You can usually tell how much I enjoy a book based on how long it takes for me to read it. Even then, life slows down my reading process. Most good books take me about two weeks to a month to read, and some have taken me a year as I’m not as attached to them.
The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci comes into the two week mark. It took me another week to recover from this beauty.
In this dark fantasy novel, twenty men compete in a tournament to win the hand of the holy future queen. However, Tobias Kaya didn’t enter for the “greatest hook up of all time”, he entered for the money which his family desperately needed. Labelled with the “Artist” laurel and pitted up against murderous bastards, a magical underground obstacle course, and his eyes on the wrong prize, the odds of him ever living long enough to see his family again are slim.
The plot in this book was very straightforward, but that can be expected when being based around a tournament. However, Jenna Moreci knew how to make it all very engaging. The stakes were clear and emotions drove the plot forward, whether in decision making or fighting. The events flowed and the story was quite easy to follow, and there was a variance of ways to end the chapters, not just making every chapter one-paragraph cliff-hangers but still making promises of progress. Most books I read a chapter per day, but I went on chapter sprints with this book, reading 3-5 on days where I had plenty of time and squeezing in a few pages where I could on other days. Moreci’s writing, description, and understanding of her protagonist’s mind made this seemingly straight line turn into a rollercoaster.
The characters were clearly developed, and most were distinct in both appearance and personality, save for a few. The diversity of characters and the ability to identify characters with distinct personality aspects or looks was great, but the only downer was those characters that didn’t have as strong of lights shining down on them. Their looks kept changing in my own head, and there wasn’t a distinct quirk or tone of speech to identify those characters by. Not until they particularly mattered. The characters that stood out remained pretty consistent, but if the rest of the cast was it would be further appreciated. This would be the only downfall in the book.
Tobias. I fell in love with him the moment the first chapter ended, and he just became more and more awesome with each interaction he made with others. To sum him up, he’s like Kettle Corn – sweet and salty. And yet this didn’t conflict. Tobias knew where his heart was, though he was often conflicted by it due to surviving the events in the tournament. As a fellow creative, his struggles as an artist right from starting his apprenticeship really resonated within me. It’s not often that I’d call the lead my favourite character in any kind of story; I’m not fond of the everyman trope, and in many cases the secondary characters charm me more. Tobias is a beautiful exception.
Loved to Hate Character
Flynn. The title probably gave that away. Though his laurel in the tournament was ‘The Prince’, he certainly didn’t have the charm of many other characters. I rolled my eyes a lot at his narcissistic comments, especially his first words to Cosima. I was at first sceptical of him trying to warm up to Tobias as those two characters clashed a lot, but then I realised he’s an ass. Flynn is a well written ass. I wouldn’t have named the post what I did otherwise. I’d be happy to paste a picture of Flynn on the punching bag I have yet to buy. I may have even hated him more than the far more antagonizing competitors.
Chapter 15. God, the emotions in this chapter. This certainly defined a moment in the book where the sides amongst the competitors were distinct, and through a moment which had so much anger and love.
Favourite Serious Quote
“And sheep never question tradition. They just follow the flock, same as always.”
Raphael lives up to his intellect laurel in this quote. I found myself resonating with this quote in terms of what Tobias’ circumstances were and my own values.
Favourite Not So Serious Quote
Need I say more?
The Overall Verdict
An engaging read full of suspense, reward, and consistent main characters. A great example of the dark fantasy genre.
The Savior’s Champion gets a score of 4/5.
I look forward to the second book in the series to be released.
Yours in writing