Will Wight Cradle Books Ranked
By: Preston Simmons | Written: October 19, 2021 | Updated: November 5th, 2021
The Most Addicting Book Series ever?
*Warning: This post will contain spoilers*
Will Wight’s Cradle series might be some of the most addictive, fun books I have ever read. As of this post, there are nine books released. It took me less than a single week to read all nine books, and none of them are concise. With these books, once you start reading, it’s tough to put them down.
The Cradle series is progression fantasy at its best. Progression fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy where the focus is on a character starting weaker than everyone else, and through hard work and training, eventually manages to become one of, if not the most powerful person in their story.
Progression fantasy is fun popcorn reading, and the Cradle books are the best. The series follows Lindon, an unsouled, as he leaves his home of the Wei Shi Clan and Sacred Valley to go on a journey to become as powerful as possible to prevent an incoming apocalyptic threat that will one day destroy his home.
As I said, there are currently nine books available, with the tenth book, Reaper, on its way in a few weeks. Nine excellent books comprise the series, but which one is the best?
Here are the Will Wight Cradle books Ranked!
*Final Warning: This post will contain spoilers*
#10 – Soulsmith (Book 2)
Placing at number 10 for the Will Wight Cradle books ranked is Soulsmith, book 2 in the series. Soulsmith is Lindon’s and, by extension our, first taste of the world outside of Sacred Valley. As expected, it’s a brutal one.
This book is great because it introduces us to characters and groups that we will see in later books that remain relevant for a long time. We meet Fisher Geisha and Jai Long, who help Lindon in different ways (one being the mentor and one being an antagonist who forces him to grow). And, of course, we are introduced to one of the coolest and mysterious characters in all of progression fantasy, Eithan Aurelius.
So why do I consider this the weakest entry in the series? The story. Overall, the story isn’t that interesting. Lindon and Yerin leave Sacred Valley and come across the Fisher Outpost, and hang out there for a while. Compared to the rest of the series, the stakes in this book are low, the progression in this book is low, and besides character introductions, nothing very significant happens.
Sure, the results of the last battle begin the plot thread for the following few books and force Lindon to need to get stronger as quickly as possible, but that doesn’t happen until future novels.
Overall, this may be the worst entry in the Cradle series, but it’s still a fun and enjoyable read.
#9 – Unsouled (Book 1)
Number 9 on the list for the Will Wight Cradle books ranked is Unsouled, book 1. There were a lot of things that I enjoyed about Unsouled. First, it ultimately achieved its goal of giving me the urge to read more. By the end of the book, I felt like I needed to see Lindon’s progression. After the way he was treated back in his village, I wanted to see him succeed. I wanted to pick up book two and keep on reading the series.
Second, I enjoyed the story in this book for its well-executed yet straightforward structure. I had all the properties of an excellent introductory novel that I needed to want to read more.
Unsouled is Lindon’s book more so than any other in the series. We learn about where he comes from, why he’s considered weak, why he wants to get stronger, and what he needs to do to achieve his goals. We also learn about Lindon as a character. He’s clever, determined, and willing to do whatever it takes to achieve his goals.
To a lesser extent, we’re introduced to Yerin, but she instantly becomes a good pair with Lindon when she finally becomes relevant in the story.
The biggest drawback is that Unsouled feels the least unique of the books compared to other fantasy novels. It takes many tropes from anime and other cultivation-type novels, which could be jarring to some. Also, the villain in this book is the weakest in the series. He feels like a mustache-twirling villain who is evil just to be bad.
#8 – Skysworn (Book 4)
Number 8 on the list for the Will Wight Cradle books ranked is Skysworn, book 4. Again, another fun book in the series with some problems.
This book had the payoff that the story built up from the previous two books, the duel between Lindon and Jai Long. To me, the duel was fantastic. Lindon, once again, proved his abilities to think outside the box when he fought, which made it all the more interesting to read.
Another aspect that I liked in this book was the Skysworn recruit tests. Even though it was only a single chapter (I think), it was still a great way to show how Lindon had improved over time by comparing him to others around his age. It was great to see that Lindon had been making massive amounts of progress in the books and how at this point, he’s on par, if not better, than his peers in many ways. Also, this is where the story introduced Mercy, and she’s such a great character on her own.
