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
After reading all the glowing reviews I was excited to start the 'dawn of wonder'. I really wanted to enjoy this book and so painstakingly listened right to the end, hoping that it was indeed the 'slow to start' i had read in one of the reviews. The characters were great and developed really well, yet when the final chapter was drawing to a close I couldn't help but feel cheated. I can't believe it took the entire book for it to become interesting in the last chapter. Sadly this book for me was a hard slog.
This book was really well written and kept me interested from start to finish. if you are a fan of Name of The Wind then you will love this! I can't wait for the next release in the series.
I enjoyed it immensely! I never found myself bored and the characters seem real, not just added to work the plot to particular points! Looking forward to the next book and I really hope it is at least a trilogy, there's enough of a foundation for 2 more at least with the way it's been written and told
Such an indepth story
Everything, one of the best narrations ever
Don't, movies ruin great books like this, and a tagline couldnt summerise this wonderland
if you're someone like me who only reads books with magic but cant find any that seem good, this is a great one no magic but the feel of it is not lost, 100% try it out
I cant wait for the next one really jumped off the page so to speak.....it took me back to childhood like I was right there with aiden running threw the trees....welldone
I enjoyed the world building and some characters. the plot was interesting but predictable in that *every* problem is solved my the main character, i began to wonder if side characters were there simply to make him look better. almost every female character was a stereotype (most were pretty negative too). i hate it when it feels like the auther doesn't understand woman at all.
i still enjoyed the book but probably won't be particularly excited to get my hands on the next one.
after reading (listening) to the king killer cronicles is hard to get it out of my head that this book takes some of that story. From the underground world beneath the school. But don't be put off. I will be reading the next installment . the characters are young and the story is not as graphic and or adult . the last couple of chapters have intrigued me enough to keep my attention
"When is the next book coming out????"
One of the best books I've listened to all year. I've listened to about 250 books this year and this one, THIS ONE that I kept skimming past bc I didn't want to read a book about a young kid, had it all.
What was I thinking not to grab this before, I am aching for the next.. hurry Jonathan Renshaw!!! All I can say is Wow,wow, wow!!! also Tim Gerald Reynold did a perfect job acting the characters out.. well worth your money/credit!!! Enjoy!!
"overly long, but engaging, interesting first book"
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!
"Renshaw will go down as one of the greats!"
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!
"Possibly the best Audible book ever!"
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 ;(
"Wonderful start to a great and realistic fantasy"
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.
"This was an excellent fantasy coming of age story"
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.
Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog
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"Read it now"
The book is overwhelmingly good.
Plot - 10/10
Characters - 10/10
Writing style - 10/10
If I had anything to critique I would give a longer review, but I have nothing bad to say about the book. Read it.
"Strong potential, but someone give this man an editor!"
Here is the thing, I love the story. At times it is compelling and relatable, making it hard to put down. The underlying foundations of the story and the world it is set in has the potential to become a another KKC or Cosmere.
The problem it is very obvious that this is a self-published work and desperate need of a good editor. The pacing, especially early on, is a complete mess. Chapters are spent on time on the road that has no massive impact on the over all story. Pages are dedicated to delving into side characters who do not matter, while important supporting characters are glossed over with barely any kind of examination. Frankly the author seems to trying to cram too many great ideas (and many of them are great!) because he can't bear to cut .
I think if pared with a good editor this series can go from being an interesting but jumbled mess, to something on the level of Wheel of Time.
Ok, so I have been a bit harsh. So temper that with the fact that I am definitely going to read the sequel!
"Anti-climactic, Prepubescent, Emotionally Crippled"
This book got rave reviews. Because of that I’m writing a serious review. I wanted to write a “Scathing” review but that would not help people like me avoid this type of work. I put more effort into this the novel deserves. Here goes:
I don’t know who the intended audience is for this very long novel. It reads like a child’s therapy assignment that was finished after the therapy broke down. The theme, I think, is Physical Abuse. That physical abuse is, among other things, a cycle handed down through the generations is never addressed. The abuser’s reasons for abusing, his history, his hopes and dreams and desires, all that is non-existent. We are left to accept that there were good times in the 5 or so years that this abused child could be expected to remember. Instead, we get a breathtakingly brief revelation, again much like Les Miserable, that left that abusive character without any redeeming value. Law enforcement is provided by Keystone Cops, The Three Stooges, and Drunken half blind Guards named “Benny.” Well, not the later, but that is what I thought of. 13 year olds are * proven* to be more effective than any form of Law Enforcement, private security, or the military. The Women are either vicious or totally passive. Mothers, Sisters, Princesses, Shrews, Souls of Gold or Lead, and the Innkeeper’s wife from Les Miserable.
