Review: Champion of Fate by Kendare Blake





Behind every Hero is an Aristene, a legendary female warrior who helps heroes achieve victory. While heroes are celebrated in stories, it is the Aristene who play a crucial role in their success, earning them the title of “Heromakers.”

Reed, an orphan who was adopted by the Aristene order, has always aspired to become an Aristene herself. As an initiate, she has to guide a hero to triumph on the battlefield to prove her worth and secure her place among her sisters. Failure could result in her expulsion from the only home she has ever known.

Determined to succeed, Reed faces her biggest challenge when she meets her assigned hero, Hestion. While initially an alliance, their relationship grows into something more, and as secrets of the order unravel, Reed begins to question the cost of becoming an Aristene. With the battle ahead, Reed must choose between fulfilling her lifelong dream of becoming an Aristene or pursuing a new path with Hestion.


Champion of Fate by Kendare Blake, the first installment of the Heromaker series is a good start to a promising YA Fantasy series. If you know me, you know I am always down for female warrior orders who kick ass and therefore this book appealed to me in so many levels. The concept of Aristene order not taking sides about who become heroes or whether that said hero’s kingdom who they helped to bring to glory, later falls to ruin in order for another hero to succeed was really compelling. The world building was fantastic, the characters were excellently developed, the plot advanced at a good pace and the mystery and intrigue was great too.

Also there were a lot of nuggets of goodness in this book. I appreciated the author’s way of conveying the notion that even if you hold negative feelings towards a particular group or country due to a past experience, it does not necessarily mean that every individual from that group or country shares the same traits or beliefs as the ones you have preconceived about them. Another thing was how authentic affection shared by two individuals need not always result in wedlock. It is plausible to separate from the other person while maintaining a positive and amicable relationship with them, devoid of any feelings of resentment or hostility.

Champion of Fate is a great read, but it’s not without its flaws. While I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the fighting techniques of the Aristenes, I couldn’t help but feel curious about their other areas of study, such as geography and strategy, which were only briefly mentioned. Winning a war requires more than just combat skills, and it would have been great to learn more about the other important elements involved. The book’s lack of focus on these important details became apparent when the characters, Reed and Lyonene, joined Hestion of Glaucia and Alesander of Cerille on the battlefield. The military campaigns seemed to lack any form of strategy, with no clear hierarchy among the soldiers or war council to coordinate a plan of action. As a result, the second half of the book, which mainly focused on the war, was underwhelming. I feel that a bit more research on medieval warfare, specifically on how sieges are won, would have greatly improved the story.

Reed was a great protagonist. I really enjoyed her story arc and character growth but if I am being honest I loved Gretchen and Lyonene more. I loved how Gretchen’s character was content not to pursue greatness, glory and immortality but to live a simple mortal life to the fullest and Lyonene was absolutely brilliant. She was competitive, independent, wasn’t afraid to speak her mind, was badass but vulnerable at the same time. The three initiates’ friendship was well crafted and relatable. I loved it. I honestly didn’t care much for both Hestion or Alesander. Perhaps it was because the rest of the female cast of characters were such huge personalities and they didn’t really get to shine. I can’t pinpoint what it really was but it is what is, right?

Overall, Champion of Fate is a satisfying book and a good start to a series that could benefit more with a little bit of research about warfare moving forward. Looking forward to reading the next installment and how Machianthe’s story continues.

My heartfelt thanks to Netgally, Harper Collins Publishers and Kendare Blake for providing me this advanced reader copy.

Book Cover:

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