Soulwoven by Jeff Seymour, is an ambitious novel by a self published author,with a captivating world, that is comfortingly familiar, but lacks the depth that the reader wants out of it.
1/5 – Rescored from a 3/5 to a 2/5 to a 1/5 Totally forgettable
The sequel to Soulwoven, Soulwoven:Exile was just released December 12.
+ Fascinating world and magic system that begs to be explored
+ Fast paced story
+ Some interesting characters
+ Holds back information amazingly
– Plot seems like an RPG
– Clunky writing
– Overly-ambitious that places too many demands on the story
Similar Reads: Dragonlance Books by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, Forgotten Realms side stories
Plot – 2: Soulwoven is a story about a group of adventurers attempting to stop the return of a legendary dragon that will destroy the land. If the dragon statues throughout the realm of Guedin break, the dragon will be free. Two brothers, a soulweaver(magic user), and a prince start an adventure that meets up with a hard-faced Aleani and a young female scout to stop the statues from being broken by necromancers wanting to free the dragon. Everyone has their own secrets to hold which might change everything.
Soulwoven’s plot reminded me a lot of an rpg. The focus on the beginning was to setup the conflict, then you gathered your party members, traveled to other cities, and gained more party members. At each main city that the party stopped some conflict occurred. The pacing was brisk and fast, as the party made their way to each city that held a dragon statue, each one a different race and society. There is a lot of ground covered in this one book, more ground covered than a lot of other books within one book. Seymour did not focus much on the traveling aspect though and they go to cities remarkably fast. One chapter they were 3 weeks away from a city and then the next they were right there.
I felt that Soulwoven was so overly-ambitious in its scope that other parts of the story suffered. Even though the story was fast paced, it felt rushed, and I wanted more character interactions. I wanted more conflicts that weren’t settled with magic or a sword to open up more depth in the characters. Even getting a few more camp fire dialogue sequences where characters talked about their fears, hopes, and desires more would have been welcomed. I really disliked the dream aspect of Soulwoven and felt like it detracted from the plot.
Characters – 2: The characters in Soulwoven were extremely hit or miss. Because there was a large party you couldn’t focus on particular characters as much as a reader might like. The story was told through the eyes of the party, each person having their turn to talk about what was going on. That was fine with me but there were about 8 different viewpoint characters and add that with the fact that Soulwoven’s story was overly epic in scope for this book and you got less time for actual character development.
My favorite character was easily Dil, she was the highlight of the book for me. I think I liked Dil because she was written as a sympathetic and flawed character but with her own unique strength. I did not feel any attachment to the other characters but I really wanted to. I really wanted this group of characters to succeed though.
Seymour does succeed admirably with holding back information. Seymour holds back enough information about his characters that it makes you want to keep reading to discover what it is that they are hiding.
Setting/World Building – 3: The world building of Soulwoven is the most impressive aspect of the book. I loved the map and following the trek of the adventurers on the map. The different races were similar enough to be inviting but different enough to be interesting. I just wanted more information but Seymour does a great job of never info-dumping to the reader. All the cities are specific and unique albeit they needed more description.
The magic system was a lot of fun that left me asking a lot of questions. If the soulweavers use souls to conjure magic, where do the souls come from, and what happens to the souls after the magic is used? I had this awful thought a few times that creating a large fireball from the souls actually destroyed the souls. That the souls being destroyed were people’s souls that have died in the past. I think if that was revealed it would really spice up the magic system even greater. Having the opposite of soulweavers, the necromancers was a lot of fun, but I wanted to know more about the difference between the necromancer’s power and a soulweaver’s power. Then you added in the Duennin’s power and things got interesting.
Writing Style – 1: The writing style of Soulwoven held the story back greatly. There was a lot of paragraph breaks in this story to relay movement and focus shifting. I didn’t care for this, as the story felt incredibly clunky, and there were more than a few times where the story shifted so dramatically from these breaks that the reader gets disorientated and needs to reread. If you have seen The Bourne Identity movies with the fast cut action sequences that make you a little dizzy and you wondered what just happened, that is how Soulwoven makes you feel at times. The prose just did not flow that great.
Mind and Heart Factor – 2: There really was not anything in Soulwoven that challenged me or moved me. I feel that if the characters were a little stronger some events would have made a larger impact on me but I just shrugged them off. The mind and heart factor is the difference between good books and great books for me and I just wasn’t feeling this one.
I have not read a lot of self-published work and I might come back to Soulwoven in the future and realize that it is a lot better than I thought when compared to other self-published work. This story wasn’t bad, it was just kind of unremarkable. I would recommend this book to people that like adventure fantasy.
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.