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Ren: The Man Behind the Monster

A Paranomal/Psychological Thriller (A Dream Traveler Series: Ren, Book 1)
Narrated by: Tim Campbell
Series: A Dream Traveler, Book 1
Length: 5 hrs and 52 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (34 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

He is the most powerful man to ever live, and therefore doomed to misery.
Sherlock Holmes meets House for a combination that makes for a brilliant anti-hero. 

Ren Lewis was born with the power to control minds, hypnotize others, and read thoughts. Therefore he is certain of one thing. 

God made a mistake. No one should be born with so much power. 

A monster awoke in Ren the same year he received his gifts. At 10 years old. A prepubescent boy with the ability to control others might merely abuse this power, but Ren allowed it to corrupt him. And since he can have and do anything he wants, Ren should be happy. However, his journey teaches him that harboring so much power doesn't bring happiness, it steals it. Once this realization sets in, Ren makes up his mind to do the one thing that can bring his tortured soul some peace. 

He must kill the monster. 

Ren is an addictive story of an anti-villain. This spellbinding supernatural fantasy is a must-listen for anyone looking for the untraditional hero. Scroll up and grab a copy today.

©2017, 2019 Sarah Noffke (P)2019 Sarah Noffke

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Compelling, unlikable characters; great narration

This is the first novel in Sarah Noffke’s Ren series, which is part of her Dream Traveler universe. The main character, Ren, is a classic antihero: frequently cruel, vindictive, cowardly, and amoral. I normally dislike stories about antiheroes, but Ren is smart and irresistibly snarky, with just enough love and loyalty for those he cares about to give him a shot at redemption.

I thought the characters in this story were quite interesting, though few were likable. The plot meandered and was unevenly paced, but what kept me listening was the writing and the humorous dialog. I would classify this as a paranormal crime story and recommend it for people who enjoy character-driven fantasy.

I was captivated by Tim Campbell’s narration. His pacing was good and I enjoyed all of his character voices. The voice and British accent he uses for Ren is perfect for Ren’s snarky comments, and probably made the story more enjoyable for me than if I had read it myself. I definitely recommend the audiobook.

I was given a free copy of this audiobook by the author and volunteered to provide an honest review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

I'd be forced to really live without walls.

"I'd be forced to really live without walls. I'd be forced to live on an edge where things might actually be good, and every day I'd risk having it ripped away. Nothing lasts forever. Everything is fleeting, and yet that's the very reason that life has meaning. When things cost effort to gain, and are finite, they have value."

Ren is a dream traveler, a secret race of people with the power to travel out-of-body to anywhere. Some dream travelers have other powers. Ren was born with the unique ability to both read and influence minds. He has far too much power for any mortal.

But even a monster can develop a conscience. And with the people who love him, will he be able to turn his curse to good? Or will he truly become the monster he's always believed he is?

Are you in to morally ambiguous characters? I AM. Give me a Victor over an Eli any day. I don't want a hero, I want a broken man who chooses good over everything in his life pushing him to do bad. I want a redeemed man. A deeply troubled smartass of a redeemed man. And this quote endeared him to me forever:

"I ignored the first knock. A minute later it came again.

'Go away!' I said from my armchair. My feet were propped on the mahogany coffee table, Brave New World opened and nestled in my lap. I detested being disturbed when reading. Hell, I detested being disturbed period. Some people have a preference for being alone most of the time. For me, it's an absolute necessity."

I mean, relatable AF amiright?!!

But first he needs to be very, very bad. Ren fits this bill excellently. After a few chapters, his personality seemed very much like Lucifer from the hit Netflix series. He loves to be bad, but deep down, somewhere in the dark pits of the heart he doesn't believe he has, there is a place where all he wants is to be normal, to be loved.

Luckily for our Ren, he is loved. But loss makes him run from love, and the people he runs to have the potential to make him the biggest villain the world has yet seen. I was on the edge of my seat waiting to find out if he could overcome his demons, or whether he would embrace them instead.

