For those of you who have been keeping up with TSC Tuesday and following all the goodies on Jenna’s social profiles, you’re probably PUMPED for April 24th to get here rightfuckingnow.
Hell, I’ve read The Savior’s Champion twice and still want the release date to hurry up so I can gush about this book with all the fans-to-be.
If you’re not sure what this book is about, here’s my little synopsis:
The Savior’s Champion follows Tobias Kaya, a 21-year-old artist-turned-laborer who’s just trying to provide for his family. After being forced to leave his dream apprenticeship for the realm’s most renowned artist due to an accident that killed his father and paralyzed his sister, he has to labor all day every day just to provide the bare minimum for his family.
When Savior’s Day (AKA the Savior’s B-day) comes around, he really doesn’t even give a shit – not about her and not about the death tournament coming up that’s crafted by her father and will result in her champion and new husband. But then his loudmouth best friend goes on and on about the riches each family is rewarded when a man is chosen to compete and when his sister is lying in bed, writhing and screaming in pain, the riches suddenly seem to outweigh his probably inevitable death.
So he enters. And, out of all the people who entered, Tobias, with is strong laborer body, swoon-worthy artist skills, and above average intelligence, is chosen and is immediately thrown in with 19 other men who are already prepared and willing to kill for the hand of the Savior – and the chance to rule the entire realm by her side.
The kicker? Tobias still doesn’t give a fuck about the Savior. In fact, after maneuvering his way through a few bloodbaths and tragedies, he meets someone else – someone who gets him, who he can relate to, and who isn’t the Savior.
But that just adds to his ever-growing list of things that could wind up killing him in this damn tournament.
THIS IS A SPOILER-FREE REVIEW
However, I will be going into some detail regarding characterization and some structural elements. I’ll talk about dialogue, the humor, the fight scenes, and of course the impeccable romance. There will be details but none of them spoil anything serious and are pretty basic.
Here we fucking GOOOO.
Firstly, if you’ve read EVE: The Awakening, Jenna Moreci’s debut novel, you already have a feel for Jenna’s writing style. She’s very detailed and writes in deep 3rd person POV, which means it’s in 3rd person but has a 1st person feel to it.
We know what the MC is thinking and his inner thoughts and feelings. This lends itself to a very strong understanding of who Tobias is and why he reacts the way he does to certain situations. It also brings us so much closer to him, which fosters an intimacy I find other authors struggle to accomplish.
If you thought EVE was amazing writing, The Savior’s Champion is even better. Everything from the descriptions to the dialogue is crafted with such knowledge and care. It’s clear Jenna had a specific vision and feeling she wanted to bring to life. I was able to visualize everything so clearly and I could actually feel what Tobias felt through the way Jenna depicted his emotions.
If I had to sum up Jenna’s writing in one word, it would be: gripping.
Jenna started this novel with a prologue that gives us some insight into the previous Savior and what happened 20 years before the novel takes place. It’s very short but very impactful.
I immediately wanted to know more. I was sucked in literally from the first word (if you’ve read the free chapters on her website, you’ll understand). It really sets the pace for the entire book and makes you question so much throughout the novel. Not only does it get you thinking, but you’ll understand it more when you get to the end of the book.
Enough about the prologue, now let’s talk about the first chapter. We start the book while Tobias is working. I loved this because I’m a huge fan of starting in the middle of a regular day for the MC. I feel like this really shows us a lot about Tobias and his day-to-day life.
We learn that he does this every day, that it’s boring, and that he dearly misses his art. But we also know that he needs the money, desperately. While Tobias wanders home for the night, we see just how much his family means to him – which really sets up the basis for the novel and his reasons for joining the tournament.
Ultimately, Jenna knocked it out of the park with this opening. It gave us so much of what we needed in order to set up the novel, but in a seamless way that wasn’t info-dumpy and was so entertaining. The pace wasn’t too slow but you weren’t rushed through it like I see so much with books these days.
As the novel progresses, it’s very clear Tobias doesn’t have a very good chance in this tournament. His competitors, for the most part, and more skilled in areas that’ll help them and Tobias’s only asset seems to be his intelligence (though he does have some strength).
