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Cradle #2


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Outside Sacred Valley, ancient ruins rise from the earth, drawing sacred artists from miles around to fight for the treasures within.

Lindon has reached Copper, taking the first step on the road to power, but the warriors of the outside world are still far beyond him.

To advance, he turns to the arcane skills of the Soulsmiths, who craft weapons from the stuff of souls. With new powers come new enemies, and Lindon soon finds himself facing an entire sect of Golds.

284 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 26, 2016

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Will Wight

39 books6,885 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 997 reviews
Profile Image for Petrik.
688 reviews46k followers
May 29, 2020
3.5/5 stars

A great sequel that build upon the foundations laid in Unsouled.

Soulsmith is the second book in Cradle series by Will Wight. Continuing from where the previous book left off, Lindon has left the Sacred Valley in pursuit of advancement and accessibility to stronger powers. An ancient ruin has risen, and many sacred artists—Lindon included—gathers and they fight for the treasures inside. As I’ve mentioned in my review of Unsouled, it seems very likely that each sequel in this series will better than their respective previous installments, and Soulsmith is the first proof of that. Admittedly, I’m still not a huge fan of the main character himself, but Yerin and the new characters being introduced here—especially Eithan and Jai Long—were so entertaining to read.

“In his experience, practically anything became an adventure if framed properly.”

Seriously, Eithan immediately became my favorite character of the series so far since his first appearance. One of the reasons this happened is that it felt to me like Wight did a terrific job in writing Eithan’s and the other supporting characters—both from protagonist and antagonists side—internalizations, especially when it’s compared to Lindon. There aren’t any mysteries surrounding Lindon’s character, and there seemed to be no complexity in his motivations; his development throughout the series so far has been constricted to only getting stronger. Meanwhile, Eithan, Jai Long, and Yerin brought conflicts, complexities, and tensions that the series needs, and I’m happy for it. Remember, this is a great feat by Wight, especially after considering that these characters are so much more powerful than the main character himself. Plus, the inclusion of the terrifying Arelius Family and The Blackflame Empire also made the series more engaging.

“That’s the nature of any acquired skill. It will feel like breathing through a wet rag for a while, and your body will tell you to stop. But one day, you’ll look back and wonder how it was ever difficult.”

Although I have said for two reviews now that I’m not a fan of Lindon, I still have to admit that I loved his rigorous training section. No pain no gain, we’ve heard of this before; this has been what Lindon continuously faced in his path towards stronger power, and I admire his tenacity. Lindon’s determination is iron-strong, and despite being regularly surrounded by Sacred Artists who are much stronger than him, he survived—luck is involved but still—and he never gives up. Lindon continuously undergoes rigorous training to advance to the next level of strength; I love this, Wight never stop emphasizing the importance of hard work, perspectives, and knowledge, maybe even more important than natural talent at times.

“These two weeks had been the worst in Lindon’s life, but half a month of agony was nothing compared to a lifetime of helplessness.”

My reviews for the series so far have been relatively shorter than my usual reviews, but I think people who’ve read this series will understand just how painful it is to stop reading and write these reviews. I’m honestly halfway through Blackflame already as I typed this review, I can assure you that the overall quality of the series has improved significantly and it gets so much addictive to read. Wight progressed the series as good as he progressed Lindon’s advancement; Soulsmith expanded the world-building, characterizations, and magic system of the series introduced in Unsouled and at the same time includes new characters and dangers that sets the stage incredibly well for Blackflame.

“Sacred artists. Without risk, without battle, without a willingness to fight, you will stay weak. And weakness means death.”

You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions

Special thanks to my Patrons on Patreon for giving me extra support towards my passion for reading and reviewing!

My Patrons: Mike, Hamad.
4 reviews14 followers
February 8, 2017
Wight is like that friend who says they're going to be a famous rapper...

...except if instead of stringing together bad rhymes he wrote books. And instead of sucking he...didn't suck.

I'm not sure where this guy came from. I bought house of blades because Amazon told me to and it cost less than a McFlurry. That series fell before my late night reading technique like 12 year old Bieber fan getting run over by the tour bus. Cradle came next and his writing has clearly advanced. He seems to write a book in the time it takes to stand in line at the DMV, so I assume he is a disciple of Sanderson. Or he speeds a lot. Doesn't matter.
The unique magic systems, pacing, clear story arcs and vivid imagination pisses me off. Because I thought one day I could publish a book on Amazon and call myself an author. Then this sack of hammers comes along and sets STANDARDS, totally ruining my plans. Also, his pricing makes me suspicious. If I get 6 hours of reading time out of a book it should at least cost enough to let him upgrade from the dollar menu to a combo meal. Seriously dude Mountain Dew code red can't keep you going forever. Send me your address and I'll mail you one of my mom's quiches.
Profile Image for Calista.
4,071 reviews31.3k followers
August 25, 2021
3rd Read through

This is one of my favorite books of the series. I love the Transcendant Ruins. There is so much that expands the world here and so many interesting characters and scenes. I think Lindon finally making Iron is one of my favorite levels he reaches.

