Disclaimer: I’ve never read anything by Kel Kade before.
Fact: I must read all the things by Kel Kade NOW.
What can I say about a book that is impossible not to spoil and yet I want to scream about? Absolutely nothing and absolutely everything. I’m gonna give it a go. Because I have to. Because Kel Kade was kind enough to write a book FOR ME. And although I am late in reading and reviewing it? There was a plan in that because it was just what I needed, just when I needed it.
You see, here is the “official” summary of Fate of the Fallen (Shroud Of Prophecy #1):
Not all stories have happy endings.
Everyone loves Mathias. Naturally, when he discovers it’s his destiny to save the world, he dives in head first, pulling his best friend Aaslo along for the ride.
However, saving the world isn’t as easy, or exciting, as it sounds in the stories. The going gets rough and folks start to believe their best chance for survival is to surrender to the forces of evil, which isn’t how the prophecy goes. At all. As the list of allies grows thin, and the friends find themselves staring death in the face they must decide how to become the heroes they were destined to be or, failing that, how to survive.
Here is what the summary of Fate of the Fallen (which I keep wanting to call Fate the Fallen- I don’t know why) SHOULD HAVE BEEN:
I wrote this book just for you. I hope that you read it just when you most need it. I had a “Susan’s perfect fantasy book” check list and checked each piece off one-by-one. Please let me know if I missed anything (even though I’m sure I didn’t) and I will be sure to fix that in book two.
P.S. Don’t let Aaslo being a Forrester scare you off. I definitely, never take twenty pages to describe a tree, forest, plant or even a blight- not ever more than a page. Like I said- your perfect book. Promise.
Ok. So… How did this go down? Let’s start with a quote with any possibility of spoilers cut out. Mind you it is from like chapter two or three and yet- spoilers are possible. Because Kel Kade gives Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead a run for their money in the whole no one is safe from dying game.
But that is only one piece of the why in choosing this quote. It is also a small and I mean small example, because there are so many examples (it is just hard to choose one that doesn’t spoil SOMETHING) that are better or bigger demonstrations of the snappy, quirky, downright “what did I just read” moments
“…You will need to take proof. The King does not know you and this is something he will need to see for himself.”
“…No. You are right…You cannot take his body. Cut off his head.”
Oh. And in case you are wondering? Dead is DEAD. On all the book fairies, how I love this book. Not only is dead, dead; but what the mess? The Grim Reaper – hell a host of Grim Reapers are actually in the book taking souls to the after life. They aren’t fodder. They aren’t just a side prop. They are the Grim Reaper and once they cross into the Sea of Transcendence? THEY. AREN’T. COMING. BACK.
Oh. Yes. They are the whole problem, really. Except they don’t know everything because the Magus have been hiding things from them. Oh, you didn’t know? Too bad. The Grim Reaper had to break this, that and the other thing to you? So sad.
Funny thing about this group of reapers, though. They have an interest in life. Death is inevitable but they do their job with mercy and believe in death coming when it is destined, or fated to fall upon humans. It is a complicated and messy business that they have.
Yes, the Gods are allowed to play their game of chess, between each other, from their realm. But to interfere with life and death beyond their realm is something that the reapers will not abide by and in fact, will even intervene to stop.
What can’t be stopped is the whims and wishes of the Gods. The God of Death wants to just wipe out everything and everyone in an instant.
The God Of War won’t have it. It doesn’t suit him. Great battles, blood and warfare pleases him.
As they plot against each other for their amusement, the humans are left fending for themselves- magus (magic ability) and the secular (your plain old humans), together to save their realm from extinction.
The Chosen One Trope that isn’t
Of course, there is one great hope in the middle of this- Mathias (le sigh– Mathias, but I won’t go down that name’s rabbit hole). The chosen one. But fear not! All is not what it seems. Mind you, Mathias plays a huge role in this story… so there’s that.
OH FFS IT IS THE END OF THE WORLD- HELP ME OR GET OUT OF MY WAY
(also see- a merry band of misfits and one stupid horse)
You know for someone trying to save the world, one character puts up with more fools than I do when I’m not saving the world. It is the absolute absurdity of it all.
