The Last Contender by Liv Savell and Sterling D’Este

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the authors. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: The Last Contender

Author: Liv Savell and Sterling D’Este

Book Series: Song of the Lost Book 1

Rating: 3.5/5

Diversity: Sapphic couple, polyamory relationship, transgender, bisexual

Recommended For: fantasy, epic fantasy, queer, Game of Thrones like, Robin Hobb like

Publication Date: November 30, 2022

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Age Relevance: 17+ (Religion mentioned Romance Sexual content Death Slavery Colonialism Gore blood vomit Animal attack (dog bites and attacks human) Animal violence (hitting dog) Grief Pregnancy Forced birth Violence weapons Rape mentioned Language slight Sickness)

Explanation of Above: There is religion mentioned throughout the book, but it’s more of a mythology kind of religion and there is religious persecution mentioned and shown. There is some small romance and sexual content. Death and gore is shown in graphic detail sometimes with blood and vomit. There are themes and showings of slavery, colonialism, and grief. There are animal attacks with dog bites and attacks on humans and animal violence at the dogs from humans and some mentioned other animal death and violence. Pregnancy is mentioned and slight shown. There are mentions of forced birth. There is a lot of violence in this book, a lot with weapons, and rape is mentioned as well. There is some cursing and slight sickness mentioned and shown.

Publisher: L&S Fables

Pages: 775

Synopsis: What would you pay for freedom? Your body? Wynn is a carpenter in a small town in Northern Rhosan, but after he is torn from his family by ruthless Victors, he’ll have to learn to survive beneath their rule. When he is forced to hunt with the silent, stoic Dyfan, the two men forge a bond that might be enough to shelter them from a life of violence and cruelty. Your people? Basia and Danae are the children of nobles in the elegant, educated Phecean Confederacy. When Basia starts to discover just how horrifying the lives of slaves in her country are, she’s faced with a terrible choice: does she step up to reshape her home at the risk of losing her closest friend, or does she keep quiet and let nothing change? Dealing with the difficulties of her budding gender identity would be hard enough without the lives of millions on her shoulders. Your mind? Deep in the Tundra’s frozen heart, the daughter of a medicine woman learns to make poison. The dreams it gives her are full of blood, war, and terrible purpose, but when Iniabi’s village is raided by foreign soldiers, it’s all she can do to stay alive. Iniabi will have to use all the Tundra has taught her as destiny pulls her across the continent, but when it comes to the fate of her people, it’s not enough just to survive.

Review: I really liked this book for the most part. This book is very Game of Thrones/Robin Hobb feeling and if you’re a fan of that vibe than you’re gonna love this one! This book had great character arcs and I loved how the stories are a bit interconnected and that the motives of each character (whether on the good or bad team) make the lines blurred for the reader. The character development is absolutely amazing and it definitely shows as the author’s strong suit. The book is a wonderful beginning to an epic series.

The only issues  I had with the book is that I wished for a bit more world building to help me imagine the areas. I also had a little bit of issue with the Multi POV and the way the stories were presented. There is something in the book that is going to happen and the reader is constantly seeing snippets of historical events set years before said event. However, each chapter is different in how far back we are in history and that method can leave the reader a bit confused. There are a couple of instances where there are POV switches mid chapter as well and that is also a little confusing. There is also a whole cast of characters, which can be daunting for readers at first if they’re not prepared.

Verdict: It was good! I can’t wait for more!