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10 thoughts on “The Champion of Barésh

  1. Marta Cox Marta Cox says:

    I haven't read a book by Susan Grant for uite some time and have fond memories of her Star series I seem to recall a certain well meaning Prince causing all manner of madness and mayhem and what do you know Prince Klark Vedla not only finally gets his own book but it just happens to be the first in a whole new series Yes Klark has always known his brother Che is heir to the throne which makes him the spare Not really what any honourable male wants to consider himself but Klark unfortunately has a lot to make up for Helping his nations bajha team win the galactic cup is his chance and there's nothing he won't consider So if travelling to a back water planet searching for raw talent is what's called for than bring it on but the player he discovers will turn his previous notions upside downJemm Aves has dreams of escaping Baresh and taking her family with her Prepared to do anything and if pretending to be a lad is what it takes then she is fully onboard with that Her lifeline is her talent for the street version of bajha a sport only played by males traditionally Yet she gets the chance of a lifetime to go off planet and play for an elite team So ok then time to leave Jemm behind and fully embrace the male persona of Kes but that's proving tricky as there's just something about her new employer Klark that's proving hard to ignore What started out as a hopeful dream rapidly escalates into a scandal and caught in the eye of the storm? Jemm and KlarkAs usual it's a fast paced read that just pulls the reader in It's so easy to root for Jemm with her humble beginnings because she is brimming with self confidence and just doesn't see herself as less or low Yes she accepts that she is considered a commoner and not an elite noble but it doesn't dampen her spirit or love of life one iota You go girlKlark initially comes off as uite jaded and it's only his passion for his beloved sport and fondness for his youngest sister that brought him to life His place in the hierarchy of the monarcy is changing and he needs to prove he is mature not only to his father but indeed himself as well I truly enjoyed seeing him come to terms with change and whilst he is a traditionalist he never felt biased or prejudiced in any way It would be too easy to view him as chauvinistic because frankly he is far open to ideas then he initially believed Such a juxtaposition as this noble and somewhat conventional male acknowledges that long established and historic customs are just that traditional and restrainingSo essentially it's a sci fi romance yes but it's not full of gobbledygook or too much technology Yes it does feel futuristic but strangely it never feels alien There's a realism here that surprised me Pairing up a gutsy heroine with a hero struggling with self doubt worked beautifully Klark has made mistakes and wishes to atone and as he starts to really see the reality through Jemm's eyes he opens himself up to a world of possibilities I'm not really sure who saves who here but I was entertained by these likeable characters Speaking of characters Klark has a somewhat brusue uncle and Jemm has a devil may care brother who both have sad back stories and I am kind of hoping that the author will let her readers catch up with them and hopefully see them get happy ending tooI was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest reviewFour and a half from me

  2. Mei Mei says:

    Wonderful SF romanceThe will the heroine Jemm has is incredible She's ready to do everything to take care of her family and to take them away from the grim place they're living in And when the occasion presents itself she's ready to take it So diguised as man she enters the dangerous world of bajha Bajha is a honored martial discipline everywhere else but on Baresh it's wild and governed by underground lords who will do anything to secure the best players for themselves even maim and killBajha is a combination of mental and physical combat and is also reserved for men only Never a woman was allowed to compete So Jemm's doubly in dangerKlark is a prince a second born to the royals of the Federation One of the ruling caste he did something that brought dishonor to his family I think that this story was told in some other book by Ms Grant that I haven't read now he's serves his convinction and he's ready to redeem himself by doing eveyrthing to winn the Galactic Cup in bajhaSo Klark employing Kes Jemm's name in disguise in a way saves her giving her a way to gain enough money for her family but puts her in an awkward poition since he doesn't know that she's a womanThe interesting part of this book is the descripption of how bajha is played and what makes Jemm such an extraordinary player I loved the descriptions of her fights and her trainingJemm being such a honest person tells Klark her secret when she can't keep it any longer and Klark a staunch defender of the fact that bajha is reserved to men only struggles to accepts the fact that a woman can be such an excellent player That was one other thing that I've appreciated hereThe story is so very inetersting and I loved it really very very much It's also fast paced and hot when needed There're no sizzling moments that are not necessary such a nice mixIf you want to find out how they resolved the situation and got their HEA you'll have to read the book You'll not be disappointed

