Cover art illustration by: Patrick Foster
Dreadgod by Will Wight
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Series: Cradle (Book #11 of 12)
Genre: Fantasy, Progression Fantasy, Xianxia
Pages: 504 pages (Kindle edition)
Published: 5th July 2022 by Hidden Gnome Publishing (Indie)
Dreadgod has prepared the series to reach its epic conclusion, but as an installment, Dreadgod was my third least favorite of the series.
First, let me just first state that I love Cradle. You can check my respective review for each previous book in the series. But with how popular and immensely loved Cradle by Will Wight is now, I fully understand that my opinion on Dreadgod will be on the unpopular side. Giving any book in Cradle below a 4-stars rating gives me pain. Cradle is one of my favorite ongoing series, and this rating has never occurred since Soulsmith, the second book of the series, and also, in my opinion, the second weakest book of the series after Unsouled. But I honestly struggled in reading several sections of Dreadgod. Except for the final 30% of the book, which I will get into later, it felt like many scenes were a filler to increase the number of pages. At least that’s how it felt to me.
Dreadgod takes place immediately after the conclusion of Reaper. It is the penultimate volume of the entire Cradle series, and as a penultimate volume, there were certain things I hoped the novel would achieve. Or maybe, to be more precise, to not do. The opening of Dreadgod was immediately engaging. Starting with an insanely large-scale battle, knowing how far we are into the series and the arrival of the Dreadgod, I think this was the right story direction. But not long after that beginning, Lindon assigns his friends to advance as soon as possible. In other words, more training sessions. Yes, I know this is progression fantasy, and I think this is what many fans of the series constantly loved, too. Understandably, of course. But personally speaking, when we’re this far into the series now, these training sessions didn’t get me any satisfaction or enjoyment; it gets even worse when it’s not related to Lindon.
I wanted more plot progression, and there are still a lot of things to resolve. We are in the penultimate volume of the series, and it felt so out of place to be reading all the other character’s training when there is a planet-scale danger looming and rampaging around the world of Cradle. It’s like playing an RPG where we get to grind endlessly before we decide to fight the final boss. But the final boss, instead of destroying the world, decides to just casually sit there in their dungeon waiting until we players become godlike to kill them so easily. It undoubtedly works in a video game, but not in a novel for me. And that’s how it felt with Dreadgod. Plus, I was incredibly bored with most of the training montages. Yerin’s chapters with the Red gang or whatever were by far the most boring section of the book for me.
As for the main characters, I loved witnessing how far Lindon has come since Unsouled, as always. While for the others, I think I have to say I felt the most for Mercy. She endured a lot of unfairness in her life with a smile, and I hope good things will come her way. But another main issue I had with Dreadgod is the lack of my favorite characters. Now, I don’t expect to love Dreadgod as much as Reaper. Reaper was too good, and now I do not think Will Wight can replicate the greatness of that book again. I am, however, happy to be proven wrong in Waybound. But due to the events of Reaper, though understandable, the lack of my favorite characters surprisingly hurt my enjoyment more than I expected it would. I didn’t realize how MUCH my enjoyment of the series relies on this specific character appearing or at least being near Lindon and the gang. Reaper not only entertained and surprised me, but it also made me laugh multiple times throughout the book. That humor is also missing here. Unless we’re speaking about the bloopers.
“Just because the job is grim doesn’t mean you have to be, does it?”
As I almost fell asleep multiple times reading it, I genuinely almost DNFed Dreadgod when I was halfway through. Thankfully, I did not do this. When I reached the final 30% of the book, my perseverance was worth it. The climax sequences did not have any more training montages, and the story felt like it could move again. And my god, gratitude, the action scenes in Dreadgod was massive in scope. I am not even sure whether massive is an understatement or not, but the battles were utterly grand in scope, and I loved it. One of the Dreadgod’s abilities was heavily reminiscent of Whitebeard’s power from One Piece, and I was gleefully reading that scene.
“…pulled its fist back and slammed it into empty air. Space cracked… It landed another blow on the world, and the empty air was now a mass of dark cracks. It drove the fingers of both hands deep into space and started to heave like it was pulling stuck doors apart.”
Look, I read the first 70% of the novel in four days. I read the final 30% in one sitting. This comparison should be enough to tell you my fluctuating level of interest in the pages of Dreadgod. The final 30% was easily one of the best sections in the entire series. It was breathtaking, so intense, and it sets up the series for an epic conclusion in Waybound. There are more positive things I’d like to add, but honestly, that goes into the spoiler-territory of explaining the details in the climax sequences.
If you’re reading this review, I implore you to take it with a grain of salt. I am 100% confident that no matter how many years have passed, this review and opinion will still belong on the unpopular opinion side. I do not see any possibility of anything that Will Wight writes in this book/series not clicking with the majority of the fans now. And that’s good. Wight deserves his success, and yes, as a whole, I still enjoyed Dreadgod. A 3.5/5 stars rating, for me, means I enjoyed the book despite some of the issues I have with it. In the case of Dreadgod, the enjoyment is just not as much as I wanted to or as other readers did. I know most of my review here consists of negative things about the novel, but those are because they’re easier for me to point out in a non-spoiler fashion. At the very least, I loved the final 30% of Dreadgod. And I do think Wight has successfully set up the series for its hopefully grand and satisfying conclusion. Whether that will be achieved or not, we’ll see. Regardless of how it concludes, the journey has been so worthwhile, and it will be a sad day to see the series ending.
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