Huzzah huzzah, Kittens! A library near me (not mine yet) is opening for curbside this week and I might get a few books! Also, (for shame) I put in an order for 9 books that should be coming in soon. After 8 weeks of being good and only ordering 1 book from Amazon, I finally cracked under the pressure. Being home so much has given me too much time to peruse the internet looking for recommendations and since I have now discovered BookTube, my TBR is doomed. But in a round of kudos for me, today I am sharing a book that I already had on my shelves and had been meaning to get to for a few months! Go me! It’s a fantasy book that features a guy who’s not-your-average-hero/not-really-a-hero-at-all. It’s funny, beautifully written, and the start of a series. Give it a try if you thought you’d like Game of Thrones but were put off by all of the blood, gore, and general horrid nature of those characters.
Title: Fate of the Fallen
Author: Kel Kade
Author website: https://kelkade.com/
Publish date: November 5, 2019
This was a great re-imagining of the typical “prophesied hero saves the world” story. What do you do when the only “chosen one” dies and prophecy says no one else can save the world? You try anyway.
Aaslo is a Forester, literally a person whose job it is to care for and manage the forest in the land of Aldrea. His best friend is a multi-talented golden boy named Mathias. Aaslo and Mathias have been friends since they were children and do everything together as, “brothers in all things”. When Mathias is struck down before his time, Aaslo begins to learn that his friend was more than just an average man. Mathias had a destiny that has been disrupted and Aaslo cannot let his friend’s quest fail.
They are brothers in all things, so if Mathias cannot complete the quest, then Aaslo reasons that he’ll have to do it himself. He leaves the forest for the first time in his life and heads out on an adventure to save Aldrea from seemingly insurmountable odds. He’ll begin unintentionally building a band of followers as he goes about his business. For reasons he doesn’t understand, many of the people Aaslo meets believe in him and what he is trying to do and they won’t abandon him no matter how many times he tells them to go.
Fate of the Fallen is the beginning of a fantasy book series set in Aldrea, so don’t expect to have everything tied up in a nice pretty bow by the time you get to the end of this 344 page novel. Think of this novel as The Lord of the Rings, but told from Sam’s perspective. While Aaslo is way more than a sidekick, he’s constantly underestimated by the people around him and by himself. He didn’t ask for any of this, but he pursues this mission like his life depends on it, even while frequently lamenting the fact that doing all of this is probably going to get him killed.
At times Aaslo thinks he’s losing his mind, and not everyone he meets disagrees. He travels all over Aldrea seeking assistance, but finds defeated mindsets wherever he goes. The one prophecy that allowed for their continued survival has been destroyed, but Aaslo doesn’t think that’s any reason to give up without a fight. If they’re all going to die anyway, why not go down swinging?
I think readers will like the plucky hero/not-a-hero and the world that Kade has built. In terms of fantasy elements there is magic, prophecies, gods, multiple lands and kingdoms, and all manner of strange creatures (including at least one dragon so far). Fantasy readers should really enjoy this book, but I think it’s just compelling enough to attract non-fantasy readers as well. It’s fast-paced with plenty of twists brought about by bored, power-hungry, and occasionally well-meaning Gods.
Why I liked it:
I really love seeing characters in fantasy series who are facing incredible odds, but don’t necessarily have “underdog” status. The main character in this book wasn’t even on anyone’s radar, but he still commanded respect where he went because his profession comes with status. He’s the unexpected hero and he doesn’t seek glory. He’s completely put upon for the entire novel and I love it.
Also, for some reason the meaning behind the title didn’t hit me until after I finished reading the book, but oh man did it give me some goosebumps. It’s packed with meaning and a really great title in retrospect. Sorry! I can’t tell you more than that without spoilers.
Plus, this book is written by a woman and fantasy in general is a very male-dominated genre. So…you know…girl power!
Favorite quote: “Our weakness is merely the vessel that holds our strength. If you choose not to look into the vessel, all that you will see is your weakness.” pg. 168
What I struggled with:
There are a lot of characters so far! There’s a “Cast of Characters” listed in the back of the book and it has 71 names on it. This does make things a little confusing for the reader. I’m pretty sure there were a few times in the story where a name came up that had surfaced before, but there were so many names that I couldn’t keep them all properly connected.
Disclaimer: None needed. I picked this book back in October for my Book of the Month selection, and finally buckled down to read it.
My library rating: Fantasy isn’t always everyone’s glass of tea, but I think that’s the worst that someone would say if you recommended this one to them. I don’t recall any major objectionable scenes and the storyline is complex without going over the reader’s head. There are humorous moments to balance the gravity of the story. I’ll be recommending this one pretty widely once I’m back in the land of the socially distanced library.
5 glasses of lemonade= you could recommend this book to anyone. There is nothing in here that is going to upset anyone and you could start handing it out on street corners. This kind of book is a Librarian’s dream. As much as we love good literature, suggesting a book for someone can be nerve-wracking work that can backfire BIG TIME.
My personal preference rating: I gave this one 4 stars on Goodreads, but honestly it’s 4.5 stars for me. I really loved it and eagerly await the next title in the series which is supposedly coming out this year!