Champion of Fate

HarperCollins/Quill Tree. (Heromaker: Bk. 1). Sept. 2023. 480p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780062977205.
Gr 8 Up–Blake kicks off a new fantasy series with a divine order of immortal female warriors who set their hands on the scales of history and the teen girls who must pass one final test before they can take their place among them. The Aristene creates heroes, driving them towards their fates for the glory of their goddess, always in the background of history. If Reed fails to guide Hestion to glory, she will be forced to leave the order and her found family behind. Hestion’s country is on the edge of a holy war that could change the whole world. The coming conflict is more complicated than any Hero Trial ever; Reed’s friend and fellow initiate Lyonene is enduring her Trial with a different prince, and there may not be enough glory for both of them. Reed will need her wits, her strength, and her friends to emerge from the other side—and to handle the consequences. Blake deftly balances distinct character arcs and themes with sharp, thrilling action sequences. Fate versus free will, the limits of religion, and the responsibility that comes with friendship are all explored from different angles as the author pulls readers through twists and turns. Reed is described as having tan skin and dark hair, and other characters represent a variety of ethnicities.
VERDICT The tight-knit friendships and thrilling action sequences are the true heroes of this duology opener. Blake subverts classic tropes to reward new and frequent fantasy readers. Recommended for general purchase.

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