Layli Khalami, a beautiful and exotic entomologist. She inhabits the Paris of the young and irreverent and has dedicated her life to two causes—science and the salvation of her people. To those ends, she willingly embarks on a mission fraught with danger. Are there any other characters we need to meet? Rounding out the cast of major characters is Floyd Flynn, a neo-Nazi homicidal psychopath, whose murderous appetite is tinged with a perverse sexuality; Akim Fawzi, an Al Qaeda mastermind living in the shadows of America; and Solomon the wise, caring, but pragmatic sage who oversees a cadre of counterterrorism Mossad agents throughout the world, including Matt David.
I would describe Solomon as both a super spy, and a super human being. Have you written any other books that we should read next? A Matt David sequel is definitely in the works. Tell us a bit about yourself. I have come late to novel writing, having devoted my professional life until now writing, editing, and creating nonfiction science materials for young adult and adult readers. After earning a B. I later ventured into the world of publishing as a way of marrying my scientific training to my literary ambitions.
Army as a preventive medicine technician and surgical technician, in the United States and in Italy. Feeding my wanderlust, in my late teens I went to sea as a merchant seaman, visiting ports in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and South America. I enjoy a ton of genres, but there's no shaking epic fantasy from the 1 spot. However, it's a very frustrating genre because it's been so focused on straight white male protagonists. To me, and to many other readers, that's tired and boring by now. I don't need the genre to be reinvented. I just need it to be more inclusive, and I'm very happy with this one.
I picked up Soul of the World on a whim. I knew I wanted a big, thick fantasy, but honestly, I often shy away from male authors. Basically, the story takes place in a new world across an ocean from the old, so very much inspired by Europeans coming to North America.erittiogadre.ml/4525.php
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In this new world, there are indigenous tribes, colonies of Sarresant and Gand, and a wall that divides the two. The plot isn't easy to distill into a sentence or two because there's just so much going on. There's very cool magic and revolution and a shifting of gender roles and giant animals and gods with mysterious motivations. There's so much in this book to love. I knew within a few pages that I'd enjoy this book, but it wasn't until I was about pages in that I realized I couldn't put it down. No, not everyone's going to be down with the pacing, which is deliberate.
This is epic fantasy, though. When is pacing not deliberate? Mealing's working with three main characters in three different locations with three different story-lines. Just like it takes time to get one ball rolling, it takes even longer to get three going. The main characters as previewed on the back-cover synopsis: I liked Sarine right away because she's an underdog. She makes a living by selling her drawings of the city and its noble inhabitants, and she lives in a church with a priest she calls Uncle.
She also has to hide her magic, which she often uses to sneak into places in order to sketch nobles, because anyone with magic has to either serve in the army or buy their freedom. She also has a dragon-like companion named Zi, who's mysterious and doesn't like to give straight answers. That's one of the four magic systems, all of which are incredible and a lot of fun, present in the book.
Arak'Jur is a member of the Sinari, one of the indigenous tribes. He bears the "Arak" in his name because he's a guardian of his people, which means when he kills an animal, he can ask to be granted a gift from that animal.
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It's a little hard to explain, but he can call upon these gifts, such as speed, in battle. In addition to guardians, men from the tribes communicate with the spirits in order to see the future. Those together are the second of the magic systems. It took me a little while to warm up to Arak'Jur, but that might have been because his is the only non-colonial perspective. Consequently, I spent a lot of time at the beginning of his story trying to gauge how it would dovetail with the others. The tribes have different roles for men and women.
Even their magic is considered to be separate, and here's where the third form of magic comes in I'm counting the men and women's magic as two separate systems. One of the aspects of this story-line that I really enjoyed was how Mealing explored gender role within the tribes through Arak'Jur's eyes. Arak'Jur is also the only perspective from a person of color, as far as I can tell. I can't decide for anyone else whether it's good representation, but I think it's great that, in the white-male-protagonist-dominated world of epic fantasy, Mealing chose two women and a man of color for his main characters.
And, oh, my goodness. I can't even explain how much I liked Erris. She's a badass rising through the ranks of the army and doing everything she can to defend New Sarresant against Gand by wielding the fourth and final magic system, which involves being able to see different forces resting along leylines and "tether" them to oneself or someone else. The main forces are Life, Death, Body, and Shelter, and exploring the new continent exposes them to more. Also, Erris's motto is "only excellence, nothing more," and she even relies on it when she disagrees with a command straight from the Crown Prince.
