Happy Saturday, bookwyrms! I’ve got a special treat for you today.
So, if you’re at all familiar with BookTube or AuthorTube, then you’ve probably heard of the wonderful and hilarious Jenna Moreci, the cyborg-queen. Her YouTube videos are helpful, motivational, and funny all at once; personally, her channel and videos have helped me through a lot of rough spots in my writing life.
I’m a big fan of her books, Eve: The Awakening and The Savior’s Champion, both of which are wonderful speculative fiction reads. So, imagine my excitement when I was given an ARC copy of The Savior’s Sister, the companion novel to The Savior’s Champion, to read and review!
Let me tell you right now that this book is a 5/5. There’s no question about it. This book is FANTASTIC. But let me start at the beginning!
The Savior’s Champion (2018)
The Savior’s Sister is the companion novel to The Savior’s Champion, which was published in 2018. The Savior’s Champion follows laborer and artist, Tobias, as he enters the Sovereign’s Tournament, a contest against many other eligible men of the realm of Thessen to battle against each other for the ultimate prize: the Savior’s hand in marriage. But Tobias doesn’t care about the Savior’s legendary blessings that replenish the realm or her beauty or even her power. Tobias enters the Sovereign’s Tournament to help his mother and sister. What follows is a horrifying tournament full of death, pain, and danger. But there is one person who could bring some light into Tobias’s life…
There will be a pretty major spoiler for The Savior’s Champion in this review, so if you haven’t read it yet, please do! You don’t necessarily need to read The Savior’s Champion to make sense of The Savior’s Sister. But following along with both Tobias and Leila’s story lines is such a fantastic experience!
The Savior’s Sister (2020)
Leila, the Savior of Thessen, is set to die. Her father, the Sovereign Brontes, is doing everything in his power to make sure the tournament will be the end of her. Come the Sovereign’s Tournament, Leila’s death will be solidified, and Brontes will become ruler. But Leila isn’t about to stand by and lose her life. She decides to hatch a scheme so dangerous that Brontes would never suspect it. Leila switches places with her sister, allowing the competitors of the Sovereign’s Tournament to think her sister is holy and blessed. All the while, Leila hides in the shadows to expose her father’s treachery and find the assassins hidden among the competitors.
What Leila does not expect to find among the crude and self-absorbed competitors is one kind and good person, an anomaly in Leila’s small world of death and betrayal: Tobias, the Artist.
As Leila juggles her father’s ever-widening web of treachery and her own ruse, love blossoms in the most impossible of places.
Everything about Leila’s story, from her close network of sisters and allies to her strength of will to do whatever it takes to survive, is amazing. I didn’t think I could love this story more than I did while reading The Savior’s Champion. But Leila’s POV book brings back all those exciting moments of the first book and builds on them by showing what Leila was doing behind the scenes. And let me tell you: this woman is POWERFUL.
The the wide cast of characters in The Savior’s Sister boggles my mind. Each one is unique and either lovable or hateable (sometimes a bit of both…*cough, cough* Flynn *cough, cough*). Leila is a strong protagonist, and every move she makes against Brontes’s schemes place her closer to the truth and drive the plot forward, most often into territory more and more dangerous for her. She boasts an enormous amount of agency, all the while able to display moments of vulnerability.
Tobias is the most precious bean, and I adore every moment he’s on the page. The chemistry between him and Leila is precious and beautiful. I normally don’t much care for romance in my dark fantasy books, but I ate this up! The little moments between Leila and Tobias are so well done: the bickering, the banter, and the…well, the kissing moments too. ♥‿♥
Setting aside the two main characters, the side characters are also top notch: Delphi is such a sarcastic teddy bear, Pippa is the most precious bean (I can have two most precious beans, right?), and Cosima never fails to entertain. The villains are also delightfully despicable: Brontes is a worthy foe and a cruel, power-hungry devil. The various assassins and traitors make trusting people very difficult, which adds a whole new layers of tension. I was on the edge of my seat!
Each action scene left me breathless; every twist and turn in the mystery left me guess. And, yes, every romantic scene made my heart flutter. And the lowest moments, the Into the Abyss moments, absolutely broke me.
There is one thing I feel like I have to mention. The Savior’s Sister is NOT a young adult book. It’s adult fantasy. There is language, violence, and sex. This is not a book for your tween daughter (at least, not until she’s older). None of this stuff bothered me, but I know that some readers can sensitive about these things, so don’t go into this story expecting young adult.
That being said, everything about this story blew me away. I loved seeing Leila’s point of view of the Sovereign Tournament and had no idea just how much more than is to the story. Jenna Moreci is an amazing writer: I encourage everyone to read The Savior’s Sister when it comes out on September 29th!
If you want to know more about the amazing author who wrote this amazing book, check out Jenna Moreci’s website and follow her on Twitter @jennamoreci and Instagram, which is also @jennamoreci! Also, watch a few (or all) of her YouTube videos. Long live the cyborg queen!