Raised and trained in seclusion at a secret fortress on the edge of the northern wilds of the Kingdom of Ashai, a young warrior called Rezkin is unexpectedly thrust into the outworld when a terrible battle destroys all that he knows. With no understanding of his life’s purpose and armed with masterful weapons mysteriously bestowed upon him by a dead king, Rezkin must travel across Ashai to find the one man who may hold the clues to his very existence.
Determined to adhere to his last orders, Rezkin extends his protection to an unlikely assortment of individuals he meets along the way, often leading to humorous and poignant incidents.
As if pursuing an elite warrior across a kingdom, figuring out who he is and why everyone he knows is dead, and attempting to find these so-called friends and protect them is not enough, strange things are happening in the kingdom. New dangers begin to arise that threaten not only Rezkin and his friends, but possibly everyone in Ashai.
This is the first installment of an ongoing series. This book is intended for adult readers. It contains graphic violence, creative language, and sexual innuendo. This book does not contain explicit sexual content.
©2015 Kel Kade (P)2016 Podium Publishing
Yes, I would and will a number of times. The story is so well written, and the character is built up in a way so that you know how and why he acts even in simple interactions is true to his character, not just a plot device like so many authors do.
Also the narrator is stunning in his execution of the characters individual voices and expressions of emotion
All of it, I genuinely laughed a dozen times through out the book. Its not a comedy per say, but so well written that the way peoples concepts of each other are almost enjoyable confused and written so well it does not seem forced i any way and is a very fluid read. I finished it within 24 hours of buying it.
I don't know to be honest. It had everything i enjoy in a books main characters. Bad people are not spared because the people who should act aren't cowards, people don't have convenient spontaneous genius assumptions then go back to being innocent and stupid - well over played in so many other books that I am thoroughly sick of it. And there's a refreshing lack of bravado in the main character when usually people in the story will let something slip to make them seem better than themselves through happenstance of the writers choice.
I don't know if a movie could do the book OR the narrator credit
Now my new Favorited book and narrator. Each character has a distinct accent, there were appropriate emotion and pauses in the sentences that you would expect in any conversation. Love it
I couldn't stop listening, can't wait for the next instalment. The author does such a great job at creating a believable key character and why he would be so unaware of how the emotion of loss and sadness would feel. He is a contradiction played beautifully by the author.
This was a very very enjoyable book. The likes of caricatures witch I have not come across since the books of David Gemmell. Extremely detailed and well researched. I for one, can not wait for the next instalment!
I am a busy man and I listen to books while I work rather than read anymore. I love reading but don't have time. Audible allows me to do both.(kind of) I admit that the narrator of a story makes a huge diffrence. Nick Podehl does this epic justice. Loving it!
Every moment of this book is memorable!
He brings his own "flavor to the story" which I cannot fault. Props to Nick!
Every time I recall this book will be a moment that moves me.
Support this author! I want him to keep writing!!
definitely on my top 5
Rezkin, despite his ridiculous superhuman ability he was still very entertaining
Definitely recommend this book, the flow is simply amazing. The voice acting is top notch and the story is very interesting.
t w e n t y w o r d s s s s s
A great listen of a story of a young man who was brought up by masters of a code to live and yet kill or be killed by.
Prematurely set out in the world by a conspiracy that involves Kings he struts his code through his travels to unravel the mystery of his teachings and why his code is not for the common folk.
He acquires friendship along the way .
If you can get over the author's obvious disdain towards women (all of which are pretty much either evil manipulators or falling at the feet of the hero) and the almost super human abilities of the misunderstood and tragic hero this one is well worth the time :).
Very much enjoyed it, it is fast paced and not bogged down in lengthy discriptions which slow the plot. Love how the world is built on the go around the story and how new characters are thrust into it, seemingly unimportant but then they take on a story of their own. Can definately recommend.
Unbelievable. One of the best books I've listened too. Narrator is fantastic & the story is insane. I highly recommend this novel, was so good. I've listened to twice. I',m dying for the 3rd book.
"great narration, frustrating writing"
The main character is essentially perfect. He has been trained so he can do everything and do it better than everyone else. He never does anything wrong. He has no flaws except being un-used to common society but even then is still perfect in all of his interactions. Every man wants to be him, and every woman wants to be with him. It's the literary equivalent of playing a videogame with "god mode" on and unfortunately makes for a very boring read after a while.The writing is repetitive. I honestly lost count how many times the main character is called "The young ______ " with some added descriptor like "warrior" "man" "assassin". In addition, the main character "easily does ______" with almost every action. An example of this would be a scenario like "The young warrior EASILY disarmed the man", which once in a while wouldn't be so bad but I feel like I heard it almost once every 5 minutes.
I think the premise and overall plot is somewhat interesting and will consider giving the author another try later.
He does ALL of them exceptionally well.
"Reader Beware: Worn Out Tropes Abound"
I was a bit surprised with what I found, given the many glowing reviews of this book. I listened to the whole thing, which is rare for books I don't like much, so I thought I'd offer a different perspective. This review contains some minor spoilers.
