I remember having several English teachers, especially early in my schooling, who spent a great deal of time talking about how important a good opening line is. As they likely did for many of you, they called this opening line a “hook,” and explained how the entire fate of the universe, or at least my essay, rests on having a “hook,” a first line that will draw readers in and make them desperately excited to learn more about what I have to say on such fascinating topics as Lyme’s disease, Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood home, or the intelligence of dolphins.
Unsouled, and the Cradle series as a whole, is described as something called martial arts fantasy. The magic system has defined levels of skill, with each skill level gaining distinct abilities and possessing unique attributes. It's not a design that I generally prefer, but it worked well in Unsouled. Which matters, because Unsouled is not necessarily the kind of book that you read for the compelling characters or political drama. You read it for the vivid magical fights.
I will fully admit that I devoured The Burning White after my re-read of the Lightbringer series, by Brent Weeks. I'll be posting a review of that book, specifically, here, and will also make a later post reviewing the series as a whole. Now, I'm not some kind of literary critic, but I have read a lot of genre fiction, and I have a good idea of what I like to see. That being said, what I like to see may not be the same as what you like to see.