TL;DR Review: Perfect for fans of the early Wheel of Time books and a more cerebral, hard magic system. Great worldbuilding, interesting characters.
Shadow cripples all realms, magical and physical. A single chosen one isn’t enough.
Callan failed to save his sister from the plagued swamps blighting the land. When darkness threatens his home, he ventures on a daring quest to find the one mage who can help. But it is he who must grow in courage and power.
Across the vast ocean, Vasha excels at sealing breaches. Though other realm-shifting monks call her a prodigy, she panics over her progress. Then a devastating omen alters her destiny.
Hidden evil looms as Callan and Vasha discover lost magic, make unlikely friends, and fulfill a prophecy from ages long forgotten . . .
Yet not all will survive.
I was sent a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review, and I’m very glad I got the chance to read it.
From the first page, it felt like diving into the first few books of The Wheel of Time in all the best ways. But as it developed, it became something far more complex and Sanderson-esque.
Callan is the classic hero to be expected from a coming-of-age/Chosen One-type story. Responsible, mature for his age, and troubled by the loss of his sister to the “bleakmires” and “evil mists”, he bears the burden of protecting his village as a “wardkeeper”.
Kipp is the troublemaker, mischief-walking, light-fingered thief and all-around scoundrel. Very Mat Cauthon with a hint of Merry and Pippin thrown in. A bit self-centered, sure, but a good heart beneath.
Vasha is evocative of The Way of Kings’ Shallan, a character who lives in a different part of the world and serves as a way to explore the magic of the world. Her story is much more focused on the “hard magic” study and scholarship, but she quickly establishes herself as a strong, compelling character in her own right.
This is definitely one of the more complete, well-developed worlds I’ve encountered in this type of story. We get a strong sense of the villages and their occupants from the beginning, as well as the threat of the “bleakmires”–evil magic blight-lands swallowing the world one tract of land at a time.
As the story progresses, we get to see the world expand much in the same way we did in Wheel of Time. Cities, towns, mountains, canyons, forests, and more–all are discovered through the eyes of our characters, and come to life in real, compelling ways.
The Story Overall:
I won’t lie: the pacing on this is a bit slower than I’d like. The focus is very much on developing the cast of characters and the magic system, with far less action than, say, The Bound and the Broken or even The Wheel of Time.
However, there was enough to keep me intrigued and engaged, so much so that I burned through the first 60% or so in one sitting.
Ultimately, it comes to a fairly expected conclusion–again, very evocative of Wheel of Time–but added enough unique twists to set it apart as its own story.
Don’t go into The Seam of Eternity expecting an action-packed rollercoaster ride. Instead, prepare for a thorough look into the magic system (The Veins of Eternity, very original in its own right) and slow development of the characters and their world.
In the end, though, if you’re patient and give it time to unfold, you won’t regret sitting and reading. I know I didn’t!