Cover Image: Champion of Fate

Champion of Fate

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Member Reviews

Thank you Harper Collins for an EARC of this book in exhange for my honest review

I really liked this book. I loved the world building and the concept of how it all works. I really liked the main character and could connect with her. I do feel like the end was rushed a little and I wish there was more but I am excited to read the next book!
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Reed is an initiate to the Aristene - a mythical order of female warriors who assist humans on their journeys to glory by war, fights, marraige, or death. Their legacies live on once their bodies no longer thrive and the immortal Aristene move on.  Reed must complte her first hero quest, helping her human achieve glory, in order to become a full Aristene but her path is different from others - she has been gifted the blood of the gods to bring glory in death. 

* This book was hard to explain and talk about when people asked, I didn't want to give too much away, but also the concept seemed odd then spoken aloud. However, it was a good book!* 

Reed is simple, angry, but normal in light of her training to be immortal. She was emotional and aggressive where needed, and not overly stubborn, like most would be in her position. I thought that the world was interesting  - an in between for the Aristene and then the 'real world' that was still fiction. I think we could have popped them into our world w/ similar effect, pre-tech maybe. (just a random thought). 

Reed struggled with her plans to become an Aristene and her drive to 'keep' her charge - Hestion. She saw him in the Aristene mirror pool so early that she formed a connection long before meeting him as her hero and the aspect lends well to her overall struggle. 

I though it was a horrible move to also not tell her that for some Aristene, their heros gain glory in death - that would have been a  good thing to share with the class pre-plan.  'Hey, BTW before you essentially kill yourseld to be reborn, immortal... did you know...?' 

Rant incoming...

I like miscommunication in book but I HATE when info is purposefully withheld 'to protect' someone. They are the judge of that. Reed already survived the death of all her village then being an offering and then extensive training too... arrrrg. She was young, but cabable and if she can make this life choice as a child, she can make ones for herself now too. 

End Rant.

Anywho, overall this was a good book. I as invested in Reed's sense of duty and her turmoil over her love for Hestion. I liked the timeline presentated and am interested ot see what happens in the next book of the series.
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DNF @36%

Although the idea was great, unfortunately, I couldn't connect with the characters or storyline as I progressed through the story.

Overall, not for me.

***Thank you to NetGalley, Kendare Blake, HarperCollins Children's Books, and Quill Tree Books for graciously sending me the E-Book to review. As always, all thoughts are my own.***
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I am not finished with this book, but I am pretty far through it.  The book started a bit slowly, but then it picked up.  Reed is an interesting character.  I thought that the way Gretchen left the trials was a bit abrupt.  I think that this book will appeal to fantasy readers, especially if they like strong female characters.
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Ooh, this was SO cool! You know when you pick up a YA fantasy and it reminds you why you love YA fantasy? 

This had such a unique premise and main character. If you're sick of reading tiny little Mary-Sue's doing enemies to lovers, this is what you need! The vibes remind me of Ancient Greece but also the Amazons, but honestly neither of those is a helpful comparison because like I said it's so unique.

Will definitely continue the series! 
(FYI the horse gets injured but does not die and is a happy baby forever)
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The Aristene are female warriors who are assigned to guide a hero to greatness. They help their charge in his pursuits and ensure his status as a hero of renown. Reed has trained for years and is awaiting her assignment so she can pass the test and become a full-fledged Aristene. Her hero is Hestion, a second son who will not become king but will demonstrate his bravery and prove his worth to his kingdom.

Hestion’s brother is the future king and he is preparing for battle. Reed’s good friend and fellow novitiate, is assigned to help another king. The girls’ two potential heroes are on the same side and they are all aligned to defeat the enemy and gain glory.

What Reed didn’t count on was getting emotionally attached to her hero. She knows she must help him prove himself, but feelings can cause complications. If she fails, she knows she will not earn the Aristene designation she has trained so hard and so long to achieve. 

Blake conjures characters that are driven by a higher purpose. When human sentiments interfere, the best laid plans can go awry. Reed and Hestion are likeable and admirable. They are the ones we root for, the ones we want to succeed. The role of fate comes into play as circumstances place the two in a difficult position where options are limited. Reed must choose the path forward and live with the consequences.

