Champion Of Fate – Bad Odds

Champion of Fate CoverAfter dropping Kendare Blake’s Three Dark Crowns series, I wanted to see what the cards held for me in her newest book, Champion of Fate. I thought the premise of immortal women sent to turn men and women into heroes was intriguing, and I was more than ready to follow them into battle, but ultimately the book’s issues were too many, and it couldn’t win me over.

The immortal Aristene warriors are sent out into the world to make heroes of men and women. Through their heroes’ incredible feats, the Aristene create glory that honors and sustains their goddess, Kleia Gloria. Reed, Lyonene, and Gretchen have been marked by the goddess and have spent their entire lives training as Aristene initiates. When the time comes for their hero trial, the initiates find themselves sent to allying heroes on the brink of war. Reed has found a home among the Aristene and will stop at nothing to make her hero shine in glory, but this trial will become more than a test for Reed, and her failure could put the entire Aristene order in danger.  

Reading Champion was difficult for many reasons, but one of the biggest hurdles was the clunky prose. The writing is focused on moving the plot forward, and the story suffers for it. The scenes bump up against one another uncomfortably because there is no connective tissue that builds up to each main plot point. The reader moves from scene to scene ungracefully, and this makes it impossible for the story to have any meaningful substance. All of the characters have flimsy connections to one another and their “development” comes in jumps and starts that don’t make sense. It also makes their actions appear irrational in the context of the story, swinging from love to vile hatred in a matter of paragraphs if it is convenient for the plot. The pacing is moving at such a rapid speed that instead of becoming immersed in the story, I was dragged along behind it and it wasn’t an enjoyable experience.

The premise of this book sounded interesting in theory, but the execution was disappointing. The entire plot centers on women who are selected to train and become powerful, immortal Aristene. They are incredible warriors who have the skills to prop up other people and turn them into heroes. Even as an initiate on her first hero trial, Reed is a talented warrior with incomprehensible fighting prowess. Yet at every turn, Reed’s champion is constantly worrying about her safety in battle. Initially, this feels like a lean into the doubt surrounding a woman’s strength trope. However, the champion is always the first one to come to Reed’s defense when other men question her purpose. Alternatively, this may be an attempt to show that the champion cares for Reed, but again, this is a weird choice because he often remarks that he wants a fierce and capable woman at his side. Maybe we are supposed to be learning something about his internalized sexism through his inconsistencies, but if that’s true Champion doesn’t do enough to capitalize on the theme for it to stick.

All of this is to say that many of my issues with this book stem from the same place. Champion says one thing but fails to back up its claims time and time again. It’s Reed being hyped up as a badass yet she doesn’t demonstrate the feats of a heromaker. It’s the gravity given to the Aristene lore and rules, but they are easily broken to create an easier pathway for Reed. It’s all of the major battles and action scenes that begin and end within a matter of pages. Even with the fast-moving plot, I felt directionless and lost in this volatile story that struggled to stay rooted in the world that was created. 

Champion of Fate fails to follow through on so much and by the 50% mark, I was tired of being let down. I pushed forward to finish the book but unfortunately, my feelings did not change, so here is where my time with the Heromaker series ends.

Rating: Champion of Fate – 4.0/10

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I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. The thoughts on this story are my own.


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