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Dawn of Wonder

(The Wakening #1)

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  23,199 ratings  ·  1,918 reviews
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.

Kindle Edition, 715 pages
Published May 1st 2015 by Jonathan Renshaw
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Acosper Cosper This book is like Blood Song or The Name of the Wind insofar as the protagonist is a boy in a fantasy school setting. The difference is that Dawn of W…moreThis book is like Blood Song or The Name of the Wind insofar as the protagonist is a boy in a fantasy school setting. The difference is that Dawn of Wonder is one of the worst books I've read in years. The only reason I kept reading was to try to figure out why so many people wrote positive reviews. I was left with two possibilities: there are a large number of fake reviews or most of the reviews came from people who had never actually read a good book and therefore had no basis for comparison. (less)
This question contains spoilers... (view spoiler)
Wheelchairguy This is his first published work and an outstanding beginning to what I hope is a long list of books published by this author!

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  23,199 ratings  ·  1,918 reviews

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Melissa Starling
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book was just barely good enough for me to finish reading. I nearly quit on it several times. There are moments when it's quite good, and then a lot of sections that just fall short, being too simplistic and almost childish. The main character, Aedan, is at times supposed to be unusually brilliant, yet at other times he deals with issues so clumsily that it's at odds with his strategic genius that is central to his successes. The other characters in the story were moderately developed, but ...more
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
UPDATE: $1.99 on Kindle US 6/1/19

Buddy read with some friends at Fantasy Buddy Reads

That was surprisingly good!! But I need the next book! That ending!!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
May 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is hands down the best novel I've read this year.

First, the editing. Care and attention have been paid to both spelling and grammar to the point where it reads as though it has been professionally edited. This matters to me as I often find a careless or persistent error can throw me out of the story.

And what a story it is. I can't quite believe that this is self-published. Not only is the tale ambitious in scope but it is distinct enough to easily separate itself from the Tolkien, Jordan or
Christopher Harju
Feb 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
I found this self-published book on Audible and bought it because of previous good experience with the narrator and the glowing reviews on Goodreads.

I'm always on the lookout for new unknown fantasy books and hidden gems. Previous self-published "gems" I've found were Blood Song by Anthony Ryan and The Shadow that was Lost by James Islington, both extraordinary reads that compete against this century best fantasy authors like Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, Pierce Brown, Brent Weeks, Peter
Melissa (Mel’s Bookshelf)
WOW!!! THIS is why I love reading! What an absolutely fantastic and powerful story. With one novel, Renshaw has surely joined an elite group of fantasy authors, along side names such as Tolkin, Sanderson and Rothfuss. This book has been nominated and won numerous awards and I can certainly say beyond a doubt that I am not surprised. From the beginning of the book you could just tell there was something very special about it. And the audio version was superb! Absolutely 30 hours of my life that I ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
This has been on my "currently reading" shelf for...well for a long time. "First-off" I bought the book so library books had to be moved ahead of it. However and secondly the book has (for me at least) a glaring problem. It begins as a very interesting even enthralling story. Then is "slowly" becomes more and more overly wordy.

In other words from an interesting story about our young protagonist we gradually move to a point where you'll know what he eats at most ever meal.

Now, that said I still g
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: ALL epic fantasy fans
I’ve got hundreds of friends here on GR. As of today (4/25/2017), only 31 of you have added this book and 0 of you have read it. Not a single one of you. ZERO of you. I am so alone.


But now I get to be the first to scream at you to read it! GO READ IT! Why? Because I SAY SO.
How do you describe something indescribable? I read somewhere that the best word for things that are bigger than words is wonder.

Actual rating: 4.5 stars

Dawn of Wonder is probably the finest self-published fantasy
Jun 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I've read many books in my fifty-plus years and few have had me up past 2AM when I knew I should be sleeping; this is such a book.

The characters are brought to life in a world I can see in my mind as I read. The story captivates you and keeps you turning "just one more page" even though work looms only 4 hours away.

I highly recommend this adventure into a world both rich and ground in a unique reality. You won't waste your time, I promise.

