**A note of warning from the author;
I waited until the book was finished before writing this foreword. Now I find it difficult to encapsulate the book in a short summary, but I felt the need to forewarn you, The Reader. Many of you have probably read my previous series, Mageborn, which is set two millennia after the events in this book, so you may have some misconceptions about what you’ll find here.
Unlike Mageborn, this story encounters more adult issues. The main character does not always do the ‘right’ thing, and in fact, cannot be called a hero. Events conspire to darken his future and twist his morality, but his choices are his own. Most importantly, the story delves into some topics of a sensitive nature, particularly sexual abuse and violence, though there is nothing graphic in the telling.
I didn’t set out to write a book about those things, but they came up as part of the course of this tale, and I couldn’t avoid them. Before allowing some of the situations in this book, before writing them, I sought advice from a number of friends; people who have confided in me over the years. Several of them have been through experiences that correlate to a surprising degree with some of the darker elements within this tale.
Fortunately, they had much better outcomes, and in fact, I doubt any of them would condone the choices that the main character in this story makes. My main purpose in writing this foreword is to make sure that my audience understands that I don’t take the subject matter lightly.
- Michael G. Manning
©2014 Michael G. Manning (P)2015 Podium Publishing
Loved it. Daniel's world is a complex one and definitely not what it first seems. it's a mix of the loss of innocence, tragedy, horror and oppression. Never saw it coming. It's so real though, and so raw, that's it's terribly addictable.
"the world isn't black and white"
I took immense pleasure from this story. Love the narrator. My favorite parts were the development of his powers, the strategy and battles in the arena. I also really enjoyed his ability to create attachment between you and the characters at the beginning of the story, and the very realistic view of the drama that ensued. the world that was created was complex enough to be believable while not being bogged down with so many details to be grasped. all in all a very entertaining story
"suspenseful . you keep wanting more."
wonderful detail with a storey line to match. Not for younger readers. A wonderful magic system that grows through the whole story. All the characters have a genuine personas. I really enjoyed the whole experience.
"Dark and heart wrenching beautiful."
Here you will find an expertly crafted world with story that will surprise you. The dark story only enhanced the moments of profound beauty, in my opinion. This was the first Michael G. Manning book I have read and I'm excited. to have found another excellent author. The Narrator, Alex Wyndham gave an awesome performance. I honestly did not like his voice at first but his undeniable talent was apparent in the first few minutes. I'm a fan now. I am more than satisfied with my purchase.
"A great book"
Loved it it was an amazing book it had you hanging on every word I just wasn't able to put the book down even
"Excellent continuation of the Illeniel story"
I really enjoyed this book - I especially liked how Manning went back to the past to tell about the origins of the Illeniels without losing any of the characters from the previous installments and keeping these "present" characters involved in a believable, realistic and meaningful way.
It was thoroughly enjoyable. I look forward to the next installment.
"it could have been perfect"
a minor problem I had with this story is that the author seems hesitant to fully embrace the mature/dark fantasy genre. the story has these interludes which try to rationalise certain events before they happen. "our hero is not really a bad man, he had no choice...". this only manages to interrupt a great story as well as spoil the plot for the next few chapters. I ended up skipping the next 2-4 minutes whenever this happens. great story overall
"Read and listened"
love this book it's a great addition to the series and keeps you enthralled through out the whole story. As I stated It was so good I had to get it on audio book too so I can listen to it again and again
"Much better than the Mageborn series."
Much better than the Mageborn serie, both the story and the narrator. Although, Mageborn is a good series, if you ger through the first 1/4 of the story when it gets better.
I've never felt the need to write one of these but I have to give credit where it is due. It had me from the beginning and I couldn't stop listening. Can't wait until took two is released.
"Much more than I expected"
Yes, the characters (humans) are realistic with deep emotions. Excellent narration, you feel like your there.