The introduction to the other competitors really sets the tone for the tournament with regards to Tobias’s chances. We get to see them for what they look like and while some don’t seem to be much of a threat, others even have the audience chanting, “Bait!” at Tobias and the others in his category (AKA, not the strong, deadly type).
After Tobias is thrown into this death tournament, he’s quickly faced with brutality like nothing he’s ever seen and challenges that will make you cringe (more on those below).
In the middle of the tournament, Tobias meets someone, another woman who is far more fascinating to him than the damn Savior. He quickly discovers his feelings for her may be more deadly than the tournament itself, which only adds to his difficulties over the course of the 30 days.
The overall plot is SO captivating. Not only is this a fantasy adventure, it’s also a romance. That means his romantic relationship ties directly into the main plot, which means we get lots lovey dovey feels and some decent face sucking.
It truly is the best of all the worlds. The excitement, the romance, the violence, not to mention the humor.
Overall, there’s excitement in so many different forms as the plot progresses that you just won’t be able to put the book down. Every chapter is a turn of events in some way that makes you want need more.
The Sovereign’s Tournament is 30 days of being stuck with other men and fighting for your chance of survival the Savior’s hand.
While in the tournament, the men compete in different challenges that you’ll either be rewarded for (usually with some alone time with the Savior) or punished for (uh…death).
These challenges are set up to give you nightmares, I swear. Not that I really need help with those. THANKS JENNA.
Each challenge tests a different set of your skills that can be related to what you’ll need in a relationship. The way Jenna crafted the progression of these was truly genius. Some test physical strength and endurance while others are a test of your mind and wit, though the stakes are almost always high and gives you the same sense of dread Tobias must feel.
It’s not just a death tournament. We get to see more than just dudes killing each other. It’s more complex and for that, I was extremely grateful.
There’s a lot of buzz about this book being violent and gory, which is true, but there’s also mentally stimulating tasks and challenges woven into the brutality that makes this book more unique in that respect.
It’s not just a bloodbath, though that part is intense as fuck and super entertaining.
Alright, time for the best stuff. The characters are truly what makes this book. I’m someone who needs some great characters. If I’m not invested in them, I just won’t be able to get into the story.
So for this book, I was invested as fuck.
Jenna has such a strong understanding of people and what makes them tick. You can easily see that in the way she writes the characters. Each has their own unique personality and I found myself wanting to know more and more about the people we’re introduced to along the way.
The main character is truly who shines the most, though.
Tobias is a complex, smart, witty character who has a lot to offer the story. He’s genuinely a good person, which makes it all the more interesting that he’s stuck in a tournament where he may have to hurt – and kill – other people.
But he’s far from perfect. As someone who hates a “perfect” main character, Tobias’s flaws really just gave me more to love. He has a big mouth when he’s upset and often speaks before he thinks because of this, which makes things a hell of a lot worse for him at times.
He can be too caring at times, too, sometimes to a fault. He wants to take care of everything and doesn’t always hear others out.
But Tobias isn’t the only interesting character in this book. I truly found all of them to be well-rounded, diverse, interesting people I wanted to learn more about. Even though some are more prominent than others, I’d read more on all of them.
Overall, Jenna crafts some of the best characters out there. I found myself feeling so strongly for characters that I actually cried. Being able to create those types of emotions with fictional beings is exactly what I look for in a great book.
This book is funny as fuck. As much as there is violence and romance, there’s also a lot of humor. It’s not just in the dialogue, either.
Tobias’s thoughts and the way Jenna crafted his perception of things is just comical. I found myself laughing out loud in certain situations and I think that was a perfect contrast to the tension and some of the seriousness in The Savior’s Champion.
And that’s not even to mention the hilarious scenes that Jenna wrote. There are some parts of the story I couldn’t help but laugh at and I really think the fact that Jenna can do humor and romance and violence all in one book is extremely unique.
It’s just balanced.
Dialogue is one of the most important elements in a book for me personally. I think it can make or break a good story and Jenna fucking kills with dialogue. It’s just so real.
Everything is smooth and each person has their own voice and style of speaking – which is especially important because not all the competitors are from the same area in the world.