Lindon is willing to take a beating, well, so is Yerin. They show you how to be a sacred artist. You have to be willing to take a beating and yes, you have to live. I love reading this one. Knowing where Lindon gets to, you can see all the building blocks being laid to get him there. It's wonderful.

Some trivia I heard: Lindon spends the least time of any level at the Copper Stage. I think he is a Copper for a month or a little more. The grossest transition was Lindon making Copper- yuck, but plenty cool too.

So many events that happen here set up the story for the next few books.

2nd review
This is part of my re-read of the series. I thoroughly enjoy this book. I believe it's my favorite book until book 5. I love the pyramid and how Lindon Advances. This book holds up to re-reads. I hope this series catches on and they need to make a cartoon of this at the least.

Wow, this was even better than the first book! The fun of this book is seeing Whe Shi Lindon grow from this little outcast everyone treated like a kitten into someone to contend with. He's very smart and sort of foolhardy and mighty lucky. Yerin and Lindon have left the Sacred Valley behind and they are in the wild.

This story starts off basically in a battle. We see Lindon jumped to the toddler level finally and then they are attacked and it doesn't let up. The pace is so fast and I couldn't put this book down. I read this short novel in 2 days. I feel like this and book 1 could be one story and make an excellent 500 page book and then again, it's nice to dip your toe into a series with a fast paced quick book. I am so hooked I had to start the 3rd novel in the series today. I just went on in. I can't put this series down.

I love the magic system. Madre is basically Qi and channelling is like meridians. I love that he built this system of magic basically on acupuncture. We learn so much more about the world. Lindon is always underpowered by those around him. In Sacred Valley, Jade was what the elders where there and that was high for him. When he gets into the Wild city, everyone there is some form of Gold, which there is like only 1 or 2 back in his home. So we see the whole story up it's power and of course Lindon has to tic off one of the most powerful people in this city that became the villain of the story.

So now, this new city looks overpowered to Lindon's old village. Now he thinks of Jade as a stepping stone to Gold which, he only ever dreamed of Jade before him. I like that idea.

There is an overpowered character in this story who is one of my favorite characters in fantasy. He is the Underlord level. He just has fun with life and he sort of sneaks into the story. I have a feeling it will be the next level of power we see.

There are too many great ideas in this story to go over in a simple review They are exploring ancient relics hidden in a pyramid. There are lots of other ideas. I really can't wait to see what Will does with this series. There are 7 books in the series and I hear that he is planning to do 12 total. He puts out about 2 books per year; he is a fast writer.

This story was tight. It was an adventure story and I'm a fan of this series. It's self-published, but don't let that scare you. This is just as good as any traditionally published book.
Profile Image for Anna [Bran. San. Stan].
292 reviews126 followers
May 12, 2023
I’ve been told this series gets better and better; this second book leaves me invested in Lindon and Yerin’s fate and excited about continuing. I will say, though, Lindon himself didn’t exactly endear me to him with his subservience and singular focus on advancing. I mean I get why and that this is part of character arc but I liked him more in the first book.

That is exactly why I enjoyed the addition of two new viewpoint characters so much; especially Eithan intrigued me, with his mysterious powers of casting his mind out in webs of madra – which reminded me of allomancy and specifically the burning of atium. I can definitely see why people draw comparisons to Hoid and anyone resembling him is always a plus in my book. While reading, I kept hearing his voice as the GraphicAudio Hoid version, which made it even more fun. Also, I got the feeling early on that he might be who Suriel is looking for.

As for the change of scenery, the setting now moving to the camp around the Transcendent Ruins offered the chance to both introduce new clans and to show off the skills of more powerful sacred artists, such as Eithan and Jai Long, our antagonist.

And speaking of powers: Scales (pure madra that anyone can use) reminded me of unkeyed metal minds. I know the analogy is far from perfect but it seems I can’t help but have Brandon Sanderson associations throughout this review. Also, the way enduring life-threatening situations advance your rank is kind of like “activating“ a misting or mistborn. I’m sure there’s more…

Anyway, onward!
Profile Image for Hamad.
1,048 reviews1,382 followers
January 25, 2021
This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷 Support me

Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars

“That’s the nature of any acquired skill. It will feel like breathing through a wet rag for a while, and your body will tell you to stop. But one day, you’ll look back and wonder how it was ever difficult.”

Unsouled ★★★ 3/4
Soulsmith ★★★ 1/2

This is somewhat a not very popular opinion but I liked book 1 more than book 2 and there is a good reason for that. Looking at my ratings of both books, the difference is not a big one but I couldn’t help thinking book 1 was better.

The main reason for that is that I felt this book was vert technical, very cold and clinical. There was a huge focus on the world-building and the magical system which I approve and I like but there was some distancing from character building and I thought the balance was quiet better in Unsouled.