Mind you, all of them are incredibly entertaining, colorful and a downright riot. The ones that end up becoming integral to the story are well flushed out. I imagine that will continue in the second installment. Less I forget Dolt- Yes. Dolt. Rightfully named horse that refuses to make a left hand turn, and so a u-turn must be made every time you have to go left. Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase two wrongs don’t make a right but three rights make a left and that’s a u-turn.
While it is most definitely a plot driven story, the characters don’t take a backseat. Whether Gods, Magi or seculars, the main and secondary characters that are essential to the story have their own voice, history with care and time taken to develop each.
There are two or three characters that piqued my curiosity and have me side-eyeing them bigtime, such as the Queen. We didn’t see a whole lot of her or a couple of other characters but from what we did see, I have no doubt there is much more of them to come, including possible hidden agendas and their history.
Chemistry/dialogue and banter
No matter the initial meeting of the minds, mindless, hapless or rediculous, mentioned above? They come together with the main character, and each other with ease.
Take the two thieves that a character must feel compelled to help, only to find out over dinner have now actually been bought. Yes. Bought. And should that be refused said character (who, is again, trying to save the world) will basically sentence them to death. I mean but, why?
Except as hapless and crazy as it is? The chemistry, dialogue and wit is downright brilliant and their seamless integration to the plot is spot on. This is how Fate of the Fallen carries from beginning to end.
Laugh out loud (quite literally, which while running Pavel back and forth to the ER and having just survived a harrowing move, is no easy feat) moments that never crossed over to the “ok this is just stupid and ridiculous,” are a constant throughout the Fate the Fallen.
These moments range from the sarcastic to the absurd, to the darkest of dark humor (my particular brand of vodka, to the dayum. And each one falls in a perfect rhythm and timing that rivals an almost Monty Python (not really but I don’t know what else to compare it to) feel. The caveat being that there is also heart, growth and determination among the entire group. This comes through in both the dialogue and in their actions.
And then there is the whole conversation that might not be happening at all. Hysterical hysterics. Sarcastic, snippy and heartbreaking all at once. Shame that it maybe a sign of a hysteria or maybe a haunting or a spirit or an incantation or who the hell knows? But it is FANTASTIC and leads to constanstant fodder for –
“who are you talking to?”
“Me? I’m not talking to anyone.. no… no one.”
Because. Just because.
Buckle in kids. This is a rollicking blinder that just doesn’t stop. The first chapter almost lulls you into a shire kind of feel and then BAM! All the reveals and all the action and all the…
starts and it DOESN’T STOP. Twenty pages to describe a tree? There is no room for any of that filler because there is so much happening.
Whether it is between the Gods, or because of prophecies depicting the end of the world, the hunters vs. the hunted, new characters, blights, lords, Kings, Queens, Magnus Councils, or just fools? It is one hell of a ride.
Oh and about the Fae…
Look here’s the thing. When I first starting reading YA Fantasy way back before this blog? I didn’t know jack about the Fae. I’ve learned much since then. And whether it is Young Adult Fantasy or Adult Fantasy? Here’s the thing. YOU DON’T SCREW AROUND WITH THE FAE. They don’t care for anything except messing with people. Even if it is in their own self- interest to help you. They’d rather die than not get something out of the deal and whatever that “something” is? It isn’t worth it. So. Just. don’t
Early and often in Fate of the Fallen the Fae are discussed in connection with Forresters. Are they real? Are they a myth? Are Forresters Fae? Do Forresters know how to find the Fae? It is one of the only things you kind of see coming is that at some point the Fae are gonna play a part in this story.
And early on I was screaming loud and clear – I DON’T KNOW WHAT WHY HOW WHERE OR WHEN AND I DON’T CARE BUT NO NO NO NO NO. DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME? JUST NO. But since when does anyone listen to me about anything? Never. This isn’t a spoiler because you will see it coming. And I won’t get into specifics because that would be a spoiler.
Here’s the deal people. Fate of the Fallen is absolutely nothing you would expect from a fantasy book and everything you didn’t know you needed and wanted in one. Or maybe, if you read her first series, King’s Dark Tidings, this isn’t new to you, in which case I’m just late to the party (wouldn’t be the first time).
However, for me and/or others that haven’t read her before, or if this is different from the first series, than it is a must read and possibly the most surprising book of the year (in terms of- I thought I would like it but I had no idea what I was walking into – and I’m here for it- kind of category).