The cover art is spectacular and the story will captivate readers and leave them breathless, with high expectations for the next installment.
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Champion of Fate is a pretty solid book one in a new fantasy series by Kendare Blake. The premise is interesting with an Arthurian feel. I'm a big fan of a strong female lead, and this book is filled with an entire order of strong females called the Aristene. The is told from one point of view, Reed. She is an initiate in the order and working her way to being a full fledged member. The order is made up of women who are great warriors and have the ability to turn others into heroes. They are assigned to a hero with whom  they spend their entire immortal life. For Reed, this hero is Hestion.

Overall I liked the book. The characters were interesting and I felt like Blake's command of the story and writing was in such a way that readers new to the genre would enjoy it. That being said, the pacing is a bit slow in the beginning; however, once the war starts there is plenty of action to keep the story flowing. As a book 1 in a new fantasy series, this is something not unexpected. There is plenty of world building, but in places the 'rules' and the characters' actions are in conflict. Despite that, it is a fully enjoyable read and I look forward to reading the next books and seeing how Reed's story develops.
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Champion of Fate take place in a fantasy world where a select few girls are trained to become Aristene-warriors who bring heros to glory. Reed has trained her whole life to become one of the Aristene and is gifted a hero to protect and raise to glory in order to pass the Aristene trials. But when she learns that becoming an Aristene may be more than she bargained for, will she continue her trial or run from the destiny that she has been promised?

I enjoyed Champion of Fate a lot! Though it was almost 500 pages, it was fast paced and flew by. I was able to finish it within a few days. I really liked the sisterly bond that Reed had between the other Aristene initiates, and the bond she had with her mentor, Aster. I felt like this book really portrayed friendship and love between women in a positive light(often times women are pitted against each other, and I felt it was refreshing to see how much the Aristene cared for each other). I especially liked the bond between Reed and her horse Silco; they care so much for each other.

Something I felt lacked was the character development. One minute Reed is this girl who has never been interested in romance, and the next moment she is in love. I felt like the time table for this romance was really short. In general I felt like events were flying by, like they took a lot shorter than they should have. This however, did not detract from my enjoyment of the story. 

The biggest mystery of this book to me was what Reed would do when she found out about her destiny-I was wondering if she would end up accepting it, or going AWOL and becoming an antihero-I guess if you're reading this review you'll have to check out the book to find out ;) While I didn't love every part of the plot, I am hoping things end up working out in the next book. I can't wait to continue the series!

I think you would like this novel if you are a fan of YA fantasy, especially political/war based fantasy. It kind of reminds me of wonder woman, and if you like that you will love the female warriors that the plot focuses on.

4/5 Stars

Thank you so much to netgalley and Harper Collins for providing an arc in exchange for an honest review!
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Lets get one thing straight: this is for the horse queers, the people who think that the island of Themyscira would be their ideal living situation, and those who would love to be a Valkyrie but hate heights....I think that sums things up pretty well. 
I love Kendare Blake and this is a seriously promising start to a new series!
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Champion begins with the massacre of a river village and the bloodshed and chaos that ensues. From the ruins emerges our main character Reed, who is freshly orphaned and full of hatred. But beneath her ire, a pair of Aristenes named Aster and Veridian can see something in Reed: a mark by the goddess herself—signaling to them that Reed is destined to be much more than an angry orphan. Aster decides to bring Reed and her colt Silco to Atropa, the city of Aristenes, and the story really begins from there.

Champion of Fate piqued my interest in multiple ways. It presents a unique angle on heroes, fate, and glory that I haven’t seen in young adult fantasy. It features an entire cast of female main characters and even the primary deity of this book is a goddess named Kleia Gloria.

Eight years pass after the initial introduction to Reed and a considerable amount of time is spent catching the readers up on what has happened in that time. We learn that Reed is joined by two other girls named Lyonene and Gretchen, and together, the three of them are now Initiates who are posed to become full Aristenes if they can pass their first Hero’s Trial. While there is no shortage of uncertainty and anxiety circulating between the girls as their journeys begin, one thing is certain: to Reed, there is nothing more important than passing this trial.

There are things that I both like and dislike about Champion of Fate. I enjoyed the spin on heroes being “shepherded” to their glory by almost-goddesses. It was nice to see the cooperation and trust form between Initiate and Aristene. I appreciated the found family trope between Aster and Reed as mentor and mentee that was more akin to mother and daughter, as well as the found sisterhood between Reed, Gretchen, and Lyonene. I especially adored the importance of the bond between Aristenes and their Areions—horses with enhanced strength, stamina, and intelligence. In short, I appreciated Champion of Fate because it featured many of my favorite tropes, brought female strength to the forefront of fiction, and introduced a new twist on fate.

