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Cover illustration by: Patrick Foster
Wintersteel by Will Wight
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: Cradle (Book #8 of 12)
Genre: Fantasy, Progression Fantasy, Xianxia
Pages: 540 pages
Published: 6th October 2020 by Hidden Gnome Publishing (Indie)
Wintersteel is the most action-packed volume, with some of the finest action scenes, within the series so far.
“There are a million Paths in this world, Lindon, but any sage will tell you they can all be reduced to one. Improve yourself.”
The story in Wintersteel focuses mostly on the second half of the unfinished Uncrowned King tournament. The conflict and tensions between the remaining competitors are very high, and far away, there’s a Dreadgod rising. Wintersteel, in every sense of the content, is a direct continuation of Uncrowned, and I know it would go against the nature of the series to do this, but I did feel that both Uncrowned and Wintersteel would’ve been even better as one tome. Unlike many readers of the series, I actually considered Uncrowned to be one of the best installments in the series despite the abrupt ending. If you’re reading this review but haven’t started the series or read Uncrowned yet, I strongly suggest you binge-read Uncrowned and Wintersteel back to back. I truly believe this would benefit your reading experience because, despite my enjoyment of Wintersteel, I think the six months gap since I read the previous book did diminish my enjoyment.
“Failure can be a teacher, and of course one can try one’s best and still fail. There is no such thing as an undefeated warrior.”
The reason why I mentioned that I needed a reread is that I didn’t realize how much of my investment in this series rides on the main characters. Wintersteel featured a LOT of other side character’s POV, and because it’s been a while since I read Uncrowned and the previous books in the series, I didn’t find myself invested in reading any of these characters. I’ve never been a huge fan of Lindon in the previous books, but I do feel that his characterizations are getting better and better with each book. After the events that happened in Underlord and Uncrowned, it’s great to see more personality and emotions from him. Also, I loved what Wight has done with the story and the main characters here. I personally think that the main characters of this series aren’t only Lindon, but Yerin as well, and I think Wight has done an incredible job on building her character, strength, and her relationship with Lindon here. As for Eithan, nothing needed to be said; he’s still the best character of the entire series.
“There is no physical punishment that could motivate you.” Malice went on, “but you must feel the sting of failure if you are ever to appreciate success.”
The best thing about Wintersteel, in my opinion, lies within the battles; I wish I could talk about the details here, but it’s seriously better for you to find out for yourself. Wight displayed some of the best actions within the series so far, and this was especially true in the last 20% of the novel where all hell break loose. There were a few sluggish pacing moments in the middle of the book—the hunting for points game thing was boredom to me—but overall, the superbly-written battle scenes definitely overshadowed some of the boring parts.
I do feel that the main reason why this book didn’t work for me as much as I hoped—not the book’s fault—was the overwhelming hype for the release of this novel that increased my expectations unreasonably high. Honestly, in my reading journey, this is one of, if not, the most hyped books I’ve ever seen on social media; Wight’s fanbase is hugely devoted and loyal. I mean, one day after Wintersteel was released, it hit the number one best-selling book on the entire Kindle store, and now it has more than 1,200 reviews (Average rating of 4.9/5 stars) on Amazon already. Less than a week of release! Let that sink in. Three of my co-bloggers practically ignored our group chat for days until they’re done with it, and some people have even mentioned that they don’t need The Stormlight Archives anymore now that they have Wintersteel! The hype and love for this series was (and is) THAT immense.
Overall, I loved Wintersteel; the characterizations and development for the main characters were good, the actions were magnificent, and the ending was satisfying. I’m sure many readers of Wintersteel would find this as their favorite book in Cradle so far. It is such a lovely thing for Wight and the series to be this well-loved and popular; I’m truly happy that so many readers are so vocal about their love for this series. However, for the sake of my own reading experience, I have learned that in future installments, I will wait for a month or two after the hype died down a bit before I read a new release in the series.
P.S: I’m quite confident I’ll love this book even more on reread. Also, please read the bloopers.
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