Warning: this post contains spoilers for Will Wight’s novel Underlord, as well as other volumes in the Cradle series.
I came off of reading Ghostwater especially eager for this sequel, Underlord. Ghostwater provided a substantial amount of imaginative information about the deeper intricacies of the magic system, and I was hopeful that Underlord would give us the chance to see that new knowledge applied. Instead, Underlord gave us insight in an entirely different direction, involving the characters (and by extension us) in the fringes of world-wide political intrigue.
Continuing in the theme of every book in the Cradle series, Underlord involves Lindon’s journey to the next level of ability, which it should be noted is a level that no one in his valley home even knew existed. However, in this book Will Wight seems to have acknowledged that everyone knows Lindon is going to “level up” at the end of the book, so he focuses more on the dynamics between the characters, especially the growing rivalry between them, which provides a new level of intrigue to the somewhat predictable plot and keeps the story interesting.
If I’m being entirely honest, which I generally try to be, Underlord was not especially remarkable or memorable. Its villains were somewhat one-dimensional, and it felt almost like it was just a necessary step to take on the way to the excitement of the seventh book. I enjoyed it in the reading, and it was a necessary step to set things up for the seventh book, but it didn’t really stay with me as anything larger than just what occurred on the surface. This is not a bad thing, but it certainly didn’t beat out Ghostwater, which was simply fascinating, but you already heard me wax eloquent about that book.
All of that being said, I would still recommend Underlord, mostly so that you can read the seventh book, Uncrowned, which I’ll be reviewing next week.