With that being said, I find that my feelings about this title are overall lukewarm. It didn’t completely turn me off at any point, but it also didn’t capture my attention the way I hoped it would. I have three primary criticisms of this installment of the Heromaker series.

The first is that the pacing is so variable. Moments that should have been drawn out and dissected were very sped up; whereas moments that felt unessential to the plot went into excruciating detail. This is especially unfortunate when it comes to the relationship between the Initiates and their Heros. For example, the relationship between Reed and Hestion is arguably the most important relationship of the novel, because if things go wrong Reed fails her trial and the kingdom of Glaucia stands no chance in the impending war. Despite this, it seems like Reed and Hestion just clicked with almost no foundational moments to support the connection. Before we know it, their quick allyship turns into an even quicker, even less substantiated romance.

Call it teenage angst and hormones; chalk it up to invisible string theory and natural chemistry—sure. But in the end, I wanted more from the main relationship of the title. By the end, it felt like romance was largely unneeded and misplaced in this title. The story would have been fine without it.

My other two criticisms of this title are intertwined: #1: Reed is given some major main-character advantages, and #2: that leads to an “unstoppable force” trope that diminishes any stakes. At every turn, we are reminded of a rule that Initiates and Aristenes must follow lest they jeopardize the outcome of the trial. Yet at those same turns, Reed is somehow able to bend or outright break said rules. She is undoubtedly the favorite Initiate of both her mentor and the Elders, and she is given advantage after advantage after advantage. Lyonene even calls her out multiple times for taking unfair advantages, and though Reed internally feels guilty about it, she ultimately accepts them every time.

Granted, there is an explanation for the advantages revealed towards the end of the book (that is a spoiler), but in my opinion, it was unsatisfactory. I often find in fantasy that there is a threshold at which it becomes counterproductive to give a main character too much power. Once that threshold is crossed, all stakes become dampened and the reader’s attention isn’t captured the same because they know the main character is going to be okay. For a book whose whole premise is high stakes, Champion quickly crosses that threshold with Reed once the trial begins and even then some. It even goes so far as endangering other primary characters for Reed’s sake—and even they come out fine in the end despite being faced with nearly insurmountable circumstances.

In all, I wanted more stakes from Champion that I feel was deadened by an unstoppable main character with too many advantages. I also wanted deeper connections between Heroes and Initiates that were supported by more than just the abstract concept of fate or invisible string theory.

Those are my thoughts on the first installment of Kendare Blake’s newest fantasy series called HEROMAKER. Though I have my qualms about this title, I will happily be following the progression of the series and jumping back in with the next installment when it is released!

Happy publishing day to Kendare/CHAMPION OF FATE!
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I really enjoyed this book! I actually didn't realize that this was the same author as Anna Dressed in Blood until I was almost finished with this one, but I'm so glad that I read it. This author has a way of creating worlds that is so interesting. I pretty much read this one in one day because I couldn't put it down. I liked the characters and the plot. I enjoyed the world building, and I'm excited to read the next one in this series! If you enjoy YA Fantasy, then definitely check this one out.
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Kendare Blake always writes about strong women. The strength of her characters always differs. That strength might be a character's intelligence, athleticism, cunning, compassion, or a mixture. It is what she does, and she does it well. 

In Champion of Fate, Ms. Blake introduces us to a society of strong women. These women, the Aristene, remind me of the mythical Amazons with their godlike powers and isolation from the rest of the world, but their goal is to create heroes. From the moment you first meet an Aristene, you know that theirs is a society with many secrets, most of which you will uncover by the story's end. 

Our heroine, Reed, is an orphan rescued by the Aristene. Fueled equally by revenge and gratitude, she devotes her life to becoming an Aristene warrior. As is always the case with blind devotion, what Reed discovers once she ventures beyond the protection of the training grounds leaves her questioning her life's purpose, not without good cause. 

Still, as much as I wanted to root for Reed and her hard-fought answers, I struggled with Champion of Fate. There is little about the actual plot that bothered me. Instead, all of its issues are in the writing. The pacing is uneven, too slow for the first portion of the story, and much too fast later. There are only so many training stories one wants to read and only so much ceremonial prep and ceremony one can handle. I could have done with less of that and more relationship-building between Reed and her hero-to-be. As it is, Hestion goes from questioning Reed and doubting her abilities to being madly in love with her in one page - way too fast to be believable, let alone enjoyable.

