Book Summary — Unsouled / Cradle Series

Michael Batko
Published in
4 min readNov 18, 2023


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1 paragraph summary:

Stunning world-building fantasy series of 12 books which takes you from the beginnings of an “Unsouled” teenagers, who is “broken” to a world of determination, friendships, fights and ultimately an entire universe of adventures. I got completely sucked into the series — can highly recommend.

Favourite character: Dross ❤️‍🔥

The Premise

They receive badges accordingly.

  • Shields for Enforcers, who protect the clan from its enemies with strength of arms.
  • Arrows for Strikers, who attack their rivals from a distance.
  • Scepters for Rulers, who bend the powers of heaven and earth.
  • And hammers for Forgers, whose techniques create weapons and wealth for the clan.

All things in Sacred Valley can be divided in four.

But the foundation of any Path is learning to accept the world as it is, not as you wish or even observe it to be. Every slight, every insult, every injustice in your future will be your fault. Your fate is not fair, but it is true.

The Determination

“There are a million Paths in this world, Lindon, but any sage will tell you they can all be reduced to one. Improve yourself.”

‘The disciple follows the master, but the genius blazes their own trail.’

“When a traveler cannot find a path, sometimes he must make his own.


Cutting a road through a forest is always harder than following one already cut.”

Hardship breeds Perfection

“A flower in the greenhouse is never half so beautiful as one in the wild. Don’t you find that to be true? I like to think it’s the added edge of danger. Nothing reaches its full potential unless it’s threatened.”

A snake who tries to swallow an elephant will only choke.

“If you don’t feel like you’re going to die when you’re training, then you’re doing it wrong,”

“River doesn’t get too far without banks,” Yerin said. “Out of control, it’s just a flood. Spills everywhere. You want it to go where you want it to go, you have to guide it.

“The prize is an illusion,” he continued. “The mountain has no peak. You keep climbing and climbing until you fall off and break yourself at the bottom. Highgold is one step, Truegold is another step, but there’s no end to it. You could walk forever, but every Path ends in a fall.”


When your boat already has a hole in the bottom, no one cares if you chip the paint.

Argument was one of the petty pleasures humans loved to squeeze out of life.

A bit of Dross Humour ❤️

The baby squirrel had finally left the nest and grown into a…well, squirrels never turned into anything scary. Call it an ancient sacred squirrel.

[Do you know how much I hate relying on things we don’t understand and can’t model? This much!] Dross’ arms stretched impossibly far so that Lindon couldn’t see their ends.

She didn’t think his attitude was fair. “Don’t think too hard, it’s only the entire purpose for the rest of your life.”

Lindon stood in shock. He understood what was happening, but it was still unpleasant to see. [You’re too heavy to move,] Dross explained. [Sorry, is it rude to say you’re heavy?] another Dross asked. [Bloated,] a third Dross suggested. [Bulky.] [Metaphysically dense,] said a red Dross. The other spirits turned and looked to him. [You don’t get it, do you?] Lindon’s Dross said to the red one.

[It’s every parent’s dream to see their little boy grow into such a fine young Dreadgod.] “You’re not my parent.” [Well, I don’t like your parents, so I choose to replace them.]

The Finish

“Gratitude,” he said. “It gave me encouragement more times than I can remember.” Suriel had her arms crossed, and she leaned back into the metal so casually that she almost looked mortal.

“How did it encourage you?”

“I’m not sure I know the right words, but it gave me perspective.”

Lindon held up the marble and looked through it, to the planet below.

“It helped me believe that one day, I would be up here with you.”

Suriel smiled.

“Then it served its purpose better than I could have ever imagined.”

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