  3. Pattrycia Pattrycia says:

    I found out about this book from one of my GR friends who recommended it to me I just finished which is a fantasy book was still in the mood for of this type of genre So I reuested this book on Netgalley surprisingly got approved The girl disguised as a boy theme is actually nothing new BUT since this book involves a Prince this makes it much interesting So Jemm is a girl who works in the mines in order to provide for her family Her father is dead she's left with the responsibility of the sole breadwinner of the family She lives with her Mom her brother her niece who is actually her brother's kid Ever since she was young she was trained bajha by her father To make some money for the family she agreed to fight bajha in a shady club against an unbeatable opponent Surprise surprise she won the game uite easily soon after she started to gain name as a rising street bajha star Prince Klark of Vedla heard about her sought her out He offered her a contract to play bajha professionally for his team So here begins her journey as a professional bajha player I am actually uite impressed with the bajha game I think it's similar to fencing played in utter darkness It reuires a lot of concentration the focus of the mind I have to admit that I have uite a hard time imagining the world out there The place the language the appearance of people left me kinda confused The sexual tension between Jemm Klark is too high it's palpable IMO they give in to their attraction too uickly too early in the book Sure I don't mind their active sexual lives but I thought if the author make them give in much later in the book it'd be a lot sweeter You know like build the anticipation so that we readers are even eager to see them together I find that while I love how they live happily ever after the scenes leading to the end are not that eventful I think they are just not emotional enough I know I'm such an angst whore pAside from the angst free part I'd still recommend this book for those of you who love fantasy For Klark Jemm I'd give 35 stars Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange of an honest review

  4. All Things Urban Fantasy All Things Urban Fantasy says:

    Review courtesy of All Things Urban FantasyThis book is fabulous Automatic new favouriteI fell in love with Jemm the main characters from the first few pages of the book She’s strong she’s worried about her family and she wants a better life for them She wants to follow her dreams but the same sport that is putting food on their table is the one their mother claims killed her father Oh and girls aren’t allowed to play bahja a kind of sensory deprived fencingmartial artyoga OopsThe story of the girl dressed as a boy updated in space I also appreciated that unlike many of these stories the other main character Klark catches on early in the book making it their secret to protect rather than her versus him It was a pleasant change of pace and really helped raise the stakes he was not another victim of her deceit he was her co conspirator He wasn’t just training a hot new talent he was training a woman he was learning to loveOne of the best things about this book was the way the three planets the action took place on we're so different The cramped dirty dome covered planet of Barésh felt claustrophobic and dangerous We could understand why Jemm would do anything to escape it There are dirty children everywhere crime and corruption are constant and the poor die of things the rich get cured in an instant Still Klark’s world is no less dangerous if comfortable; every move is being watched and calculated women have less power than on Barésh and your mistakes are not only your own they shame your whole family The tropical planet where Jemm and Klark train was lush and felt like a perfect hideaway one they knew was only a reprieve from the real world of competition and backstabbingTHE CHAMPION OF BARÉSH is related to other books in the previous series but is isolated enough that you don’t need to have read them Even without knowing the full story I knew that Earth was a new player that the in fighting of the noble families was serious business and that the universe can be a harsh unfair worldThe romance between the two characters evolves slowly at first confusingly because he thinks she’s a boy then hesitantly because he’s the team’s owner and he trains them as well They almost tumble into it and as a reader you’re just cheering for them to just get it sortedSusan Grant’s books always make me happy when I read them The worldbuilding is top notch the characters feel alive and real and I always end up thinking about them for days after I finish them I have re read MOONSTRUCK and CONTACT so many times I nearly know them by heart and I still enjoy them fully every time I’m adding THE CHAMPION OF BARÉSH to my short list of science fiction romance favourites