The other area in which I struggled with Champion of Fate is the syntax of the entire novel. Yes, Champion of Fate is a young adult novel, but the sentence structure is too simple. The sentences lack complexity. As someone who appreciates a beautiful sentence for what it conveys and the nuance used to string words together to maximize the message, Ms. Blake's overly simple writing style lacks that nuance. There is no beauty in the writing, just function. 

This doesn't mean I won't read the second book when published next year. Champion of Fate ends with a turn I did not see coming but probably should have. While Ms. Blake answers most of our questions about her world, she leaves Reed with several choices and more than one path to follow. I am excited to see what Reed opts to do and how her story and that of the Aristene will end.
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The fantasy novel for all the horse girls. And I mean that in the most positive of ways. This is one of those YA novels that feels like it's also for adults. The characters are ambitious and strong in all the best ways.

In "Champion of Fate" by Kendare Blake, the story unfolds when raiders brutally assault Reed's village, leaving her as the lone survivor, selected as a sacrifice to ensure safe travels for the very people who shattered her world. Her journey takes an unexpected turn as she finds herself in the company of a young and disgruntled colt; the raiders' second chosen offering. Rescue comes in the form of two Aristene warriors, a select group of immortal women, and their blessed steeds. Empowered by the grace of their goddess and her mystical abilities, the Aristene are bound by a solemn duty: to accompany heroes on their quests for glory, regardless of the sacrifices it entails.

Now an initiate of the order, she faces her ultimate challenge: guiding her first hero to victory in battle. Success will secure her place among her sisters, while failure would mean exile from the only home she has left. Reed's determination is unwavering until she meets her hero, Hestion. Hidden truths about the order come to light and Reed grapples with the true cost of becoming an Aristene. With a looming battle, she must make a critical choice between her planned life within the order and the unexpected connection she finds with Hestion.

"Champion of Fate" offers a richly detailed and deliberate narrative. While it may progress at a measured pace, the storytelling is expertly executed, immersing readers in a world of heroes and war, love and sacrifice. The emotional weight of Reed's decisions and the consequences resonate deeply, making for a well-crafted tale set in a complex and engaging world. The horses really made this even more endearing than it would be otherwise. The connection between the perpetually grumpy Silco and Reed was hilarious and sweet, and it felt genuine.

As Reed navigates her new and perilous path, the novel explores the unexpected twists of fate. With richly developed characters and a meticulously crafted world, "Champion of Fate" promises an immersive reading experience that delves into the complexities of destiny and the bonds forged in the face of adversity.

Thank you to Netgalley, HarperCollins Children's Books, and Quill Tree Books for the eARC. This is an honest review.

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i’m not quite at all sure how to describe this book. it was really good. but at the same time, ask me what the hell happened and i would NOT be able to tell you… but also i could? idk brain no work, no thoughts only vibes. 

BUT VIBES THERE WERE. SO MANY VIBES. immortal female warriors equivalent to the amazon warriors? check. immortal horses that can TALK(on occasion)? check. a pretty hidden city for those amazing amazon warrior women? check. 

we start the book off with reed, a young girl who is unhappy with where she’s living. she used to live somewhere else with her family, before they had to pack up and move to be, essentially, refugees in another place. she’s mumbling and grumbling about “why did we have to leave” because shes, ya know, a child. she doesn’t understand the complexities of refugee camps and why they exist. well, lo and behold, where she’s living isn’t quite her problem anymore because almost everyone in that encampment is killed, including her family, because every main character needs a tragic backstory. just when reed is about to be taken to be sacrificed, she, along with a really pretty black colt, is rescued by these amazing immortal warriors, members of the aristene order, worshippers of kleia gloria, the goddess of glory. from here she’s whisked away to their hidden city, atropa, and then put into a training camp where she will learn all the skills she will need to one day hopefully be an aristene warrior herself.  

after that prologue, we open to reed, now 18, and preparing to be able to take her hero’s trial, along with her two best friends gretchen and lyonene. we get to see just how much these girls all mean to each other and i love that. i feel like we miss out on a lot of strong female friendships in books because romance is usually at the forefront, and while this book does have romance at times, the friendship between these three girls is always a huge part of the story. it’s so great. 

later on we meet hestion, reeds hero. she will have to lead him to glory to be able to pass her hero’s trial and become a full-fledged member of the aristene order. i was drawn to hestion almost immediately, and as the main male character you KNOW he’s the one that’s going to be reeds main love interest. he’s such a sweet and caring guy, but also a formidable warrior and a man of honor. he loves his brother and his friends beyond all else, and that kind of loyalty is what really endears characters to me. sar, one of his best friends, is also of the same race of people that killed reeds family, which we get to see as a conflict point throughout the story. it was really well done and you get to see how reed eventually overcomes her own feelings about his people to be able to befriend and protect sar as well. 

