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DANTE ROSSETTI Awards for Young Adult Fiction 2016 Winner! (Chanticleer Reviews)

To save the world, they must be born of the world.

The battles between the Kingdom of Cathair and the Primordial forces at Daimon Ford are the stuff of legends. Desperate to save the world, two immortals choose to be reborn as mortals, wiping away all memory of their divine existence.

But even as Cayden, and his twin sister Avery make the ultimate sacrifice, other gods are plotting against them. At the point of birth, divine intervention and powerful, ancient magic are called upon to snatch their souls from the dying flesh of a princess's poisoned womb.

The royal family of the Kingdom of Cathair has always been the physical Spirit Shield of the world. With the murder of the entire royal family, who guards the secrets within the castle walls? Can the magic of the gods, old and new, ensure the safe keeping of the immortal treasure within, and if they fail, who will choose for the unborn?

Helga, the goddess of the underworld, is not amused and has set into play a diabolical scheme of her own.

There is a little place called Sanctuary by the Sea and chaos is about to pay a visit…

This is Seer of Souls, Book one of the Spirit Shield Saga, a fantasy read for all ages.

304 pages, Kindle Edition

First published February 1, 2016

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About the author

Susan Faw

29 books206 followers
A lover of unusual worlds, Susan is a masked crusader for the fantastical world. Championing mythical rights, she quells uprisings and battles infidels who would slay the lifeblood of her pen. It’s all in a night’s work, for this whirlwind writer. Welcome to the quest.

Dante Rossetti Grand Prize awarded for Best Young Adult Fiction of 2016, Chanticleer Reviews, for Seer of Souls.

First in Category, Dante Rossetti, Best Young Adult Mythology, 2016, Chanticleer Reviews, for Seer of Souls.

First in Category, Dante Rossetti , 2017 Chanticleer Reviews, for Soul Sanctuary

Find out how it all began! You can download the prequel novella to the series for free!

Visit susanfaw.com to download your copy, or copy and paste this link: http://susanfaw.com/

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5 stars
154 (33%)
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146 (31%)
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101 (22%)
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37 (8%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 99 reviews
Profile Image for Jamie (Books and Ladders).
1,265 reviews188 followers
April 3, 2016
DNF @ 36%

If you read my status updates, you'll know what my main issues with this one were: nothing was explained and nothing was happening. There were random bits of information throughout but nothing that gave me a concrete bearing for why these kids were special or had magical abilities. In my opinion, the prologue should have been expanded a bit to give us a bit more information about the birth of the twins and why they were seen in prophecies. The backstory felt very rushed from everything we had seen so far at almost 40% of the novel.

As well, nothing was really happening. Cayden and Avery already knew about their abilities and were trying to keep them secret (which was difficult for me to swallow because they were in the middle of nowhere and had magical abilities -- someone would have realized these kids were special tbh) but then would do something out of character, like Cayden not believing he was "magic" which didn't really make sense to me?

It also felt very awkward to have their father kinda just go with the flow when the Seekers came to their house to take away the kids. He invited them in no questions asked and even offered them tea. I feel like he should have been a bit more protective? Like why are these random people snooping around and looking for my children? And then he just kinda was like "okay we will leave with you" like ????? IDK it just felt like they had to keep the plot moving forward so he was chill with everything which seemed awkward.

We also were in Cayden's POV a lot, which is fine but it got to be a bit much near the end of my reading. As well, we were given perspective from some other people and it seemed really out of place and uncomfortable to switch to them the way we did. I still don't really know what the plot is other than these kids are going to overthrow the current Queen. But I don't know why the Queen is bad or why people hate her. And it was just a bit clunky. I feel like some things needed to be unpacked before they were to keep me interested and engaged.

I think this has potential to be a good story; the writing wasn't horrible and flowed nicely, the dialogue was pretty good, there was a lot of showing rather than outright telling, but it was just taking too long. And I had no idea why it was taking so long. Why did we have to unpack things so slowly? Why were the kids so advanced at magic already but still learning their limitations? These were things I needed to know way before now to increase my interest and wanting to continue reading.

Books and Ladders | Queen of the Bookshelves | Books Are My Fandom | Twitter | Instagram | Bloglovin'
Profile Image for Coco.V.
47.3k reviews4 followers
Want to read
December 20, 2017
💝 FREE on Amazon today (12/20/2017)! 💝

DANTE ROSSETTI Awards for Young Adult Fiction 2016 FINALIST!

To save the world, they must be born of the world.

The battles between the Kingdom of Cathair and the Primordial forces at Daimon Ford are the stuff of legends. Desperate to save the world, two immortals choose to be reborn as mortals, wiping away all memory of their divine existence.

But even as Cayden, and his twin sister Avery make the ultimate sacrifice, other gods are plotting against them. At the point of birth, divine intervention and powerful, ancient magic are called upon to snatch their souls from the dying flesh of a princess's poisoned womb.

