Seer of Souls (The Spirit Shield Saga Book 1)by Susan Faw Published 24 Oct 2016
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DANTE ROSSETTI Awards for Young Adult Fiction 2016 Winner! (Chanticleer Reviews)
To save the world, they must be born of the world.
The battles between the Kingdom of Cathair and the Primordial forces at Daimon Ford are the stuff of legends. Desperate to save the world, two immortals choose to be reborn as mortals, wiping away all memory of their divine existence.
But even as Cayden, and his twin sister Avery make the ultimate sacrifice, other gods are plotting against them. At the point of birth, divine intervention and powerful, ancient magic are called upon to snatch their souls from the dying flesh of a princess's poisoned womb.
The royal family of the Kingdom of Cathair has always been the physical Spirit Shield of the world. With the murder of the entire royal family, who guards the secrets within the castle walls? Can the magic of the gods, old and new, ensure the safe keeping of the immortal treasure within, and if they fail, who will choose for the unborn?
Helga, the goddess of the underworld, is not amused and has set into play a diabolical scheme of her own.
There is a little place called Sanctuary by the Sea and chaos is about to pay a visit…
This is Seer of Souls, Book one of the Spirit Shield Saga, a fantasy read for all ages.
"Seer of Souls (The Spirit Shield Saga Book 1)" Reviews
DNF @ 36%
If you read my status updates, you'll know what my main issues with this one were: nothing was explained and nothing was happening. There were random bits of information throughout but nothing that gave me a concrete bearing for why these kids were special or had magical abilities. In my opinion, the prologue should have been expanded a bit to give us a bit more information about the birth of the twins and why they were seen in prophecies. The backstory felt very rushed from everything we had seen so far at almost 40% of the novel.
As well, nothing was really happening. Cayden and Avery already knew about their abilities and were trying to keep them secret (which was difficult for me to swallow because they were in the middle of nowhere and had magical abilities -- someone would have realized these kids were special tbh) but then would do something out of character, like Cayden not believing he was "magic" which didn't really make sense to me?
It also felt very awkward to have their father kinda just go with the flow when the Seekers came to their house to take away the kids. He invited them in no questions asked and even offered them tea. I feel like he should have been a bit more protective? Like why are these random people snooping around and looking for my children? And then he just kinda was like "okay we will leave with you" like ????? IDK it just felt like they had to keep the plot moving forward so he was chill with everything which seemed awkward.
We also were in Cayden's POV a lot, which is fine but it got to be a bit much near the end of my reading. As well, we were given perspective from some other people and it seemed really out of place and uncomfortable to switch to them the way we did. I still don't really know what the plot is other than these kids are going to overthrow the current Queen. But I don't know why the Queen is bad or why people hate her. And it was just a bit clunky. I feel like some things needed to be unpacked before they were to keep me interested and engaged.
I think this has potential to be a good story; the writing wasn't horrible and flowed nicely, the dialogue was pretty good, there was a lot of showing rather than outright telling, but it was just taking too long. And I had no idea why it was taking so long. Why did we have to unpack things so slowly? Why were the kids so advanced at magic already but still learning their limitations? These were things I needed to know way before now to increase my interest and wanting to continue reading.
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After being fathered by Tolkien, midwifed by the likes of Zimmer Bradley and McCaffery, brought to maturity by those such as Jordan and Martin, there came a long, dry spell in the genre of fantasy, rife with the trite, the rehashed, and the lack of heart. Then came a bright revival, with burgeoning talents such as Rothfuss, Weeks, and Brett. And now, with her debut novel, Seer of Souls, Susan Faw shows that she stands head and shoulders alongside the aforementioned new authors, revitalizing a most-beloved genre.
Faw’s work is innovative while still paying homage to the best hallmarks of fantasy, bringing readers an engaging story inspired by the breath of new life, like forging a new path through a well-loved forest.
For me, the most important aspect of a story is its characters. No matter how well a novel may be written otherwise, if the characters do not engage me, if I do not live the story through them, then I cannot connect to the work. This is an area where Faw really shines. I fell in love with the characters (the good and the bad) instantly, with hardly any “getting to know you” period. That is the gift of an author who writes from the heart. I haven’t experienced such rapid character connection since Firefly.
Needless to say, I eagerly await continuing the story in Spirit Shield
The quality of the writing--that is to say, sentence structure and the like--was fine. The soul of the book, however, felt fairly dead to me. It took a heaping of The Most Typical Fantasy Tropes, draped them over flat characters, and was utterly unengaging as a result.
Really good pace throughout the story. I felt there was just the right amount of characters plus information given to keep me going along nice and easy. The plot is a classic, but with a few original elements to make it unique in its own right. Looking forward to the sequels when I'll get my hands on them :-)
Seer of Souls by Susan Faw is the first in an exciting new fantasy sage, the Spirit Shield Saga. With this first book, Faw introduces readers to a magical world that is full of intrigue, political strife, and adventure.
The two main characters are twins Caden and Avery, who both just so happen to a have hidden talent of magic. I really enjoyed getting to know each of these characters; both were full of personality and were wonderfully developed. They seem to grow up quite a bit throughout the novel, which was enjoyable to read. I felt like there was a good mix of serious content and more adventurous/light-hearted content. The rest of the supporting cast of characters add a great deal of entertainment and depth to the story as well.
Faw's narrative and descriptions have the promising flow of a great fantasy author, but the part of her writing that fell short for me was the dialogue. This book seemed to have a mixture of seasoned, experience writing mixed with beginner writing. The writing would flow and exude with talent, but then the dialogue would appear jilted and awkward, which really tugged me out of this exciting story. The plot itself was extremely promising and overall well-written, but I do feel as though it could have been developed a bit more thoroughly.
The chapters within Seer of Souls alternated between various characters, though most often between Caden and Avery. I enjoyed getting the perspectives of both twins on this journey, but I do wish we had gotten a bit more perspective from Avery, which I felt was dwarfed in comparison to the amount of POV from Caden. A few of the other POVs from extra characters also felt a bit random and unneeded at times, but overall it all worked well together and added much more dimension and detail to the story.
The magic system created by Faw was also quite intriguing. One of my favorite parts of starting a new fantasy book or series is figuring out what the magic system would be like, and I am really glad to say that Seer of Souls did not disappoint. It was unique and interesting to experience, but I do think it has the potential to be developed much more, which Faw may just do in subsequent novels in this series.
Overall, I am giving Seer of Souls three-and-a-half stars!
Visually descriptive with captivating, believable characters, Seer of Souls takes the reader into a world that is easy to imagine and feel a part of. The adventures of Cayden, Ryder and Avery, with the help of ancient creatures called Primordials, as they fulfill their destiny, are at once riveting and heartbreaking. The story is a page-turner and I found myself pulled into the narrative right from the start. With magical creatures, an army of dark spirits, a corrupt queen and an evil goddess of unimaginable power, Seer of Souls is a fantasy story that holds its own. I am looking forward to the next book in the series! I have received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.