Friday, April 7, 2017

Souldancer - The Early Chapters

Souldancers, you see.
This book is a beast.  Clocking in at 500 pages, and being behind on a lot of other lit-crit analysis, your old pal Jon just isn't going to be able to give you the measured doses of full analysis this month.  Instead, I'm going to play loosey-goosey and throw down my impressions as we roll along.

With that ado a-done, let's get to it.

Looks like Xander is our main character this time around, and he's a Nesshin.  The Nesshin are one of my favorite rarities in science-fiction - a desert nomad people who aren't just arabs with the serial numbers filed off.  There are certain necessities that all desert dwellers will share, such as a reverence for oases, but you don't often see a fully realized culture that feels as natural and yet un-earthlike as the Nesshin.

Our pal Xander gets booted from the clan by a loving father who thinks he's capable of so much more, and in his dream-quest to escape the desert he shows the reader that dear old dad might just be on to something.  He's got a bit of the

Sulaiman makes an appearance.  Wait.  Isn't that the guy from the first book?  Checking the archives reveals he was one of the living people Jaren encountered in Hell.  He was the priest who led the freehold and wound up stealing Teg's body before being killed by Vaun.  So this is a prequel.  Got it.

Damus Greystone, another Gen, and his wookie-pal, Nahel.  Actually a malakh, a half-man, half-wolf, are looking for an ancient artifact and think they know where to find it, but they need a guide, and Xander needs a job.  It's a match made in heaven.  All they need is a Guildman to -

Wait again.  I just spent the last book learning to hate the Guild, what is our adventuring party doing working with the Guildsman Arcanadeus.  Oh right, prequel.  They aren't so bad just yet.  From the sounds of things, they haven't obtained their monopoly yet, but they aren't well liked, either.  So we'll just have to keep an eye on this guy and make sure he stays loyal.

The Gen have been liquidated though, so we know Avalon is currently hiding out in Hell, and that makes Damus a rarity.  He and Nahel's first adventure is a little investigation into some demonic activity out at the farm, and after beating back an attack of shapeshifters, they drag a corpse back to town for a little speak with dead mono-a-mono, and we learn that the shapeshifter was a Night Tribe Gen working for a big bad voodoo man named Shaiel, who "is the Void".  They might have learned more if it wasn't for that meddling kid, Xander.

Okay, just writing all that out was a big help.  I think I might actually have this now.


  1. Psst - couple edit issues above - seems text was dropped.

    Yes, to do a detailed review in a month would be nearly a full time job. Yes, a beast. Been trying to find a chance to reread it, since, like Nethereal, there's a LOT there - can't just read it as you drop off to sleep. So I haven't reviewed it yet myself.

    Psst 2 - not a prequel. Rather, if it is, I REALLY misread it. People/daemons don't stay dead. Universe was purged by fire as a result of the events at the end of the first book.

    1. The events of SD take place after Nethereal--except for the scenes that are set in Kairos, which transcends time.

  2. Brian Niemeier has said to look at Final Fantasy 6 for influences. While I'll get more into the similarities soon, that game is split into two parts, a "World of Balance" and a "World of Ruin" which picks up the story one year after the World of Balance is destroyed by a cataclysm. The Soul Cycle is following a similar pattern, but with a larger time-skip.