  5. Marlene Marlene says:

    Originally published at Reading RealityBecause I kept conflating this story with the excellent The Empress Game by Rhonda Mason I was kind of expecting that the stakes in The Champion of Baresh would be slightly bigger than they are And then they actually are but not uite in the way I thought And that’s always a good thing I also kept wondering if this story linked at all to Grant’s Star series It turns out that it does but it is not necessary to have read or to remember in my case the details of the earlier series to enjoy The Champion of BareshBaresh is a dead end world and Jemm Aves has a dead end job – but then all the jobs on Baresh are pretty much dead end if not downright deadly Not deadly as in dangerous per se but deadly as in the working conditions are so totally awful that the job will kill you one way or another if you live long enough and if you uit the poverty will kill you even uickerThink about all the diseases that miners have been proven to get on this planet and then multiply that by an entire manufactured world that is completely dependent on mining a deadly and necessary ore That’s BareshAnd Jemm Aves wants offBut the only chance she has for getting herself and her family – mother brother niece – is to pick up her dad’s old sens sword and compete in barroom bajha And the only way to make her way into the bajha circuit even on a backwater world like Baresh – is to pretend to be a man Or at least a boyThe she wins the that the local gangleaders want to tie her down to an exclusive contract The better she does the she earns – and the dangerous it getsUntil she’s presented with a once in a lifetime chance to play in the professional leagues But that’s only possible if she can keep her secret – or find someone else to keep it with herEscape Rating B In the end The Champion of Baresh is a love story about breaking down barriersThe initial barrier that needs to be broken is the custom that says that women can’t play bajha Think of bajha as a real life version of the arena fighting video games with a few changes Matches are fought blindfolded and all contestants use the same weapon a sens sword that administers a shock rather than a slice Although there are professional teams matches are fought one on one But it’s the combined score of the whole team that leads to the championshipOf course the barroom circuit on Baresh is a LOT less formal There’s only two individuals and a whole lot of crowd noise When Jemm fighting as Sea Kestrel steps into the ring she’s the best that Baresh has ever seen She’s living proof that women can play bajha and play it well But she has to compete as a man Not just because of the social conventions but because it is way safer for her and her brothermanager if no one knows who she really isPrince Klark Vedla has a whole lot of barriers to jump over many of them all by himself He has to convince himself that this street rat is capable of making the jump to the big leagues a difficult feat all by itself Then he has to decide to become complicit in Jemm’s secret defying not just social convention but his own moral code He wants to win the Championship for his family to erase the stigma of his own intemperate actions in The Star PrincessAnd then Jemm and Klark have to bridge the barrier between street rat and prince not so charming Two people who have never fallen in love fall for each other each believing that it can’t possibly work It takes a wise and somewhat scary old man to get Klark’s head out of his ass on that scoreBut as much fun as the romance is in this book the fun is in breaking down the wall that prevents women from playing bajha When Jemm’s secret is finally revealed after a series of stunning victories the powers that be in the sport try to bury everything under the rug and attempt to keep Klark and his team silent with vague but menacing threatsWatching Jemm and Klark set their entire sporting world on its ear by proving that women not only can play bajha but that they want to play bajha and that encouraging them to play bajha is good for the sport In the end the score is Neanderthals 0 and Opening Doors to Opportunity a very satisfying 1

  6. Cindy Cindy says:

    I want to hike on the paths too I want to smell everything to taste everything to see the birds and the trees All of it In my wildest dreams I couldn't have imagined a place like this I feel like I've been caged all my life and now I'm finally free I received a free review copy of this book in exchange for an honest reviewHoly craggin crat This is the first book of Susan Grant that I have ever read And I should say I am so glad I read this bookI love this book I love everything of this book The idea behind this book the execution of the idea the characters the story line Everything is blended perfectly Jemm Aves is a woman who's in need of money which is why she disguised herself as a male to play bajha at night And gosh she is good at it especially as a female Let's cheer for Sea KestrelThen she is discovered by Prince Klark who's desperate to repair his reputation in his family clan Klark wanted her to play in his team seeing how it would bring victory to his team which would lead to his reputation being restoredSo that is the gist of the story of how they metThe character development in this book is amazing Jemm is one of a few female characters that I actually loved She's a strong woman who will do anything for his family and I feel connected to her somehow Klark is great and sweet And I actually sympathize Nico he's been through a lot such sadness that he had to bearThe world building as well as he story line is perfect the romance balanced the action It was clear and easy to understand It is very much well writtenOverall I very much enjoy this book and I am looking forward to reading another book of Susan Grant's and I certainly am looking forward for the next book in series

