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Will Wight - Cradle

Discussion in 'Books and Anime Discussion' started by CareOtters, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. CareOtters

    CareOtters Dark Lord DLP Supporter

    Jun 8, 2010
    This is one of the better series I've come across through my trawling of Kindle Unlimited books. This is a series of Wuxia novels (martial arts / ki cultivation fantasy) written by a Western author. There are some fun mechanisms in here, and the writing was to a far higher standard than almost all other writers in this genre. Quite possibly because it was written in English, rather than being a bad translation from Chinese.

    There are a lot of fun mechanisms within the setting itself, and we always have this impression of a grander scope. The power creep is always moving further and further along, but it's somewhat internally consistent. We start off in a fantasy-typical isolated valley, but move throughout the series to progressively more outlandish locations with comparatively more powerful inhabitants. All the typical wuxia toolsets are out here: absurd training regimens, magical mana-dense fruit to eat to grow powers, creative twists on old techniques to eke out more reward for more effort, and so on.

    It's not a perfect series; the distant goal seems so very far away that we will never reach it, making the overarching plot largely forgettable compared to the plots of the individual novels. There's a parallel to the distant level of the protagonists skill and the enemies he's preparing to face there, I suppose. The most recent book was an especially mawkish exercise in derailment - the entire book was basically a single dungeon trip. And as a matter of fact, as I type this, there does seem to be a very dungeony element to narrative structure here. I imagine the author is drawing a lot of influence from video games as well as other wuxia stories. It makes for a pleasing hybrid, given how compatible the systems are.

    Characters are head and shoulders ahead of the competitors in other wuxia novels. There are some cliches, but nothing too heinous. The biggest weakness of characterisation is the strong correlation between the characters magical gimmicks and their personalities - they're defined somewhat too much by their abilities and not enough by their motivations or relationships. It makes them more forgettable than they would be otherwise.

    Perhaps the best part of this is the worldbuilding. There are glimpses of something like Sanderson's Cosmere-lite in the wider universe, but in addition to that the local world has fantastic worldbuilding and variety of creatures and places in a way which eclipses Sanderson's one-note worlds.

    All in all, it's a fun and easy read. I'd recommend it in a heartbeat to anyone looking for a way to kill a few hours. While it's not truly exceptional, it's enjoyable, and quite possibly the best entry point into the wuxia genre a Western reader could ask for.
  2. Arthellion

    Arthellion Lord of the Banned ~ Prestige ~

    Apr 14, 2017
    Georgia, USA
    High Score:
    I picked it up. Struggled through the first few chapters.

    It's not...bad per se. Its more of a guilty pleasure read imo.

    That said, as someone completely new to this genre of writing...it felt like the author relied a bit too much on the audiences having some sort of knowledge and familarity with wuxia.

    I honestly started to feel kinda lost by the end of the first book. I also really struggled to connect with the protagonist.

    3.5/5 stars for solid technical writing and a decent read. But I prolly won't be purchasing any of the other books.
  3. BTT

    BTT Squib ~ Prestige ~

    Aug 31, 2011
    Cyber City Oedo
    High Score:
    Read all five books that are out in a single day. I'll echo CareOtters' opinion: very serviceable timewasters and probably the best wuxia/cultivation story I've ever read. Which isn't saying that much, admittedly.

    The best way to describe this series is basically cultivation adapted to western sensibilities, such as the protagonist not being a money-grubbing dickhole and not being surrounded by an adoring gaggle of women all constantly described as superattractive, whose only real differences are boob size and sometimes name. I don't think foreknowledge of wuxia is necessary, although it definitely helps.

    Honestly, these books are fun reads. Writing itself is solid. The author does have a couple of lines he repeats every so often, like Lindon having the face of a thug. The plotlines never deviate too far from standard molds, but they're written well enough I found myself not really caring. I am sort of surprised at the absence of romance, but frankly considering the romance/harem bullshit in most wuxia that might be a good thing. The protagonist does get a bunch of unique advantages, but they're not egregious and it's always clear what he's very far from the top.

    4/5 stars for me.