When a high-ranking officer gallops into the quiet Mistyvales, he brings a warning that shakes the countryfolk to their roots. But for Aedan, a scruffy young adventurer with veins full of fire and a head full of ideas, this officer is not what he seems. The events that follow propel Aedan on a journey that only the foolhardy or desperate would risk, leading him to the gates of the nation's royal academy - a whole world of secrets in itself.
But this is only the beginning of his discoveries. Something is stirring in the land, something more ominous than the rising threat of hostile nations. Fearful travelers whisper of an ancient power breathing over Thirna, changing it, waking it. In the very heart of these stirrings, Aedan encounters that which defies belief, leaving him speechless with terror - and wonder.
©2015 Jonathan Renshaw (P)2016 Podium Publishing
Okay, this is truly something special! The writing is absolutely beautiful - a few steps above even the better modern novels in this genre. The amount of detail is superb - not overly drawn out, but wonderfully intricate.
The plot has a lot of depth/dynamics, and doesn't fall into the usual routines so many modern Fantasy novels are guilty of.
The characters are so easy to engage with, and most definitely NOT two dimensional and obvious - there is lots of depth/range in this department.
Perhaps the best part is that it's fresh. It follows in the footsteps of the greats, such as Tolkien and Jordan, but is easily distinguishable from them - and even manages to be distinct from the modern greats, such as Sanderson and Rothfuss.
If he keeps this up, Renshaw will easily be remembered as one of the greats of the genre.
And as always, Tim Gerard Reynolds brings an absolutely brilliant delivery, making it all the more amazing. SO glad this got properly matched with a narrator equal to the material!
I can't say enough about this book! Before I even got halfway through this book I knew it would be one of my favorites. The thing that glues me to this book most is the character development. I felt emotionally attached to the main character Aedan, I found myself screaming out loud in some situations routing him on. Jonathan Renshaw has a natural ability to set up tension in a scene. One key thing that I really like is the fact that the character development feels very realistic and natural. It doesn't seem forced or stiff if that makes any sense. People react to situations as you could imagine they would in reality which is something I look for in a book. Some authors like to use coincidence far too much, to the point where it takes you out of the immersion. And some authors like to take the character to a knifes edge and then some miraculous event saves the day. Which is OK sometimes... That certainly doesn't always happen in this book. Sometimes the characters in this book have to go through some really rough things not always being saved at the last minute.
Jonathan Renshaw REALLY did allot of research for this book and you can tell. He goes into detail about the making of weapons and fighting techniques etc. I very much enjoyed these parts of the book. You can very much tell that the author was a school teacher before becoming an author and likely a very good one.
Another thing which stood out about this book is the solid morality which goes against so many adult fantasy books that are popular right now. Too many authors these days feel as though in order to make the world feel more real and the characters more believable you have to add questionable morality harsh language and obscene over the top sexual situations. This book proves that this is not the case. In fact, this is a book I will be reading with my children when they are a little older as there are allot of life lessons and virtues I want to teach them which I find scattered throughout this book.
In summary, this book is a must read for anyone who likes fantasy. I wish I could give more than 5 stars. One more thing of note Tim Gerard Reynolds did a spectacular job of bringing this story to life! What an amazing performance!
I just finished Dawn of Wonder on Audible and I was extremely delighted with the book. The character building was detailed and meticulous from the start, which I appreciate. The main character Aedan was a delight. Mentally following Aedan from the Misty Vale to the Academy and beyond was captivating. His coming of age story and the difficulties he faces are magnificently portrayed within the book.
The story took a surprising turn about 25 hours in which for me was the highlight of the entire book. If I went farther I would risk being a spoiler. Let’s just say I will be purchasing and downloading book 2 in advance the minute it is available.
I was in awe of the care and skill that the author employed to maintain sexual and linguistic purity within the story. It is nice to listen to a book with creative writing that does not require an NC-17 rating. Humor and action are scattered throughout the book providing an excellent rhythm for the story.