The main characters are all pre-pubescent. Some of them are well fleshed out, others cloned from Harry Potter or other sources. None of them are real. None of them have realistic adult needs, hopes or desires. The all-male students do not have the testosterone needed to develop the musculature required for much of their training. Since the author desires to educate us on “Dungeons and Dragons” arms and armor, I have to point this out. Many of the martial forms studied require more strength then a pre-pubescent child could achieve. With that maturity comes sexuality, something utterly lacking in the characters beyond puppy eyes and first kiss fantasy. One or the other. No facial hair, no sexual urges, no great swords and sleeping in chain mail. I’m sure there have been exceptions, but biology requires a man’s testacies to have dropped before using a mace to kill a grown man. The author points out the differences between a woman’s strength and a man’s when choosing weapons. That is probably the least important male/female difference when it comes to martial training. It is probably the MOST important difference in Boy/Man martial training. This invalidates all the education and renders the obviously thorough research done by the author pointless. He might as well have gone out in the yard and swung a stick. There is much that is in error because the author researched things (online, or in books, or by asking people,) but he did not DO these things. Had he made the attempt, he would not have written what he did.
The adults are hollow. The author does not try and write about what he doesn’t understand. I will give him that. He continually emphasizes that the characters are “Children.” Children who KILL. Children who abuse, bully, play pranks that could be fatal or ruinous. Children who clearly do not understand the fundamental rule of reciprocity even when THEY dish out the “justice.” Risking Expulsion, Imprisonment, Summary Execution, and Torture, they scoff at the fairly reasonable requirements of their academy and are rewarded for it. High Crimes and Misdemeanors takes on a whole new meaning here. Felony for Fun? These rules are not tests, meant to be broken. The kids simply dismiss the breaking the laws as Adventure. The same “Children” send people to the gallows or the grave at the end of a sword with equanimity. The adults are either solid gold or mercurial and treacherous cartoons. Only the protagonist is offered any redemption and even when it hits him over the head repeatedly he mistakes growth with Forgiveness justifying Vengeance.
There is an obvious romance element to the plot. For me it was the only reason to finish the book. It is not resolved. Had it been resolved, I would have given the book 3 stars and moved on. It isn’t, not even with a “To Be Continued.” Perhaps that bit of passive voice was removed by a word processor. I do not know. Anti-climax after anti-climax ending with no resolution at all. I don’t want to read another book, I just want to know the one character I actually liked is safe, or at least avenged. This may be for the best because I think she will detest the protagonist if they are re-united.
End result: A well-researched, anti-climactic, pre-pubescent, angry, pseudo-psychological, emotionally crippled… Sound and Fury signifying Nothing. I’m sorry, I ran out of my own words. There is nothing to learn. The entertainment value is a * tease ending in nothing. * I would not recommend to any young person. I would NOT recommend it to a survivor of abuse. I think that most adults will find this novel ridiculous except for those who are cashing the checks.
"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.
"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.
"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.
Gripping storyline good realistic characters, well read can't wait for the next instalment would recommend it to anyone!!!!!!!! ;0)
"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.
"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.
"Not as good as it should be."
This book suffers from poor editing, and being unsure of for whom it was written, age wise. I would not recommend this book.
No; once bitten, twice shy.
I thought the narrator performed well considering the material he had to work with.
Yes it inspired me to find something else to read.
An interesting concept not fully thought out.
"Long but good"
A long start but good if you put the time in reminds me of Ruffess books name of the wind hope it doesn't take as long to write as I gave up on that out of principle
The end I like like allot makes me want more
It is a very engaging book. .Captivating with a Big sence of humour.
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¿
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