4 Stars, I loved it and will keep on reading the series!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Ren the Man behind the Monster

Wow this is a Fantastic series. Its a fast paced read that is action packed. I couldn't put the book down. It had me on the edge of my seat. If your a lover of the Supernatel and Thrillers this is a definite must Read. I love the creativity in this it is epic. The Narrator does a Fantastic job. And the Author really brings out the world building and the Characters you feel like your right there living vicariously through the characters. I definitely recommend this read.
Shauna Joesten

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great to listen!

Well, Ren is a monster all right. He is a character that you will hate. He has a very twisted mind. His background is not so pretty. I was glued from start to finish. The emotions are incredible. Love the story line. Can not wait to read more. Not only did I read this book but, I also heard it in audiobook while I cleaned and cooked. It was amazing. Loved it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Excellent Narration

I got a free listen of this from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was excited to dive into it because it’s a little different than what I’ve been listening to recently,

I really loved the narration! Tim Campbell was awesome. I’m going to be looking for more of his work to listen to, just because I liked him so much.

Ultimately, story wise, I think this one isn’t really for me. There’s a stream of consciousness style to the story that made it hard for me to get into. By which I mean, this is a story that takes place over decades, and it really jumps around without a lot of detail in the events that happen.

In fairness the book isn’t about the events as much as it is about the changes and development of Ren as a person, so the “events” don’t hold much sway over the story except to illustrate the changes in the way he sees his powers and the life he lives.

Ren is an interesting character, mostly because he’s such an absolute narcissistic ass. He doesn’t really have redeeming qualities, except that he does try. There are parts of him that are very real, like how he genuinely tries and often fails.

Even though this one didn’t tickle my fancy a whole lot, it was still an enjoyable story and I’m glad I got to listen to it. I think there are plenty of people who would enjoy this quite a bit and find the psychological drama to be fascinating, even though it was not my personal favorite.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome read! Great narrative!

Narrator was amazing! I connected and imagined Ren so well! This is the first book I’ve listened to from this author and Im super happy I gave this book a try! I am definitely a new fan of her work and im obsessed with Ren. Cant wait to listen or read the next book in this series. I absolutely loved it. The narrator was fantastic and his voice was perfect for the voice of Ren. It was fantastic inside information about the man who has a role in several of the authors novels (i plan on reading them all). I could not do anything besides listen to this book all day. There were so many great moments to choose from but no spoilers here! I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a great book about a complex man with loads of comedy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great characters and storyline

This well written and narrated audiobook is excellent. It tells the story of Ren Lewis, a dream traveller who was born with amazing gifts, but instead of seeing them as a beautiful thing he sees them as making him a monster. It is not so much the gifts themselves but rather his abuse of his ability to read thoughts, hypnotize and control minds that causes him to view himself as such. This book details the story of his life and what made him the sarcastic, apathetic, abrasive and yet totally appealing character that he is. It chronicles Ren's misuse of his powers, his mistakes, sorrows and the contacts and actions that cause him to change. I loved how the author tied in all her other series and filled out the details about Ren that were missing in the other books and yet she didn't give too much away for those who haven't read them yet. Ren is my favourite character in all of Sarah Noffke's books. He is complex, tortured, a jerk and yet you can not help but love him. His dry sarcastic humour and underlying loneliness and despair draws you to him, your heart bleeds for his losses and pain but at the same time you want to shake him and make him realize that he has worth and is not the monster he thinks he is. Tim Campbell's narration fits this character perfectly. His deep, gritty voice and correct British accent (even down to the pronunciation of words that are said differently in England) brings the character to life and reveals that underlying sexiness that is so appealing in this character. The Dream Traveller world that Sarah Noffke has created in her books is intricate and captivating and this story continues to add depth to an already amazing world. I can not wait until the next audiobook in this series is out.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic story!

