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Gift of the Shaper: Book One of the Highglade Series

Narrated by: D.L. Jennings
Series: HIGHGLADE SERIES, Book 1
Length: 12 hrs and 56 mins
5 out of 5 stars (14 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Armies will clash, and even gods will die.... 

For thousands of years, the Breaker of the Dawn has been locked away in the ethereal plane of the Otherworld. Now, a young blacksmith’s apprentice finds himself trapped in a war between the noble Athrani, a subset of humanity gifted with the ability to transmute matter, and the malevolent and powerful Khyth, who seek to free the ancient god from his prison. When his father, Olson, is kidnapped, Thornton Woods and his childhood friend, Miera, must leave their small village of Highglade to find him. On their way, they are joined by Ynara and Kethras, cat-like humanoids called Kienari, who use their skills as hunter/trackers to follow Olson’s trail. When it comes to light that one among them possesses the key to the Breaker’s release, Thornton and his friends must defy the might of the Khyth as armies on both sides collide in pursuit of the ultimate prize.   

Gift of the Shaper chronicles the epic struggle between the existing forces of good and evil, with both sides vying for control of the key that unlocks the Otherworld. The very powers of creation and destruction hang in the balance, and only a heroic effort by Thornton and Miera, backed by the power of the Athrani, can possibly stop the Khyth from unleashing ruin - and the Breaker - upon their world.

©2017 D.L. Jennings (P)2018 David L. Jennings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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3.5/5 Stars Interesting Start to a Fantasy series

Summary: If you’ve read the summary after the book, you’ll find it contains a few spoilers. However, it does give you a decent mini-picture of what you’re in for. Thornton and Meira (I totally would have spelled her name wrong) are thrust into a conflict much bigger than their individual lives.

Additional Comments:
- Enjoyable, but it meanders all over the place.
- Audio performance was pretty solid, especially considering the author read it himself. (I don’t know if he’s an actor by trade. I’m guessing not since there wasn’t complete variation of character voices.) Don’t get me wrong, it’s a solid performance. Editing’s a little rough. There are a few places that repeat the same line. Disclaimer: Although the audio version was enjoyable, the format may not be the easiest to follow every detail. It’s easier to review a small section or confirm a fact with a paperback.
- The repetition of lines happens as part of the story too. It’s irritating to have a scene from multiple perspectives that overlaps. Multiple perspectives is fine, but don’t cover the same ground.
- World-building 4.5/5 stars: The world created here might not be all that happy, but it’s as rich and full as you’d like any fantasy to be. (Interesting backstory. Magic. Bad guys. Naïve heroes. Chosen Ones. If there’s a trope, the book hit it and hit it well.)
- Characters 3.5/5 stars: There are a lot of characters, which can be expected in fantasy. But there’s way too much “convenience” and coincidence for normal levels of suspension of disbelief. Likeable, but it switches so many perspectives, we hardly get to know anybody. (Meira, Thornton, Olsen, Kethras, Ynara, their Mother, the two captains, the main baddie, Sarah (sorry about spelling, I heard the audio) the lady second in command baddie, etc) I do like that Meira turned out to be more than a love interest.
- Villains 3/5 stars: Their motivations are kind of lame.
- Content Warnings: Fantasy violence. Overall, relatively clean. No language stood out as offensive. No adult scenes.
- Closure 3.5/5 stars: It’s pretty much designed to run you right into book 2. This part of the story ends. There’s an epilogue of sorts that tries to wrap up a few threads.

Conclusion:
Interesting start to an epic fantasy series. If that’s your thing, check it out.

*I received a free copy of the audio. I chose to review it freely. All opinions are my own.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Road trip necessity!

This is so great! The kids and I listened during our road trip. Twig had Emma laughing, and she was enthralled by your descriptive storytelling! Max “can’t wait for the movie” so I’m gonna need you to get on that next. It’s the first audiobook I’ve ever listened to, it exceeded my expectations and was a fun way for me to revisit the book! We’re ready for book 2!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Gripping!

I flew through this book in 2 days. I couldn't put it down! One thing I loved was it has a very fleshed out world and mythology. A very fun read with multiple twists and turns.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful story from a talented author.

From cover to cover it was an absolute joy to read this book and now to hear the story from the voice of the author is just such a treat. cannot wait to see what comes next from D.L. Jennings

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Enthralling!

I'm about 3 hrs in, and I'm most impressed by the narration. It's incredible. It doesn't sound like an author/narrator. It sounds like about 20 separate actors (including none other than Sir Sean Connery as Wern) each creating their characters, and some great, professional narrator who's been doing this work for years.

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Captivating! It was hard to stop listening!

This was a very intriguing and interesting story. I'm glad I waited for the audio version, so I could hear all of Jennings' entertaining voices. I think I understood the characters more by having him portray their voices. I can't wait for the next book in the series. Can you hurry up, please?! ;)