In the fall of 2018, when I was just starting out as a teacher, Jenna Moreci’s The Savior’s Champion proved to be a pretty good escape. I was impressed with her world-building, the stakes surrounding the bloody Sovereign’s Tournament, and the romance between Tobias and Leila. More than anything, the ending left me breathless for the sequel to come, and finally, a few months ago, I bought it: The Savior’s Sister. Let’s see whether it lived up to expectations, eh?
The Sovereign’s Tournament has arrived, and Leila, the Savior of Thessen, is dreading it. Not only because she will be forced to marry a man she does not love, but because it will also mean her death. Leila sets a plan in action to find out why her father, Brontes, wants her dead. In the meantime, she goes into the labyrinth of the Tournament, posing as a healer girl. While there, she makes friends with one of the participants, a village man named Tobias. But things turn dangerous when friendship turns into love…
I was actually a little hesitant to pick up The Savior’s Sister, in part because I was getting tired of sequels and series in general. But I charged onward when I remembered that the first book ended with one of my favorite literary tropes: a royal disguising themselves for a mission and falling in love on the way.
Plus, Tobias and Leila were such compelling characters that I wanted to check back in with them again.
Leila in particular caught my eye this time (I mean, she was the narrator). Her circumstances force her to make some difficult choices; she has to kill several people in order to keep her crown and protect her sacred legacy. But at the same time, you can also see how broken and scared she is. She has so few allies in her quest to protect herself and her people, and you are amazed at how she keeps her composure under so much pressure.
That’s not to say that Leila is perfect. It’s because she is so scared and so alone that you feel close to her. With every kill she has to make, you feel her composure waver and her yearning for safety and love grow stronger.
Leila also lives among plenty of cruel and sadistic men. More than once, she has to protect herself against sexual assault and harassment and the satisfaction of her killing those pigs is so good.
It’s also what makes her scenes with Tobias so sweet, not to mention steamy. It’s a relief that Leila has at least one person in her life who sees and loves her, and you root for them every step of the way.
There were times, however, where it felt like scenes could have been trimmed. How many times do we have to see Leila kill a Senator? How many times do we have to see Tobias or Leila exchange sweet nothings? Those scenes were still compelling, but it almost felt repetitive after a bit.
Although I am still kind of tired of keeping up with so many series, Tobias and Leila’s story is compelling enough to warrant another entry. After all, the story is not finished, and the deposed Savior must still take back her kingdom!