There are indeed new characters in this entry but I did not somehow care about the characters as much as I wanted to (I am reading book 3 as I am writing this and I do like them way more there) mainly because I did not have the time to connect to them and feel them. They are not flat characters by any means but there is something missing that was there in book 1 (and book 3).

Story wise, it continues the story after book 1 and it was as fast paced and action packed which makes the series an addicting one and the books are hard to let down. This was mostly a book explaining the magic levels and the advancement between different levels. I liked how the story ended and I do believe it has potential and that’s why I will continue it for sure!

“I think you may have seen hard work sometime in the past,” Yerin called back, “but you never came close enough to shake its hand.”

Summary: As in the first book, this book is fast paced, full of action and is addicting to read. The world building was intense in this one which may affected the character building but it was a good entry nonetheless.
Profile Image for Terence.
1,116 reviews353 followers
January 21, 2023
In the wilds Yerin and Lindon run into hordes of beasts and remnants. They follow where the beasts are heading to find ancient ruins that contain items of massive power. They also find an alliance of sacred artists who intend to mine it for resources. After what feels like a lifetime, Lindon has finally reached Copper. As Lindon tries to learn the skill of a Soulsmith, he finds himself the prey of a powerful group of Golds.

Soulsmith was a good time. Lindon advances only to realize that in comparison to the world at large, everyone from the Sacred Valley is incredibly weak. Lindon surprisingly finds that encouraging as he's seeking the power to save everything he's known.

The characters really come alive in this book. There is of course Lindon. He stands tall and looks vicious despite his weak skills. Yerin who despite seeming as though she only wishes to fight actually cares for Lindon. There are also some interesting new additions in Jai Long, Fisher Gesha, and the happy yet mysterious Eithan.

Jai Long is the typical angry genius. He has a backstory that makes it wholely justifiable. He's not evil, but he's certainly not good either. Fisher Gesha is a powerful soulsmith who Lindon and Yerin find themself working for. She's the typical gruff old master. Eithan from the start is clearly powerful even though he mostly appears to be looking for fun. These three really stand out among the rest of the new characters.

Soulsmith has me excited to see where the story goes. I really enjoy the way Will Wight crafts his tale and characters.
Profile Image for Deborah Obida.
679 reviews619 followers
May 3, 2022
Buddy read with Snezana.

Soulsmith is the second book in the cradle series. I love the way the plot is progressing, it’s fast paced, action packed and awesome characters, what more is there to ask for. The world is great, it was well depicted. To top it all up the book is short. The magic system has more than three caste/ levels, so it begins with copper, iron, jade, gold(there are 3 gold levels) low gold, high gold and true gold.

“In his experience, practically anything became an adventure if framed properly.”

Events in this book took place immediately after book one, with Yerin and Lindon leaving Sacred Valley, they don’t have a destination in mind so this is a mini journey book. It’s not your usual journey book because 90% of the events in this book happened in a specific location, a cross between a village and a camp.

Just like the previous book, this book is written in third person multiple POV with Lindon having like 80% of the POV. Two new characters Eithan and Jai Long.

I’m torn between Eithan and Lindon, I can’t decide who I like more, I love Lindon dedication and all but Eithan brings a new perspective to the series, not to mention he is also funny.

“Lindon hungered for self-improvement rather than revenge, and he wasn't cringing or sniveling.”

Yerin has more POV than book one but I want more. Jai Long is also a good character, I don’t know whether he is good or bad, I just know that he is driven.

The plot didn’t progress much at the same it did. Lindon progress a bit in his Path. On the other hand we got to know much more about the world, different Path and Clans. Can’t wait to read more and see where it goes.

The quote below says it all about the world
“You’re strong, you get respect. You’re weak, and you better know someone strong.”
Profile Image for TS Chan.
719 reviews886 followers
January 27, 2019
A worthy sequel that expands on the worldbuilding and magic system, Soulsmith delivers on the promise of an engaging and fascinating story of epic powers inspired by Far Eastern martial arts.

Outside of the Sacred Valley in pursuit of advancement, Lindon came face-to-face with his destiny as he encountered powers beyond his imagination. The most powerful amongst the clans and Schools within the Valley are mere children compared to the dime a dozen Golds that can be found in the Desolate Wilds. As expected, and I don't believe it to be a spoiler to say so, Lindon did manage to level up in his powers. How that happened, though, is the part where I will not deign to reveal. Safe to say, it was far from painless.

"The sacred arts are a game, and your life is the only thing you've got to bet. You want to move up? This is what up looks like."

The introduction of two fascinating new characters, Eithan and Jai Long, was to me the best part of this sequel. In the first book, we only had Lindon's POV for the bulk of the narrative and a few chapters from an otherworldly powerful being. The already complex worldbuilding had to be expanded as our main protagonist leaves the confines of the Sacred Valley into the wide, open world of Cradle. Given this, the added perspectives of new characters served to enhance the story.