It’s witty, it’s funny, and I really think we get more of a sense of who these characters are through the way they speak. My favorite way of learning about a character is through how they speak and interact with others and Jenna does such a great job of this in The Savior’s Champion.
Bottom line, the dialogue shines in this novel and I truly think it’s Jenna’s strong suit (though she’s proven to have so many strong skills in her writing arsenal).
This. This is truly the best part of the novel (in my opinion, obviously).
I want to preface this by saying that I hate unhealthy romances depicted as healthy. The romanticization of toxic behavior is gag-worthy.
And this is FINALLY a book that has romance as it should be.
While Tobias is competing for the hand of the Savior, he ends up falling for someone else. But this isn’t any of that insta-romance bullshit you see all the time. They didn’t lock eyes across the sanctuary and just know they were meant to be. *barf*
Their relationship is built. They don’t even get along when they first meet but over time, they talk. They share intimate details about themselves and their chemistry is off the charts.
Plus, Tobias is fly as hell and that wit and charm just captures his love interest despite both of them knowing it’s not a good idea.
The fact of the matter is…they complement each other. Their personalities meld together and they work because of reasons real couples work. They share certain experiences and they understand each other on a deeper level.
They aren’t two characters being smashed together for the plot’s sake.
This is the real deal with them.
I could honestly go on and on about how incredibly crafted this romance is, but it’s best to just read the book and find out.
THE FIGHT SCENES:
I promise I won’t give anything away here but I wanted to talk about these fight scenes because I find that so many authors get them wrong.
Jenna, however, does an amazing job.
Being a tournament that people die in, there’s bound to be some fight scenes. And believe me, there are some epic fight scenes in this novel.
They’re fast-paced, they’re gory, and they’re also realistic, which is something that’s so hard to find in novels depicting fight scenes.
My biggest pet peeve with books is when the fight scene has the MC dominate without any real training or advantage.
That’s not the case with Jenna’s fight scenes. Everything feels as it should. Nothing is forced or drawn out for way too fucking long.
These are well thought out and structured fight scenes. The MC doesn’t suddenly realize he knew how to fight all along or whatever other bullshit happens in so many books I’ve read.
Each fight serves a purpose and each one is beautifully crafted to be full of tension, uncertainty, and dread.
I’m going to get a little technical here, but I think it’s important for the overall entertainment factor of the novel so here we go.
I don’t usually read a book and think about the structure while reading it. That usually comes after. But since I’ve read The Savior’s Champion twice now (and a 3rd time when I finally get my hands on the beautiful hardcover copy), I was really able to appreciate how well structured this book is.
Being a writer, I put a lot of thought into the structure of my own book so it was easy to see just how well Jenna pulled this off.
Each chapter serves a distinct purpose to propel the plot forward. There’s no random “fluff” or pointless scenes or chapters. And within each chapter, there’s a mini roller coaster of emotions going on. No two chapters are alike in the emotions they leave you with.
After a particularly tension-filled chapter, we’re treated with something slower or happier, only for it to be ripped away again with something violent in the next one.
The way this novel is structured really keeps you on your toes. You just never know what you’ll feel next and I think that’s such an important element for a book to have.
OVERALL RATING: 5/5 stars
This book is amazing. Due to its stunning cast of diverse and interesting characters, the romance that’ll make you ship Tobias with his love interest for life, the fun and realistic dialogue, and the overall progression of the story itself, this book is one I can see myself reading over and over again for a very long time.
If you’re someone who loves a good bloodbath mixed with some humor but also wants to be invested in the characters and a romance that’s built on real chemistry, understanding, and compatibility, this book is for you.
If you’re someone who likes a slower-paced book with little to no swearing and aren’t very fond of violence or real romance, this might not be for you.
WHERE TO BUY:
You can get The Savior’s Champion right here. It’s available for pre-order right now and releases on April 24th, 2018.
FOLLOW THE AUTHOR:
If you want more news on The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci and opportunities for giveaways and sneak peeks into the TSC world, follow Jenna below.
Disclaimer: I read this book as a beta and again in its final form. I’m also a part of Jenna Moreci’s street team for the release. All thoughts/opinions are honest, my own, and based on my own personal preferences in books.