The royal family of the Kingdom of Cathair has always been the physical Spirit Shield of the world. With the murder of the entire royal family, who guards the secrets within the castle walls? Can the magic of the gods, old and new, ensure the safe keeping of the immortal treasure within, and if they fail, who will choose for the unborn?

Helga, the goddess of the underworld, is not amused and has set into play a diabolical scheme of her own.

There is a little place called Sanctuary by the Sea and chaos is about to pay a visit…

This is Seer of Souls, Book one of the Spirit Shield Saga, a fantasy read for all ages.
15 reviews8 followers
June 28, 2016

The quality of the writing--that is to say, sentence structure and the like--was fine. The soul of the book, however, felt fairly dead to me. It took a heaping of The Most Typical Fantasy Tropes, draped them over flat characters, and was utterly unengaging as a result.
2 reviews
March 3, 2016
After being fathered by Tolkien, midwifed by the likes of Zimmer Bradley and McCaffery, brought to maturity by those such as Jordan and Martin, there came a long, dry spell in the genre of fantasy, rife with the trite, the rehashed, and the lack of heart. Then came a bright revival, with burgeoning talents such as Rothfuss, Weeks, and Brett. And now, with her debut novel, Seer of Souls, Susan Faw shows that she stands head and shoulders alongside the aforementioned new authors, revitalizing a most-beloved genre.

Faw’s work is innovative while still paying homage to the best hallmarks of fantasy, bringing readers an engaging story inspired by the breath of new life, like forging a new path through a well-loved forest.

For me, the most important aspect of a story is its characters. No matter how well a novel may be written otherwise, if the characters do not engage me, if I do not live the story through them, then I cannot connect to the work. This is an area where Faw really shines. I fell in love with the characters (the good and the bad) instantly, with hardly any “getting to know you” period. That is the gift of an author who writes from the heart. I haven’t experienced such rapid character connection since Firefly.

Needless to say, I eagerly await continuing the story in Spirit Shield
Profile Image for Arnaud.
352 reviews4 followers
January 11, 2018
Grrat story

Really good pace throughout the story. I felt there was just the right amount of characters plus information given to keep me going along nice and easy. The plot is a classic, but with a few original elements to make it unique in its own right. Looking forward to the sequels when I'll get my hands on them :-)
Profile Image for Jordan (Forever Lost in Literature).
806 reviews102 followers
December 2, 2016
Seer of Souls by Susan Faw is the first in an exciting new fantasy sage, the Spirit Shield Saga. With this first book, Faw introduces readers to a magical world that is full of intrigue, political strife, and adventure.

The two main characters are twins Caden and Avery, who both just so happen to a have hidden talent of magic. I really enjoyed getting to know each of these characters; both were full of personality and were wonderfully developed. They seem to grow up quite a bit throughout the novel, which was enjoyable to read. I felt like there was a good mix of serious content and more adventurous/light-hearted content. The rest of the supporting cast of characters add a great deal of entertainment and depth to the story as well.

Faw's narrative and descriptions have the promising flow of a great fantasy author, but the part of her writing that fell short for me was the dialogue. This book seemed to have a mixture of seasoned, experience writing mixed with beginner writing. The writing would flow and exude with talent, but then the dialogue would appear jilted and awkward, which really tugged me out of this exciting story. The plot itself was extremely promising and overall well-written, but I do feel as though it could have been developed a bit more thoroughly.

The chapters within Seer of Souls alternated between various characters, though most often between Caden and Avery. I enjoyed getting the perspectives of both twins on this journey, but I do wish we had gotten a bit more perspective from Avery, which I felt was dwarfed in comparison to the amount of POV from Caden. A few of the other POVs from extra characters also felt a bit random and unneeded at times, but overall it all worked well together and added much more dimension and detail to the story.

The magic system created by Faw was also quite intriguing. One of my favorite parts of starting a new fantasy book or series is figuring out what the magic system would be like, and I am really glad to say that Seer of Souls did not disappoint. It was unique and interesting to experience, but I do think it has the potential to be developed much more, which Faw may just do in subsequent novels in this series.

Overall, I am giving Seer of Souls three-and-a-half stars!
Profile Image for SheReads.
655 reviews91 followers
July 7, 2016
Absolutely loved this one!

Caden and Avery are twins who've been raised by their father on a farm in a town pretty far from the castle where the queen resides. The very same queen who has outllawed magic and is searching for the two people who may have a better claim to the throne than her. She will do anything to get them.

The twins are pretty average with the exception of a small magical talent they hide from prying eyes. This becomes much harder when Caden is conscripted into the queen's army when they come through town. Little does he know, that it's only getting him closer to where he needs to be - the castle. Something is pulling him in that direction and everything he goes through on the way has a purpose. He's fighting for them all.

