I’ve just been introduced to progression fantasy and spent the last 2 and a half to 3 weeks binge reading the Cradle Series by Will Wight.
While it’s not epic fantasy, it’s progression fantasy (a story where a character begins at a low level of power/magic/ability, and we follow their journey as they ‘level up’). It’s pretty much epic fantasy adjacent. The closest I’ve come to progression fantasy before is the book, The Iron Prince that I reviewed back in May (although that is science fiction). I really enjoyed it the Cradle series.
We begin with Lindon. He’s somewhat of a pariah in the Wei Clan of Sacred Valley because he is born ‘unsouled’. That is to say, his soul/spirit does not align with any of the four aspects of power in this world – enforcer, striker, ruler, or forger. All he wants is to benefit his clan and learn the sacred arts, progress from the Foundation level and learn to be a Soulsmith like his mother. Though he is not powerful, there is no denying Lindon’s intelligence and determination. He refuses to take no for an answer and works tirelessly to find a way to progress and prove that he has a path to follow.
And he does have a path. it’s just not a path any of the insular inhabitants of Sacred Valley even suspect exists.
Compared to my usual fare of doorstop sized tomes, these books are ‘bite sized’. I spent hours, days, lost in them as I followed Lindon in his trials and tribulations. And I loved every second of it. The world is massive; the magic system begins quite basic, but becomes hugely diverse and complex. And that complexity just grows as the novels progress.
This is perfect for those who have played video games and received a thrill when you levelled up. Or if you enjoy reading about characters who start out weak and become powerful through their own wit and determination. Then this series is for you. I highly recommend it.
I can’t wait for book 10 – Reaper – to come out!
You can find the first book in the series – Unsouled – here.