Book Review: Soulsmith by Will Wright
Title: Soulsmith (Cradle #2)
Author: Will Wright
Publisher: Hidden Gnome Publishing (self-published)
Page count: 284
Genre: high fantasy, martial art fantasy, progression fantasy
My high expectations created a rod for my own back with this book. After a thoroughly entertaining read in Book 1, I was ready to dive back into this world and explore more of it, only to find nearly all of the story set in one town. However, that’s not to say there was no new worldbuilding to sink my teeth into and new characters to get to know.
While Souldsmith suffers a bit from middle-book syndrome, I do appreciate the groundwork that Wright is laying for the rest of the series. We get a more thorough understanding of the story’s magic-martial system, learn what it means to be a copper level, the different types of iron body, and the many and varied kinds of gold. I also enjoyed learning more about the soulsmithing/forging of sacred weapons—again, something that I suspect will be important later.
Character-wise, I loved the addition of Eithan, a young underlord (the level above gold) on the hunt for new recruits to his clan. We also get introduced to a hodgepodge of golds and their clans—the Sandvipers, the Fishers and the Jai—as they try to get a powerful treasure out of a sacred temple guarded by monsters, which the town has popped up around. If you’re an MMO player, this setup might sound familiar. The temple is essentially a dungeon.
While the first half of the book was slow and somewhat repetitive, the second half really found its stride. All the new characters and groundwork start to move. We see progress from Linden as he is finally pushed outside his comfort zone, tantalising hints to Yerrin’s past and her potential (though I would have liked more of an arc from her), and an exciting conclusion that not only sets up the next book but an antagonist I’m eager to meet again.
Overall, this is a solid instalment of the Cradle series, and while a bit tedious in places, it is nonetheless enjoyable and sets the stage of greater things to come.
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