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Eleventh Cycle (1) (Mistland)

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The author does a good job of giving you all the information you need to enjoy the scenes as you get to them and learn naturally about the places, people and lore as the novel progresses.

The addition of lore snippets at the start of each chapter adds an extra layer of information about Minethria, similar to what we experiment with Hidetaka Miyazaki's narrative, giving you partial information, letting some empty spaces that you can fill with theories, which will be confirmed or discarded once we continue advancing into the story. It’s not something that on its own will turn me off from a book, because it’s an unfortunately undeniable truth that it is part of the world, but it does very much depend on how it is done, and here it fell short. I hope that any prospective sequels get the time and editing process that they require to properly do justice to the genuinely interesting ideas and world that are in there somewhere. With these elements, the five stories start as independent ones, which will reunite together and cross paths with the advance in the novel, being really satisfactory in how everything starts to make sense at the end.Ardalan painted each character with immense care and depth, which definitely helped me keep turning the pages. The author has included content warnings at the beginning of the book, and I will repeat that in this review. But, in Eleventh Cycle it felt like there was a very clear divide from the moment the four main POVs come together with the Seed. The narrative never lets its hook off me, and I ended up reading this incredible 800 pages book in four days. And whether you have played Dark Souls or not, as long that you are a fan of character-driven grimdark fantasy, Eleventh Cycle is a must-read.

The giant was made entirely out of molten rock, where glowing fire flowed between the cracks of the charred, sediment flesh. Check out my YouTube channel where I show my instant reactions upon finishing reading fantasy books. If there's another aspect that is at the same level with worldbuilding, is how in contraposition with the darkness of the world, we are given characters we get to connect with them. However, I will say here and now, while this book is fantastic, and I loved it, and will be reading the sequel – do read the warnings before you embark. Perhaps because it was in the first person, but her voice, her sorrow and self-hatred were almost characters in themselves, and seeing where she had come from, and what had pushed and pulled her onto the path she found herself gave it greater impact – and to see how she chose to fight it, even passively at times.I can say for certain that Eleventh Cycle won't be for everyone but if you like a compelling story with less than perfect character that feel real, set in a cruel and unforgiving world, where sometimes hope is hard to find, this book is definitely for you. It resulted in a book that feels as if a first draft was placed into Google Translate, translated to another language and then back into English.

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