I love all three mains, but I'm really looking forward to seeing more from Erris in book two. There's a lot I can't say without giving things away. I just want a lot of people to read this and love it and talk to me about it, okay? But seriously, I'd recommend this to any reader who loves epic fantasy and is patient enough to settle in for a long, intense journey. Oct 31, Rituranjan Gogoi rated it really liked it. A debut epic fantasy with a ton of potential. This is a pretty fat book, and almost took me a week to finish reading. Being a debut it has its flaws, but, nonetheless it delivers a strong story, with a unique magic system and battle-actions to prove its merit.
At some point, I was on the verge of giving up due to its slow pacing, but, as I'm a lover of fantasy I persisted, and was paid off moderately. Being a first book in the trilogy this book is almost bowed down by the worldbuilding, which at A debut epic fantasy with a ton of potential. Being a first book in the trilogy this book is almost bowed down by the worldbuilding, which at times is rather rugged and cumbrous.
The writing at places is a bit rough which irked my attention to the story at some point. The mythology and the religion surrounding the world is also yet to be explained, which remains vague, and as a result I'm not able to grasp the full scope of events that were happening and are about to happen. I have to mention the fact that I'm very much confused about the nature of the gods and goddesses in Mealing's fantasy world.
The process of Ascension and 'The Three' is yet to be explained in detail pertaining to the myths hinted in the story. So, the world of Mealing is comprised of the Old World and the New World colonies in this respect , and the division between the civilisation and savages comes into portrayal of the tribes in the wild. Many readers might find in this tale a allegorical thread bringing up the era of colonisation and imperialism in the fabric of fantasy, but whatever it is The story and the plot is rather slow, although there are tensions prevailing in the midst.
The setting of New Sarrasent reminded me of 18th century France, and the uprising revolution brought a historic reminiscent of the day of Bastille, going red with canons, muskets, and Swords. The story is told through three viewpoints of the principal characters- Sarine, Erris, and ArakJur, with occasional interludes that incorporates minor characters or other players behind the game.
The plot is divided into four major sections named after the seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, insisting perhaps at the nature of the Gods and Goddesses. The battle-scenes were rightly done with the chaos, destruction, gunfire, and gore which reminded me of Erikson's Malazan series. This is a plus point for the author.
I already mentioned about the rough writing, but it smooths towards the end. And, the characters are interesting, though I wasn't emotionally invested in them in the beginning. But, as the story progressd I was able to connect with them and their motives and actions. Mealing gives us strong female characters here in Sarine, Erris, and Correna.
ArakJur, the guardian of the Sinari tribe was a good male character with strength that plays his part in the story. I suspect that we are yet to get the full cast in this starting point, but these characters didn't fall flat with the somewhat tedious worldbuilding. I'm very much interested to know more about their part in the big game. The magic system is new and inventive, and I would credit the author in this. The beast magic, and the power of spirits connected to nature and the wild wielded by ArakJur and the tribes is pretty cool. The other magic linked to something called leylines or faith was complex which manifests in colours: There are also mysterious creatures called 'Kaas' linked to the leylines magic users, and, Zi, the mysterious companion of Sarine is very interesting, which I would like to know more about and his magical powers.
All in all, this was an interesting read, I wouldn't term it as entertaining, but, I'm curious about what is to follow in the later books. I think that the author perhaps pulled too much strings in worldbuilding which affected the pace of the story. It's not until some pages that the tempo starts to build up and the story progresses at a modest pace. I'm not yet sure about the minor twists and the open ending, where I expected a sort of blast, the ending was abrupt and the action not satisfactory.
I recommend this novel to patient fantasy lovers, who have the tenacity to go through slow plots, and vague easter-eggs that is littered in the story. For myself, I would definitely be waiting for the sequel to come out. Jun 09, Barbara Cerda rated it it was amazing. Impressions This is an epic and deeply ambitious read. Military battles and the politics of civil war come to life in a fantasy world filled with magic. But this telling of war also includes love and betrayal that accompanies magic. The concept of tethering a leyline to bind paranormal powers is a fascinating concept.
Also, the acquiring of spirit powers from slain beasts is an almost forgotten legacy from the original tribes of earth.