Jai Long, an exile of the Jai clan - one of the strongest within the Blackflame Empire - was the antagonist with an empathetic backstory. Meanwhile, Eithan was an enigmatic and irrepressible personality whose motivations were never quite clear, and I could not tell whether he can be trusted or not. The impact of these two characters on Lindon's fate made the story way more compelling.

Through the perspectives of the new characters, we were also given more insights into the political landscape of The Blackflame Empire and the intricate magic-martial arts system. Even though Golds can be found in abundance, there are three sublevels within Gold itself where the gulf between each level - Lowgold, Highgold and Truegold - is much wider than from Copper to Iron and then to Jade.  Beyond Gold we even have Underlords who are the leaders of the most dominant clans within the Empire. Believe me when I say that the powers displayed by these sacred artists were truly spectacular - to the point of being almost over the top.  For me though, that was half of the fun of reading this series so far.

These relatively short novels were addictive and easy to read, with efficient and immersive prose, and minimal errors as far as self-published books are concerned.  Its narrative moved at a decent pace and was well-plotted with each book having a self-contained story. At the same time, there was also sufficient foreshadowing and development of a larger plot leading to more epic narrative threads to be told in future instalments.

Continue watching this space as I foresee greater potential in this series.

You can purchase a copy of the book, or read it free via Kindle Unlimited on Amazon US.

You can also find this and my other reviews at Novel Notions.
Profile Image for William Gwynne.
376 reviews1,706 followers
February 12, 2023
I aim to read one instalment of this series I month. I have been highly recommended the audio format of this book, narrated by Travis Baldree, and so I decided to try out his second instalment as an audiobook. And I agree, the narrator does a great job. It is great to know that I can consume this series in whichever format I'd like as I continue with this series.
Profile Image for David S Meanderings).
333 reviews89 followers
March 6, 2022
Reread x 3 complete!

4.25 stars

“Sacred artists. Without risk, without battle, without a willingness to fight, you will stay weak. And weakness means death.”

I want to give a quick shoutout to the narrator, Travis Baldree. He continues to bring the world of Cradle to life in an engaging and immersive way and I will be continuing this series via audiobook in large part to his fantastic narration.

Soulsmith continues almost immediately where we left off last with Lindon and Yerin leaving the safety of the Sacred Valley and going out into the world beyond. I was so excited about this book because I believed the world was going to expand in this entry and that proved to be true. We learn much about the tribes outside of Sacred Valley. Each seems to have a similar culture to Lindon’s, but what separates each tribe is the path they take to power and the different techniques and advantages that those paths afford them.

Speaking of paths to power, I have continued loving the magic system that Will Wight has crafted. I think the biggest thing I enjoy about it is the breadth and scope of it. There are so many ways to become powerful, so many different techniques, natural “boosters”, and other intricacies that make this magic system so interesting to read about. Another aspect of the magic that I really like is that natural talent plays a part, but ultimately a sacred artist’s level of power and mastery of the magic comes from effort, force of will, and smarts. There is nothing that doesn’t feel earned here. Lindon goes through some very extreme things to advance in this book that made me really admire his dedication and strong will.

“These two weeks had been the worst in Lindon’s life, but half a month of agony was nothing compared to a lifetime of helplessness.”

One thing I hope improves throughout the series is Lindon himself. Specifically, Lindon’s character development. Don’t get me wrong, I like Lindon. He is the type of character that fits the stereotype of a younger brother and that is what he becomes to a few of the people around him. However, I think that his personality comes off as somewhat flat and boring at times. Lindon has grown up all his life being told that he was basically worthless and a shame to his clan. Other than a few instances where he uses that as fuel to dig deep and survive or improve himself, we don’t really get to see him emotionally wrestle over the fact that he was basically verbally abused and bullied for most of his life. I mean, Lindon at one point even thinks about how someone who is more powerful than him could just kill him in the street and no one would do anything about it because no one cares about the weaker magic users. It is quite unrealistic and a disservice to the character to not have him walk through those things with the reader. It was almost like he just shrugged it off instead of working through it organically. This is only the 2nd book in a 12 book series so I hope that improves, but that kind of bothered me.

A huge redeeming factor for Lindon’s lack of character development are the side characters getting more POV time. Yerin, who we were introduced to late in the last book and has now become Lindon’s friend and companion, is very interesting. We knew a little of her backstory from Unsouled and we start to get a few more glimpses in Soulsmith. Her complexity as a character continues to intrigue me and I am really looking forward to seeing where she ends up. Then we have Eithan. I won’t go too far into Eithan because I don’t want to talk about spoilers. Suffice it to say Eithan is powerful, mysterious, and brings a humor and light heartedness to the story that really elevated Soulsmith in my eyes. I can’t wait to get to know him more and see where his story goes as well. Last, but certainly not least, we have Jai Long. A man haunted and driven by the tragedies of his past. A master of the spear and a powerful sacred artist in his own right, Jai Long will stop at nothing to attain what he perceives as justice. These three added a depth and nuance of character that was sorely needed and I felt increasingly more invested and excited for the next installment as I grew to know each one of them.