There were only a few issues I had with the book. Some things that happened just seemed to convenient and unbelievable. Like a young man who escapes from the army and suddenly ends up in charge of a large group of people. People seemed to give him their loyalty way to easily in a world where that could get them killed.

I still loved the story though and will definitely continue on. Ms. Faw has a knack for writing and I'll enjoy more from her!

Profile Image for Judith Docken.
Author 3 books4 followers
June 5, 2016
Visually descriptive with captivating, believable characters, Seer of Souls takes the reader into a world that is easy to imagine and feel a part of. The adventures of Cayden, Ryder and Avery, with the help of ancient creatures called Primordials, as they fulfill their destiny, are at once riveting and heartbreaking. The story is a page-turner and I found myself pulled into the narrative right from the start. With magical creatures, an army of dark spirits, a corrupt queen and an evil goddess of unimaginable power, Seer of Souls is a fantasy story that holds its own. I am looking forward to the next book in the series! I have received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Max Power.
Author 5 books114 followers
February 8, 2017
A clever story by a talented writer in a genre I usually avoid. The plot is not over complicated which tends to be a weakness in fantasy books and from me that is a big compliment in itself. The minor critical comment I have relates to character development which while not greatly affecting my enjoyment of the book it is the reason this is a four star and not a five star from me. Without harbouring on this it is really just a matter of more meat needed to be put on the bones of some of the lesser characters. That aside, if you are a fantasy fan, this will be right up your alley. It is both clever and exciting, the pace is good, excellent lead characters and narrative, and I have to say it is a thoroughly entertaining read. What more do we want from a book. Well done to the author and thanks for and enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Ducky.
Author 1 book9 followers
April 2, 2018
This kind of book, where youngsters leave all that is familiar behind and gather companions who are willing to give their all for the hero along the way, is my favorite kind of book. At first Seer of Souls reminded me very much of the first book in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. The epic journey that Cayden takes not only the physical trek from his small village to the capital, but also his inner journey as he learns who and what he is, was very well done. Where it diverges from Wheel of Time is that it doesn't keep going from bad to worse until you just want to scream. This book wrapped up most of the threads nicely at the end, so it was satisfying even with the some of the story still to be told.
Profile Image for Penny.
2,091 reviews40 followers
June 24, 2020
I have never tried this author before, and to be honest, this book isn’t in my favorite genre. However, I like to branch out once in a while, and the premise did intrigue me. I am glad I did. This was more of a light high fantasy with younger main characters. The writing was great, and it didn’t take long to become invested in what was going on. The story was gradually told throughout the book, and it was a fun ride to the end. I think this would be a perfect book for teens to enjoy. Well-written and entertaining, I’m really glad I read this even though it wasn’t really in my favorite wheelhouse. LOL! Recommend. I was provided a complimentary copy which I voluntarily reviewed.
Profile Image for Patrick Hodges.
Author 46 books119 followers
June 7, 2016
I love fantasy if it's well-written. The world-building has to be competent, the characters engaging and the plot well-realized and significantly short on holes. Susan Faw's Seer of Souls checked all three boxes.

Cayden Tiernan has lived in a small village with his twin sister Avery, far away from an evil Queen who is scouring the land for the one person with the power to depose her, the one person who can foil the plans of an even darker force that threatens to plunge their land into darkness.

While magic and sorcery did have a part to play in the plot, I like that the story didn't use it as a crutch. For all intents and purposes, Cayden was just ... a guy. A guy doing what he must to survive against incredible odds, unaware that fate has a particularly interesting surprise for him.

I really truly enjoyed this book. I cannot wait for the next chapter in the story!
Profile Image for John Hennessy.
Author 34 books234 followers
February 10, 2017
An entertaining ride from start to finish, Susan Faw's debut novel is fun with a serious story telling heart at its core.

I must apologise to the author and readers who follow my reviews as I have tried to publish this twice and failed - digital gremlins now dealt with, I can now do this review.

The story is not overly new in plot, and the characters never really grew on me until the book's excellent final third section. As many reviews have already covered the plot I will just summarise by saying it is a great edition to an over saturated genre, and the author has real talent holding the reader's attention through the complex storyline.

However, as a fantasy it is extremely well written ad sets up the other books nicely.

A strong debut from the author.
Profile Image for Gaufre.
467 reviews22 followers
Shelved as 'sample-says-no'
June 14, 2017
DNF 8%

Take my review with a grain of salt: 1) I am on a kindle-clean-out binge 2) I haven't read too much of the book 3) YA fantasy is not my favorite genre.

- The writing itself is quite good although the dialogues are a little flat.
- Way, way, wayyyy too many POVs. After the short prologue, I already have gone through 5 POVs, each two or three pages long: Ziona, Cayden, Avery, Alcina, then back to Cayden.
- We have an evil queen, twins with magical powers and a prophesied destiny, mages,... it's too many fantastical elements too soon, without a consistent view of the world.
Profile Image for Dorri.
428 reviews26 followers
April 7, 2018
Seer of Souls came to me through a recommend. Reading the teaser chapters was a little rough, but I was curious about the magic system, so I continued reading. I really wanted to like Seer of Souls, because the magic system was intriguing and the primordials are a unique take on another race, but I was sorely disappointed.