Finally, this was also the first instance of a significant, widespread battle in the series. Previously, most fights in the books weren’t huge affairs, and instead, they were small and contained. For example, in Unsouled, the primary battle was just Lindon and Yerin vs. the school; in Soulsmith, it was Lindon and Yerin vs. the Jai Clan, and in Blackflame, it was Lindon and Yerin vs. Orthos. But in Skysworn, we finally see how epic and massive in scale fights in this world can be.
Not only that, this last battle truly showed the difference in power between Lindon and Akura Malice, someone to who he is trying to catch up eventually. It was an excellent way to show just how far he has to go and how much more training he needs to go through.
Unfortunately, there’s not much progression that happens in this book. The plot progresses and moves forward, but neither Lindon nor Yerin becomes much stronger in this book.
#7 – Blackflame (Book 3)
Number 7 on the list for the Will Wight Cradle Books ranked is Blackflame, book 3. Blackflame is the book where I believe Cradle really gets going into something special. Eithan was introduced in the previous book, Soulsmith, but he had a minor role. In Blackflame, his actual role is revealed.
In many hero’s journey stories, there is always that wisened mentor character that helps the protagonist on his quest. In progression fantasy, that quest is gaining more power. Eithan, in the Cradle series, is the mentor figure to Lindon. Through Eithan, Lindon can progress in strength and start his journey to becoming the best sacred arts user in the world.
Blackflame is so good because it’s Lindon’s first step to becoming powerful, which means that this book’s primary focus is training and progression. With his training comes the introduction of Orthos, a giant talking flame turtle who considers himself a dragon. Orthos is a terrific addition to the Cradle story and is such a fun character to read about.
Overall, Blackflame is the book that pushes Cradle from being a great series to an amazing series.
#6 – Ghostwater (Book 5)
Number 6 on the list for the Will Wight Cradle books ranked is Ghostwater, book 5 in the series. Ghostwater is Cradle’s battle royale story, and it does it amazingly.
Lindon is separated from Yerin and Mercy for 90% of the book, giving him a chance to shine independently. However, the odds of survival against the opponents he’s up against are slim to none, and somehow he’s got to not only make it out alive but come out better for it.
If you thought Lindon was clever in the last books, here you are shown just how intelligent he is. In this book, we are shown that Lindon doesn’t need to rely on Yerin’s strength or Eithan’s interventions to survive. He can handle challenging situations independently and solve complex problems without help from anyone else (to an extent).
Orthos was transported into the Ghostwater world with him, and even though he acts as a Blackflame mentor to Lindon, Orthos doesn’t fight Lindon’s battles for him. It’s also in this book that Orthos and Lindon’s relationship grows. The respect that the two of them have for one another is excellent and their dynamic is hilarious.
Now, more specifically, I loved the fights in this book. They were intelligent, well thought out, and not just battles of power. Also, Dross is introduced in this book, and he not only acts as a great comedic relief but also creates one of the coolest training methods I’ve read.
#5 – Bloodline (Book 9)
Number 5 on the Will Wight Cradle books ranked is Bloodline, Book 9. Bloodline is the book that I had been waiting for so long since I read Unsouled. Lindon finally gets to go back home to Sacred Valley after everything he’s been through. He left Sacred Valley as an unsouled and returned as the Void Sage. To the people of Sacred Valley, he’s as powerful as a god. It should be a wholesome reunion, right?
Yeah, that’s not how things turned out at all.
Bloodline was, by far, the saddest book in the series. I can see how many people might not like it because it subverts most expectations going into the book. Lindon doesn’t get the warm welcome we hoped for, he doesn’t get to show off his powers, and he doesn’t save the day as you would expect in a progression fantasy series.
This is Murphy’s Law, the book. Everything that could go wrong does go wrong.
And it’s great.
I loved reading every painful page in Bloodline. Lindon is at his lowest. We see how painful his upbringing was on him and how the events in book one and before book one shaped who he was. We see that even though he’s gained unfathomable power at this point when faced with his parents, he reverts to who he was before he was anybody. But we also see how his friends and new family help him in so many other ways that prevent him from completely shutting down.
This book highlighted Lindon’s growth in ways other than pure power, and because of that, it’s one of the best in the series.
#4 – Underlord (Book 6)
Number 4 on the list of Will Wight Cradle books ranked is Underlord, book 6 in the series. In this book, the Uncrowned King Tournament is about to begin, and the Akura Clan are looking for underlords to represent them in it. Lindon and Yerin are almost at the underlord stage, but they need to discover their revelation of self to get there.