there were definitely some parts of this book that had me fuming, and you’ll get to see what i mean if you decide to pick up this book. there was a time i had almost completely written off lyonene because she had some something so cruel and thoughtless i just could not get over it. the way she would also sometimes talk to and about reed because reed was the perceived “favorite” of the aristene order’s elders also just gave me the biggest ick. but i digress, she’s a very well written character and i did really like her… most of the time. 

some parts of this book felt like it dragged, though all of the parts were necessary. every chapter had SOMETHING important happening, but i suppose it just took a while to really grab my attention. and then, of course the last bit of the book, maybe the last 10 percent or so, just happened all at once so it gave me whiplash for real. 

the ending of this book, too??? omg it hit me. no spoilers, of course, but something big happens and i think, while two of the characters parted on not so good terms, i do think we will see them reunite in the next book. i’m pretty excited for it!
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I was hyped by the premise of this book. It didn't work for me. That could be more me than the book itself. I love the writing but the pacing was off.
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Champion of Fate once again proves why Kendare Blake is one of my favorite authors. This book is for the people (like me) who wanted a cut of the Wonder Woman movie just set on Themyscira, for those who like their fantasy with a side of action and adventure, for the lovers of funny, scene stealing side characters and ill fated romance and mythology and horse. 
I want to know everything about the Aristenes and the warriors who have served the order. The world building was complex, but I want even more explanations for things, and especially more about where Reed fits in and what makes her special. I feel like that might be coming in book 2. I really like Reed and her journey. The story progressed in a way that made her motivations clear. You can't help but root for her.  And I love love love Aster and Veridian. 
Also, THAT ENDING. I'm still recovering. 
The one issue I had with the Champions of Fate was the pacing. Certain points jumped from scene to scene with no connecting tissue in between. It felt disjointed and was sometimes hard to follow. Also, I wish we got a little more of Reed's experience joining the Aristenes  as a child. Seeing her grow and train and learn to fight would further help understand why the order is so important to her more than the sole fact that she is an orphan. 
But overall, I did really enjoy the story and will be eagerly awaiting the next book!
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I haven’t read anything by Kendare Blake in a really long time, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. I loved the concept. It hints at star-crossed lovers and magic and secrets, all things I love in a book.

And, boy, did it deliver those things. I loved the pacing of the romance between Reed and Hestion. I constantly wanted more for them, but loved every minute of their scenes together. The minor characters are amazing, from Reed’s often-absent mentor to her mentor’s lover and former Aristene to Reed’s fellow initiate. I liked that the order was made up of so many different kinds of women and that made for lots of different kinds of relationships between them. That was pretty cool.

The stakes heightened pretty quickly in the second half of the book especially. I felt like I flew through that last quarter with my breath held, wondering how things were going to turn out.

At the end of it all, I find the only thing I’m disappointed about is having to wait until the next book is released to know what happens next!

I think readers who enjoy epic hero stories– maybe things in the vein of Greek myth retellings or stories about paladins or spiritual warriors– will really enjoy this one.

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions my own.
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Book Report for Champion of Fate (Heromaker #1) by Kendare Blake

Cover Story: Sword and Sorcery
BFF Charm: Oda Mae Brown
Talky Talk: Rinse and Repeat
Bonus Factors: Loyal Pets, Tami Taylor Award
Factor: War
Anti-Bonus Factors: Necromancy, Body Shaming

Cover Story: Sword and Sorcery
The sword, the flames and the reflection of a fierce-looking eye are a pretty fair representation of this book. I would have liked to see the horse and armor the author so lovingly describes, but to be fair, so many fantasy book covers look like that (hello, Alanna) that it’s no wonder the designers went with something different.

The Deal:
When raiders destroy a village, leaving a little girl named Reed as the only human survivor, a pair of warrior women rescue her and offer her a place in their order. They are Aristene, immortal followers of a goddess called Kleia Gloria, who train heroes to achieve glory. Reed is determined to earn her place by leading her assigned hero to win a war against a blasphemous king. But is she prepared for what that victory will cost?