Part of what makes a good book is the tension between the protagonists and antagonists. That fluctuating state of, will they survive and win? Or fail and die? Some books uses suspenseful moments, clashes of action, or conflicting introspection to illustrate this to readers. Unfortunately, Seer of Souls has no tension. It relies on telling the reader there should be tension, but never delivers any actual threats, scares, or common sense. It also contradicts itself in nearly every scene.

From the start we follow Cayden and Avery Tiernan, twins humans who have illegal inborn magic, and their primordial guardians, Ziona and Sharisha. Theoretically their world has been torn apart by a false war between humans and primordials, perpetrated by the false Queen. Only this is never seen or explored at any point in the book, only told to the reader through a few lines of character thought and mild spoken dialog.

The direct contradictions in this book were by far the most frustrating. When Ziona is sent to find and guard Cayden, she repeatedly states to Cayden that she will "never leave his side (again)." Then in the next paragraph she's sending him off on his own or traveling to a nearby town for a few things and she'll be right back. Even better, Ziona and Sharisha make a pact to keep the prophecy about the twins a secret, then they each tell their charge the prophecy. This book is full of "don't tell," immediately followed by "here's all this information we aren't supposed to share, but I trust you so here you go." And magically, this never (ever) causes the heroes any harm.

Seer of Souls is supposed to be about a fight to reclaim a country. But I have a major problem with this misleading theme. Cayden is conscripted into the Queen's army, as part of a troop of green recruits and a seasoned leader, while Ziona joins up as the military seamstress. Somehow Cayden and Ziona manage to escape the army, that gets conveniently slaughtered, and raises an army of their own (full of novices who've never fought a day in their life). You'd think, with it being about a war and all, that there would be a few battles, maybe some skirmishes, an ambush or two… You'd be wrong. There is one battle that green troops win against a seasoned army.

I wanted to like this book, but I really didn't. I hope Ms. Faw grows as a writer and finds a good content editor. She has delightful ideas with poor execution. While I won't be reading more of her work, I wish her good luck.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Yaaresse.
2,013 reviews16 followers
Shelved as 'abandoned-dnf'
March 30, 2023
DNF @ abt 17%.

This is a "nope" for me. I don't know if it's that I've just moved on from the genre or if most fantasy written in the last ten years is just very, very mediocre. Either way, this one makes me glad I got over my past compulsion about finishing every book I start.
Profile Image for Veray.
1,181 reviews
March 10, 2017
I loved the world building and the characters in this book. I loved how the talents and powers of the twins was slowly revealed to the readers as well as to them. Some of the war stuff and slaughters were a bit graphic but I loved how it ended and can't wait to see what happens next.
Profile Image for Natasha Clark-French.
211 reviews3 followers
May 4, 2017
***** I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *****
True Star review: 3.5 although I rounded up to 4 instead of down to 3 because the ability of the story to develop throughout the book and the potential for the series to be amazing. I've already download the second book and I'm excited to read it.
When I first started reading this book I was unsure if I would finish it. It was difficult for me to get into because there was such a lack of description to help me visualize the scene and the whole thing seemed to lack a certain depth that our favorite books always have. It truly felt like the Author's first book
as the story progressed so did the world and character building. It felt like I was discovering the world with the author and with the characters. I learned as they learned and together we discovered magic and gifts beyond understanding.
In this book we meet the twins, Cayden and Avery along with many other interesting characters. We mostly follow Cayden while he discovers himself, his powers, and his destiny but we do get glimpses of Avery and we do get other character's basic stories as well. Throughout the story there is a well defined sense of fate, which the author graciously explained with "A Prophecy" to help us understand some of the more unbelievable moments and actions.
I've seen complaints about how "everything falls into place too easily" and a lack of understanding how certain characters aquired the skills they have with no training or experience but these questions are easily answered by the end of the book if the reader hasn't already concluded the same from the information already given.

There was another small issue I had with the begining of the book as well. There was at least one time when the narration perspective shifted from one person to another with no type of warning. Usually when authors switch perspectives like that there's a little design or something to signify that the next paragraph is different from what I was just reading but this went straight into how Ryder's perspective with absolutely no warning. I'm not sure if it seemed like a waste of time to make sure it was clear that the single paragraph was an alternative perspective or of no one caught it but for me, it was one of those moments that pulled me completely out of the story and required me to reread it three times before I understood what was happening. However, I didn't notice anymore of these moments as the story progressed and the writing got better. I'm excited to read Book 2 and I'm hoping that Avery's story and discovery of her powers is the focus of that book!
Profile Image for KelticKat.
712 reviews26 followers
February 1, 2017
Can one die and be born twice?