Each chapter of this book effortlessly explores the diversions between opposing cultures while magic seems to be the binding force. The transition from chapter to chapter and the development of storyline was, for me, extremely enjoyable. It kept this reader wondering how the main drivers of the tale could eventually come together and become heroines and hero.
I felt the disappointment at the loss of friends and fellow soldiers. I laughed at the ribald in your face language from wine laden lips. Putting aside the pain of loss and war, he learns how questioning the unquestionable becomes an important tool for survival.
Three must rise This novel is about a fantasy world that finds its fated path darkened with civil war. The journey is also about the politics of court intrigue, love, and death. But soldiers and the resistance yearning for a renaissance are fighting in an enchanted world where magical shamans speak truth from gods. Streets and sewers run red with blood. And tribal guardians assume the power of the animal spirits they slay.
Evil takes residence in the hearts of the oppressed in the cities of the Gands and Sarresants. Three women from divergent cultures define the outcomes of this war between good and evil in a fantasy world in the grips of a fight that may never end. Who among the gods will survive and who among men will ascend to the Veil. Their weapons of choice are warding spells, binding powerful magic and the power of spirit guides. Main Characters Sarine Thibeaux is a street artist inhabiting the slums call the Maw.
A freebinder, she possesses innate and rare abilities. Inside her lies a hidden secret that will change and save her world. Born to a blacksmith and trained by the military, she becomes a formidable commander and leader of her world New Sarresant. He embodies the strength of his tribe and is the protector.
His leadership balances the wisdom of the seer the Ka or shaman with the spirit powers of the beasts he slays. Llanara is the ambitious young Sanari woman. David Mealing's work is as ambitious a tale as sand worms and desert planets. It is a long read…. Finely edited, the transitions and development of characters was spot on. Not just a good read…. Link to my blog: Woooowww I am super pleased I picked this up on Boxing Day!
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This was the one I was most dubious about, because of the exorbitant price, but I am so glad I gritted my teeth and did: D Right from the start, it was a 5-star. The whole magic system, the different types of supernatural elements, the multiple POV and different settings of all of the characters.
The writing style was top notch, the character development and backgrounds and everyt Link to my blog: The writing style was top notch, the character development and backgrounds and everything. Nothing wrong with this book. My only fault was that I picked up the audio for it around halfway through, and whenever I pick up the audio I always slip a little. Really regretting that I did that, but it's the only way I was guaranteed to finish this month: Apr 30, Care rated it really liked it. Soul of the World presents a meaty, magical epic series beginning set in a fantastical world with complex characters.
Sardine, a street rat raised by a charitable priest in the slums of Maw, finds her gifts - which she'd never particularly considered significant before - raising her to new heights and exploring new avenues of magic. Erris, a military commander, adapts new avenues of magic to protect her men and finds herself struggling with military devotion and thoughts of independence. Arak'Ju Soul of the World presents a meaty, magical epic series beginning set in a fantastical world with complex characters.
Arak'Jur, guardian of his tribe, goes on a journey of discovery himself and finds new spirits and magics along the way. All three come into contact with dangerous and questionable forces along the way as well as those who have been overrun by greed and ambition.
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The book is told in chapters that alternate in perspective between the main characters with interludes from secondary characters. The work also prominently features strong women, not as an exception, but as a norm and natural, which I very much appreciated.
I found the styles of magic found in the book compelling and very interesting, even as I was a little lost the entire time. With so many focuses, it's hard to get a sense of what is actually important and where the book is going at times. But overall, a greatly written epic and an interesting foundation for a series, and I look forward to seeing where the books go.
Thanks to the publisher for an ARC in exchange for a fair review! Feb 06, Amandamyerson rated it it was amazing. Wow this book is amazing. Amazing world building and magic systems. David Mealing's "Soul of the World" is something of a surprise for me. I was completely unaware of it until it came out, but was intrigued by the premise, and pulled in by a review response that was overwhelmingly positive.
While the book hit all the right notes for me, it ultimately came down feeling too "safe" for me to say it's a great book. It almost gets there, but just falls short. Fr David Mealing's "Soul of the World" is something of a surprise for me. French colonies, whom are currently at war with the Gand English colonies. These colonies survive within a great barrier of magic that protects them from the beasts living in the wilds. Also living in the wilds are native tribes mired in tradition, who employ great spiritual protectors to protect themselves.