  7. Jody Jody says:

    From the first page to the last there's much about this book that left me giddy with its virtually angst free romance between apparent opposites and exhilarating action scenes set amidst class and gender distinctions Some of the themes are familiar but Ms Grant put a fresh spin on them which added to my overall enjoyment and I didn't want it to endJemm's grown up on a harsh world where her people are considered amongst the lowest class A lack of food medical care and a family torn apart by the death of her father and her brother's wife has her dreaming of a way out With so much oppression and feelings of hopelessness she clings to those moments of joy that playing bajha with her father's encouragement bring her and plans to use her talents to make a better life for them all despite the adversity Long held beliefs of a woman's role casts a shadow over her dreams though and leads to her hiding her sexuality at first in order to play When she meets Prince Klark though keeping her secret becomes even harder as their connection becomes palpable with its increasing sexual tensions once he discovers the truth Twists and turns take them on a heartwarming and uplifting journey that leads to radical change across the universe in an ultimately rousing conclusion Jemm's a delightful heroine strong willed and loyal She has a big heart an open mind and her joy in playing bajha is infectious She dreams big and her belief in herself and her dream had me cheering She's a bit rough around the edges with her constant cursing but it made her all the likable She brought joy to Klark's stale life and together they made a formidable matchKlark grew up knowing his role as The Spare to his brother's one day ascending to the throne It's his role to protect his brother and keep their family line honorable That belief led to a horrible decision that hurt his family and bruised his relationship with them as well as landing him on house arrest With his sentence ended he's sworn to himself that he'll bring honor to their family name and make them proud of him once again For so long he's lived a meaningless life of frivolity never finding something meaningful to him until he formed a bajha team Having them win the championship is his main goal and is what brings him to dirty and dangerous Baresh and the unforgettable bajha player who's like nothing he's ever seen before He's in awe of her the minute he meets her drawn to her wholeheartedly despite knowing nothing about her Discovering her true gender creates new drama but it also opens his heart to feelings of love he's always denied before She brings happiness to his structured life giving him moments of carefree fun Soon he too is dreamingdreaming of a future with her despite the odds and familial expectations Theirs is a joyous relationship full of laughter and smiles along with steamy encounters that are both sensual and playful Klark may have started off a bit standoffish and a bit lost but meeting Jemm had him focusing on a future with her a future that has him a part of many big changes His heart was hidden early on but with each word and deed directed at Jemm he became a true romantic He fought for her on every level reminding her that she was so much than the downtrodden existence she came from and it left me in love with himThis was a well paced story for the most part with only a bit of lag in the middle as Jemm and Klark were training and getting to know about each other The main characters were strong willed with personalities that were immensely appealing with a romance that had me smiling and cheering The secondary characters were a colorful bunch from Jemm's heartbroken brother Nico to her fellow bajha teammates and their brotherly and playful interactions with her and they added much enjoyment to the story and plenty of fodder for stories set in this universe in the future Baresh is vividly depicted warts and all and shows the true strength of Jemm to rise above its bleakness The sport of bajha is similar to fencing and Ms Grant's depiction of it is an exhilarating one full of pulse pounding scenes that had me feeling like a part of the sweaty action and became a driving force for change across many levels Fans of sci fi will find this an entertaining and satisfying read that once again shows Ms Grant to be the ueen of this genre and I look forward to revisiting this world soon