This story is an epic journey of twins destined for more than their simple farm. Much like other fantasy epics, there is a battle of good and evil. Prophesies and hidden meanings. Of course, everyone is not whom he or she appears to be. Friendships are formed, Allies found, Enemies hover near and there is betrayal, love, hope and sacrifice.

Cayden & Avery born to simple farmers in a town called Sanctuary-by-the-Sea. Both appear to have special abilities. Cayden sees a blue aura around his sister - but not around others. What does this mean & why? Neither of them knows, but wisely they chose to keep them hidden - because you see, magic in any form has been banned.

War appears to be on the horizon, Primordials appear to be invading, Strange creatures have been spotted, dark monsters that suck the soul from people.

The Queen's Guard march into their town - there is only one reason for them to be in town. To Recruit. To save the people of his town and his family, Cayden volunteers for the Guard. As the events unfold the twins are separated, they meet both friend and foe along their journey.

I really enjoyed this story. The world building was detailed and the characters were complex. Cayden is a likable young man and it was a pleasure to watch him grow during this adventure.

I really liked the character of Ziona - the young primordial woman, that is sent as "guide" for Cayden. Her faith, hope, and encouragement of Cayden as he is many times overwhelmed as he learns the truth about both himself and his sister and his purpose in this kingdom.

I look forward to rejoining these characters and this world for another journey in this epic tale, very soon.

Profile Image for Eric Lahti.
Author 19 books45 followers
April 29, 2016
Take your average fantasy story and you’ll see a handful of commonalities: evil king or queen, outsiders, some magic, maybe a dragon or two. Perhaps, if you’re lucky, you’ll find a damsel in need of saving and a plucky band of ne’er-do-wells out to save the day. Seer Of Souls has some of those things, which is to be expected of a fantasy novel. Other things, such as the dragons and damsels in distress, are lacking. Again, not a bad thing. There’s really only so much you can do with damsels in distress when you don’t have a train handy. Call me a traditionalist, I just prefer my damsels in distress to be tied to railroad tracks by a mustache-twirling baddie.

And don’t get me started on dragons.

What Seer Of Souls does have that a lot of the fantasy genre is lacking is a clever bit of intrigue. Instead of huge armies clashing on forlorn battlefields and wizards cracking reality square in the nose, what Faw gives us is a clever way to infiltrate. She’s taken the fantasy genre and given it a good, solid whack on the keister. Maybe it’s just because I don’t read that much fantasy (see my previous bit about damsels and trains), but the change from huge armies clashing made the story seem fresh. More than that, it made the story seem much more personal. This doesn’t have a huge cast of caricatures, it has some realistic people who aren’t certain they’re always doing the right thing. It’s got people with powers who don’t completely understand those powers. It’s also got a antagonist with questionable fashion tastes. All of that makes for a story you can fall into.
Profile Image for Brenda Mohammed.
Author 81 books113 followers
June 13, 2016
Susan Faw leads us into a fantasy world in her book “Seer of Souls (The Spirit Shield Saga, Book One).”
Who was the Seer of Souls?
The truth of the birth of Cayden and Avery was kept a secret for seventeen years. A wizard who knew that secret was alive and imprisoned in the Queen’s castle.
The wicked queen wished to capture and execute them because of a well-known Primordial prophesy. Evil spirits hunted Cayden, but his magical powers helped him evade them. Ziona and Sharisha who were Primordial beings were searching for Cayden and Avery to protect them.
Cayden volunteered to join the legion to save his father from abuse by a soldier. He had to undergo many hardships but that made him stronger in preparation for his role. Ziona was always at his side.
When he made his way to the castle, he was betrayed by one, who he thought was his friend. He was imprisoned, but was fortunate to meet the wizard, who helped him escape, and took him to the Well of Souls. Cayden was shocked to hear the truth about his heritage, which was finally revealed by the wizard.
There are many twists and turns before the conclusion of this story..
Susan Faw is an excellent writer and I am sure that her next book will be just as good as this one was.
I recommend this book to all who love this genre.

Brenda Mohammed
Profile Image for Angela Lockwood.
Author 5 books9 followers
October 10, 2016
If you’re a fan of fantasy adventure stories set in a magical kingdom, then you’ll like this. I have to admit that I was bored to tears by the Hobbit as it had at times overlong descriptions of the things found in Middle Earth. Seer of souls thankfully doesn’t do this, the pace is fast and there is lots of action. I could have actually done with a bit more explanation as there remain many questions; like who exactly is the evil Queen Alcina, where did she come from, and what made her go to the dark side? There is a second book planed so I think we’ll get to know the kingdom of Cathair more in depth. I liked the character of Cayden as we see him developing from simple farm boy who likes to carve flutes, to reluctant leader of men. I look forwards to reading the next book as I want to discover more about these magic lands, the primordial people and Avery, Cayden’s twin. I hope the follow up in the Spirit Shield saga is equally action packed and exciting. This impressive debut novel is well written and edited and I think we will hear more of Susan Faw in years to come.
1,659 reviews39 followers
May 4, 2016
I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway.
This is a book worth reading. It had the common fantasy plot of good vs. evil with the element of magic and mystery woven in but there was a bit more to this book. It was deeper and richer. The characters were well drawn and easy to relate to and the dialogue was realistic. The story itself was engrossing. My only small complaint is with the beginning of the book. I felt there should have been more information in the prologue to give some depth to the story. It seemed like there was something missing. Not a big flaw ... more of a nuisance. I would also have liked to have seen more of Avery but I suspect that will occur in a later book of this series.

