Underlord by Will Wight
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Series: Cradle (Book #6 of 12)
Genre: Fantasy, Progression Fantasy, Xianxia
Pages: 308 pages
Published: 1st March 2019 by Hidden Gnome Publishing (Indie)
The release of Underlord last year marked the exact moment I decided I have to read Cradle this year, and I can agree that this is the best of the series so far.
To elaborate upon what sparked my curiosity further, Underlord has a consistent and insanely high rating ever since its publication day. During the time of posting this review, the average rating of Underlord on Goodreads sits at 4.69 out of 6,450 ratings; on Amazon (US) it has an average rating 4.9 out of 1,049 ratings, and no one rated it below 3 stars on Amazon. These numbers and the barrage of personal recommendations from other readers were the two sole reasons why I ended up giving this series a go earlier than planned. What made Underlord even more awesome? A lot, but if I were to narrow it down to one main feature, it’s the significant characterizations and development given to the main characters.
“The baby squirrel had finally left the nest and grown into a…well, squirrels never turned into anything scary. Call it an ancient sacred squirrel.”
I’ve mentioned this in my review of Ghostwater, the series has been missing the exposure to characterizations and deeper introspection that would make the character’s constant advancement throughout the series more meaningful and emotional. The second half of Ghostwater started to put more emphasis on this, and I found that it’s super gratifying to see it delivered in full in Underlord. Throughout the series so far, advancement means getting practicing ridiculously hard until you’re stronger. Lindon, Yerin, and Mercy (her background in this book was amazing) can’t advance to the next stage with that kind of mindset anymore.
“Yes!” Lindon said. “Until now, advancement has been clear. You make yourself one step stronger every day, keep practicing and cycling aura and strengthening your spirit, and it adds up. Now, all of a sudden, it’s different.”
The next stage of power requires them to dig deep into the deepest part of their soul, and they have to be self-aware and confident with the revelations. The motivations behind why each main character practiced sacred arts in the first place are laid bare, and as it turns out, this supposedly simple requirement is not as easy as it sounds. Underlord featured the most pivotal advancement in the series so far and is also the most emotional in terms of the overall content, these were possible to achieve because Wight finally implemented the characterizations that the series needed in full force here.
“Humans have to discover what drives their souls to action,” Orthos continued. “It’s the spark that starts their transformation.
If you’ve read the first two books already, the title of this novel should be self-explanatory for what you’re getting into, and wow Wight did not disappoint. I truly wish I could tell you the details of the sacred arts being displayed in the concluding chapters of the book, but I have to leave them for you to find out for yourself. The storm of blades, the Blood Shadow, and the rampaging Blackflames was stunningly written. Plus, Underlord was the first time in the series that I truly felt invested in Lindon.
“I will make myself clear. If you face Wei Shi Lindon before you reach Underlord, you will surely die.”
That kind of line is unprecedented before, and to see that it has started becoming a common occurrence in the story now feels incredibly satisfying. In both power and maturity, Lindon has come a long way since his beginning and I’m so excited to see the next part of his journey.
This review is much shorter than my usual standards, but I have to be careful because these books are short and we’re six books (halfway) through the series now. I don’t want to spoil you (yes, you who’s looking at this review even though you haven’t started the series) and everyone who’s about to read this superb book. Underlord is powerful, emotional, and visceral. I can personally understand why Underlord receives such unanimous praise from its fans, it is the best of the series so far, and Wight will have to do a lot of improvement if he wants to top what he has written here. I can’t believe that I now only have one published book—Uncrowned—left in the series for me to read; I’ll try my best to resist reading it until there’s an announcement on the eighth installment.
When you’re done with the book, please read the blooper.
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