Just a note to the author: You didn't waste your time. Yo
Mark Halse
Feb 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading this book. Renshaw is one of the few modern fantasy authors who got it right. An installment in an epic fantasy series should not dip below 600 pages! Or at least in my perfect world it wouldn't. I like a nice, big book to lose myself in and DAWN OF WONDER delivers.

In this episodic adventure, we follow Aedan from the farms of the Mistyvales to the corruption of urban Castath and beyond as he finds his way in life and dedicates himself to vengeance. It's really a book tha
Davis Ashura
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Dawn of Wonder is the stunning debut novel by Jonathan Renshaw and is also the first in his The Wakening epic fantasy series. The story is the coming of age tale of a young boy named Aeden, and from that perspective, the book may sound trite, but it succeeds in ways so many similar novels fail. First, Mr. Renshaw captures the absolute fun of being “almost thirteen”. His Aeden is a Tom Sawyeresque character who is utterly charming. From the very first scene when he tries to convince his friend Th ...more
Jul 05, 2019 rated it liked it
The Mistyvales is a quiet place where the children of nobility and commoners are able to befriend one another. One such pair of friends is the royal Kalry and the commoner Aedan. Life seemed perfect until one day an officer rides into town with a warning. Life is never the same for Aedan afterwards. He eventually finds his way into a special military academy, determined to change the world for the better.

How can I possibly explain Dawn of Wonder? I believe it's best explained as though it's a st
Oct 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Usually, my preference is to read a book told in chronological order, but with Dawn of Wonder, I almost wish Renshaw had written Aeden's story in flashback.

Anyways. Full review to come.
Apr 02, 2016 rated it did not like it
This is a very long, very overwritten, and very boring coming of age story. I picked it up because of the high reviews and was extremely disappointed. There are so many long drawn out uninteresting passages which add nothing to the plot. I kept going because there was an occasional glimmer that it might get better. It didn't. 30 audiobook hours of my life down the drain. Next time when I get the urge to lem I will pull the trigger quickly. Life is too short.

How this managed to get 4.4 stars I ha
Jake m
Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: high-fantasy
DNF. Comparing this book to The Name of The Wind is Simply bullshit. They are not in the same league. The writing is simplistic and childish. A quarter of the way through I had to check to see if this was a book aimed for young adults, but the writing level would be more suited for the 10-13 range reader.

The writer tries to show us the main character is overly clever but the writer is not clever enough to put him in situations to prove his cleverness.

The dialogue is rough and unrealistic. The
Katherine Coble
A few years ago I reviewed Anthony Ryan's _Blood Song_ here on Goodreads. That review gets me letters at least once a week asking me to recommend other books that are just as good as _Blood Song_, _Name Of The Wind_, and the rest of the titles I mentioned in that review.
I usually have to tell people "I have no idea but as soon as I do I'll shout it from the rooftops."
This is me, climbing up the ladder and preparing to balance on the shingles.

_Dawn Of Wonder_ is that book. It is the book I los
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-sff-faves
This is a book I picked up as an impulse buy on Audible becuase it kept being advertised to me and it sounded very intriguing. Plus, it's also narrated by Tim Gerald Reynolds who is the narrator for Michael J. Sullivan's books (all of which I have very much enjoyed) so I knew I already liked and trusted the narrator. I am SO glad I picked this one up, it's a story I feel deserves SO much more attention than it has previously been given and I really really would recommend this if you enjoy epic f ...more
Scott  Hitchcock
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-fantasy
For much of the book there were really only hints of it becoming a fantasy book. The elements were really a coming of age book with hints of possible fantasy implications. I have to say I was frustrated with this at points because it was billed as a fantasy book. However the writing was superb and the characters very enjoyable with great pacing.

Then the last quarter of the book things began to click and a lot of the teasing made the payoff worth it. The book left off with my thinking this was t
Dec 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Hands down the best book I've read on 2015.

Call it stupid prejudice, but I haven't read many self published material before. Yet, I would not call this book self published material at all.

I'd call it one of the biggest, greatest hidden treasures in the self published industry, and everyone should read it. Right now. Seriously, RIGHT NOW!

I don't know how I came by this book, it just has over a thousand ratings on Goodreads (with a really nice average rating of 4.40/5 stars by the way).