“He drew himself up as though proud to be asked the question. “Young lady, I am the greatest janitor in all existence. I am the son of a janitor, last in a long line of janitors that stretch all the way back to the Sage of Brooms…and beyond!”

I really love the action scenes in this series so far. Fights in this series typically employ a blend of the sacred arts magic system along with martial arts and that has been a joy to imagine. There are so many obstacles to overcome and so many dangers in each fight that I was always on the edge of my seat and fearing for the characters’ lives.

Soulsmith was another fun, fast paced entry in the Cradle series that expanded the world and brought new, exciting characters into the mix. I have already started the next book, Blackflame, and plan on continuing to binge read the rest of the published books in this series.
Profile Image for Zitong Ren.
504 reviews158 followers
October 25, 2020
So, I’ve finished book 2 of the Cradle series, a fair while since I finished Cradle and overall, it was fine. I’ve heard that while the first few books are ok, the later books are fantastic and look, maybe it’ll be a while before I get around to every book in the series, I would think that I would continue on with the series eventually as I am interested in it. This book was good enough to read for sure, though I’m not super invested in anything just yet.

The world here is pretty interesting and it was expanded a fair bit here, well beyond Sacred Valley, which is where book 1 took place. A large section of the world is explored, and we learn a fair bit more about the other societies in the world. A huge chunk of the book does just take place in one settlement, which was fine by me. As it is told from the characters’ perspective, who have little interest in things like culture or history, so there isn’t much of that here. It’s not detrimental to the story as it is irrelevant to the characters and plot, although I would like to have learnt a bit more about things that do not directly correlate with the character. Still, I do like the way the whole “magic” system functions and how it has developed. It’s not fancy or anything, but it builds engagement with the character and makes the reader want to have Lindon succeed.

The characters are ok here. Lindon’s fine, he’s not overly compelling to follow around, though he is not boring either. I suppose there is not really anything that makes him super special and there are far better written protagonists out there in my view. I do find Yerin to be a bit more interesting to follow around, though there isn’t much from her POV. She contrasts with Lindon who is the more typical weak character that gets frowned upon by everyone. Eithan was also fairly interesting to follow as he remains fairly mysterious for most of this book until the very end, where the sort of big reveal comes.

The plotting was alright here. Nothing blew me away exactly, but I suppose that it remained decent the whole way through. The pacing was fine throughout, though in this book there are some odd chapters that are sort of interludes that sometimes are somewhat jarring. They seem to add some more context, but I don’t know how useful they are to the main story for now.

Those are really all my thoughts on this. Overall, it was good, but it also wasn’t that much more than that for me. 6/10
Profile Image for Michael.
281 reviews77 followers
July 14, 2021
My rating is 3.5-stars for this one.

There is definitely an oriental flavour to this series. I have read that this is intended as a Lit-Rpg which is light on the statistics. I don't really think of it that way but that's just me.

The author has some great ideas and all those fans of Mr Sanderson out there will likely love Will Wight's magic system.

So why the relatively low rating? It was better than the first book but I still didn't find myself rooting for Lindon. I am more of a Yerin fan, though that might be to do with my tendency towards fighters and sword-path type characters.

I will be going straight on to read book 3 in the series to see if things continue to improve.

Thanks for reading.
Profile Image for Eon ♒Windrunner♒  .
435 reviews482 followers
October 29, 2019
Will Wight really starts to hit his stride with this sequel, expanding the magic, the world and the characters while building momentum with another fast-paced and exciting read.

Soulsmith takes a big, but necessary step; expanding the story outside the confines of Lindon’s home, Sacred Valley, where Jade is the greatest height. It allows Wight to fully lift the veil from the eyes of our main character and also from ours by showing us the extent of what is considered to be powerful. What Lindon once believed to be the final stage of a sacred artist’s path, the mythical achievement of Gold, is untrue. By the standards of the outside world, anyone below Gold is considered powerless and unworthy of being called a sacred artist. This only serves to light an even bigger fire under Lindon though, as he has more to do than he ever dreamed of if he wants to catch up.

“Just one more day,” Yerin said, letting out a deep breath and relaxing against the door again. “Don’t know why you’re crowing about it. Any day where I haven’t beaten a Remnant to death with its own limb is a holiday.”

Lindon and Yerin both have a lot of work to do to reach their goals, and it was highly entertaining and fascinating to see the start of their journeys in trying to achieve this. Lindon is, of course, doing everything in his power to progress and level up, and he is steadily growing on me as his character develops. Similarly, Yerin is not left out in the cold regarding development and these two are quickly becoming an exciting if slightly unbalanced team, power-wise. With the expansion of the world though, simultaneous expansion of the cast is not unexpected and the most interesting of the new additions by far was Eithan. What a fascinating character! I won’t say more though, other than I might have a new favourite. Ok, might should be definitely.

