In Seeds of Hatred, Christian Nadeau proves that he is more than up to the task of creating an ambitious and creative fantasy universe. The opening chapter sets the mood for the entire book – danger around every corner, assassins and informants in a deadly dance, and cryptic warnings about mysterious threats from distant lands.
Marac is one of the main characters of the book, a man who knows how to kill, but also when to lay low, yet his need for employment leads him into cult-infested waters. The Brotherhood of Khan is only one of the many powerful groups in this novel who play their own dastardly game of thrones.
The bigger picture conflict is between the Lightbringers and Darkbringers, representing the common balance of good and evil often found within fantasy sagas, but this book’s rich character pool and vivid descriptions help it stand out from the cliches. The unique powers at work in this world, as well as the magic that swirls throughout this plot, keeps readers guessing at the scope and scale of this fantastical realm.
Alex is a powerful young woman who has only begun scratching the surface of her light-wielding potential, but her life is also a walking death sentence, making her another common enemy of the powerful forces in the city of Tyranor. On the other side of this obvious divide is Soren, a fresh recruit to the Brotherhood who soon learns that he has sworn away his life to something he doesn’t fully understand.
With dozens of peripheral characters and a thick cloud of suspense hanging over every scene, Seeds of Hatred is a dark and unpredictable novel that sets an impressive stage for the rest of the series. The main characters are meticulously constructed by Nadeau, crafted with the care of a truly gifted fantasy writer. New offerings in this genre can be unoriginal, as there is so much excellent fantasy writing already out there to draw from, but this new series strikes out on its own path.
The chapters are long and packed with detail, and skipping even a paragraph can lead a reader astray in this dense novel. There is also a huge amount of history and exposition to get through in any new fantasy world, but Nadeau does it without being too heavy-handed, cleverly educating readers while simultaneously progressing the plot. The scope of the story can be challenging, at times, particularly with a number of similar names with tangled motives, multiple cults, and so many different players that it seems impossible to draw a line between good and bad. Perhaps that is the intention, but for readers seeking an effortless adventure of swords and sorcery, this book does take a fair bit of investment.
Eventually, the seemingly disparate story lines begin to overlap, and Alex and Marac take on the heroic qualities that one would expect in an expansive fantasy saga like this one. From blood sorcery and secret plagues to a sprawling world of original cities, enemies, betrayers and magical forces, Seeds of Hatred packs a huge story between its covers, but it seems that Nadeau is just getting started. This impressive novel lays the foundation for a fantasy world that could support countless more books, and will have lovers of the genre looking forward to the next installment.
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