In a way, you're getting three reviews in one this week, because I'm going to be reviewing the whole Traveler's Gate trilogy in this post, rather than doing a single post per book. That's mostly because I happened to read them all in a single book, but also because I think that's how they're best presented: none are really so long or so contained that they need or should stand on their own. And how I wish that I could have given this three and a half stars, because that's more accurately how I'd rate it. Let's get into why.
This is our last review of a Cradle book, at least for awhile, since there aren't any more currently written. However, this is by no means the last book in the series, so I sincerely hope that Will Wight will be returning to finish the series soon. As amusing as it would be to be able to say that I read this book both first and last in the series, that mild amusement would not come close to balancing out the disappointment of not being able to find out how the series ultimately ends.
Looking back, I realize that I kind of blasted Blackflame. I stand by my critiques, but it really was a book worth reading, and I certainly wouldn't want its possible missteps to dissuade you from reading Skysworn, because this fourth book in the Cradle series was exactly what the series needed.
Fantasy has been, in recent years, criticized for being too series-dominant. Few authors write stand-alone fantasy novels, and instead you end up with every time you read a new book you end up embroiled in yet another trilogy, of six book series. I suppose that can be frustrating...but not in this case. After reading Unsouled and Soulsmith, I was glad there was another book to read in the Cradle series.
I don't want to spoil anything in the excerpt, so you'll actually need to click on the post if you want to know what this one is all about...
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.
Welcome back to a new year, one hopefully full of new stories both real and imagined. Although I didn't do a lot of writing on my break, I did do quite a bit of reading. With 2020 just beginning, I want to give you all an idea of where IGC Publishing will be going for the new year.