You want an epic fantasy of Tolkien proportions? What am I saying, of course you do! Which makes “Seeds of Hatred” PERFECT for that itch! I mean at almost 500 pages (I’m not including the glossary of characters or places, though that became a serious lifeline—I’ll explain later), “Seeds of Hatred” follows three main characters as they struggle against mysterious forces that have turned their beliefs and morals upside down, and constantly threaten their lives through a prophecy-esque fantasy tale (it even has a prophecy poem which should be familiar to lovers of The Lord of the Rings stories). Now, I say three main characters, but there are a lot more than just that in the book… Nadeau has fleshed out all of supporting characters personalities and provided them with complex goals so they not only feel substantial (which is awesome) but they also connect the main characters plot-lines together (which got confusing).
Let me start by saying that I enjoyed this book a great deal. Nadeau crafted a complex plot with well thought-out characters, unique magic systems, religions and their corresponding cults, as well as a new world that felt both familiar to the classic fantasy realms we all know and love, but also distinct from things such as Lord of the Rings despite the overall vibe of the novel. In “Seeds of Hatred” the elves are not called elves, but Fey and feel more like the dark skinned Drow of Dungeons & Dragons lore, which I loved (because you know me and elves). I also enjoyed that the Fey weren’t necessarily “good” creatures either, for they were once the slave masters of the entire human race. And I enjoyed how full and rich Nadeau makes his world by filling it with so much intrigue—he definitely took a page out of George R. R. Martin’s playbook with that one! But ultimately, the sheer amount of plots, sub-plots, and characters had me struggling to keep track of who was who, and what side they were on, what the different secret cults hidden within each “side” wanted, and who the ultimate “boss” bad guy was, because there are a lot of nasty little villains in Nadeau’s world.
This is why the glossary was such a lifeline, but that only works in the paperback versions because it’s not as easy to flip to in an ereader, but as it’s a big book, sometimes carrying it around gets troublesome (I traveled with this bad boy). Even with the help the author provides, I found it hard to keep track of everyone, as the secondary characters have their own chapters which become pretty important to following along with the complicated storyline (which I can’t go into, because unraveling that would take way, way too long, but trust me, it’s interesting). Not only are the secondary characters given so much weight (maybe too much) but there are about 2 to 3 different conflicts and a handful of power struggles going on simultaneously that all ladder up to the bigger central prophecy, which starts to get substantial attention maybe 80% in after being teased in various small sections throughout the book. These conflicts are exciting, but they felt big and complex enough to carry their own book. When they get crammed into one novel (even if a long one), they couldn’t be explored fully, which made them a little hard to grasp. Which, again, wasn’t helped much by all the little characters that get introduced and then (sometimes) killed along the way. Given this is the first book in the series, I’m confident that Nadeau will explore all these conflicts and sub-plotlines more in subsequent books, but, at times, I didn’t enjoy feeling like I had lost the main thread of the story and needed to backtrack.
Even with this confusion, I would have rated the book a bit higher, but there were a few things that kept popping up and rubbed me the wrong way. Namely, the author crafts such a wonderful world, that each time there was a modern cliché, I frowned. It pulled me out of the world he’s crafted, and back into the modern world, disrupting my flow and reminding me that I had been reading the book for hours on end and maybe it was time to stop. Also, all the female characters seem to yearn for male companionship, for the men to find them attractive and sexually desirable, and when they aren’t, it impacts their self-worth. Given some of the strong female characters he has (like Alex), I found this stereotype irritating. That and the repetition of certain phrases like describing a characters eyes going “as wide as teacups”. If this had been used a few times for one character, no big deal, but it’s used multiple times across several characters, and I couldn’t stop noticing it. Again, pretty nit-picky all things considered, and I only mention it in hopes of helping the author for later books.
“Seeds of Hatred” is a rewarding epic fantasy that will whisk you away to a dark world on the verge of all-out war across the various cities, religions, and ruling groups. The first book gets the reader to the precipice of when everything is about to explode, and I can’t wait to continue on in this series! Even though the book didn’t end with the BANG I was expecting, I did like where it left off, so to speak. So if you like seriously epic tales with prophecies, magic, fantasy creatures, action-adventure, and you have the time to put your attention into this book, I highly recommend you do! But given the length, some of the detail of violence, and some of the language, I think this is best for a more mature reader as they will appreciate the tale more. Given that the complexity became a hindrance (which might have been fixed with spending less time with some of these smaller characters), and the personal qualms I had, I give this book a well-deserved 4 stars, and I can’t wait to see what happens next! Thank you to the author for providing me with a copy of his work to review!
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