiny etc. etc.) and in the way the narrative tried to hammer home points (is Cat the sword AND the shield? And don't forget how positively EVIL Alpha Fisa is... If we didn't know already). If had been a bit simpler and cleaner I think it would have emphasised the emotion and the turmoil that we were supposed to feel but that I couldn't connect to. It just felt OTT.

Griffin lost his spark - he spent most of his time running after Cat being both terrified that she was dying (but she's hard to kill, remember?) and reminding her that she is the very air he breathes. He just became too one dimensional instead of a brilliant and complex character in his own right. Where is the mighty Beta Sinta? The first Hoi Polloi family to rule?

I also found that there was a serious lack in the secondary characters that I loved. What the heck happened to all that wit and banter and interaction? Where was Carver? Where was Kato? In fact, don't even start me on Kato... Is there a spin-off series coming? Of course I'll read it, but that doesn't mean that I wasn't left feeling empty after this book.

I wasn't really sold on the way we arrived at the outcomes we did with so much coincidence and special snowflakiness and I really wanted more action instead of all the talk about feelings and then the confusion that the Gods created by not being allowed to puppeteer and yet still being able to give Cat ALL THE POWERS and the perfect partner.

Other than these (quite major) issues, I still enjoyed what action and plot we did get. There's still some humour, some pretty epic action scenes (even if they are few and far between!) and I loved learning more about Cat's family (specifically Ianthe) and the the Ipotane and their secrets.

I would have loved to have had something like an epilogue to see how things went after the major battle and climax of the story, but I have a feeling I might see more in a new series by Bouchet and I hope that the issues that I had with this book can be addressed there. I really do love this author and her writing but unfortunately Heart on Fire wasn't a success for me.

Breath of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #2)