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Fate of the Fallen


Fate of the Fallen

FATE OF THE FALLEN, the first book in New York Times bestselling author Kel Kade’s Shroud of Prophecy series, asks the question that many fantasy fans have pondered: What if the chosen one failed to save the world?

In this case, he doesn’t even get the chance to try. Mathias, the savior foretold by the Aldrea Prophecy, is ambushed and assassinated by the forces of evil at the very beginning of his quest, dooming all life in his world to extinction. Devastated by his death, Mathias’ best friend, Aaslo, takes up the torch. He is determined to fight for a world that he believes is still worth saving, even though the rest of the population’s general consensus is that all is lost and going against fate wouldn’t really be worth the effort.

"[T]he story takes a number of surprising twists and turns, ending on an infuriatingly, tantalizingly good cliffhanger. I am ready for the next book in this bizarre gem of a series..."

Aaslo’s dedication to the cause makes it easy to see why he works so well as a classic fantasy hero, despite his inferiority complex --- a result of having played sidekick to the literal chosen one all his life. He’s honorable and brave and endearingly gruff. As he insists time after time as he cuts down his enemies, he is a gardener, not a warrior, and takes no pleasure in killing. This is a character who treads in the reluctant footsteps of another modern fantasy great, Shrek. All he wants is for this tiresome adventure to be over soon, so he can return to his beloved forest for some peace and quiet.

Unfortunately for Aaslo, that’s not what happens. Much to his initial displeasure, all of his aforementioned good qualities make him a very attractive candidate for misfits to latch onto, and he winds up forming an unruly pack of ne’er-do-wells as he journeys through the country seeking assistance from folks mostly unwilling to provide it. These various clashes of will allow Kade to interject necessary humor and levity into what is otherwise a rather dark concept. This interplay makes it a joy to read about how her peculiar characters fare in truly unpredictable situations. Although most everyone he meets is either ridiculous, cynical or in denial, Aaslo refuses to allow himself to embrace nihilism. So, through sheer bull-headedness, he takes it upon himself to change fate.

This attracts the attention of the gods, who are embroiled in a petty power struggle of their own. Kade creates a captivating dual narrative between the terrestrial and celestial worlds through her use of the character of Myropa, a reaper initially in the service of the God of War who finds herself as a go-between for a number of different deities. She grows attached to Aaslo and updates the gods on his quest. They fritter around with prophecy and magic, and undermine one another as they see fit.

Due to their machinations, the story takes a number of surprising twists and turns, ending on an infuriatingly, tantalizingly good cliffhanger. I am ready for the next book in this bizarre gem of a series, and excited to say that I have absolutely no idea where it will go from here. I can’t wait to find out.

Reviewed by Alex Bowditch on November 27, 2019

Fate of the Fallen
by Kel Kade

  • Publication Date: November 5, 2019
  • Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Fiction
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books
  • ISBN-10: 1250293790
  • ISBN-13: 9781250293794