Published by Self Published on May 1st 2015
Genres: Fantasy, epic fantasy
Source: Purchased Book
Buy on Amazon
Winner 2016 Readers' Favourite Award for Epic Fantasy
Winner 2015 LYRA Award for Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Winner 2015 CIPA EVVY Award for Fiction/Fantasy
Winner 2015 Beverly Hills Book Award for Fantasy
Winner 2016 Audible Best Fantasy Audiobook
Runner-up 2016 IPPY Awards and 2015 Great Midwest Book Festival for Sci-Fi/Fantasy
#1 Bestseller in Epic, Historical and Coming of Age Fantasy.
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 travellers 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.
Well, hello that one came out of left field didn’t it? The Dawn of Wonder surprised me with the sheer force of its narrative and sense of adventure. A book that is part right of passage and part revenge. This was picked up by a whim and I’m extremely glad that it didn’t disappoint because it a story of epic proportions and an epic length to match. This is what I love about self-published fantasy; it can kick that story home and unleash hidden gems in amongst a populated genre. This name wouldn’t be out of place besides, Sanderson, Tolkien, and Gwynne.
Dawn of Wonder ticked all the boxes. From the very start you can tell that the multiple layers of storytelling, epic world building and deep and definitive character building would be worth the investment, in both time and brain power. It has that instant feeling that you have something incredibly special in your hands. Grief, remorse, guilt, and vengeance are themes that play a crucial role in the development in the story and you are left with the feeling that you’ve almost watched a boy grow from a naive child to a self-assured confident young man. It was an investment that plagued my waking moments and I rushed to get back to reading as often as I could.
There are scenes that are hard to read and comprehend but it only added to the multi-faceted complexity of the story. The more hardship Aaden went through, the more connected to the characters I felt. It’s one of the best coming of age stories that I have had the pleasure of reading.
Aden and his friend’s lives are turned upside down when a slaver infiltrates their village. All I will say is shit happens and his and his friend’s lives will never be the same again. Its dark and twisted and it’s the kind of event that will change personalities and reactions to events. The author certainly knows how to pull at the heartstrings. The events of that day eventually lead to Aden taking up training at the Mercenaries Academy. The training isn’t easy, and the selection process is quite frankly brutal, it reminded me of the physicality of the Marines. This is no short road to his ends, but he has his sights firmly set on destroying a nation that brought pain and misery to his, The Lakau.
Dawn of Wonder does so much right, but its characterisation is strong and takes the story to a new level. Aden is a character with a strong moral compass but has an extremely hot headedness to him. I really loved that; it made him more human. Afterall, our childhood is what makes us. He doesn’t let past trauma define him but ultimately it is still apart of him. Damn this book was so good!
Dawn of Wonder is a bloody marvel. Its compulsive, expansive and so rich. Its just so relentlessly gripping.
ABOUT JONATHAN RENSHAW
In some ways, writing this book has been like living those times out again. Some experiences I really did live out while writing them – the sprained ankle was something I managed to accomplish a few hundred yards into a rather long obstacle race; I built that bow as Torval did (only that mine now looks like a warped fence rail); and as to the sword fighting – my neighbours might have been amused if they’d seen how the weeds got trimmed last summer, along with one or two roses.
The experiences at the academy were inspired both by a teaching career and studies that took me from physics through teaching and creative media to English, and opened the doors to some truly impressive settings. The picture alongside is of a winter sunset over the main courtyard in Dublin Trinity College where I was given access to the library for a few months as a visiting postgrad. Lest I give a false impression of effortless basking in the ever-pleasurable glow of academia, let me add that it is an enduring mystery to me how I actually passed final-year physics. The transcript says I did, which means it must have happened, but I’m not exactly sure how. I wonder if it’s the most fortuitous clerical error of my life. I still wake up with nightmares of physics and applied maths exams that I’ll be failing in the morning.
After the scientific studies, I worked in recording studios while writing after hours. I had a kind of half-formed book idea, a setting more than a story. I was dreaming my way into a world full of places I wanted to explore. When work in music became scarce, I moved into teaching and went back to university (human sciences this time). Four years into teaching, the itch to write and complete a book was growing to a fever. I knew it was time. By then I’d written three novels-worth of tired, after-hours prose, so I left my job, cleared everything aside and began to imagine. One day, the scene of the children on the bridge floated into my head. I grinned as I heard Thomas speak in a trembling voice, “What if I land on a fish?” The tone for the first chapter was set and I began to write. I already had the setting and the general plot line, but now I’d finally found my way in to the story.