The protagonist of this book is the complete Mary Sue package. At 19 years old, he can fight better than anyone, is a master of stealth and subterfuge, is a brilliant scholar in history, a doctor, and has a detailed knowledge of all intrigue and current events. Oh, and nearly every woman he meets is so smitten with his impossibly good looks, they find it very difficult to function. Despite this, the Macguffin used to drive the plot is the fact that he can't figure out what the word "friend" means. Not in a metaphorical sense, but literally.
The author's female characters are something you'd expect out of speculative fiction written 50 years ago. In one scene, two of the main characters get into a catfight (over who gets to woo the protagonist, naturally). The author tells us that possibly due to their "basic female nature", they fail to remember any of their training and just brawl it out (naked while bathing, of course). Female characters who aren't taken in by the protagonist's charms are usually cast as fallen women or Jezebels. The protagonist elevates them or puts them in their place accordingly.
The pacing in the book is good, and Nick Podehl is a great narrator.
The cover art, taken along with some of the reviews, may lead you to believe this book is gritty fantasy like Abercrombie, Lynch, or Martin. It's not. It's much closer in tone to someone like Scott Meyer, albeit with a bit more violence. If that sounds appealing to you, and you don't mind some of the well-worn tropes, you may enjoy it.
"Wow!! This book..."
I really want to write a review to do it justice. I can't express how much I love Rezkin and his adventures in the 'outworld'. Watching Rez shift from being totally isolated all his life in brutal training to being thrust into the populous is touching and often times comical. There is tons of action, a minor magic system and a bit of romance on the side.
I am a huge fan of Anthony Ryan, Michael J. Sullivan and Patrick Rothfuss. If you like these authors, you should really give this book a try. It is a great addition to the genre of epic fantasy.
Nick as narrator, as usual, is brilliant and truly brings the characters to life.
"Perfect Hero Worship Does Not a Perfect Story Make"
The hero of this story is far too flawless to make this story interesting. There cannot be tension if your protagonist has already met any and all challenges, and this protagonist has done just that. Even decent narration could not salvage this mess.
The writing was juvenile. The author uses every fantasy cliche. The women characters are idiotic and annoying. The lead character is invincible and very handsome and ultimately stupidly can't figure out what friends are.
"Enjoyable performance yet juvenile plot"
I can't say that I managed to create much of a bond to the protagonist of this story. As while he is perfect in every way, he somehow lacks the ability to interact with others in some of the most simple of ways.
The contrast is too polarised in my opinion and leaves me feeling more like an observer of the story's events than someone actually rooting for character in particular.
"Nick tried his best, the story just sucks."
I really tried to like this book. I love mr. Podehls narration and he tried his best to bring some life to this story but it's just not there. The main character Rezkin is boring. Just gutwrenchingly boring. He's skilled... Very skilled... Like a god... No one is better than Rezkin, and he makes that fact known on every page. Oh, and he's handsome, that is made known on every other page. Every woman (and man it seems) falls instantly in love with him. Women will scratch each others eyes out just for the privilege of gazing upon his perfect body. Ugh. He faces exactly zero challenges. In everything he does, he wins. He makes it through every fight without a scratch. He's insanely rich. He has absolute immunity from any crimes he commits. He has the best weapons and armor. He's not a Mage, but that doesn't matter because his will is so strong he can out do any magic thrown his way. And he's a bully. He throws his perfectness around to get his way and get what he wants by killing or threatening to kill people. He'll even threaten his friends with death of they do something he doesn't like. What's the point? Why even tell this guy's story? Oh an he "cocks his head" at least twice a page like some kind of neurotic puppy dog.
"Played safe and too typical"
No, but it shows that the writers are aiming at a particular demographic for sales
Nick Podehl is flawless. Of 2 dozen favorite narrators, he breaks the top 5.
I wanted to like it but it just wasn't risky enough. Everything has been done before in this book elsewhere, it was also at times aimed at a younger female audience which stole from the main protagonist's badass character.
This could have been a great assassin story with vivid imagery but the characters are forgettable and loathsome at times. The cringe factor is too real as an adult reader/listener. Nick Podehl carried this book along for me, and without him narrating I would have put it down alot sooner.
"Nick Podehl kicks this great book up a notch!"
I read this book shortly after it came out and greedily jumped into book 2 afterwards. It is a great book! Funny, smart and an all around great read.
I have followed Nick Podehl's narrating for some time now. He has a great voice and a strong grasp of the characters in anything he reads.
This book, with Nick's voice-overs and timing, really kicks it up to the next level of enjoyment! Nick seems to have only improved and increased his repertoire of voices and it makes the listening to this wonderful story enjoyable beyond anything I have heard before.
"My god this book is bad"
I am apparently one of the few who disliked this book! A poorly written romance novel, set in the fantasy genre...
The story arc for the series is as subtle as a bus hiring you. Hmm he couldn't be a lost son of the former king who will take the kingdom of evil hands could he? (Not a spoiler.. this book doesn't go that far... It's just so blatant by what the baseball-bat-to-the-head-subtle "hints" the author leaves everywhere).