What this book does right is that it digs deep into who the main cast is. Characterization of the cast is a big part of what makes a story good, and Underlord is all about understanding the characters.
Why is Lindon so driven? What motivates him? What is Yerin’s biggest fear? Why is Yerin afraid of her blood shadow? This book explores all these questions and more while also having great action in between.
Also, Mercy gets to shine in this book as well. We learn a lot about her background, her struggles as an Akura, why someone as powerful as her with such high expectations ran away from her Akura duties.
Unfortunately, this book also introduces Seishen Daji, and he’s probably the most annoying character in the series.
Daji or no Daji, this is a delightful read with an even more enjoyable climax.
#3 – Uncrowned (Book 7)
Number 3 on the list for the Will Wight Cradle books ranked is Uncrowned, book 7 in the series. Tournament arcs are always a good time, whether it’s in anime, manga, or fantasy, and Uncrowned is Cradle’s tournament arc. The buildup for this book started back in Ghostwater, book 5. Finally, we get to see the most powerful and those with the most potential go head to head in the tournament of a lifetime.
This book was just so much fun to read with such incredible action sequences and a great cast of characters that first appear in the tournament. I loved finally getting to see all the Monarchs and their clashing personalities. Northstrider, in particular, is great. I loved the one-on-one fights and also the in-between moments as well.
Of all the books in the series, I feel like this one went by the quickest, which could be both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s a good thing because the book is so fun you can easily finish it in one sitting. It’s a bad thing because the ending feels like it comes out of nowhere. If you read this book and had to wait a year for the next one, I think I would like it less. But since you can pick up the next book immediately, the ending isn’t nearly as jarring as it once was.
Without question, you’re going to want to immediately start reading the next book after you finish this one.
#2 – Reaper (Book 10)
Number 2 on the list is Reaper, the most recent entry in the series. After Wintersteel, there were many different things I wanted to see from the story that was generally skipped in book 9, Bloodline.
I wanted to see Lindon and Yerin fight at full strength. I wanted to see Lindon, Yerin, Mercy, and Eithan work together as a group. None of that happened much in Bloodline, but in Reaper everything that I wanted to see take place happened, and more.
Reaper works so well in many ways. It answers questions that I had throughout the entire series. We finally get concrete answers about Eithan and his background. Lindon and Yerin fight at the height of their abilities, truly showing off the progression that they had made from book 1 to book 10.
Mercy and Ziel also are given their fair share of cool moments. Even the Abidan storyline connects with the main plotline in a major way.
Additionally, Reaper has one of the best endings in the entire series. Not only does it get me excited for what’s to come, it made me want to re-read the books over again.
However, the only reason why this isn’t the number one book on the list is that I felt that the introductory chapters could have lasted a little longer. Still, Reaper is an incredible novel and well deserving of its high placement on this list.
You can read my full review for Reaper here!
If you’d like to purchase Reaper, you can do so by clicking here!
#1 – Wintersteel (Book 8)
Number 1 on the list for the Will Wight Cradle books ranked is Wintersteel, book 8 in the series. Wintersteel is Cradle at its best, and therefore, progression fantasy as a genre at its best.
Everything that makes progression fantasy addictive, fun, and enjoyable to read is what Wintersteel contains. In this book, Lindon makes astronomical progress and shows off his power is in amazing ways. Yerin, too, is given equal amounts of book time, and she too grows as a character in every way.
This book closed plots built upon in previous books and paved the way for the future novels.
Overall, the main highlights of this book lie in the action sequences. For example, Lindon vs. Yerin, Lindon vs. Sopharantoth, Yerin vs. Sopharantoth, Lindon’s entire time at Sky’s Edge were all fights that made the book spectacular, just to name a few. Eithan was also incredible throughout this book.
Every character in this book makes such huge strides in power, self-understanding, and general characterization that Wintersteel deserves the top spot in the series.
Cradle is one of the most fun and addicting series I have read in recent memory. Every book is incredible and is guaranteed to make you want to keep reading. Cradle is progression fantasy at its finest and without question worth checking out if you haven’t already.
If you’re wondering where you can find all the books in one place, you can either click on the titles of each book up above or click here!
I should also mention that the audiobooks for this series are some of the best I have ever listened to. Travis Baldree is an incredible narrator that genuinely manages to bring the world of Cradle to life. Please do yourself a favor and check them out!