Word Nerd Book Review: Blackflame – Cradle Series book 3
by Trisha Quezada
I’ve been working my way through the Cradle series by Will Wight for about a year, reading each of them as they’ve been published and I just finished reading Blackflame, the third and most recent book. Beginning with Unsouled and followed by Soulsmith, the Cradle series feels like a bit of an experiment. It follows Wei Shi Lindon from very humble beginnings in the Sacred Valley, a secluded town on a world in a multiverse that is guarded by the Abidan. The Sacred Valley is so isolated that they have no contact with the world outside of their valley. Lindon is the lowest of the low in the village as he has not passed the tests that show each member of the village the path their souls should take. In this world, each soul has an affinity for a type of power that can be cycled through the body and gathered from the natural world. Since Lindon’s soul has not identified with an element he’s essentially an outcast as everything in this world is based upon the power level of your soul.
The series follows a teenaged Lindon as he’s faced with choosing a path for his life after he meets one of the Abidan and discovers that not only is there a world outside his home town, but that there are multitudes of worlds linked through space and time. I said earlier that this series reads a bit like an experiment because the world’s magic system, while very consistent and well thought out, is extremely complicated and it almost feels like Wight is creating it throughout the first book. The narration moves back and forth between Lindon and the very abstract knowledge of one Abidan, who gives the reader snippets of information about the wider multiverse, but not any indication of how the pieces fit together.
The first book is really slow. So much of the world and magic system is complicated, and Lindon is SO clueless, that it takes a while to get going. I almost gave up on it a few times, but then the last quarter of the book really picks up. The second and third books move much more quickly and you soon become not only familiar with, but fond of, the characters. When I finished Blackflame and went to download the next book, I was very disappointed that it wasn’t out yet. There are lots of twists in the plot, I still have no idea how much of it fits together, and I’m confused by many things. But to me, that makes the journey more interesting.
All in all, if you like puzzling plots, complicated magic systems and worlds, and you don’t need non-stop action, this is worth a read. I’ll be waiting for the next book(s) and will likely read them as soon as they’re published. If that’s not your cup of tea, don’t give up on this author! Go and read House of Blades instead (I’ll review that one soon).