The story is teeming with new places and faces, mysteries, more in-depth discussions and demonstrations of the magic system and its various types of users and techniques. Cradle’s history and mythology are expanded upon as well, adding more layers to the foundation of this world and once again it feels like this is but a drop in the ocean for what the author has install for us.That’s not to say the worldbuilding steals the thunder - it blends seamlessly with the story and the development of the characters while still giving us heaps of good stuff; monstrously powerful sacred artists make their entrance, ancient relics are hunted and nail-biting, action-packed fights are abundant, making this a superb, fast paced read.

These books are easy to fly through and packed with so much fun. We hear that a lot nowadays, making the word fun seem an overused term, but it is truly relevant in this case. The Cradle series is basically the crack/candy/coffee of fantasy and I am almost shocked that they have not been traditionally published. The only explanation to me is that the author has purposefully chosen this path. The force is strong with this one. Just keep on doing what you are doing, Mr Wight.

If you write it, I will read it.

“The sacred arts are a game, and your life is the only thing you’ve got to bet. You want to move up? This is what up looks like.”
Profile Image for Dexcell.
178 reviews41 followers
May 18, 2023
“Young lady, I am the greatest janitor in all existence. I am the son of a janitor, last in a long line of janitors that stretch all the way back to the Sage of Brooms...and beyond!<\i>

Very good second book in the series. It was definitely slow throughout, but I enjoyed it and the new characters. It was nice to see Lindon improve at a nice rate, but he's still so far behind everyone else. I'm curious how he's ever going to match up against Jai Long by next book.

Reread: Still a really good book. I remember thinking that Eithan was gonna be a bad guy or something the first time around. How wrong I was.
Profile Image for Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews.
264 reviews3,958 followers
March 1, 2022
I'm beginning to understand why fans call this series "Crack-dle" -- it is seriously addicting!

The book is like a video game with characters leveling up, and you can definitely see where this series is marching towards. I simply cannot wait to read the next one, and the next one, and the next one...

Someone please send help.
Profile Image for L.L. MacRae.
Author 9 books368 followers
September 17, 2021
Just yes.

Straight onto book three.

Really enjoying this series, and the audiobook is absolutely wonderful!!
Profile Image for ianthereader.
351 reviews46 followers
February 27, 2023
A significant step up from book one. I particularly enjoyed the second half. Can’t wait to continue next month!
Profile Image for Olivia.
724 reviews120 followers
November 9, 2021
Soulsmith is the second book in the fantasy progression series, Cradle, by Will Wight.

The second book continues from where the first one left off and Lindon and Yerin leave the Sacred Valley in pursuit of stronger powers.

Cradle is fast-paced and fun, basically popcorn entertainment. All books in this addictive series are quick reads with lots of action, delivering exactly what they promise.

This instalment didn't blow me away, but I think this is one of those series where each sequel is better than the previous book.
339 reviews6 followers
June 15, 2021
My review of Unsouled: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

I have read that Cradle gets better with each book, and after reading Soulsmith I can totally believe that. Unsouled had phenomenal worldbuilding, very intelligent structure and was overall so refreshingly original, but also had some weaknesses, prose and pacing for instance.

Soulsmith was more polished, balanced and yeah, just better. Rating: 4.2 stars.
I can't wait to start reading Blackflame!
Profile Image for T.R. Preston.
Author 4 books125 followers
November 21, 2022
I really didn't connect with this one like I did the first. Eithan was an interesting new character to throw into the fold, but I wasn't left entranced by much else.

Reread update: I've gone through this book again. I liked it more the second time. My original review was 3 stars, but I'm deciding to kick it up to a 4. It's a fun ride.
Profile Image for Narilka.
603 reviews41 followers
February 28, 2022
Soulsmith does exactly what I hoped it would: it builds on the foundation set in Unsoulded and kicks everything up a notch. There's a great big world outside of the Sacred Valley. In pursuit of advancement, Lindon and Yerin find themselves drawn to an ancient ruin rising from the jungle. Many sacred artists have gathered to fight for the treasures inside.

I am enjoying the growth of both our characters. Lindon's handicap of being unsouled has forced him to develop his mind and learn to be clever. I can see that being very, very handy as his soul progresses and he finally has the physical power to match. It has definitely been helpful for him to navigate of a world of people much more powerful than he is and stay alive through his wits. Yerin, too, starts on a small character arc. She's starting to have more personality and I like how her friendship with Lindon is developing. Eithan, a third main character is introduced. I loved him from the start! His ability is insanely useful. Plus how he helps Lindon advance has given me much speculation for the future.

The author does an amazing job of expanding upon the world building and on the powers of the magical martial arts system. Its funny how very sheltered the Sacred Valley is. Outside it, Golds are found in abundance and they have varying levels of power within Gold that has a wider gap than a Copper has to Iron. It makes me excited to see just how many levels beyond Gold there are and how far along Lindon will be able to progress.