  8. Sue Me Sue Me says:

    Susan Grant is an author that I read years ago when she first came out with her Star King Star Prince Star Princess books I adored them and they still are on my 'Keepers' shelves I recently read the new Star Princess book and I will review that next but first The Champion of Baresch Susan Grant did a wonderful job of world building for me Baresch is a small planet that was once technologically advanced and superior in all respects They might have been the ancients Remnants of their tall beautiful buildings remain and they left behind the all important dome that protects its current inhabitants Now the only major employer is the mining operations that eventually kill all who work there There are also gambling dens and fight clubs where a sport called bajha is played Professional teams play it in total darkness and without their hearing They must rely on their other senses Professionals play as part of teams the fight clubs on Baresch fight it out against the winner one fight at at timeOn Baresch Jemm Aves is perhaps the only female bajha player in the universe She plays because they are desperate for the money she bring in with her winnings She is tall and lanky and with all the padding the players ware she easily passes for a youthful male Her brother Nico is her 'manager' He was fired from his job and cannot get another one An accident occurred that caused him to kill his beloved wife Two others live in their tiny apartment on the 17th floor walk up her mom and her niece ButtonAs the first scene opens we see Nico giving Jemm who goes by the name Sea Kestral some last minute instructions as she is about to fight in one of the famous fight clubs against the undefeated champion He tells her to try to last as long as she can as they pay the longer a bajha player lasts As this is in a noisy smelly foul dive bar they use blindfolds instead of turning off the lights The play with shock sticks the object being to sense where your opponent is with your other senses and strike him on his chest plate As they wear these special suits no one is injured To the great amazement of all she uickly wins over the champion Elsewhere on the planet Eireya Prince Klark Vedla is trying to win back his honor and that of his family He has recently been released from house arrest and is anxious to bring the bajha Galactic Cup home this year to honor his team and EireyaSeveral members of his team show him a video of Sea Kestral winning Klark views her performance several times and decides that they must try her out against his professional team IF she is really that good and can be uickly trained his team just might have a chance at the Galactic CupShe is brought onto Klark's Star Ship to see how 'he' does against seasoned professional players 'Kes' routs them all With her trained they all feel that they just might have the long sought Galactic Cup It takes some time for Klark to find out that he is a 'she' This book is fast paced adventurous has some moments of angst danger political maneuverings delightful romance that is not over played and finally our HEA

  9. Florence Florence says:

    I’ve been a fan of Susan Grant since I first picked up a copy of The Legend of Banzai Maguire on a newsstand in 2004 I have read all her books and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read her latest work in advance and review it The Champion of Baresh is very much in keeping with the rest of Ms Grant’s Vash Nadah series strong women flying against tradition in a heavily male dominated society Some of the sexual double standards which I found uite “icky” in previous books are downplayed in The Champion of Baresh which was a plus for me In its place the disparity between privilege and poverty is managed with masterful attention to detail and just enough emphasis to make its points without being preachy I did find it surprising that the class difference was not judged harshly – or at least addressed specifically – by of the secondary characters among the Vash and their retainers towards the end of the book Perhaps this represents progress in the development of the society albeit perhaps rapidly than real life social change occurs but it might have been a bit clearly explainedAfter his enigmatic appearances as a side character in The Star Prince and The Star Princess I was delighted to see Klark Vedla get his own book and his own chance for a happily ever after I was glad to finally see events from his perspective His sense of Vash Nadah honor isolation and regret for his previous actions are compelling and his willingness to admit and correct a mistake is admirable I appreciated his growth of character across all three books Jemm of course is lovely as a tough but sweet young woman trying to keep her family safe and healthy amid difficult circumstances It’s refreshing to see a romance novel heroine who is not struggling with low self esteem I love the way she acts independently to solve her problems throughout the book despite being slightly swept away as events move rapidly in unexpected directions The game of Bajha is an interesting combination of fencing and Blind Man’s Bluff with aspects of meditation steeped in centuries long tradition of warrior honor and followed with the fervor of modern football Even as a dedicated non sports fan I enjoyed the descriptions of the various Bajha matches which were original detailed and at times suspenseful However I have to admit I never really “got” the fanaticism aspect of football either American or European even in real life and therefore had a bit of difficulty seeing success in the sports arena as a convincing vehicle for Klark to counteract his galactic level humiliation and restore his family honor However I know I’m in the minority on this and I imagine it won’t be a problem for other readersTo say The Champion of Baresh is not my favorite of all Susan Grant’s books is to say I prefer Chocolate Moose Tracks ice cream over Rocky Road It still deserves 5 stars in my opinion it’s still among my favorite books and I will still read it over and over And as always my final uestion is when can I buy the audiobook?I received a free review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

