Today’s book review is another indie read: The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci. Jenna is a popular Youtuber in the writing community, shelling out writing advice with a healthy dose of humor and sarcasm. My kinda girl.
The Savior’s Champion was released a couple months ago, and I was super excited to read it, having devoured the first few chapters before it was released.
Here’s the official summary:
Tobias Kaya doesn’t care about The Savior. He doesn’t care that She’s the Ruler of the realm or that She purified the land, and he certainly doesn’t care that She’s of age to be married. But when competing for Her hand proves to be his last chance to save his family, he’s forced to make The Savior his priority. Now Tobias is thrown into the Sovereign’s Tournament with nineteen other men, and each of them is fighting—and killing—for the chance to rule at The Savior’s side. Instantly his world is plagued with violence, treachery, and manipulation, revealing the hidden ugliness of his proud realm. And when his circumstances seem especially dire, he stumbles into an unexpected romance, one that opens him up to unimaginable dangers and darkness.
Trigger warning: this novel contains graphic violence, adult language, and sexual situations.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I don’t read a ton of non-modern fantasy, but I enjoy Jenna’s videos and wanted to support her work. I ended up being rewarded with an awesome read!
What I loved:
The main characters are great. Tobias is a good guy thrown into a bad situation. Quite early on you care about what happens to him, and the moral conflict he faces throughout the tournament is realistic. Laila is awesome. She’s tough, opinionated, and a healer (gets me in the nursing heartstrings). Dalphi is also a great character. Overall the main characters all have unique voices and distinct personalities. They are diverse without being like LOOK HOW DIVERSE WE ARE!
I enjoyed the story. A key factor of a books impact is whether or not I think about the story while I’m not reading it, and this book had that. Overall I really enjoyed it.
The “will they, won’t they” with the MC and the love interest was reasonable, considering their precarious situation. I was grateful that the characters realized they had feelings for one another fairly early, they weren’t fighting against it the whole book; a trope I have grown tired of in this genre.
What I didn’t love:
The tournament had too many characters to keep track of. Each had a name and a “laurel” (a nickname based on their character) and I found it hard to keep track. SPOILER ALERT (not really): There is a fair bit of death in this book, which shrinks the tournament contestants. This makes it a bit easier, but still it’s a challenge to remember what the surviving characters did at the beginning of the book.
Overall, it was very good. One thing that REALLY bugged me, was the plot device of one character needing to tell another character something, but every time they try, they get interrupted. This is fine, once or twice, but my goodness it drove me crazy by the end. Especially when the “I have to go, I’ll explain later I promise, you just have to trust me” takes longer than telling the actual secret! SPIT-IT-OUT! Sorry… I’m fine.
This isn’t a clean read, but sexually it’s not over the top. As the trigger warning states though, if you’re looking for a clean read, this isn’t it. The language in the book is also quite graphic. This could be a downside for some readers, and I would agree it’s a bit heavy-handed at times, but such is the style of the writer.
I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone who likes adventure novels with gruesome killings. There is a fair bit of violence. Technically it’s fantasy, but the fantasy elements aren’t overpowering (“magic” is used, but not as a key story-mover). I give this book 9 peaches out of 10.
Here’s where to get your copy: