Title / Soul of the World
Author / David Mealing
Publication Date / 2017
Genre / Fantasy
Series or standalone / book 1 of the Ascension Cycle
Page no. / 656
Star Rating / ★★★★.5
Goodreads synopsis: A brilliant debut epic fantasy with a unique magic system and unforgettable characters.It is a time of revolution. In the cities, food shortages stir citizens to riots against the crown. In the wilds, new magic threatens the dominance of the tribes. and on the battlefields, even the most brilliant commanders struggle in the shadow of total war. Three lines of magic must be mastered in order to usher in a new age, and three heroes must emerge. Sarine is an artist on the streets of New Sarresant whose secret familiar helps her uncover blood lust and madness where she expected only revolutionary fervour. Arak’Jur wields the power of beasts to keep his people safe, but his strength cannot protect them from war amongst themselves. Erris is a brilliant cavalry officer trying to defend New Sarresant from an enemy general armed with magic she barely understands. Each must learn the secrets of their power in time to guide their people through ruin. But a greater evil may be trying to stop them
*I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
This is the first book in a epic fantasy series – I think it may be a duology but I may be wrong. I had this book on my radar for quite some time before actually picking it up. I didn’t know too much about this book going in but I ended up loving it. First off, the plot is well thought out and compelling. The pacing is quite slow, especially at the start, but it never dragged. This is the first book in a series, so of course it’s going to be a bit slow to begin with, because we need to be introduced to the world and characters. It does take some time to reach the pay off of the conclusion but I enjoyed the journey of getting there. However I think some may find that it drags a bit and may be a little too long in length. Personally I enjoyed it very much and had no issues with the slower pacing. I loved the direction of the plot and thought the pacing was well suited to the story. I loved the military aspects of the story and there were some great action scenes. Moving on to the characters. We have three character perspectives in this book and each has a distinctive voice. Although I enjoyed all of the perspectives, I definitely preferred Sarine’s and Erris’s chapters over Arak’Jur, but that’s just my personal preference. All of the characters were well written, including the secondary characters.
The magic system is both a strength and a weakness for this book. Basically there are three types of magic – leyline manipulation, a spirit-based system and magic possessed by a small dragon companion called kaas. All of these systems are unique and interesting, however the lack of focus on any of them meant that I didn’t have a full understanding on any of them. There is a lot of magic going on throughout the book but the reader is kind of kept in the dark about the inner details of the magic systems. Having said that, this is an introduction to this world so we may get more information about each system in the sequel. It didn’t really affect my overall reading experience but in hindsight I would have liked some more depth to the magic system. Despite this, I did really like the magic system and I’m looking forward to seeing more of it in the sequel. The world building is another strength of this book.
Overall I really enjoyed this debut and I will definitely be checking out the sequel, Blood of the Gods, which is set in be released August 21st. It’s a big book at over 600 pages but it’s well worth the commitment. If you read and enjoy a lot of epic fantasy, I think this is well worth checking it. I highly recommend it. Have you read this book? I’d love to know what you thought. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.