Will Wight is one of the most successful authors ever to come out of the self publishing industry. His most popular series titled Cradle has excited fans and reviewers alike for years and has developed quiet a devoted readership. My first experience reading Will Wight is through his less popular but equally as engaging Traveler’s Gate trilogy starting with House of Blades. I didn’t know what to expect going into this story, but the descriptions I had heard surrounding this book really stood out to me. House of Blades contains a prophecy where a savior is chosen to vanquish evil and save the realm, but what happens when the main character is not the chosen one and instead is left with nothing but having to fend for himself and make is own destiny to save his family and village. Our main character Simon is such a person.
Unfortunately for Simon, his story starts off with a tragedy. at eight years old his caravan while traveling through the woods is attacked by enemy travelers leaving his father killed and his mother severely injured. A traveler is a person who can access one of the ten realms with the ability to channel essence from that realm. This can take the form of fire, creatures and light to name a few and these are similar to the warrens we see in Steven Erikson’s Malazan series. Things look bad for Simon until he is saved by a mysterious man in a black cloak, who vanquishes the enemy travelers with his fighting skills, helps Simon with his mother, and tells him if you even need to find me again return to this forest.
Fast forward ten years later, Simon is living in a village and taking care of his disabled mother whom is still injured from the dreadful night long ago. Eventually, his village is attacked and a fellow villager named Alan manifests his travelers gate of Light and he is chosen to vanquish evil from the land. Several villagers are captured and Alan takes it upon himself to go after the enemies. Simon can’t just sit around and do nothing, so he visits the forest and begs the hooded traveler to teach him how to fight. Simon is taken into the realm of Valinhall, a place that bestows the individual skills for fighting and surviving. Simon will need to fend for himself, survive the several trials of the house, and become a true traveler to save his village and change is destiny.
This was one of my longer introductions to a review, but I needed to give you all the full story before we can get into why I liked this book do much. First of all, Simon is a great character to cheer for and he has experienced tragedy in every way, shape, and form. He knows from a very early age the hardships of life and how there will always be pain in his heart, but how you learn to live with it and turn your life around will determine the type of person you want to be. He is also taking care of his bed ridden mother and you just feel for Simon and all the sacrifices he has made. House of Blades asks us what would you do if your back was against the wall and you had to do something crazy to save the people you love? Also, the realm of Valinhall was blast to visit. It is essentially a house with dozens of blades on the wall waiting for a new user, but Simon must earn the right to pick one up. Each room holds a mystery, strange creature, and powers waiting to be unlocked. I had a blast exploring the many secrets in Valinhall and their is a lot of worldbuilding that Will Wight pacts into of novel of less than 300 pages.
I will unfortunately have to speak about a slight negative I had with the story. The writing can be a bit clunky at times and you can definitely tell that this is a first written novel from a well known author. What can’t be denied though is the sheer creativity and dark undertones this novel possess, plus the book moves at a very fast paced. If you are a fan of Will Wights or want to experience an original novel with a completely different story than what you are use too, House of Blades could be for you.
This is the novel that launched Will Wights writing career and eventually set him on the path to writing his famous Cradle series, which I am a big fan of. This story may not be for everyone but the adventure, fun, and emotions you will feel reading this book will stay with you for quiet some time. I started with House of Blades on my Will Wight journey and maybe you could take a day trip here and stay for the night.
Job well done Will Wight!