2017/04/13

Keen Observations

Following Jon Mollison's review of the early-middle chapters, Nathan Housley provides an alternate take on chapters 1-4 of Souldancer.
At this moment, Souldancer has echoes of the typical shounen adventure. Represented by Naruto or My Hero Academia, these boy's adventures take a gifted young misfit, usually bullied by a rival, and through circumstance and adventure, force the little brat to grow up and find his place in a society that he will eventually save. If Nethereal is a guide, this process will mix supernatural horror, body horror, and other nightmares into Xander's bitter poison of maturity.
During the discussions of Nethereal, Brian Niemeier revealed the influence of the classic video game Final Fantasy VI on the story. At the time, I chose not to investigate too closely, as not only did the climax of Nethereal bear many similarities to what would at first glance appear to be the finale to that video game's story, but Nethereal and Souldancer mimic a key feature of the game. A confrontation in the a land that is the source of magic for Final Fantasy VI creates a cataclysm that not only scatters the party, but ruins the world. This cataclysm divides the game into two stages, a World of Balance and a World of Ruin. And, after a time-skip of months and years, the story resumes, but with different perspective characters. Thera's rebirth at the end of Nethereal scatters the crew of the Shibboleth and ruins the worlds of the Soul Cycle. Now, twenty-five years later, the story starts again, this time with a Nesshin exile with hidden powers. And, like Celes in Final Fantasy VI, Xander is already gathering some familiar faces from the previous tale.
Nathan's whole review is well worth your time, provided that you either a) have read Souldancer or b) don't mind spoilers. As I pointed out in the comments over at Puppy of the Month, Nathan made a connection that even Jagi, my wonderful editor, missed at the same point in the novel on her first read-through.

It's particularly encouraging to see Nathan catching on to the influence of Final Fantasy VI on Souldancer--an influence about which he was initially somewhat skeptical.

There is, of course, another major connection between SD and FFVI.

Final Fantasy VI - Souldancer

This book is unlike any other. Even the first book doesn't prepare you for the weirdness of this one. What's even more strange is that a significant part of this is a love story; the most twisted, deranged, metaphysical love story you can imagine.

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