I have already began recommending this book on audible to my family and friends. My brother and Father will be listening soon. This will be my Father’s 2nd book on Audible, the first was Ben Hur. I myself have listened to 81 Audible titles.
I place Dawn of Wonder at the top of my list in the fantasy/Adventure category.
This has been my first ever review, that tells you something about the quality of this Book. Spend the token, you will not regret it.
The only sad point for me is that the 2nd book is not out yet which means I have to wait ;(
Rarely does a book cause such an emotional high or low. I kept getting so angry at points in the story that I wanted to discuss it with others or just shout my frustration (which I did on occasion). This is not negative, as it might sound, Aedan just felt so real I couldn't help getting emotionally invested and sometimes that was with joy or sadness or rage.
This story is well worth a credit or purchase. I had a tough time turning it off and got little sleep. I am excited for the next story and will keep this one downloaded and will listen to it again which is another rarity for me. If you are a fan of a more realistic coming of age fantasy story centered around a main character and his friends you will not be disappointed.
Combine Helen of Troy with the Chamber of Secrets and the Mines of Moriah, and then a little something different, and you have this book so far. We don't know exactly what direction the mystery will go but we assume it will stay fantasy and not go sci-fi on us. By the end of the story, we want to learn the secret of the creatures and artifacts discovered, and the reason for the prince's seeming two-facedness.
Callory, (Calorie in my mind) is stolen as a slave when she and Aedan are both young. He is so full of anger and guilt that he wants to go off and rescue her, but learns she has been sacrificed to the barbarians' gods. His family must flee their home town because of lies spread about him. Then there is an accident and injury to Aedan, and then this couple they live with and the lady bosses everyone to death--just a whole weird series of events that adds hours to the listening and nearly a year to the story. It doesn't seem to have any purpose other than to cause Aedan to run off to the military sooner rather than later. This could have been accomplished by the father since we discover that the father-son relationship is not what we thought it was at first. Aedan has to grow up and learn many things. But the whole plot moves very slowly waiting for Aedan to heal from his injury, learn to fight, learn to control his temper, learn to be a soldier.
After this, the main bulk of the book is two forays into dangerous territory. The necessity of the first foray is questionable in terms of progressing the plot, but the second finally is the point of the book. Finally we get to literature--confronting inner fears, standing up for right, for justice. Finally we get a few characters to care about and root for. And finally we get to the fantasy part of the story. Up to now it has all been a rambling, accidental, diary of a young boy.
These flaws make the story overly long. Don't get me wrong--a good story told with detail is every reader's dream, but when there seems to be no point to the events, it just gets long. But by now we are interested and want to know the answers to the questions left us at the end, so thank goodness there is a sequel!
All of my reviews are on my blog audiobookreviewer dot com
Dawn of Wonder by Jonathan Renshaw is the first novel in the series called The Awakening. This fantasy novel is set in the country of Thirna and it’s a coming of age and adventure story about a young boy, Aedan. When an officer rides into Aedan’s home of Mistyvales warning of coming slavers, Aedan is immediately suspicious. As events unfold, Aedan is forced to travel away from his small northern country town and finds a home in the large southern city of Castath, where he aspires to join the Academy and become an honorable marshal. He is thrown into a new life that he isn’t prepared for and must learn to contend with his demons as well as become adept at understanding and interacting safely with the world around him.
This was an excellent fantasy coming of age story. Each of the characters is filled out with a range of emotions and actions. Similarly, their interactions with one another are filled with amusement and feeling. I especially liked the boys and girls that Aedan interacts with at the academy. They turn out to be his solid footing when other things in his life are trying. Renshaw’s world building and character development are just incredible. There were many times during the listen that I actually laughed out loud! It is definitely a long book, but it lets the reader soak in every part of it with all the detail. The plot is dynamic and there are many highs and lows for Aedan and his companions, which keep it from getting boring with its length. I actually wanted it to keep going! The end is satisfyingly set up for the next novel, which I’m really looking forward to. One interesting part of the fantasy aspect was that it isn’t blatant. The world is slowly becoming more and more aware of strange mystical occurrences and vaguely speculating of their meaning. This magic wasn’t the centerpiece of the story, but something slowly coming more into focus, similarly to Aedan’s adulthood. As the series continues, I can see how it’ll become more important and I’m looking forward to learning more about the meaning of everything that was introduced in this first novel.