  10. KJ Van Houten KJ Van Houten says:

    Two people on opposite ends of the social spectrum each searching for a place to belong Each with something or someone to protect to fight for Brought together by a shared loved for bajha – a form of fighting that involves swordplay while restricting a player’s sense of sight where a player must rely on intuition focus and intense control Two people Klark owner and trainer of a professional bajha team highly skilled in his own right seeks to redeem his name regain the acceptance of his royal family and bring honour to his clan Jemm a rising bajha star hiding her identity to make her way in a sport played and controlled by men fighting to gain a basic necessities and a better life for her family living on the harsh frontier world of BareshIn a Federation ruled by trade and traditions how long can Jemm keep her secret? How will Klark react when his prize fighter is revealed to be a woman? What will be their greatest struggle – to win the Galactic Cup and gain fame fortune and honour? Or to fight against tradition to find themselves in each other’s arms? Susan Grant was the first author I read within the science fiction romance SFR genre Her Star series beginning with Star King hooked me right in and I didn’t come up for air until I had read everything she’d published in SFR I eventually moved on to many other authors and their works within SFR but Grant’s works have always remained in a special category for me Champion of Baresh first novel in Grant’s new Star World Frontier series brings me full circle as it follows directly after Star Princess the last novel in the original Star series Seeing familiar characters and familiar settings felt like a sort of homecoming Klark a ‘bad boy’ in two of the Star series novels finally gets a chance to be heard and better understood and uite frankly it’s hard not to be attracted to him here While yes Champion of Baresh can be read and understood as a standalone I think readers will get a far richer experience and better understanding of what compels Klark in particular by reading the Star series in order first As a whole I think Champion of Baresh represents a new phase for Susan Grant – not because it begins a new series and not because it shows Grant’s return to writing after too many years off Rather it’s a new style of writing Oh yes it’s familiar in tone and atmosphere but the writing itself seems better her characters developed her stories both simpler and yet compelling LOL maybe I was just drawn in faster and completely Yes I received a free review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review – but I’d have preordered this one and read it as soon as possible anyway I consider Grant’s novels as ‘autobuys’ for me

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The Champion of Barésh [Download] ➿ The Champion of Barésh ➻ Susan Grant – PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED AS THE CHAMPION OF BARÉSHRITA® winner and New York Times USA Today bestselling author Susan Grant sweeps readers away to exciting new worlds in another romance and action packed PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED AS THE CHAMPION OF BARÉSHRITA® winner and New York Times USA Today bestselling author Susan Grant sweeps readers away to exciting new worlds in another romance and action packed storyDreaming big on a dead end world Jemm Aves toils for a mining company by day but at night she is a successful bajha player The Champion PDF \ disguised as a male to compete in the violent underworld of the colony’s fight clubs Every win puts her one small step closer to her goal saving enough to escape Barésh with her family When a royal recruits her to be a star player for his team her ruse proves to be her most perilous game yet when it puts both their lives—and her heart—at riskPrince Charming he was not Prince Klark is eager to reverse his reputation as the black sheep of the Vedla clan If his bajha team can win the galactic title it would go a long way toward restoring the family honor that his misdeeds tarnished On Barésh he tracks down an amateur who has risen to the top of the seedy world of street bajha offering the commoner a chance of a lifetime a way off that reeking space rock for good But his new player comes with a scandalous secret that turns his plans and his beliefs upside down He sets out to win a very different prize—his champion’s reluctant heartRITA® finalist Galaxy Award Winner.