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A Crucible of Souls
A Crucible of Souls by Mitchell Hogan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Raised by monks after the death of his family in a suspicious fire, Caldan receives an excellent education and magical training. Upon reaching adulthood he leaves the monastery to make his own way, and try and find out who his family was, and who he really is.

Life in Anasoma is nothing that Caldan’s sheltered upbringing prepared him for, and he soon finds himself homeless and penniless. In desperation he seeks and gains an apprenticeship with the Sorcerer’s Guild, despite being several years older than the rest of the apprentices.

While Caldan begins to settle down into his new life, make friends and investigate the mystery of his parents, an ancient evil is stirring, and soon will lay siege to Anasoma, once again throwing Caldan into the middle of chaos.

I very much enjoyed this novel and struggled to put it down, completing it in a single weekend.

While it’s yet another take on the orphan boy with a mysterious destiny, Hogan manages to keep it interesting with a combination of enjoyable world building and constant tension, building to a suitable climax.

Most of the characters were well done, although one or two seemed a bit superfluous to the plot thus far, although I expect they’ll come into their own in subsequent books.

The world building was quite complex and intricate, but it was well written as background, enhancing the story rather than over shadowing it. The magic system looks very interesting and well thought out, requiring effort and having consequences, which I always appreciate.

The plot was the main driver for the story, and it flowed in a logical but occasionally surprising manner, while maintaining consistency with the characters. I can see Hogan has a good story arc in place, one which will hopefully continue with the same clarity in future novels.

If you’re a fan of the fantasy genre, then I’d definitely give this one a try. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for the next book.

prk.

Disclaimer: Whilst I read this as a judge for the 2013 Aurealis Awards, this review is my personal opinion and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of any judging panel, the judging co-ordinator or the Aurealis Awards management team.

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