Souldrifter by Garrett Calcaterra is the powerful followup to Dreamwielder, a fantasy adventure where a girl has the power to bend reality to her dreams and no one is safe. It is wonderful when a sequel improves upon the previous book with stronger writing, more compelling characters, and the same awesome magic that I came to love in book one! I definitely recommend this series for fans of gritty and unique fantasy with a fair amount of political maneuvering.
Note: This is an expedited review; I was paid to provide an unbiased review to the author and they chose for it to be published. For details, see my review policy.
Souldrifter by Garrett Calcaterra (The Dreamwielder Chronicles #2)
Published by Diversion Books on Sept. 29th, 2015
Page Length: 298 pages
How I got my copy: Author
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In the shadow of Emperor Guderian’s fallen empire, young Queen Makarria finds her throne—and her life—in grave danger. The Old World Republic has come, demanding that Queen Makarria bring order to the struggling Five Kingdoms by forming a new empire, one she would rule as the Old World’s puppet. When Makarria refuses them, the Old World threatens war and unleashes a nefarious spy to sow discord in her court. Before she knows it, Makarria’s budding romance with Prince Caile has been exploited by the spy, and Makarria finds herself embroiled in a complex game of power and lies in which she can trust no one.
Betrayed and lost, Makarria is forced to shed all pride and discover the true nature of her power as a dreamwielder in order to recreate herself and face the sprawling threat that is the Old World Empire.
- I struggle to say who the main characters of this series are, since Souldrifter adds several new characters while giving us more insight into those introduced in book one. I’m happy with various points of view, though, and enjoyed getting to know Fina, a woman with a difficult past but mad fighting skills. I also grew much more attached to Makarria this time around since she has grown a lot and felt more realistic.
- One of my main complaints about the first book of this series was that the writing felt too clunky for me at times, but I’m happy to report that book two vastly improves in this department. Calcaterra has clearly grown as a writer and I highly recommend sticking with this series.
- I think the thing that appeals to me most about this series is the unexpected grittiness. There is a fair amount of death and I had no idea which characters were safe and which weren’t going to make it, so the action scenes were compelling and packed with tension. This added darkness also just made the story all around more realistic, since people don’t magically survive when they would realistically probably die.
- While magic was less a focus at times in Souldrifter than Dreamwielder, there are some fascinating revelations as to what magical powers exist in the world still and what Makarria can do with her magic. I guessed what the title was referring to pretty early on, but it was still fun finding out more ;-).
- I’ll be honest, I had no idea how the characters were going to figure a way out of the main conflict and couldn’t stop turning the pages since I also had no idea if they even were going to figure something out! I love clever plot twists, and Souldrifter definitely delivered on twists that I couldn’t figure out for myself.
- While binge reading this series is of course recommended, Calcaterra does a good job of including subtle reminders of the events of Dreamwielder if it’s been a while since you read it. You don’t need to stress about rereading or having a solid memory, since we all know I definitely don’t, ha.
- The main plot of the first half of Souldrifter is focused on politics and you all know how that really isn’t my jam. I found myself a bit bored and worried that that was going to be the entire plot, but fortunately the second half picks up with the action and there was enough mystery to keep me going.
- There are still times in Souldrifter when information is dumped upon the reader via dialogue or reading from a book. I prefer information to be slipped in a bit more subtly, personally.
Souldrifter is a fantastic sequel in a series that has a lot of promise. I’m always happy to see a writer improving as a series continues, and The Dreamwielder Chronicles nicely demonstrates that. I think fans of A Song of Ice and Fire will appreciate the vast political landscape and grit that this story includes, with a touch more magic. If you are intrigued by the premise of book one, definitely give this series a try, knowing that there is no second book syndrome to fear!
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
Souldrifter by Garrett Calcaterra
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