Review #32: Dawn

Dawn by Morgan Sylvia


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Published on 21 September 2018

I was contacted by the author and given a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A Legacy of Violence

When Stiva and her twin brother, Chandris, inherit the troubled throne of Aris, the populace grows uneasy, and with good reason. The twins, estranged for years after a bitter feud, are very different. Stiva takes after their mother, a Reonih bard from the primal mushroom forests of distant Shadri, while Chandris favors their father, a hardened warlord, commander of the mighty Selin army.

A King’s Thirst For Power

Faced with enemies on all sides and the rising threat of war, the twins vow to put their discord behind them and unite to protect Aris. But Chandris wants more than survival; he dreams of empire, and is determined to lift Aris out of its post-technological dark age. He will stop at nothing to achieve that goal, and has no qualms about reawakening an ancient, deadly technology to do it.

A Land Divided

By delving into forbidden science and forgotten dark arts, Chandris breaks a longstanding treaty with the Reonih and incites civil war. He also unleashes an ancient, unearthly threat; the bloodthirsty, elemental Zhur. As alliances fracture and warfare threatens to engulf the land, Stiva must fight not only to save the Reonih from her brother’s lust for power, but protect herself from the Zhurlord that is haunting her.

This book has all the elements of fantasy that I enjoy, and more: a historical and fantastical kingdom with mysterious creatures and powers. It reminded me of Game of Thrones except that it also included witchcraft elements. Having recently developed an interest in all things Wicca and witchcraft related, this was a delightful surprise. I have rarely stumbled upon books that contain divination tools etc as an important part of the story so it hooked me in straight away.

The author has created a completely new fantasy world unlike any other and I felt very drawn to it. I have to say that her writing and imagination stumped me. However, there were a few things that I thought could improve the reader’s experience:

  • Firstly, there are a lot of characters all belonging to different “races” and it can get difficult to figure out who’s on who’s side. Maybe a list of characters and their affiliations could be useful so as to not get lost.
  • Similarly, the author introduces the reader to a range of magickal creatures and plants etc, but doesn’t give any explanation as to what they are other than the names, which made it hard for me to picture them in my head since I had no idea what these inventions were supposed to be like. I would consider either including a glossary explaining what they are or offering a small description in the novel as they are being introduced into the story.
  • Finally, the narrative is for the most part Stiva’s, the new queen of Aris. However it randomly jumps to different characters in some chapters. While I appreciate the use of multiple point of views to add to the intrigue, it felt a bit odd that the narration would follow Stiva until the middle of the book, then quickly jump to a different character then back to Stiva etc. In my opinion, if you’re going to be playing around with different point of views and narratives, you should do so in a consistent manner rather than randomly and sporadically.

Overall, I did really enjoy this book as it contains all the elements that, for me, make up a great fantasy novel. I’ve loved immersing myself into this whole new world. I did find that the book ended on a random scene, but seeing as it is the first of a trilogy, it should all make more sense when the second book comes out, which I cannot wait to get my teeth into!

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