The narration by Tim Gerard Reynolds was excellent. He is incredible at voicing the different characters and delivered the amusing lines extremely well. I would definitely listen to another novel narrated by him. The production quality of the novel was good as well. I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys fantasy coming of age stories with complex, in depth story lines.
Audiobook was provided for review by the publisher.
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best book I've listened to the pacing was slow but I think that's part of what makes it so great so detailed it takes you so close makes you relate with all the characters
I spend a lot of time listening to audio books and it is dream to find one like this that kept me listening hour after hour. Definitely worth the listen.
Really, really good!
I tend to be very cynical when it comes to books. I trudge wearily through used tropes and cliches, hoping for a spark. This novel knocked me off my feet. I couldn't stop. Renshaw brought something new to the genre that has been missing. His protagonist has a level of depth and perspective that you will be hard pressed to find anywhere else. And the caste of characters. All I can say is wow.
Thank you for a great ride. I have already begun to tell my friends about this book. Can't wait for more.
"The story-pleasure-centres in my brain satiated."
I've listened to a LOT of audiobooks, this one has to be in my top ten.
I suppose it may be compared to Raymond Fiest's early work, and maybe Elizabeth Moon's Paksenarrion series. It is very well written and has enough body to grasp the listener by the throat and drag them in. The theme of the book isn't a new one but the interpretation, twists and turns are very, VERY well executed.
I've listened to audiobooks read by Tim Gerard Reynolds before, he manages to encompass the breadth of the story with his wonderful voice adding an extra level of enjoyment to the experience.
Don't want to give the plot away, but suffice it to say that there is a moment in the book were one of the characters overcomes a deep seated personal trauma that was very uplifting.
where's the next one.?..I need it now.
"Brilliant! well worth a listen."
I can't wait for the next installment. A good story by a good author. Performance was good too, would highly recommend.
"Best debut story I have ever read. "
I read a lot, 50 books a year at least from most fiction genres but rarely does a book really grab me like this one did. A believable protagonist, exciting setting and real sense of life has been breathed into the work and what a start to a series. The next book cannot come soon enough and I will be recommending the story to all my family and friends.
Gripping storyline good realistic characters, well read can't wait for the next instalment would recommend it to anyone!!!!!!!! ;0)
"Too convenient in places"
Not bad and good value given you get a 30 hour book.
The book follows a young boy called Aiden and his as with any good fantasy story there is some travelling, some good companions, some baddies and monsters to contend with as well.
The story itself is okay - I buy into the world and events but too often a key interaction just doesn't sit right. Too convenient at times, but others just couldn't work which then grates me.
Truth is, this feel like it should be in the Young Adult section.
Loved it this book is awesome I really like the story how it's constructed the the way it flows also the author is done a good job no make it a brilliant job I hope it brings out more books to this series and I just can't wait please hurry up bring some more out¿
"loved this so much."
This audio book was excellent I couldn't stop listening to it until it finished. Fab
It is a very engaging book. .Captivating with a Big sence of humour.
"Christian conditioning allegory"
It is what it is. If you are someone that wants to absorb a world view that is based upon standard Christian concepts and arguments (think Alpha Course), then this is your book. A great antidote to Harry Potter and fantasy that involves magic and other 'wicked' themes.
An enjoyable performance.
Possibly. But most likely not.
It dealt with difficult childhood experiences such as violent abuse in a sensitive manner and understood the possible consequence of trauma. It is a wholesome book that many will benefit from listening too, particularly if they are about to go to a Christian revival meeting. In such a case then the material might well act as a primer for conversion to the faith. As I listened I began to realise that this was probably the intention of the author. I decided to check it out (on his web site) and sure enough the author is inspired by Jesus.
Narrated really well, good story and curiously good mix of characters, both good and bad.
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