In writing, there are a bunch of rules that you're taught when you're starting out - rules that are meant to keep you from writing utter crap. Of course, rules are meant to be broken, but it's good for beginners to understand the rules before breaking all of them. If your a Master, you can, of course, break the rules and do amazing things, but generally, beginners should work within the rules first.
One of the general rules is not to make your cast of characters too big - it makes the plot difficult to follow and many beginning writers cannot make the character voices distinct enough to help the reader distinguish all the characters. Then there is the trouble of introducing a large cast of characters - if you have to introduce a large cast, you have to take a lot of time to distinguish them, to let people know about them so that they can care about your characters - this takes time, and it can turn into a long, boring, info dump that no one will take the time to sit through.
So, the challenges to a large cast of lead characters are to keep it interesting, introduce all of them without losing the reader, make them distinct characters and write them in voices in which they can be easily recognized. See why beginning writers are urged to keep their leads to one or two main characters?
It would take a real Master storyteller to do that kind of thing smoothly. Of course, a true Master might not stop there. A true Master might take it one step further, and give his seven main characters the same name. And the same face.
I heard J.C. Hutchins work before I met him, and 7th Son impressed me in the first few chapters when Hutchins introduced all the characters in a way that kept me hungry for more, but also in a way that made them distinct and interesting. He should teach classes on this kind of thing.
Today, his novel: 7th Son, is live. J.C. has long given his work away to the masses for free. Now his work is bound in paper at last, and I'm happy to say that I'll be buying a copy today. More than anything else, I want J.C. to write more. I want to see more novels from this man - because anyone who can do what he did in the first chapter of his book needs to be creating more amazing stories for the world.
You can read the first chapter of 7th Son here: http://www.boingboing.net/7thson.html
If you like it, I urge you to buy it here, and give J.C. an amazing opening day for his novel:
And, you know, with every copy of your book you get a free J.R. Blackwell print. Really. Back of the book, author photo. It's my first publication with a major publisher - everywhere that J.C.'s 7th Son goes, so goes my photo of his face. With J.C.'s talent, I have a feeling it's going to travel far.