When Daniel opened his pack and found his new strings,I could feel the love jump off the page.It reminded me of the care packages I received from my parents while I was in the Army overseas. It pulled at my heart strings,striking a chord I haven't felt in many years.Thank you
Oh yes, I pulled my car off the road and took some time to reflect and to wait for visio n to clear.The scene truly moved me.
When is the next book due to come out?
"Been a long time"
It's been a long time since I've been so captivated by a story! It's nice to fined a book that doesn't throw a hero that can do no wrong at you!!
As the authors note said he doesn't always do the correct thing, it's true but in some way it gives you the ability to connect with the characters in a way that most books fail to do, although you know what he is doing is wrong you can understand and from an outside point of view and sympathise with his reasonings! And if I'm completely honest I probably wouldn't have done much different if given the tools he has and faced with the same situations!! That's not to say there are a few parts in the book that didn't annoy the hell out of me due to the stupidity of the main character, but I guess without it there wouldn't have been the fantastic story that is portrayed here!!
Overall anyone that is looking for a story full of adventure and with a dynamic plot full of twists and well conceived idea that isn't all "moral high ground" this is a really good place to start, and anyone that isn't sure, give it a crack, I did and don't regret it 1 bit!! Looking forward to the next in the series
"absolutely brilliant loved it from start to finish"
kept me hooked from the beginning haven't been enthralled like that for a long time
"Dark, Gripping, Emotional and yet uncomplicated."
Michael G Manning captured the essence of the adolescent brilliantly. The writing was straightforward but at the same time managed to convey plenty of emotion.
The writing was also done in a show me rather than the descriptive manner in which many of the books I've read lately use. I very much believe that with strong characters this style of writing is perfectly balanced and leaves some things up to the readers imagination/interpretation. This leads me to the next point which is there wasn't needless pages of descriptive scene setting, you were given enough but the story was allowed to flow much better and at no point did i feel like any of the writing was used just to fill out pages.
Daniel as he is the star of the show although so many others were just as good. His growth from boy into the dark and sometimes terrible figure he became was excellent and kept me listening long after i should've being asleep.
No this is the first. I thought he was good, characterizations were diverse enough as to make it easy to distinguish each character. I look forward to him narrating the next book in the trilogy.
Many of the scenes in the book carried a real emotional weight. I don't want to spoil it for anyone so i won't say anymore than that.
Really glad i tried a new author. Lately i have been disappointed in many of the books I've started listening to but this one really grabbed and held my attention throughout. It's a dark story to be sure but i never felt it was needlessly twisted like some other dark fantasy books in recent memory. Give it a try, you won't be disappointed!
"The best of dark."
Iwas abit cautious starting but the second the forest gods were mentioned I was hooked.
a good tale all shades of grey. dark subject matter in places and an interesting psychological, moral and spiritual subtext. plenty of magic and gladiatorial style arena battles.
One of the most original stories I've read.
He's no Michael Kramer but then who is. However, once I got used to him I'd be happy to have him narrate the books.
This has to be one of the most original ideas for a fantasy book I've ever come across. I was so hooked that once the story got started, and the concept behind the book became apparent I couldn't stop listen. My only complaint is I now have to wait for the second book to come out.
"Where is the next in the series?"
BRILLIANT STORY! I can't wait for the next book.
This is a brilliant read from cover to cover, I could not put this book down x
"Written in similar fashion to Eddings. Note to self..yes for next book."
Brilliant from the start.
Mostly from the main characters point of view, just the way I like it. Well paced.
Cannot wait for the next book. Great, non irritating narration. 100% give it a go.
"Very entertaining. Need the next in the series!"
Yes. Good story and an original idea.
My only negative is that the narrator seems to give everyone a Cornish farmers accent. Still, get past that and a thoroughly entertaining listen..
"a refreshing return to fantasy"
this was a last go at fantasy, despite loving the genre I have been disappointed with recent fantasy series that have been the same dreary child hero 'developing' throughout 30 odd hours of narration. this however avoided that cliche and actually had some plot. we'll see how the second installation fares. thank you
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