3/5 stars for a book I had high expectations for, perhaps too high.
The Savior’s Champion can be described as a Spartacus: Blood and Sand meets The Maze Runner. There’s a lot of blood, tits, swearing and wine as well as a cliché cardboard ‘heroic’ main character and barely any worldbuilding for the first half of the book. The only thing that kept me reading was the hope of improvement, as well as my love for the female cast.
The main character Tobias gets introduced very quickly before he and 19 other characters are thrown into the labyrinth for many pages. He’s an artist who was forced to become a laborer so he could take care of his partly-paralysed sister and his mother. He starts out as a pretty likable person, but then for some reason he starts acting like a forced hero. Once inside the labyrinth, the pacing suddenly slows down and doesn’t pick up for quite a while, which was kind of annoying.
As for the other characters, it was hard to keep track of them at first, because they were so many. I know this is a thing in fantasy, but the result of this is that I just didn’t care about anyone dying in this book, and a lot of people died because that’s basically what happens in the tournement. What did help was that all the characters were given titels that described them, but a lot of characters just fused inside my head nonetheless.
I do wish to compliment the author on her descriptions of the characters, as these were good. I just wish the environment was as well-described as the characters, because I had trouble imagining their surroundings.
The romance also wasn’t bad, but because I just didn’t like Tobias much, I didn’t care much about the relationship.
There were also lots of instances that had me laughing out loud. I was lucky that this book had the type of humor I enjoy.
One of my biggest problems with this book was the lack of worldbuilding. I can imagine it’s pretty hard to insert any information about the world when the characters are stuck in a labyrinth for most of the book, away from that world. But there’s a whole magic system surrounding the Savior that just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, they keep speaking about God while religion isn’t really spoken of, and even the food doesn’t really get mentioned.
Another big problem for me was the fact that the swearing was just overdone, and that the male characters seemed like caricatures, constantly bantering about sex and tits. As a cis woman, I obviously don’t know how cis men think, but their behavior just seemed like a bad joke.
The second half of the book was actually better in terms of worldbuilding and characters. However, I can’t go into more detail about this without spoiling anything, so this is really all I can say about that.
Lastly, I want to talk about the plot twist at the end of the book. It was very obvious to me, and I’m sure it was, is and will be obvious to other readers. This is a shame, to be honest. Again, there was so much potential!
If you’re interested in a book full of vulgar language, bloodshed, cardboard characters, little worldbuilding, and an overall Spartacus vibe, then feel free to give The Savior’s Champion a shot. Perhaps you’ll enjoy it more than I did. But please do be aware of the language, the violence and the many mentions of sex and the sorts.