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Summary

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

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Coming of Age Fantasy

I think Jonathan Renshaw has produced something very interesting here. It is in essence a coming of age tale set in a fantasy background with the magical and mystical kept partly in check. The writing style is direct and very linear with just the single point of view belonging to Aiden the central character. It does all mean that at times it has a young adult feel to it which is understandable because we explore the story through the eyes of a child after all. It's a very easy book to dip into and out of.

The strength of it is not actually characters or world-building but in good old-fashioned story-telling. Renshaw is comfortable enough with his creations to spend time with them and grow them slowly. Comparisons with Harry Potter are inevitable but also slightly misleading. Renshaw doesn't use a lot of magic to spice it up.

There are some genuinely exciting moments along the way and the book also deals with issues such as domestic abuse and political corruption with a good deal of empathy. It does so with an underlying positive message.

I'm tempted to describe this as charming because of the enjoyment I got out of listening to Tim Gerard Reynolds delivering it with considerable aplomb. That might sound like I am patronising it but while it may lack the sophistication of some of the most accomplished contemporary fantasy work I was genuinely hooked by the story.

I'm in for at least the next one in the series when the question becomes where the author will go from here as his characters get older and more experienced. Given the way this one ends and the timing of it, a slightly darker feel would seem likely.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The story-pleasure-centres in my brain satiated.

Where does Dawn of Wonder rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I've listened to a LOT of audiobooks, this one has to be in my top ten.

What other book might you compare Dawn of Wonder to, and why?

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.

What does Tim Gerard Reynolds bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

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.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

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.

Any additional comments?

where's the next one.?..I need it now.

21 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

27 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Christian conditioning allegory

Is there anything you would change about this book?

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.

Have you listened to any of Tim Gerard Reynolds’s other performances? How does this one compare?

An enjoyable performance.

If this book were a film would you go see it?

Possibly. But most likely not.

Any additional comments?

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.

24 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Mr
  • 30-05-16

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.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tommy
  • burnley, United Kingdom
  • 14-03-16

Excellent

Gripping storyline good realistic characters, well read can't wait for the next instalment would recommend it to anyone!!!!!!!! ;0)

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

8 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • William
  • COLWYN BAY, United Kingdom
  • 10-03-16

So many extremes. its making me tired

Would you try another book written by Jonathan Renshaw or narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds?

no then yes. this book is so full, full on, of everything. everything emotional. evrything strong. ever thing extreme. this book jus is one after another , and another and aother. one extreme actions or enviroment after another and anther. no brake no steadiness. just go go go. sigh. build a good story not a strong situation every five minutes.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

yes added an aullt editor

What does Tim Gerard Reynolds bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

a good voice

Could you see Dawn of Wonder being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

no

Any additional comments?

blah blah blah. good enough ish

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • bill
  • Lowestoft, United Kingdom
  • 18-03-16

Not as good as it should be.

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

This book suffers from poor editing, and being unsure of for whom it was written, age wise. I would not recommend this book.

Would you be willing to try another book from Jonathan Renshaw? Why or why not?

No; once bitten, twice shy.

What about Tim Gerard Reynolds’s performance did you like?

I thought the narrator performed well considering the material he had to work with.

Did Dawn of Wonder inspire you to do anything?

Yes it inspired me to find something else to read.

Any additional comments?

An interesting concept not fully thought out.

13 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

brilliant

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¿

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Joe
  • 21-03-16

Instant Favorite

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!

301 of 329 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Heather
  • 16-10-16

This is such a great book!!!

Just listened to it again, I've been waiting almost three years for the second...ugh but if Johnathan gives us another amazing story, I can be patient, it's just hard lol.
Love, adore, crave these characters!!! I was getting sad at chapter 34 knowing it was half way through.
This book is so awesome, I know I'll listen again before the second book comes out!!!
The narrator does a wonderful job, I wouldn't want anyone else, he's so good!!! I already have 5 books that he narrates and I'm getting more for sure!!!

142 of 157 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • CrookedSoul
  • 17-02-16

Renshaw will go down as one of the greats!

Any additional comments?

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!

Absolutely superb!!

231 of 264 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew Mackey
  • 22-04-16

Next?

This is one of those stories that should have notation "sequel not ready" and a note to the author to write fast and stay safe!

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • AudioBook Reviewer
  • 22-02-16

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

[If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]

177 of 209 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Scott
  • 21-06-17

Enjoyable if not cliche

When I first saw this book, I read a review that said this book was incredibly stereotypical of fantasy novels. It literally hits every fantasy cliche you can imagine:

1) Child Prodigy - Check
2) Horrific Childhood experience - Check
3) Training with secretive/selective unit - check
4) Nobel Rich Dick vs commoner kind Main Character - Check
5) A little Magic - Check
6) Old and powerful Mentor - check (although he went against the norm and didn't die!)
6a) Old Mentor takes place of father figure - check
6b) Father comes back and renews tension between father and son - Check
6c) father son battle - Check
7) Dragons - kind of check
8) magical creatures - Check
9) Prophecy - little check
10) Kings, Betrayal, Friendship, near death, death death, bullies and revenge/justice - all checks

If you can think of another cliche, this book probably had it. I was looking for red vs blue swords by the end!

But it's very enjoyable and Renshaw even introduces some serious mental issues with the main character. He also creates a fairly decent introduction to a second book which I will bother with.

Go a head and take a chance. It's fun and emotional at the same time.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 25-02-16

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.

43 of 51 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jeremiah
  • 05-03-16

Possibly the best Audible book ever!

Any additional comments?

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 ;(

133 of 161 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Isobel
  • 16-08-16

Drop everything, buy this book.

I wasn't sure if I would like this book, I've read several coming of age books, and sometimes I get bored with the main character being a youth that is somehow the chosen one.

Not this book.
This is the first which can only be a great series to come. This book make me miss work, laugh, smile, cry and mourn.
I read the authors blog and he said a goal of his was to have the characters feel more real.
We are our own worst critics because these characters felt very real.
Everyone wasn't perfect, the main character even annoyed me at times, but not because of bad writing- but because he is trying to work through things and I wanted to shake it out of him.
I know it's yet another unfinished series, but everything from the magnificent narration to the detailed writing, loveable (and hateable) characters, the world and the sense of magic and purpose.
I don't know much about the author but I will always choose his books, and I suggest you do too.

I normally don't write reviews, and I normally don't give out 5 stars (last time I did was for Sanderson) which can be a bit snobbish, but I would give this book 6 stars.

This is a book that all ages can enjoy. It's not YA by any means- but you'll find yourself younger and full of imagination. Exactly what a fantasy book is about.

Bravo.

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-10-16

Loved it!

What did you like best about this story?

The way hints were sprinkled through out the book as to whats going to happen, and often forgotten but come back later to become important to the book.

Any additional comments?

The only reason I did not give this max stars is because of the Fridge Logic of some of the aspects of the book.

For example. The General. He rescues Aden, buys him a very expensive horse, is one of the people Aden is supposed to idolize as a great general, and becomes his friend.......... But this has no impact on Aden's character... after everything that happens he is the same Silly boy at the 3/4th point of the book as he was in the beginning... only older with a some scars and few new tricks.

Should not the general have made an impact on him? Should we have had at least a bit more on the general before the end when he became important?

It is several flaws like this that crop up from time to time as I read the book that hold me back from giving it a max review.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful