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The First Fear

The Empowered Ones, Book 1
Narrated by: Alister Austin
Length: 8 hrs and 52 mins
Regular price: $19.95
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Publisher's Summary

The Supreme rules the world. 

For centuries, the Supreme has reigned with an iron fist. The people are slaves to her whim and at the mercy of her followers who revere her as their goddess. Using a supernatural ability, known as the "Power", she is able to channel emotions and convert them into superhuman abilities. 

Some resist. Not all live their lives in servitude. A few rare people also possess the power and try to fight. These empowered ones are hunted mercilessly by the supreme and her servants, for she knows the threat they pose to her will. None has dared to challenge her outright. 

That is until now. Elian, a young boy living at the edge of the Imperium discovers he, too, possesses the power with devastating consequences for both himself and the girl he loves. On the run, they encounter a ragtag band of resistance fighters called the Liberators. Among their ranks are others with the gift and their leader Vavius, who believes that the key to overthrowing the Supreme lies in the ruins of the ravaged lands of the once mighty Kingdom of Aeranyth. Pursued and hunted for their gifts by the sinister First Fear and the Hollowed, the world's fate rests in the hands of the Empowered Ones.

©2018 Matthew Olney (P)2019 Matthew Olney

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  • Thomas Perkins
  • 02-05-19

The First Fear: Yay or Nay?

I have just finished my listen through of The First Fear, and decided I enjoyed it enough to give a review. I'm not one for long essays, so I'll just use a Pros/Cons list instead.


+ The narrator, Alister Austin is FANTASTIC! There are a lot of characters in this book, and through a wide array of different voices and accents he manages to give them all a distinct sound. His narration is smooth and clear, and really adds to this book.

+The idea behind the powers of the Empowered Ones (and the Gifted) are quite unique. Depending on which emotion is focused on, different abilities surface. Fear makes you run fast/jump high, anger is super-strength, as well as a wide variety of others, I thought it was quite a neat idea.

+The characters are all distinct in their dialogue and motivations, and due to a large cast size, there is no doubt you will find yourself attached to at least a few of them.

+A lot of the set pieces (an arena, infiltrating a noble's illegal party, a grand siege) are familiar and enjoyable.

+The length (just under 9 hours) isn't too long or short, and made it easier to set a goal to finish it.


-The pacing is extremely fast, often too much for certain story beats to have the impact that they were intended. It sometimes makes character moments feel unearned, or set pieces far too brief to enjoy as much as I would have wanted.

-There are a lot of commonly used tropes here (love triangles, Chosen Ones, and evil empires to name just a few) but whether it's too much is up to the reader to decide. I was able to enjoy the story for what it was despite the tropes, but some people may be turned off by it.


I would say this audiobook is definitely a 'Yay' for me, as I enjoyed my listen. I look forward to book two!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ms. J. Stewart
  • 02-06-19

Star Wars plus Mistborn equals....

This book reminded me of two of my favourite fantasy sagas! I look forward to the next book.

The setting is much like Brandon Sanderson's first Mistborn trilogy i.e. evil empire, oppressed populous, super powered ruler, as is the unusual basis of of magic. This time it is emotions rather than metal!

Some of the dialogue reminds me of Star Wars, especially in fight scenes.