Monday, September 18, 2023

#Review - Champion of Fate by Kendare Blake #YA #Fantasy

Series: Heromaker # 1
Format: Hardcover, 480 pages
Release Date: September 19, 2023
Publisher: Quill Tree Books
Source: Publisher
Genre:Young Adult / Fantasy / Epic

In this epic duology starter by #1 New York Times bestselling author Kendare Blake, a girl is taken in by a group of female warriors who train her to shepherd a hero to victory—so long as she doesn’t get her heart broken in the process.

In this sweeping fantasy perfect for fans of Alexandra Bracken and Stephanie Garber, Kendare Blake introduces a new heroine: Reed, the Aristene-in-training. The Aristene are hero-makers. Time and again, the women who make up this fabled order champion fighters to win wars for the glory of their goddess.

 After Reed was orphaned, the Aristene took her in. Now she’s an initiate, finally ready to take her place beside her sisters-in-arms. There’s just one task in Reed’s way: she must lead her first hero to a great victory. Succeed, and she’ll officially join the Aristene. Fail, and Reed will be cast out from the only home she’s ever known.

Nothing is going to stop Reed from joining the order. But her infuriatingly charming hero is nothing like she expected. When her feelings take her by surprise, Reed is faced with a decision: fulfill her destiny as an Aristene, or forge a new path to an unknown future. 

Champion of Fate, by Kendare Blake, is the first installment in the authors Heromaker duology.  When Reed (not her real name) was 8 years old, she was treated as though she was already dead by the village wise woman. "She's not ours, so why should we get attached?" Moments later, her villain is raided and wiped out by Ithernan Raiders who try to take her back to their ship as a sacrifice since the eyes are the pathways to the soul.

Reed is saved when two Aristene Heroes, Aster (who later becomes her mentor) and Veridian (who is apostate or castaway) show up and take Reed into their order and introduce her to the mounts of the Order of the Aristene which will eventually end up with a horse named Silco as her trusty steed. The Aristene serve the Goddess Kleia Gloria and are the ones who make heroes. Heroes that sometimes die since they are not immortal. Along with her friends Gretchen and Lyonene, Reed trains hard to pass the rigorous Hero's test.  

The Aristene are an incredible order of powerful female warriors; think Xena: Warrior Princess or Wonder Woman’s Amazons, and the mysterious order itself is Jedi-like in nature. With so many pop culture connections, there are hooks for readers from a variety of fandoms to connect with. The Aristene have many rules, but one is crucial to Reed’s quest: don’t fall in love with your first hero. 

She doesn’t think it will be a problem, but that’s before she meets her hero, Hestion of Glaucia. He’s stubborn, willful…and effortlessly charming. Kendare is a master at writing chemistry between characters, and this forbidden slow burn is expertly crafted. It's a will-they-or-won't-they romantasy at its best. Though this is completely separate from Three Dark Crowns and you don't have to read those books to love this one, there are a few well-placed details here for eagle-eyed Fennbirn aficionados to pick up on, which will delight Kendare's fanbase.

*Thoughts* One of the themes of the book is a criticism of the old adage, “Behind every great man, there's a great woman.” Even though the Aristene guide these heroes, they are the ones with the real power: the puppet masters. Heroes, while respected, are fleeting. Aristene are forever. As someone who happily watched nearly every episode of Xena, and as a huge fan of Valkyries, as well as Amazonian warriors, I had to read this book. Reed's trials are not easy ones, nor should you expect this to be a light read. At points to being dark, and I am eager to see if the sequel will follow. Especially after the twisted ending that the elders of the Aristene have hoped for through Reed.  

No comments:

Post a Comment