The main character, Rezkin, is a super-human "ninja" with chiseled muscles and dashing good looks. He has the intelligence to form "brilliant" arguments solving history's lost mysteries from thousand-year-old texts, psychologically manipulate criminal organizations in multiple cities on a whim, and has mastery over every skill imaginable. His one failing? He... cannot ...grasp... the... complexities... of... the... word "friend" or "girlfriend" (I did mention he has a mastery of psychology and psychological manipulation right)? I understand the attempt at humor... But it makes no sense! My other issue with Rezkin, besides having the interpersonal skills of a mental midget...he is PERFECT. He literally doesn't fail, struggle or even break a sweat doing a single thing throughout the entire book! How do you build suspense with your readers if every outcome is a foregone conclusion?
All other characters have personalities that are flat as a board. Let's see there is the smitten girl who's internal dialogue is pretty much "she flushed with embarrassment after fantasizing about Rezkin's rippling muscles". Her puppy dog friend who has no opinions, the jealous female companion, the angry uncle. There is literally no depth to any character.
It's not worth going further... Book done, cross this author/series off any future download and move on.
Not particularly. It's okay as a teenage boy fantasy of wanting to be a demi-god in a world populated by whiny voiced females, but unlike the intended character of the main protagonist, definitely not dark and deeply satisfying.
A long wait for not very much.
Average. Reasonable male voice characterisation badly let down by female. Even stronger female characters had an air-head whine to them.
Well, I thought about Rezkin but went off to get some coffee as it did a better job of raising my pulse rate.
It's an okay background listen and probably more suitable in the young-adult genre.
I've read reviews for other stories, were the reviewer will complain that the protagonist is too string and perfect, but in this case it's the whole point of the story and is so blatant, it's brilliant.
Many books in this genre have a very similar story line; young man suffers tragedy, then goes to train with masters, comes back to kick some butt. This one has a refreshing angle; our guy is already kicking butt by hour number 3-ish.
The pace of the book is excellent there are no points where the story drifts into nothingness for a while, but keeps going on string with action around every corner. There is however only one story line, making the book easier to follow if you're the type to be listening to books while engaged doing this else.
I think if you're into books that world build for hours with incredibly well drawn out characters (a-la Joe Abercrombie), this isn't it; but it is well written and has (so far) an excellent story with an original twist.
It's seems to be getting more difficult to find good books in this genre; of course it's all personal preference, but similar-ish stories that I consider good recently are (hopefuly can help someone also looking);
Dawn of Wonder
Cycle of Arawn/Galande
"A solid start"
This is a very strange book. Normally a fantasy story follows the premise of a hero overcoming difficult enemies or obstacles. Not here, here the main character(Rezkin) is effectively a god, capable of inhuman feats on a regular basis and without much effort. This is unusual because author could be in danger of making a boring story as there is no risk to any of his actions nor does the author impose any restrictions on the character. The story is purely driven of the fact that Rezkin does not know who or what he is . And while there is enough clues that allow you to have a good idea it did manage to keep me engaged all the way through .
The great appeal of this book for me is that it is very easy to listen to, which I found a refreshing turn of pace considering the shift in fantasy to a more dark and bleak style over the last 7-8 years in particular. If you are able to disconnect yourself from the ubsurd premise and enjoy the well paced story ( really it's probably the best paced book I have read) it is really good fun. If you are unable to disconnect then I can freely accept that you may detest it.
As for the next book. It appears to be getting released in October of this year and I can't wait.
"Kel Kade's debut, and what a start it is!"
Fun, distinctive and covetous!
Rezkin - I really enjoyed his thought process about every day occurrences, which caused me on occasion to smile and laugh to myself. As a guy, I got pretty envious of his perfection, which is weird considering he's a fictional character, but that shows how much I enjoyed the book.
I believe it's the first time I've listened to Nick's narration, and believe he is stellar in his performance of the various characters.
Pretty much, and that's a rarity. I was staying up later than usual and listening to it during every spare moment.
The only qualm I have is with Rezkin's love interest, which I can sometimes find a bit annoying and too much.
Other than that, buy it, read it, listen to it.
"Forget the standard fantasy formula."
I really enjoyed this book it was a breath of fresh air. Gone is the standard story of a farm boy or whatever whom you follow as he adventures and gains skills to become a force to be reckoned with. Instead you see the world through the eyes of Rezkin who is about as far from untested as a character can be.
Really recommend this book it light and refreshing yet intense and enjoyable.
Second time around I'm listening to the books and it still keeps me on edge!
The main character is built up beautifully with a lovely mix of him being a Vulcan and Segulah. The story is really clever with his development in a complex story.
The interplay between the main character and as he builds his circle of 'friends' ;-), no point expanding as that would be a spoiler.
Redskin, though Tam was pretty good as well
Live by the code
"Really good book"
cReally good book, i thought it might be more of the standard cookie cutter epic fantasy but i really enjoyed it a few too many coincidences but if you leave the real world at the door its quite engaging and good narration. cant wait for the next book
Fantastic story which kept me gripped. looking forward to the second book and already cannot wait for the third to be released.
The book is superb, listened a few good times, although the narrator need to take into consideration how he is breathing as at every beginning of a sentence there is this quick intake of air. Otherwise have no other complains. thank you for the story.
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