Profile Image for G.K. DeRosa.
Author 67 books948 followers
March 14, 2016
If you’re a fan of fantasy series like the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, you’ll love Seer of Souls. It’s not my typical read, but I must say that I found it quite enjoyable. The author does a great job in creating the fantastical world of the Primordials and the Kingdom of Cathair. The main characters, Cayden and his twin sister Avery are immediately likable which easily draws you into the story. There are complex story lines, adventure and romance which would appeal to a wide audience. I definitely recommend this book!
Profile Image for Claire Luana.
Author 36 books624 followers
July 25, 2016
Seer of Souls is set in a fascinating fantasy world where the immortal Primitive race faces off against the realm of man, in the kingdom of Cathair. The story focuses on twins Cayden and Avery, who have a magical heritage that they have to uncover. They embark on adventures that will lead them to discover secrets hidden in their past, and the fact that they may be the only ones able to safeguard the future. The characters are well written, the world is believable and real, and the villains are chilling. Do yourself a favor and give this one a read!
Profile Image for Kathi Brettell.
2 reviews5 followers
March 26, 2016
This is a very well structured story with complex plot lines and very likeable, convincing characters. It held my interest all the way through and I really enjoyed the read. Faw really lays the groundwork for this wonderful fantasy read and allows room for sequels to follow. I look forward to reading more from this author! Well done!
1 review
March 3, 2016
Not a genre I usually read, but I loved this. I went away for a couple of nights and forgot to take my tablet and I missed the characters so much. They felt like family. Susan Faw is a certain story teller, with an ear for poetry too.
Profile Image for Judi Easley.
1,382 reviews46 followers
January 12, 2018
Seer of Souls

The Spirit Shield Saga #1

by Susan Faw, October 2016

304 pages, ebook, hardcover, paperback

Fantasy, mythology


I purchased this at the current price and this is an honest review for which I am not being compensated in any way.

Cayden and Avery Tiernan are twins who are growing up with some magic powers in a land where the Queen’s Guard hunts down those with magic and destroys them. The Primordial are also hunting for these two particular young people, though, and have been for seventeen years since the murder of the King and Queen and the death of the their unborn twins.

Ziona and Sharisha are the Primordials who have found Cayden and Avery. Due to some trouble caused by Ryder, one of Cayden’s friends, Cayden is headed to join the Army. So, Ziona will go off with Cayden to the Army and Sharisha will take Avery to the Primordial lands for safety. Joining the Army isn’t all fun and games, it’s brutal in fact. If it weren’t for the Army’s excellent healer and Ziona’s great healing potion, Cayden might not survive just settling in. Soon enough, Cayden runs amok of the Army and he and Ziona are on the run. Cayden has acquired a wolf. Ryder and the young men of their town are formed up and trying to help, too.

This world and its magic are very nicely put together. It’s a rather dystopian world where its queen is a poor ruler because she’s not the proper ruler. She killed her brother and his queen and their children. She’s insecure in her rule, so she’s not good at it. The people suffer under her rule. She’s trying to erradicate magic since that was from the royal family and that would mean that somehow they got away from her. Which they did. A godling is a cross between a god and a human. Each of the twins is a godling. Their souls were crossed with a god and each given to a human child. Avery is Alreda and she is the Goddess Pinesi, Goddess of Woodlands, creatures of nature and mythical souls. Cayden is the Spirit Shield and the Seer of Souls, caretaker of the souls of the deceased. They can speak mind to mind with each other. The magic is rather believable. It’s subtle, especially the healing. It’s not immediate, it does take some time to work. Ziona has a healing potion that works nicely to restore energy and heal injuries over a brief time of a couple of days.

There is another type of magic. That of the wizard, Mordecai. Mordecai is the one who transferred the souls of the dying Queen’s unborn twins into those of the twins of a human woman. Alcina, the queen who killed everyone, had his head shaved and had him thrown into a deep, dark cell under the palace. There he’s been kept for seventeen years. He’s made “friends” with his keeper sort of. His keeper was supposed to make sure that his head was kept shaved so that his magic couldn’t come back, but his keeper didn’t. So, now that Cayden and his followers are headed for the palace, Mordecai is ready and full of magic again. He’s communicating with the Kingsguard, who are now back to see the true king dethrone this false queen. The Kingsguard were marched out of the palace and told to stay away. Well, they have stayed away, but they have waited, and watched, and planned all these years for when the rightful king would return. And apparently Cayden looks exactly like his father. People keep recognizing him as he comes closer to the palace.

