Book Review: Champion’s Rising by S.F. Claymore

*I received a complimentary copy of this book, and I’m leaving a voluntary review*

Minor spoiler warning – very minor.

This is a fantasy novel where we follow Prince Snarmis Sigmus of Psykoria, from being a young, gentle prince, to becoming a battle-hardened warrior, when monsters suddenly begin attacking the realm of Psykoria.

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I’ll start with admitting I thought this book was a bit slow. It’s until after reading a fifth of the book that I felt stuff started to happen–before that we’re mostly begin fed backstory, learning about Snarmis, his father-the king, Psykoria, and how things are and used to be. And even at the 20% mark, it’s slow going. I appreciate Claymore has spent a lot of time building an incredible world, but at times I felt it was revealed very synthetically.

So I didn’t throw myself over this. But I’m very happy to say that it got better, and it got better fast and the pace quickened-and it stayed that way.

To me this reads like an 80’s D’n’D novel, like an old-school text-based RPG. There’s dragons, daemons, dwarves, werewolves, vampires, and some kind of elven race. It’s like every element of the fantasy genre mashed together. It’s a bit cartoony, and a bit over-the-top–no one hardly ever dies, even though they’re constantly stabbed, cut, kicked, blasted with fireballs, arrows or other magic. And the good guys always find a way. I should clarify that I don’t mean any of this to be negative, it’s just observation, and it was just a bit unexpected. But I liked it, mostly. I reckon this would be well suited for a younger audience.

Sometimes I could get a little bit bored with the big fighting scenes, they seemed to go on for ever, warriors parrying this way and that, blocking here and there, and constantly finding renewed energy to just carry on a tiny bit longer. And the protagonist would often have lengthy conversation while fighting – couldn’t they save it for after?

But don’t get me wrong – Claymore’s made an amazing world here, a magical and beautiful place, one would which I thoroughly did enjoy (in case you’re confused about that). But I tend to like my fantasy a bit darker and colder. So I suppose I’d recommend this to anyone who prefers the opposite. Enjoy.

Champion’s Rising by S. F. Claymore

 

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