BFF Charm: Oda Mae Brown
Reed’s world is violent from the first chapter, which made me want to protect her, even though she would never admit to needing protection. Since losing her home to the raiders, she almost never feels safe. The Aristene order, her so-called home, is a fiercely competitive place where the line between training and abuse can be blurred, and whose leaders have a hidden agenda. Her closest ally is her horse, and even the horse bites her. Someone needs to get this girl some help.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Reed’s love interest is Prince Hestion, the hero chosen by the goddess for her to train. It may be instalove at first – she sees him in a vision when they’re children, and he starts flirting with her the moment they meet – but they do back it up with several months getting to know each other as comrades-in-arms during a grueling war. Hestion is the archetypal hero: handsome, charismatic, fighting to protect his loved ones despite his dislike of violence. While this made him rather familiar at times, I did appreciate the way he challenges Reed’s loyalty to the order and encourages her to make her own choices.

Talky Talk: Rinse and Repeat
Maybe because it’s an ARC, the writing repeats itself. We are told at least four times that one of the Aristene elders has multicolored hair, and that Reed finds this strange. The same scenes of Reed’s first visit to the Aristene city are shown more than once, first briefly, then in detail. 

Bonus Factor: Loyal Pets
Reed’s snappish horse Silco (short for “Silver and Combat”) is a fellow survivor of the raider attack that killed her family, and they’ve been inseparable ever since. When one of them gets angry, the other is the only one who can calm them down. 

Bonus Factor: Tami Taylor Award
Reed’s adoptive mothers, Aster and Veridian, show her unconditional love when everyone else is pressuring her to succeed. They refuse to let politics or religion divide their family. Veridian is an apostate who left the order, while Aster stayed, but the three of them respect each other’s beliefs and will always help each other, no matter what the elders say.

Factor: War
At the start of the book, Reed dreams of leading heroes to glory, but she doesn’t understand yet what that means. Learning about the realities of war, having to make choices that are not at all glorious, and understanding why Veridian lost her faith, are harsh but important lessons for her to learn. 

Anti-Bonus Factor: Necromancy
I can’t go into detail because of spoilers, but there are some scenes involving a dead body and a clacking skull I wish I’d never read.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Body Shaming
For once, I’d like to read a YA novel about a girl who doesn’t agonize over her body type. Reed’s fellow initiate Lyonene nicknames her “Ox” for being tall and strong, even though Reed repeatedly asks her to stop. Reed envies Lyonene for being smaller and thinner, even though you’d think an order of Amazons would resist that way of thinking. Relatable? Sadly, yes, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying.

Relationship Status: Initiate
I was hoping for a story that would inspire me, but this one didn’t quite pass my trial. Maybe the sequel will.
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I received an e-galley of Champion of Fate by Kendare Blake from Frenzy Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Female warriors trained to guide their heroes to glory. Yes.
Adventure and battles. Yes.
Complicated female relationships that are filled with friendship, love, forgiveness, and emotion. Yes.

It's been awhile since I picked up a Kendare Blake book but Champion of Fate is everything that I remember loving about her writing. I have absolutely no idea where book 2 is taking this storyline and I love that - looking forward to it.
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𝘾𝙝𝙖𝙢𝙥𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙤𝙛 𝙁𝙖𝙩𝙚 
Heromaker 1
by Kendare Blake
480 pages
Published September 19, 2023

Thank you @harpercollins Quill Tree Books for the @netgalley ARC in exchange for my review.

This novel reminded me a little bit of Mary Pearson’s phenomenal His Fair Assassins series in all of the best ways. Authors should take note that these are the fantasy novels with fierce females & found family that we want!
Reed  loses her family and is rescued by the Aristene order. Thus begins her journey to become a heromaker. Besides the obvious found family trope, this novel has many bright spots – Reed is a naïve teenager and is a frustrating character at first, but she does grow in maturity throughout the novel as she must lead her hero into the glory of battle. Reed must help Hestion become the hero she knows he is, but Hestion has a different fate in mind for them. Reed is torn between what she must do for her sisterhood and her feelings for Hestion. This dynamic leads us to fast paced action and adventure as we thunder to the conclusion of this story and are left breathless to know what happens next in the sequel. I was slightly frustrated by Reed’s naivete and immaturity at the beginning and middle of this story, and she did develop into a better main character by the end – so I am hoping that the sequel will bring Reed exactly what she wants. (Please let it happen). 
This fantasy was extremely well structured, the world and magic system are thoroughly described. The author keeps us in suspense about what may happen, and we are left a little infuriated wanting the sequel to be published immediately. 
4.5/5 due to my frustration at times with the MC early on in the story.
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