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Jeff Seymour shows a masterful grasp of writing in these books. I've been reading SciFi/Fantasy for 50 years and seldom have I read such well-worded, easily read stories. A group of companions, good against evil type of story with an unusual twist. Just finished the second book and eagerly awaiting the third!
Soulwoven is everything you could want from an epic YA novel. The story grips you with endless action, adventure, and suspense, leaving you saying, "Maybe just one more chapter tonight..." at the end of every chapter. Meanwhile the characters draw you in as you experience each of their own personal struggles with identity and purpose, making you love them each for their strengths and weaknesses alike--having the chapters written in multiple-POV really helps bring each character into his/her own. The author's language is easy to follow, but illustrates the world, the action, and the characters clearly and beautifully, so that the pages just fly by.
This is a great book for anyone looking for an exciting, easy, and fairly quick read. I can't wait to see what happens in the sequel!
I picked this up and found that I couldn't put the book down until I was finished. Seymour creates a world that is a breath of fresh air from the usual fantasy norms. I recommend this book for anyone who wants to become woven into a story that is sure to deliver a memorable adventure in the future.
I should explain my rating first. The story itself I give four stars. The extra star gets added on simply because, as an entire package, this is the best self-published book I have seen to date. Everything is well done: the cover art, the editing, the typesetting. It even puts many traditionally-produced books, which are sometimes lazily-done or rushed to the presses, to shame.
As for the story itself: it reminds me why I stopped reading epic high fantasy, but in the best way possible. The author pares it all back down to the basics, but not to the cliches; these he manages to avoid or subvert, all the while bringing an interesting element of magical realism into the narrative. It is the humanness of the characters that carries the tale. Most of them are young, troubled, and uncertain in the face of dire circumstances, and yet never do they succumb to what I would call "Holden Caulfield Syndrome," which seems to afflict many young protagonists and render them unreadable. They are fallible, unlike many heroes of high fantasy (yawn), and yet not so fallible that it becomes predictable in its own way (*cough* George R.R. Martin *cough*).
The narrative itself is beautifully written, with a lush, descriptive quality that never goes overboard. In fact, he commits the commendable (and difficult) act of avoiding infodump entirely, allowing the details of his world to unfold organically and as they become relevant. It gives the world an eerie and mysterious feel and keeps the reader's curiosity piqued.
The story is not finished and a sequel is on the way: in a sense, I cannot judge this book entirely until I've read more, as it is in no way a standalone. But if this is just the beginning, it is one hell of a start.
I haven't always had the best of luck with high fantasy, but I liked Soulwoven quite a lot. It's a rather traditional epic quest story in may ways and has plenty of well-rendered action, but it's primarily character-driven, and with characters that grow and change in interesting ways. Most, but not all, of the characters are young adults and their questing functions at times as a bildungsroman.
The multiple POV's (I counted 7, plus 2 more that are introduced quite late in the game) are handled well. They are each distinct, and I was impressed by the author's ability to choose which POV should be used in any given scene, although there are some I would have liked to see even more of, or more deeply into.
We also get some love, unrequited and otherwise, which is important but does not overwhelm the rest of what's going on (This Is Good!), but which I found a touch predictable and heteronormative.
I wish there had been a little bit more information about the nature of magic and soulweaving in this world that Seymour has created, but this lack did not affect my overall enjoyment and understanding. Very cool novel. I'm happy I had the opportunity to read the professionally-edited version (although I've heard nice things about the initial Wattpad version as well) and I look forward to the sequel(s).
Reviewed in the United States on February 24, 2014
This is a great story, with clear independent character identities that evolve while reading. The content is original enough to grab the attention of any lover of fantasy novels...and it is that same originality that keeps you coming back for more. The author does a splendid job in illustrating his story with concise language, involved dialogue, and setting of moods. You find yourself rooting for one hero, then another, and then another...it is really hard to pick your favorite! Soulwoven starts out strong, and only gets stronger as you go. The closest comparison I can make is the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson, even though Neither Jeff Seymour nor Brandon have the same writing styles. Both authors have that ability to draw you into their worlds and have you believing they really do exist! Mr. Seymour has obviously put in a lot of work in his background of the civilizations so there is no discrepancies. If you are in the market for a REAL good read, and want to give a new author a try, Soulwoven will not leave you dissatisfied. By the end of this first installment you will definitely be screaming for more! I plan on recommending this novel to everyone I now that enjoys reading!
I won this book from a Goodreads giveaway and found it quite enjoyable. Jeff Seymour created a believable world for his story with an interesting system of magic. The characters were believable and I will keep my eye out for the sequel, once it is available. When that book does become available, I hope there will be more exploration of the relationship between Ryse and Leramis. This book does not conclude the story and leaves the characters in a difficult situation. Loose ends are everywhere with all hell about to break loose.
I did read some of the other reviews left by other readers and I will agree that the pacing is off. I too had to go back and re-read parts. At one point a character mentions that they have not been home in months, and to me, it felt like they had been gone for perhaps a few weeks. At another point, I was given the impression that one of the characters had died in a fight. Then, two chapters later, that character was back in the story with no explanation as to how he recovered. Despite some of these issues with transitions, I kept in mind that the author was new, and found that overall, there was much to like about this book.
I did take a look at Jeff Seymour’s blog. He wrote about a workshop on world building that he is involved in, so I know he is working on his craft. I look forward to seeing where he goes from here.
Reading Jeff Seymour's 'Soulwoven' reminded me of why I want to write fantasy. Jeff's world comes alive with beautiful imagery in this astounding first volume of what I expect to be a wonderful and unique series. The characters are sketched with depth and its hard not to love Litnig, Cole and the relationships that are developed in the adventure that unfolds before them. Soulwoven is a good read and an easy one at that. The story is well written and the plot compels the pages to turn. Before you realize, you may already be finished! It is well worth your time to give it a try and I am very much looking forward to having the next book in hand. Jeff Seymour's Soulwoven has inspired me to pick back up my fantasy writing as I have now seen how a self published author can establish himself with a solid debut worthy of the recognition of a traditional book.