At one point, Ziona is injured fatally, but Cayden won’t let her go. He calls for the help of a Primordial deity, Aossi, and in the healing they are bonded. Now they, too, can speak mind to mind as he and Avery can. There is more to their bonding that just speaking mind to mind, though. They have become incredibly close during this trek from his village to the palace. They have an emotional bond as well. Now they just need Mordecai to fill them in on the gaps in their knowledge. Mordecai is the one with all the answers. For more answers, the second book is Soul Sanctuary. Six books in the series.

Highly Recommended.
Profile Image for Damian Southam.
242 reviews2 followers
October 25, 2016
Death and nefarious manipulations, greed for power and rule, have followed the prequel into the new novel. The magic sucked up by the effects of the medicine wheel in Soul Survivor has combined with efforts making it illegal under the rule of a cruel queen (Alcina) to see it now largely absent. The wizard of the fell has been stored away in the belly of the dungeons without access to his power. But sometimes certain forces are not to be contained or curtailed. Cultural knowledge passed down by those who've heard it, and those old enough to know of it, speak of a time before the Falling; and the War of the Gods that nearly ended it. Wonder and splendour can be found in those stories, but the losses are insurmountable and certain species moved into extinction. Now soldiers sweep the corners of the land looking for signs that magic lives on. Superstitions reign supreme and any suspected of its use, guilty or innocent, are dealt with summarily.

Cayden and Avery Tiernan have magic but have had to conceal it in order to forego the punishments. Perhaps this is why the primordial people are seeking them, for they still revere it and care nothing for the prattling of humanity. Scouts known as Seekers have been sent to locate the young siblings, that is if it is they whom they seek. Cayden's magic is less easy to hide than his sister's. A need he does not fully understand is expressed in the making of flutes he should be famous but instead remains hidden. Each capable of summoning different species of animal, which stare and sway with intelligent eyes and listen with enthralled ears. Cayden must never play them openly. If he's not careful then fearful villagers, Alcina's soldiers or primordial Seekers (Ziona and Sharisha) will discover the ruse.

Two of these paths lead to imprisonment, torture and possible death; and the latter may be no better. The true magnificence of each of these instruments, and possibly a source of future advantage, is that once a species is summoned they leave the session bonded with him. In some ways it is a reminder of the godling Alfreda, queen of the primordial races, who fell to Helga's evil deeds. Avery through her rising abilities can commune with the life force present in people, animals and even plants. She does not know that delineating emotions, intent, thought, and even the abilities of plants to perform certain tasks makes her an empath.

Avery did happen upon the skill by accident and thus may have had abilities longer than she new. It is as though scents which are not sniffed per se provide her with the knowledge they imbue. Their increasing abilities are the signs Ziona and Sharisha seek. Tasked with identifying targets they are assigned to locate, Ziona and Sharisha were raised from birth in the sacred knowledge of certain Elder Scrolls prophesying the return of the rightful heirs to their thrones; as indicated might happen when Caerwyn and Alfreda made their pacts upon death in the prequel. For the people of Cathair it is a matter of "might made right". It is not through succession that the country is ruled for the good and protection of all. The manner of poisoning and assassinations Alcina used to obtain the throne is not unknown.

Young men everywhere but the lands of the primordial races, have been essentially stolen or had their village and it's people put to the sword and flame if they refused to serve in the queen's army. Recruited through fear and tyranny it only took a few villages to be raised for hiding their suitable men and boys before resistance began to die along with the burning carcasses. If the army was seen for it's protection of citizens as it was when the line of succession was unbroken and guided by the wizard of the fell (Mordecai), then the privilege and honour of serving would have seen supplies in droves. But Alcina raises an army to locate the retuning heirs and eradicate the primordial races. Whilst Mordecai rots powerless in the dungeon bowels beneath the royal palace, resistance to Helga's long planned ruled would be futile should the primordial people die off. Helga is Alcina's queen mistress and has raised her to the throne as the previous rulers would never entertain her plans.

Whilst Alcina and her forces may have managed the coup, there'd been hundreds of surprised kingsmen, guilt ridden in the knowledge they had failed their oaths. Under threat of death they were banished but some swore a hidden oath to prepare and lie in wait for the return of rightful heirs. Taking up strategic residence in opportune locations outside the banishment zone, they kept their secret knowledge of hidden places the new commanding forces would never have known, Because of the way they came to power, along with their queen, trusted information of the infrastructure of the palace was never handed down; creating avweskness of possible exploitation. Seventeen years they have tunneled and prepared, keeping the existence unknown.