I loved both the story and the narration. Ren is a very complicated character and it’s interesting to see what changes his attitude both good and bad. I can’t wait to listen to book two. I highly recommend this audiobook.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved Ren

I want to start by saying the narrator was a perfect fit for Ren. He captured every side of Ren perfectly.
Ren is a Dream Traveler. A special race of people who can travel the world in their dreams. He also has the power to control others with his mind and read minds. Ren doesn’t actually enjoy his powers but he uses them to the best of his benefit.
My fascination with Ren started in the very first chapter. On one side he is a complicated, bitter, shallow, and arrogant man. But he is not without love in his life. His other side loves his childhood friend, mother and the only woman he can’t control with his mind. And they all just happen to be people without powers. I think his love for this “lower class” of people is the most interesting thing about him. Side note, I hated his sister. She was the more evil person in my opinion.
There is no huge story arc, the book isn’t full of action or romance. It is not an edge of your seat thriller. It is a look into the devious mind and broken heart of one of the most powerful people on earth. I love him because he isn’t completely good or bad. He experiences moments of both throughout his telling of his story and the listener has the inside look into his mind while he is battles with his identity.
This is the first read from Sarah for me but I get the idea that Ren is just a small part of another story. Which was perfectly okay for me. I felt for him during his pain and struggles and enjoyed his few wins even missing some of the overall story. I plan to continue Sarah’s stories and I just hope his sister gets what should be coming to her.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

"I'm the bad guy"

By Sarah Noffke
Narrated by Tim Cambell

This was an interesting listen for me. It is marketed as an anti-hero story. The main character goes through a journey where he toggles between self loathing and over confidence. The story spans about 30 years of his life in about five and a half hours of listeing. It's short for 30 years because the other grazing over a few chunks here and there. I thought doing that was a bold move on her part. There are times when I was happy to find out what happens quickly but there were times when I was very interested in the details of a story line but it gets the glaze at the end. So it went both ways for me. I can only assume she is writing those parts of the story separately or has done so already.

Side note: When bad guys love their mommy... oh gosh... it's always so cute. Mommy love is so powerful 😍😍😍 In this case "Mum" love is so powerful.

There isn't much world building or background story in this one. It doesn't hinder you from understanding the story but I would have liked some more details on Dreamwalkers, their usual powers, and their usual limitations. Why are there dream walkers?

Dont worry, despite the summary, this isn't a dark story. Ren, introduces himself as the "Bad Guy" and attempts to substantiate his claim by telling you the terrible things he has done in his life. However, he is more similar to Batman: The Dark Knight rather than The Joker. Ren can read minds and assert his will on others. Yet, he doesnt do anything so terrible that I would call him soulless. He lies to women so they will sleep with him... but guys do that anyway. He tricks people into giving him money... but investors and scammers do that too. He plays tricks on his sister, he is selfish, and likes to spend money. I'm not saying this guy is a saint, but the majority of what he was doing was everyday stuff in this day and age. Is he really evil... so far just seems like a jerk.

I'd never heard of this story or the author. Just popped up as a similar book to another story I rated. I'm glad I listened and I plan to finish the series.

The narrated did a nice job. I'm satisfied with his performance.

3 Stars 🌟🌟🌟- Good Book. I like the overall concept and it was delivered well. Most common ranking for a book I enjoyed and look forward to the next.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Lotty
  • 11-16-19

Compelling Dark Tale

Wonderful narration with such an amazingly strong British accent, a pleasure to listen to. I found the story very unusual, quite complex and very entertaining. It is about a selfish, manipulative boy with mind reading powers and how he finds empathy.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • L. A. Greenbank
  • 11-07-19

Compulsive

Ren is an arsehole: seriously, I have found serial killers more likeable than I have found this character; the only redeeming feature he has is the love for his mother. The author goes to great lengths to have us strenuously dislike him. I was expecting a classic monster retelling; but the monster is more subtle than that, more a facet of Ren's personality.

He's conniving, scheming, superior and he does some despicable things; I still don't understand the reference about wearing the devils mask: he doesn't turn into the character he's referring to but it does make compulsive listening and I would love a book in that world from the twins POV