Reaper by Will Wight, Book 10 in the Cradle Series, Review
By: Preston Simmons | Written: November 4, 2021
The Cradle Series, by Will Wight
*Warning: spoilers ahead *
The Cradle Series by Will Wight holds a special place in my heart. It was one of the first western progression fantasy series I had ever read, and unfortunately, that was probably one of the first mistakes I made in my journey with the genre. Simply put, Cradle is by far the best progression fantasy series ever written.
Cradle represents everything progression fantasy should be. The books are fun, addicting, and hard to put down. Eight of the books had already been released when I first started the series, so you can say I was pretty late to the Cradle party. However, it didn’t take long for me to catch up because I managed to read all eight books in a single week.
Book 9, Bloodline, arrived earlier in the year, and I managed to finish that one in a single day. Well, now book 10, Reaper, has been published, and just like with Bloodline, I finished it in practically one sitting.
It’s good. Really, good.
Reaper by Will Wight Overview
Reaper picks up almost directly where Bloodline ends. Lindon has just evacuated the citizens of Sacred Valley, and he’s just learned about the importance of the labyrinth underneath the area from Elder Whisper. Since Lindon’s entire journey from this point was to save Sacred Valley, and now that he’s “achieved” that goal, he now faces the most important question yet: what’s next?
Reaper answers Lindon’s question, shows us what’s next for him and the rest of the crew, and begins what I would call the ending of the series. Will Wight has stated that he planned Cradle as a 12 book series, and after finishing Reaper, I think he’s sticking with that plan.
The beginning of the End
With Reaper, generally, things feel like they are wrapping up, or at least, the story is in its final phase. For background information, the word Cradle is taken from the planet the series takes place on, Cradle. The Cradle Series is the story of events that takes place on the planet. There are two branches of storylines in the series; those following Lindon and his companions and those following Suirel and the Abidan.
Suriel and all the Abidans are space-faring, god-like entities that handle problems of the universe. In Book 1, Unsouled, Lindon accidentally met Suriel for the first time, and from there on out, his journey began with him trying to one day catch up to Suriel’s god-like powers himself. Once he achieves his goal of catching up to Suriel, he can ascend to the heavens and leave Cradle, becoming one of the Abidon himself.
By the end of Reaper, it feels like Lindon is only one step away from ascending. He said it himself, “It won’t be long now.” With Reaper, all the pieces are in place for Lindon and his group to ascend. In the previous books, the Abidan storyline was minimal, and it was there, but only in snippets. In Reaper, the Abidan storyline and Cradle’s storyline finally intercept in vast and unexpected ways. The ending led me to believe that the Abidan storyline will inevitably become the final storyline in the series, which I think will be covered in book 12. Book 11, Dreadgod, will wrap up the Cradle storyline.
Thoughts on the story of Reaper : Pre-Labyrinth
Overall, I enjoyed Reaper. You can break up the story into three sections: pre-labyrinth, labyrinth, and post-labyrinth, basically the beginning, middle, and end.
Pre-Labyrinth focuses on Lindon and what he did directly after the conclusion of the last book. Sacred Valley is evacuated, and now he has thousands of people that need a new home in the outside world. This section is a slice of life and has some of my favorite moments in the story. The only negative I have with Reaper is that this section of the book could have been longer.
I loved seeing Lindon and Yerin’s relationship develop even more. Now, they are at a point where they want to slow down for a bit and see the world. They hadn’t had a chance to do anything like that from the beginning, and now that there was nothing that needed their attention, they finally had the time to do that.
I also enjoyed seeing Lindon’s family come to terms that their “failure of a son” wasn’t a failure at all and was one of the most incredible people on Cradle. I think the best part was the display of power that Lindon, Yerin, and Eithan showed when the Blackflame Emperor came to visit. It showed everything that I was hoping to see in Bloodline. Jaran finally saw how much of a stupid, prideful, terrible father he was. The only thing missing was an apology to Lindon. Unfortunately, I don’t think we are ever going to get one at this point.
The majority of the book takes place inside the Labyrinth in Sacred Valley, the prison of Subject One. This section was great. There were dungeon mobs, dungeon sub-bosses, and then finally the big boss, Reigan Shen.
Throughout the labyrinth, we were also given insight into Ozriel, formerly Ozmanthus, the founder of the Aurelius Clan. It was great to see Cradle and the universe’s past. The closest thing we had to that was the flashback for Malice in one of the previous books. Oz’s backstory was great for worldbuilding both Cradle and in the Abidan side of things. Seeing just how powerful he was compared to everyone else in his time and how important he was to the Abidan made the reveal for where he’s been all this time and who he was, all the better.
The fights in the labyrinth were some of the best in the series. The highlight was The Crew versus Reigan Shen. Reigan Shen, being a monarch, is vastly more powerful than our main characters, but to put him on an even playing field, he had been nerfed due to his prolonged time delving the labyrinth before the rest made it in themselves.
I loved how Lindon used his authority in the fight. It showcased just how far he’s come from the unsouled in book 1 to the Void Sage in Book 10. Everyone had a chance to highlight their strengths, except for Mercy. Mercy was the weakest link in the labyrinth because she was at the lowest advancement level. This, though allowed for some Mercy-centric training, which was a great moment for her character growth.
The finale of Reaper was terrific. From Lindon’s one-on-one battle to the very end, everything was just incredible. The characters displayed so many emotions, from joy to despair, love, and shock. Very suitable feelings to have when you sense the imminent and unavoidable end of the world.
These last few minutes were my favorite part of the book and perhaps my top two endings of the entire series. It was heartwarming yet sad at the same time. The main reveal wasn’t wholly unexpected, but the way that it happened was well above expectations.
Overall Thoughts on Reaper
Overall, this was a great book. In terms of ranking it with the rest of the Cradle series, it is just below Wintersteel but above everything else. Reaper is simply one of the best books in the series, and not only does it make me want to read the next book as soon as possible, but it makes me want to re-read the entire series with the new knowledge I have now.
Where to Find: If you want to read Reaper by Will Wight, you can purchase it from Amazon here!
Reaper by Will Wight