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4 Stars for The Savior's Champion
I had been wanting to read Jenna Moreci’s The Savior’s Champion practically since becoming a fellow indie author myself back in September of last year. I would watch Jenna on YouTube and her helpful videos on self-publishing, and when I saw the cover of her book, it was an eye-grabber for sure. I’m a big fan of fantasy after all, and after reading the blurb, it sounded like something I would thoroughly enjoy.
The Savior’s Champion was an entertaining read. It had action, romance, and suspense for sure. It was more of a romance than I anticipated actually, which is totally fine by me as almost every story has essence of romance in it. I’ve been reading more romance than ever before now that I’m reading fellow indie author books…and well, I do write romance after all, LOL!
The Savior’s Champion begins from the POV of a woman who is murdered. Yeah, you heard that right, and no, it’s not a spoiler! You can read that in the free sample on Amazon; it’s the first 5 pages of the book after all. Which might be a deal breaker for some, but for me it was rather intriguing…yeah, I’m weird that way. Anyway, from there the POV is taken by Tobias Kaya, the main character in the rest of this book.
Tobias lives in a harsh reality, not unlike you and me. He works hard to provide for his family- his mother and twin sister, Naomi. And you guessed it, they struggle to make ends meet. Sound familiar? The problem is that Tobias’s sister suffers greatly after an accident that has paralyzed her and taken their father. So, it’s all on Tobias and his measly earnings for back-breaking work just don’t cut it.
Enter the Sovereign’s Tournament. In the beginning, Tobias doesn’t have any desire to compete for the hand of a woman he even doesn’t know, despite that she’s the most magical and majestic human among them, but it’s the most logical way to get his family the money they need (it’s a large chunk of change that’s given in exchange for entering) and his family is the most important thing to him after all. What is the Sovereign’s Tournament, you ask? So- a little backstory on that- the Sovereign’s Tournament is a competition held to win the hand of The Savior, the ruler of the realm, the woman with literal healing power and glowing skin that can make the impossible possible. Once she’s reached her twentieth birthday, she’s of age to marry. The Tournament groups twenty different men of various caliber in a gladiator-type competition to fight for the death to be her champion and “win” her. Each competitor must face challenges of the mind, spirit and body before a winner emerges. Thus, you can see why Tobias wants no part in it, but with his sister’s dwindling health, he doesn’t have much choice.
The odds do not seem to be in Tobias’s favor as he’s not the most athletic, nor the smartest, nor the wealthiest among all the men chosen to compete. But as impossible and deadly as the tournament is from day one, Tobias finds himself surviving and even seeing hope amid all the carnage and chaos, in the form of a beautiful girl who continues to help him over and over again for some reason unbeknownst to him.
Can Tobias live to see the tournament’s end? Will it all be worth it in the end? Can he love The Savior he’s grown to hate with each blood-filled day that passes? Or will he fall in love with the woman who starts to become the only hope he can hold onto in his time of danger?
This book was exciting, unique, and new. It had action and suspense and conspiracy. I enjoyed Jenna’s description of the characters, they were each dynamic in their own right. I just loved Tobias and rooted for the underdog to conquer the insurmountable odds against him. I adored Leila and the sweetness of their young love. Tobias was compassionate, endearing, and elementally human-showcasing the inherent goodness that dwells in us all even when his courage waned and his prospective future seemed lost. Leila was simply charming and genuine and I loved her immediately. I wasn't surprised by the twist that came but enjoyed it all the same when it did. The only thing I didn’t enjoy was how many times the word “cock” was used in this book. Now, I don’t dislike that word, not at all really. I’m a romance author after all (wink wink) but it’s usage literally became annoying as it was far more frequently than needed. Granted, it was mostly used in name-calling, but it detracted from the natural dialogue of the book and should have been toned down.
Overall, this was a great fantasy novel, and I will be reading the next book. I’m eager to see where Jenna’s characters are headed.
Shanna Swenson, author of the Abundance series
Shanna enjoys a good book that thrills, chills and warms her heart...and this book did all three ;-)