The Shroud of Prophecy tests fate to discover what happens when the path of good and right, the triumph of light over darkness, the only path to salvation… fails.
Everyone loves Mathias. So 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.
Mathias is thrilled for the adventure! There’s nothing better than a road beneath his feet and adventure in the air. Aaslo, on the other hand, has never cared for the world beyond the borders of his sleepy village and would be much happier alone and in the woods. But, someone has to keep the Chosen One’s head on his shoulders and his feet on the ground.
It turns out saving the world isn’t as easy, or exciting, as it sounds in the stories. Mathias is more than willing to place his life on the line, but Aaslo would love nothing more than to forget about all the talk of arcane bloodlines and magical fae creatures. When the going gets rough, folks start to believe their only chance for survival is to surrender to the forces of evil, which isn’t how the stories go. At all. To make matters worse Aaslo is beginning to fear that he may have lost his mind…
This arc was won in a giveaway by Tor books. This does not affect my review in any way.
3.5 stars. I came into the Fate of the Fallen not knowing what to expect. With a synopsis that promised flipping the chosen one trope on its head and an author that I had faith in having previously enjoyed the Kings Dark Tidings series, I had high expectations. Although I can’t say that Fate of the Fallen lived up to my lofty expectations, I can say that this unorthodox tale was thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable.
The biggest strength of Fate of the Fallen was the characters. We follow the two main POV’s of Aaslo and Myropa. Aaslo is a forester, caretaker of the forest, and best friend of the chosen one Mathias. Aaslo starts out as a recluse at the beginning of the book. Quiet and unassuming, he would rather be taking care of his beloved forest alone than dealing with the village and people that live near it (Introverts everywhere relate instantly). Throughout the story however, we see Aaslo grow into a more deep character. Although at times he would still rather be back in his forest, he grows and comes to care more for the wide world and the people in it, especially the friends he makes along the way.
Myropa is a reaper, one of many that collect and ferry souls to the afterlife. Although I can’t really say much without spoilers, I can say that I really enjoyed getting to know Myropa’s personality, her back story, and seeing her character growth throughout this story. Through Myropa’s perspective we get to see the machinations of several gods that are either benevolent, malevolent, or indifferent in regards to the plight of humanity. Her perspective gives us a ton of insight into the history and shape of the world in which we find ourselves.
The narrative in this one felt quite meandering at times. Our heroes are journeying for most of the story, but there was never a true goal in the journey except the vague notion to “save the world.” This wouldn’t bother me typically, but there were so many different things going on and so many new characters showing up that I was sometimes left thinking “what was the point of that?” This is the first book in a series though and I believe a lot of the things that bothered me about the plot will be answered or addressed in the coming books.
Now back to some positive things. Kel Kade writes sword fights beautifully, full of great descriptions and wonderful suspense. I feel like a broken record saying this as I’ve mentioned it in my last couple reviews, but I love it when the main characters do not feel safe to make it to the end and I felt that with Aaslo. Every time there was a fight there was no guarantee he would make it out alive. This built up the tension and connected me to the story even more.
Kel Kade toed the line between upending longstanding tropes and satire in this one. There were moments where I laughed out loud at some absurdity spoken by a character and those were some of the best parts of the story. There were also a few emotional moments of deep grief, sadness, and loss that I found touching and genuine.
Overall, this was a fast, original, and fun read. If you want a book that doesn’t take itself too seriously, that the author specifically wrote to be different from most fantasy of today and succeeded, pick this one up. I will definitely be picking up the next book in the series to see where the story goes next.