Uncrowned by Will Wight
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Series: Cradle (Book #7 of 12)
Genre: Fantasy, Progression Fantasy, Xianxia
Published: 26th September 2019 by Hidden Gnome Publishing (Indie)
The Cradle series has been relentlessly fun and tremendously addictive, and Uncrowned might be its best yet if not for the rather abrupt ending.
When I first read Uncrowned, I was a bit taken aback by the said ending which affected my overall opinion of the book. As such, even though I was thoroughly enjoying myself for pretty much the entire book, it ended on an oddly unfinished note that left me feeling a bit unsatisfied. With this reread and knowing what to expect, I was able to appreciate Uncrowned quite a bit more and picked up on certain cues, hints and details which I seemed to have missed the first time around when I was blasting through the book, impatient to know the outcome of the Uncrowned Tournament. This was another lesson I’ve learnt with my most anticipated reads and that is to try to savour the process of reading and enjoying the book when it’s finally in my hands. And that is what I’ll try to do when the next one, Wintersteel, is released. (Yea, right!)
The story picked up immediately after Underlord which was to me the best book in the series at that point, especially for its character development. Uncrowned actually managed to excel even further in the growth of the main characters, Lindon and Yerin. Their progression has reached the point where there’s so much more at stake, be it for personal growth or a collective goal. It’s so heartening to see how far these two have come since the first time they’ve met way back in Unsouled. What made it work so well in this book was that both of them matured and grew into their powers that they’ve gained in the previous book, instead of levelling up yet again (which would have been ridiculous and way too soon). Plus even in the midst of the insanely intense competition of the best Underlords on Cradle, we still get some great and emotionally awkward moments between the two of them. This I felt was a long time coming, for they certainly have earned it. Of course, Eithan was, as usual, up to something which no one could truly figure out and continued to be the most elusively entertaining character in the series.
Following the conclusion in Underlord, every reader was highly anticipating that the Uncrowned Tournament was going to be epic, and as far as I was concerned it didn’t disappoint. Just the introduction of the Monarchs alone sent ripples of excitement through my spine, and it was every bit as epic and fun as I’ve imagined it to be. The action and duels in this book were amongst the best so far, especially the one that came right before the concluding chapter. And that was what distracted me on my first read. I simply couldn’t believe that that duel would be taking place so close to the end of the book, and I sure wasn’t expecting the story to end in a cliffhanger right after that superb sequence. It’s a cliffhanger that completely changed the tone of the competition. As if the stakes weren’t already high enough, it has just escalated to cosmic proportions. And Wintersteel couldn’t come soon enough.
It took a reread for me to finally write this review. But make no mistake, regardless of how I’ve initially felt about the ending of Uncrowned, it’s still one of the best entries of a series that is already a firm favourite of mine.