These tribes have an uneasy peace with the "fairskins" living beyond the barrier, and far more complicated relationships between tribes. I'm all for fantasy settings that stray away from medieval Europe, and what Mealing has constructed here is solid, and not exactly the focus of the book. Worldbuilding takes something of a backseat, allowing more room for the plot and characters. The book follows three main characters, as you can see in the blurb. Sarine, the resident "orphan with great power" living in New Sarresant; Erris, a commander in the Sarresant military; and Arak'Jur, a tribesman and guardian to his people.
The three are distinct from one another, and are likable and interesting to follow, but they are the first hurdle where "Soul of the World" fell short to me. Like many of this book's features, they're passable but don't excel. Vessels for the story, but they never feel like they drive the story forward. Instead they are almost wholly reactionary to the plots and ploys of the book's villains. I also don't feel like Mealing every goes far enough with developing them, especially as they exist outside of the plot. He seems to have put the most effort into Sarine, as I could picture her living a life if the plot of the book hadn't started, but Erris and Arak'Jur are singular creatures, and I feel like I've barely gotten to know them.
The side characters are interesting, but there are only a few stand-outs. I particularly liked the side characters in Arak'Jur's chapters, but I generally favoured his scenes over the others anyway. The villains are appropriately menacing, but again did little to distinguish themselves from many of the other dastardly villains of Fantasy fiction. One of the book's stronger aspects is its magic, though I suspect this will be a point of contention for some people.
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There are three distinct magic systems here at least as far as the main characters employ; there are definitely more that feel similar enough to plausibly exist in the same universe, including some powers that overlaps, while also mechanically being varied and visually interesting. Sarine and Erris both employ the most common magic that involves manipulating leylines to different affects, depending on one's gifts; Sarine also has a mysterious spectral colour-changing reptilian companion by the way who seems to channel powersthrough her, although this magic is the one Mealing plays closest to the chest; Arak'Jur takes on key powers of the spirits of the Great Beasts that he protects his people from.
For example, all three have a power that make them physically stronger and faster. Some people, I think, will be turned off by this, but I think it works here; there's also good in-universe justification for more than one magic system. The magic allows itself for fun, easy-to-follow action scenes. The war scenes that Erris oversees were competently done, but the real star for me were the sequences where Arak'Jur would unleash his spirit magic to go toe-to-toe with a Great Beast or an equally threatening human.
Well-described, easy to visualize, and not bogged down with too much detail. The plot of the novel is, ultimately, lacklustre. You've probably read several books with the same broad strokes. Once again, it's serviceable, but it never really caught my attention. Like I said, the characters just felt too passive for me, without many active goals other than maintaining a status quo, so I didn't feel a momentum to the book. I went into this book ready to love it, but it never took itself one step further, didn't really employ any risks.
It played its plot pretty safe, and so it just feels safe. That said, one thing Mealing does do that I'm surprised his editor let him get away with is using multiple POV breaks in interludes. There are four parts to this novel, and sandwiched between each part are three interlude chapters each. That means there are twelve interludes, as well as two or three epilogues, each of these told from a perspective of a character we otherwise don't get perspective chapters from.
This is ambitious for a debut novel, and I think it pays off. I, for one, love multiple perspectives, and these were my favourite parts of the book. I sat and read far longer than I had planned to once because I reached an interlude and wanted to see these chapters. Each interlude feels like it builds on the lore of the world and the story, and also appear extremely significant to the plot--some will introduce characters who are about to arrive in the main plot, while others hint at characters that might be major players later in the series, while others take even broader strokes, pulling the scope of the novel even farther back so you can understand just how overwhelming the opposition to our heroes feels.
I will also give credit to Mealing for setting up plenty of intrigue and mystery. The book walks the line between "too much information for me to be curious" and "so little information I'm annoyed. David Mealing's debut is good, it's just not great.
Terrorism Fiction eBook, The Madness Analog, Gets Five-Star Review
The story, which revolves around an intelligent Mossad-slash-FBI counterterrorism agent who is hellbent on linking a series of murders to disparate events unfolding concurrently in the United States and in parts of Europe, adds excitement and innovation to the growing terrorism fiction genre. That is, everyone but Special Agent Matt David. Reviews for the gripping nail-biter have started accumulating. From websites such as Reader to Reader and Amazon. That is a remarkable accomplishment for a first-time novelist who just happens to have been writing non-fiction for the better part of four decades.
The Madness Analog is that good.
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