Uncrowned by Will Wight
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Series: Cradle (Book #7 of 12)
Genre: Fantasy, Progression Fantasy, Xianxia
Pages: 336 pages
Published: 26th September 2019 by Hidden Gnome Publishing (Indie)
Uncrowned is filled with emotional weight, and it showcases my favorite duels in the series so far.
I have finally caught up with all the available books in the Cradle series by Will Wight. Ever since Blackflame, the third installment of the series, every book in the series has consistently received a high rating of 4.5/5 stars from me, and I’m happy to say that Uncrowned, the seventh book in the series, continues this incredibly positive trend. Frankly, if it weren’t due to the abrupt ending, Uncrowned most likely would’ve become my utmost favorite installment in the series so far. This is also why I want to thank everyone who has voiced their disappointment on the cliffhanger/abrupt ending of this book; it helped me set my expectations accordingly, and I didn’t find myself too disappointed because of it. Also, I know that a LOT of readers binge-read this series; I did that too for the first six books, but I found that staying away from the series for months before coming back to it ends up bringing better reading experience.
“[It’s interesting how humans decide whether or not to panic by watching others,] Dross noted. [What if all of you are wrong together?]”
With this series, it’s quite interesting that I tend to find myself lingering in the middle or slightly opposite faction of the majority. For example, relatively many readers thought of Skysworn as one of the weakest books in the series; I thought it was one of the best ones. Many readers found the last chapter of Uncrowned to be a huge deal-breaker, and I didn’t mind it that much. There aren’t many similarities between the two other than both Skysworn and Uncrowned didn’t display any advancement or training montage sections. Many fans of the series loved these sections, and I’m the same at first. However, this is the seventh book already, and I must say that I’m getting bored with heavy exposures on these two elements. I’m so happy that we didn’t have many of those here, but if that’s what you’re looking for, you probably might want to keep your expectations in check.
“People always think that the way to improve your power is to push for advancement, but that’s not always true. A child and a veteran swordsman, given the same weapon, are vastly different opponents. With enough skill, there’s no reason you couldn’t do what I just did. In your own way, of course.”
Without giving too many details, I can say that Uncrowned mainly revolves around The Uncrowned King tournament—which turns out is hugely inspired by the Chuunin exam arc in Naruto. Shonen manga has come up with many interesting tournament/arena structure, and I’m glad to see Wight adapt it to his own story. The tournament results in bringing an exciting and action-packed installment; the duels featured in Uncrowned, in my opinion, are the best battle scenes in the series so far. There’s so much weight and emotions put into these duels, and it made the characterizations and character developments from the past seven books explode; this is especially true for Lindon and Yerin. It always feels immensely satisfying to see how far Lindon and Yerin have progressed throughout the series since their first appearance. I feel like this book, in a way, has a sense of culmination of their progress so far. The arsenal of weapons and skills that these two have accumulated throughout the series has reached a relatively huge count, and I loved reading the explosive over-the-top anime-style battles contained within the pages of this novel.
So why not a full 5 stars rating? The ending. The ending is the one thing that the majority of the readers have complained about, and I believe that their reasoning is valid. Note, I don’t mind cliffhanger endings; it’s painful to not have the next book immediately to read, but I won’t lie about the strength that a cliffhanger ending has in making me feel excited in my anticipation to read the next book of the series. The issue with the abrupt ending in Uncrowned, however, is that it felt unsatisfying; the ending felt more like the end of a normal chapter rather than the end of the book. If I hadn’t learned about this beforehand, I think I would’ve found myself disappointed by the ending further.
“The heavens care nothing for our plans,” she said. “When they grant their gifts, we can only try to use them to our advantage.”
Honest reviews matter—even those with negative ratings—because they have the power to set people’s expectations accordingly towards a more balanced level, and this is just one out of a myriad of reasons why. That, and me taking a break from binge-reading the series, were influential to why I loved this book more. Excluding the abrupt ending aside, Uncrowned, for me, is at least as good as Underlord, maybe even more. It’s magnificent, purely entertaining, emotionally gripping, and imbued with the most awesome battle scenes in the series so far. The moment Wintersteel comes out, I’ll be reading it day one.
Please read the bloopers.
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