When Caldan’s parents are brutally slain, he is raised by monks and taught the arcane mysteries of sorcery.
Vowing to discover for himself who his parents really were, and what led to their violent end, he is thrust into the unfamiliar chaos of city life. With nothing to his name but a pair of mysterious heirlooms and a handful of coins, he must prove his talent to earn an apprenticeship with a guild of sorcerers.
But he soon learns the world outside the monastery is a darker place than he ever imagined, and his treasured sorcery has disturbing depths.
As a shadowed evil manipulates the unwary and forbidden powers are unleashed, Caldan is plunged into an age-old conflict that brings the world to the edge of destruction…
I received a copy of A Crucible of Souls through Edelweiss and the publisher of this book for the purpose of this review you’re about to read. I’ve been meaning to read/listen to this book for some time now, but I hadn’t gotten around to purchasing the audiobook version, which has been out since 2013. I was quite excited to receive this to see if it really was as good as I was hoping. I was pleased to find that it lived up to my expectations and utterly engrossed me!
We start out on an idyllic island that is home to the Monastery of the Seven Paths and our protagonist, Caldan, an orphan who has grown up under the tutelage of the monks. The monks teach their students many skills here that will benefit them in the future, including crafting, alchemy, the game of Dominion, and the Way of the Sword. Due to a series of unforeseen circumstances, Caldan is sent from the island to find his own place in the world and he quickly finds that he was not prepared for life in the city of Anasoma. Fortunately for him, he doesn’t immediately get his skull bashed in by dockside thugs, though it was a close thing.
Caldan begins to realize that he’s not quite the average sorcerer’s apprentice- he heals rapidly, has an adept skill at crafting, and he’s got some rather impressive sword-work. After Caldan almost gets an extra hole in his skull and has his meager funds stolen, he conveniently gets apprenticed at the Sorcerer’s Guild where he will have room and board, plus the much desired training. Alas, nothing can stay butterflies and sunshine forever; it quickly becomes apparent that something suspicious is going on in the city and the situation rapidly deteriorates. I won’t say more, since it will give away all the excitement, but the end of the book left me in a serious state of needing the sequel.
This book was a very classic fantasy novel, and by that I mean there were the expected fantasy tropes. For example, “A poor boy grows into a hero and he will overcome all odds and face a great threat”- that kind of thing. Let me just say that novels like this are like comfort food on a cold winter day, they are wonderful and familiar and you read the entire thing in one or two sittings. Say what you like, but there’s nothing like opening up a book and losing yourself in it for a few hours or a whole day and that’s exactly what you can do with A Crucible of Souls. I will be recommending this book to my fellow book reading friends with my highest regards for its quality and content. I look forward to seeing what Mitchell Hogan does with the sequel and how he will eventually wrap up this tale.