As Cayden and Avery grow into their magical abilities their auras grow with them. It would only take magical people or species loyal to Helga's or Alcina's plans to lay eyes on the siblings and their purpose would be cut xhort. Helga knows of the prophesied return of the souls of her despised siblings and she would do anything to prevent it from happening. With Cayden volunteering to join the army, in order to protect his village, his family and his best friend, he places himself inside the hornets nest. Avery senses Cayden's state of being as her empathic ability continues to grow. As close as siblings with shared secrets can be, Avery knows the dire risk should he come before the queen. Avery however may be in similar danger as her Seeker Sharisha whisks her and the twins father Gaius off the primordial lands. Whichever legionnaires not hunting for Cayden are marching toward war with the primordial people.

As time progresses Cayden's inner natural affinities shine in a way that those with good in their hearts, and peace in their minds, swarm like bees to honey. Despite the enormous cultural gap and apparent age difference, for Ziona is of the long-lived primordial people, the bond that grows between the weary companions, is unassailable. The sheer innocence of Cayden's spirit quickly bridges the gap between them. Somewhere along their travels the loyalty and shared purpose has migrated into love. The endless depths of Ziona's eyes and her unfaltering faith, along with her mannerisms and strong will, have blushes and burning ears rising as his heart came to know well before his mind that love was burgeoning between them.

As a realm, remembering the time before an usurper and Helga rose to ultimate power, a symbiotic momentum forms with those already marching to the capital. A betrayer though works their ways into the ranks until their betrayal can deliver what the legions cannot. When finally the twins begin accepting the roles they were destined to perform it could come to late. That is unless a wily wizard of the fell can show once again the intelligence his seven year old self had shown in Soul Survivor. Either way the road is long and wrought with peril, but perhaps with persistence and baby steps, some of the good that was undone might be able to form once again.

The tension and suspense which grew in the closing chapters of Soul Survivor continues in Seer of Souls in spades. Fast pacing and vivid detail keep readers perched on the edge of their seats. Intrigue and frequent changes in the many perceptions of the cast are accentuated in the altering points of view. With a smaller focus on the magic of the realm coming about because of its fall in the prequel, the moments when it begins to once again express its presence are increasingly appreciated. The personal growth of characters continues to elicit greater empathy culminate in points when goose-bumps raise upon your skin. The delivery of information is strategically written until the gaps between breathers continue to decline. This and the aforementioned aspects of technical skills, combined with an entertaining number of storylines, make the plot progressively more captivating. I thoroughly enjoyed the prequel, and I loved its sequel; the icing on the cake is the knowledge that more is to come.
Profile Image for P.A. Rudders.
Author 5 books6 followers
August 24, 2018
I’ve always been a bit wary of epic fantasy sagas for fear they’d be too fantastical or far-fetched to enjoy. I was more than pleasantly surprised here though; whereas many such stories have too many different storylines that take too long to converge, Seer of Souls was remarkably easy to follow and understand from beginning to end with the different strands of the story being closely interlinked.

There is quite a dramatic start in the birth/death of two new-born twins, which tied in nicely with the wider story further on. There are several themes to the story that have been explored elsewhere but here they are merged and given their own originality; the central character, Cayden for example, put me in mind Andre Norton’s ‘The Beast Master,’ with his animal summoning abilities, while the idea of royalty and wizards is reminiscent of the King Arthur legend. The imagery of the Kingsmen soldiers in their battle armour and royal regalia, combined with the burning of witches and banning of magic had a certain medieval feel to it with echoes of the Cromwellian era and the battle between Parliament and the Royalists. There was of course magic, mythology, and elements of fantasy but they don’t overwhelm or distract from the basic story the way a sci-fi film might with too many special effects. To this end, much of it is set amid a more-earthly setting and definite storyline, with characters supping pints and tradesmen going about their business. ‘Healers,’ Mother Nature, and Goddesses along with a mythical underworld play their part, all of which have much in common with druids and paganism, so again, there is a comfortable familiarity in the way they’ve been portrayed here.

Another aspect of the writing that made for easy readability is that it wasn’t filled entirely with weird and esoterically named characters and places; yes, some of the names were unusual enough as you’d expect in a fantasy saga but they were balanced with more recognisable ones too. The overall story, which I won’t give away plot-wise, had just as many common elements such as ambition, treachery, struggles for power, and rebellion, with human and mortal battles fought alongside the more magical ones.

The author makes clear this is the first part of a series, so readers shouldn’t be surprised or disappointed when finding there are still many questions to be answered at the end. Having said that, the story here still reads well as a stand-alone one as far it goes, but clearly with further elements to be expanded upon, i.e. that side of the story surrounding the main character’s equally gifted twin sister, Avery, and future battles to be fought. This is a well-written and entertaining addition to the fantasy saga genre, and a great introduction to it if you’ve not read anything like this before.
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