This book is a fun, quick read. I like where Lindon's progress is heading with the "help" of his new mentor. It makes me wonder if he'll pass Yerin up. I also hope we learn more about Yerin's past soon as she obviously is keeping a pretty big secret. We are left with a great set up for book 3. I'm looking forward to it.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,102 followers
July 8, 2022
I admit -- I love where this series is headed. It's flying off in wild new directions, giving us interesting new characters to help and hinder their quest to get stronger, and I'm frankly tickled by it all.

The previous setup in the first book was great and could have glided on just that, but the second book gives us a whole new worldbuilding in a new land, new magical rules, and a hardcore progression that made me laugh, consistently, even as I rooted for the level-ups.

This LitRPG is rapidly becoming one of my favorites. It's reinventing itself. I'm insanely curious to see if it keeps doing so as we travel to new lands. :)
Profile Image for Josh Angel.
386 reviews29 followers
May 8, 2023
(No Spoilers) These books are the literary equivalent of potato chips, and I couldn't stop at just one. The moment I finished book one I started book two. At this point I'm looking at probably binging the entire series in one go.

While this book had more pacing problems than the first, the series still continues to be highly addictive. I’m already googling when the next book will be published even though I have seven more to read, because I know I’m going to tear through the next seven books in record time. The last time I was this hooked was when I discovered the Dresden Files.

4.5 out of 5
Profile Image for Maurice Africh.
116 reviews37 followers
July 22, 2022
There's just something about this series that is wickedly entertaining and super fun to read. The writing and story quality definitely improved in this installment I also loved that we got away from Sacred Valley and started diving into the greater world.

Super stoked to read more!
Profile Image for Michael Mayer III.
113 reviews16 followers
September 28, 2023
Now two books into this long progression fantasy series, I can say it feels... progressively better with each entry. Almost like Will Wight has been leveling up as he writes. Soulsmith picks up where Unsouled left off following our favorite crafty underdog, Lindon, and his unfortunate companion, Yerin, in the wilds. The first third of the book drags quite a bit as it's setting up the scene for the main conflict. Once the introduction of a new character happens, the sensational Eithan, things really pick up and I love his POV. It's like reading Neo in The Matrix once he reaches his potential. I enjoyed how Will Wight used him to show just what a difference between levels can mean and, I imagine, it all serves as strong foreshadowing of what may be to come for our little hero that could.

Already in this series, there are many examples of what you think is the top level character coming into contact with someone superior and immediately they are overmatched. It very much reads like a JRPG video game to me and I'm digging it. Aside from Eithan, the contrast of the outside world to Lindon's home in the first book is intriguing and I have so many questions. Wight does well in ramping up the reader's curiosity that matches the main character's as he unveils more and more worldbuilding. It can feel a bit overwhelming at times with new information coming fast and furious but I have an appetite for that stuff anyways.

Also, there's nothing more satisfying that seeing the bad guys who are so pompous and arrogant get their comeuppance to their shock and dismay. Lindon's journey up the ladder, so to speak, feels reasonably paced as he's not getting massive jumps of powers or abilities too quickly. Instead, he uses his craftiness and guile to problem solve and when he does get a boost of power, it feels very much earned and not... well... overpowering. There was still a good amount of humor peppered in as Lindon's fake-humility often gets under other character's nerves and I enjoyed how other characters viewed his tenaciousness and see it as a positive.

I am still very curious to see where this series goes and, from what I understand, the next book is where it really takes off. Cradle appears to be the ultimate underdog story of the little choo-choo who could and you can't help rooting for him, even when you know he's being foolish. I also enjoy the quick reads as I rarely read books these days that are under 500 pages. Make no mistake though, these aren't popcorn reads with no depth. Cradle is a series that appears to have much more depth than you realize, I suspect that becomes more apparent as you dig further into the world.

Unsouled - 7.5/10
Soulsmith - 8/10
Blackflame - 8.5/10
Skysworn - 9/10
Ghostwater - 8.5/10
Profile Image for Soo.
2,598 reviews264 followers
January 27, 2022
10/2/2020 Notes:

The re-reads of Soulsmith were more enjoyable than the first time, but the transitions and certain events are still too forced to be a 4 star. On the other hand, lots of goodies for the series and plot direction.

10/7/2019 Notes:

Couple of important plot events & people are added in this book but the story flow was chunky & did not flow as well as the first book.
Profile Image for Christine Sandquist.
186 reviews63 followers
May 16, 2021
Looking for book summaries of all the books in the Cradle series? Look no further. My review is below, but you can find a summary of each of the Cradle books to date on my website, Black Forest Basilisks!

Book review:

“Don’t know why you’re crowing about it. Any day where I haven’t beaten a Remnant to death with its own limb is a holiday.”

