The Soul Wielder
In the vast expanse of the Khaantul Empire, military medic Meira has always been certain--of her place, of her love, of the good things the Empire brings to unclaimed territories the military settles. When Meira is caught behind enemy lines, she's mistaken for the fabled Soul Wielder of the Juri'a people, a group who can master the elements and bend them to their will. As Meira fights to get home, she'll learn more about her enemies, her people, and forces binding them all as one.
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I love this book on several levels! It has numerous twists and turns that keep me in suspense and aren't predictable.The details and descriptions used by the author provide vivid imagery. I also appreciate how current social issues are interwoven in the story which allow for reflection on our lives today.
I don't usually go to Sci-fi or fantasy as my first choice, but this had me hooked by about the third chapter. The story is very complex and characters are well developed. I'm on chapter 16 and look forward to each new chapter. The mystery of the powers of the Soul Wielder and the relationship between the two tribes is very interesting.
Okay so I had to literally take a break from reading to collect myself after reading the third chapter. I won't tell you if it was a happy or sad cry.
Instead, I challenge you thusly: if you read this review, then you must read this fiction until you have finished the chapter titled Volka, which is chapter three. Only then are you permitted to decide whether this fiction is worthy or not. You will not be disappointed.
Oreo (Good, Bad, Best) Review:
Good: The language is top-notch, the grammar is professional and mostly invisible (that's what we want). The imagery is solid, and the characters are relatable, believable, and real.
The Bad: A good writer who knows their craft would find it difficult to identify faults in this fiction that are not purely based on preferences. This fiction is professionally written and an editor's unicorn. Which is to say, easy to read and polish into a finished draft. I wouldn't be surprised if this author is already working with an editor. If you don't like this fiction it is because the genre or premise isn't a good fit. And that's always okay.
The Best: By far, the best thing about the fiction is its ability to evoke strong emotion. I read to be taken places I have never been and to feel things I have never felt. Or, to see and feel things which are familiar and I wish to see and feel again.
In just three chapters, this fiction gave me all the feels. The familiarity of being in the military, of feeling safe among friends and fellow Soldiers in foreign lands. The apprehension of traveling through enemy territory, the compassion one feels for the locals there, but the danger they always pose. All the feels within a world teasing of things magical.
This is a pretty decent completely original fantasy novel. The style is very much like Patrick Rothfuss or Sarah Lin; it's a style uncommon on this site. It's not a personal favorite, but there are many who will enjoy it.
The protagonist's character is difficult to understand. Her emotions and reactions seem to vary wildly and it's difficult to put together into a cohesive personality for her. Even through 10 chapters, it's hard for me to say that I understand the protagonist or how she will react to various situations. And not in the sense of hidden depths, which is a valid way of constructing a character. But rather that simply in the surface detail, she doesn't come across as singular. If she was younger perhaps it could be ascribed to immaturity, but the impression is that she's in her early 20s (??). Because of that, the story comes across as melodramatic, which it probably isn't intended to do so. In so much as the actions of the secondary characters are difficult to understand, and the secondary character's assurances of how tertiary characters will act (and in turn do not do so), the plot through 10 chapters comes across as contrived to make melodrama.
Through chapter 10, the protagonist has been moved to the capital "behind enemy lines," and is going on a hunger strike, refusing to even entertain that she is a wielder (magic-user; think Avatar: The Last Airbender). On the other hand, the member of the enemy who doubts that she is the fabled Soul Wielder (hero), threatens to kill her if she is not, accusing her of being a spy.
I'm also not keen on the pacing. Per the synopsis, the major points are: (i) caught behind enemy lines; (ii) mistaken for fabled Soul Wielder; (iii) fights to get home; and (iv) learn more abotu her enemies, her people and forces binding them together. Through 10 chapters, we're really only through
the first two points, and just getting into the third. Given standard pacing for these kinds of novels, I would imagine that 80% of the novel would be based on points (iii) and (iv)
which implies something like 50 chapters for the first novel, pretty hefty for a story which is likely not limited to a single novel. Others though will find that just a fine pace.
This seems like the start to a really good story over all. I like the author's style for the most part and there aren't a ton of errors with grammar or spelling like in other stories I've seen. It's still early on so I think there is more characterization and information that will flesh out what she's built out. It's pretty good overall, but I want more. I also get that it's a fantasy land and the characters don't speak the same language so there is some stuff that can't be revealed yet.
I like how the story is evolving so far and it seems like there's a lot of world to be uncovered. The author does it in a natural way instead of making me feel like I'm in a history class.
The author has paid pretty good attention to grammar, spelling etc errors that tend to distract me from a story or make me stop reading it. Their style is also interesting and doesn't feel too dry or make me want to hit them because it is too flowery. They are very descriptive but not quite in the 50 pages about a grove of trees way that I hate.
all in all I am looking forward to continuing the story!