After having read the first two books in Will Wight’s Cradle series, it felt unfair to review them separately. While the first book, Unsouled, was interesting and provided a solid foundation for the series… it fell a little flat for me – particularly when compared to the second book, Soulsmith. I enjoyed Unsouled, but I didn’t understand the hype surrounding the series until I’d read beyond it. Soulsmith was a romp and a half that left me hankering to start Blackflame, even at the expense of some of those ARCs I’ve got piling up!

In Soulsmith, our two main characters truly come into their own. Lindon, born with a stunted magical ability, properly begins on his journey towards power. Yerin, the damaged disciple of the now-deceased Sword Sage, has her own challenges to face. Yerin rapidly became a favorite – she has an “I don’t need anyone! But also, if you hurt Lindon, who by god is under my protection, you will regret it,” sort of attitude. I’m a sucker for the secretly lonely types. Yerin just needs a hug and a shoulder to cry on, yet she can’t quite bring herself to accept that from others. She’s not ready to reveal that level of vulnerability, but I’m already looking forward to it once she is.

“Her master always talked about solitude as though it was some great treasure, some tool that aided in focus and training. That was a pile of rot. He was the strongest sacred artist she’d ever met, but some things he just didn’t understand. . .

Yerin wasn’t overly attached to Wei Shi Lindon; she’d only known him for a few days, and part of her still expected him to be playing some sort of twisty trick on her. She’d spent no small amount of time wondering if she should kill him and remove the danger.

But having Lindon around gave her someone to talk to, someone to help her with her bandages, someone to help keep the bloody memories and the acid-edged grief at bay.”

Unsouled, in contrast, largely deals with characters who won’t be plot relevant again for quite some time. Wight fleshes out the culture and politics within Lindon’s home, the Sacred Valley…. But the Sacred Valley is extremely insular and cut-off from the outside world. It doesn’t set the tone properly for the cultures and people we’ll see moving forward. In this same vein, Unsouled tends to feel slow and sluggish, with little actually happening on the pages. The dynastic clan culture represented was intriguing, but ultimately very different from the broad world Lindon moves into in the subsequent books.

Fans of magic systems will find a great deal to enjoy as will fans of progression fantasy. Much of the plot is centered around Lindon’s quest to “level up” in power… but, that said, this is not LitRPG. The magic system is based on a substance called madra, of which there are many different types giving the wielder different abilities. Yerin, for example, uses sword madra. By using different breathing patterns, a magic user can cycle madra through their veins to move throughout their body. At certain madra concentrations or with certain techniques, the user’s body and awareness will change to the next level of power. However, there is a wide range of ability within each stage. Training and madra types determine your fighting ability. You won’t find any health bars or madra counts here – it’s all fairly loosely described.

The prose is fairly workmanlike, but that’s no bad thing in these books. I chewed through the first two in record time – they’re easy, accessible, and don’t require much effort from the reader. Sometimes, that’s exactly what I want out of something. While I don’t want to eat a bag of chips for every meal, sometimes there’s a certain degree of enjoyment in munching on a bag of potato chips until you hit the bottom… and much like potato chips, you’ll find you’re left wanting even more of that deliciously salted and fried goodness the moment they’re gone. Wight tells the story in a way you can sprint right through it, consistently eager to see each new challenge Lindon and Yerin will face.

All in all, Unsouled was okay… but Soulsmith is where Wight hits his stride. If you’re not fond of the first one but like the core concepts and ideas behind progression fantasy, I highly recommend sticking with it before passing judgement. I found Soulsmith to be tons of fun with intense, high-stakes moments.

A review of books 3-6 can be found here, on my blog!
Profile Image for seak.
434 reviews473 followers
September 9, 2021
Hey, I have a youtube channel, check out the review for Soulsmith (and Unsouled) here. I would love if you would check it out, give me feedback, like and subscribe. This is an early video so please be kind! :D

Soulsmith is the second novel of the Cradle series that has been a blast to read. I'm almost done with book 3 and still loving every second.

This is a progression fantasy type book that uses an element of "leveling up" characters similar to video games (that I love so much).

Soulsmith takes what was a fun, establishing book in Unsouled and really expands the world. We learn that this world is so much more vast than what Lindon was used to in his home in the Sacred Valley. We learn that although the level of gold was just about unheard of in the Sacred Valley, it's actually quite common and there are levels within gold not to mention levels beyond.

I really loved this part of the book because we get to experience this with Lindon as he departs from the Sacred Valley with his new acquaintance (friend?) Yerin. He also learns that what he's essentially considered a disability all his life is actually not all that unheard of and that he can progress regardless of his "unsouled" status.

Soulsmith introduces us to one of my favorite characters in Eithan. He has this flippant style that made me like him from the start even though I didn't trust his motivations or goals whatsoever.

It's so hard to not talk about spoilers, but I can tell you that this book improved on Unsouled and has me so excited to read more in the series. I've just discovered how vast this world is and I can't wait to experience more of it.

As in the last book, Travis Baldree is the narrator and again does an excellent job of bringing this story to life in just the same way I described in my Unsouled review.

8 out of 10 (highly recommended!)
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