This com
The Coycaterpillar Reads
Jan 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
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’ ...more
Apr 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Lots of glowing reviews on this one and in my opinion this book deserves them.

If we must categorize this book, it is a coming of age, fantasy novel in the epic tradition. But that really is like describing the ocean by saying it is wet (I read that in a book somewhere).

This is storytelling at its finest. We are pulled in by the tragedy of the story but the sense of wonder keeps us reading. We see this medieval world through the eyes of an almost 13 year old boy. He's intelligent, kind, resource
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rob by: Will Jones
Executive Summary: Started and ended really strong with a few lulls in the middles that cost it from possibly being a 5 star read for me.

Audiobook: I'm a huge fan of Tim Gerard Reynolds. He does a fantastic job with every book I've ever listened to him narrate, and this one is no different. He does a variety of voices and always is easy to understand and hear.

Full Review
I got this one as a gift a few years ago, but it was pretty long and the second book doesn't seem to be coming out soon so
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
When I picked up this audiobook I wasn't aware it was a coming of age/young adult novel, which is usually a genre I avoid like the plague. I think I burned myself out on them a while ago and I tend to get annoyed with less mature protagonists. So, when it was clear a few chapters in that this book had a 12 year old main character I was skeptical if I should continue, but, it was being narrated by the lovely Tim Gerard Reynolds, so I continued despite my hesitations.

I'm glad I did, I liked this b
C.P. Cabaniss
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
This may sit somewhere in the 3.5 star range. I am not entirely sure yet.

At the beginning of the year, my fantasy loving friend Twila recommended this book to me. Aren't book recommendations the best? I have found some of my favorite books after a great recommendation and both of my favorite authors were recommended by friends and family. But anyway, back to this book. After that recommendation, I decided to give this a try. And I'm really glad I did.

This is definitely a slow building series t
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read this review and more at Book Geeks Uncompromised!

Aedan is a young boy that lives in a small, quiet village pretty much in the middle of nowhere. He is kind of a genius and brilliant at tracking and survival situations. Tragedy strikes his village leading to the loss of someone that Aedan is very close to and he and his family are forced to leave the village to find a new home.

The first part of the book was easily my favorite part. This part that laid down the overall plot for the series had
Julia Sarene
This one is especially hard to rate! On the one hand it is full of flaws - but on the other hand I thoroughly enjoyed it!

It started of quite slow, and I was almost giving up on it. But then another part started, and I was sucked back in. It is very "trope heavy" with a school for magistrates (fighters to keep up the law), a quest, a young boy who has to grow into some kind of hero, a band a friends sticking together, a lost best (girl) friend and the grumpy mentor who is a really nice guy at hea
Nov 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I would go as far as a 4.5. It is that good a debut.
I've been going through some of GR's 2016 underrated fantasy list, and boy is it a treasure trove! As for this book, my primary impression upon completing it was enormous regret that book two was nowhere in sight. That is how much I enjoyed it.
This is a coming-of-age story, and a truly amazing start to a series. Our young hero, Aedan, is transported, through profoundly traumatic events, from his rural Mistyvales to an elite soldiering academy w
Vicky N.
Dawn of Wonder is the epic tale of twelve-year old Aedan, a bright boy from the Mistyvales, who after a series of misfortune is exiled out of his home town and separated from his closest friends. And so begins his journey in the marshal's academy to better himself and bring revenge to those who wronged him.

Dawn of Wonder is the debut novel from self-published author, Jonathan Renshaw, a retired school teacher and I am just amazed at the incredible work he has created.

Aedan starts as a very smar
Coming-of-Age Medieval Fantasy told in 3rd-person POV. Scenes of bullying, treachery, child abuse, murder, etc. The main protagonist is an adventurous, curious, and observant village lad named Aedan. He is 12 when the story begins and 15 when it ends. In that time, he completed 3 years of intense training at the academy, where he hopes to become a marshall (a spy, ranger, ambassador, warrior, linguist, etc.).

The land is in danger from the Fenn to the east and Lakren slave-traders from the west.
Thomas J. Benedict
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
I started this book, hoping for a great adventure. Unfortunately, I found the writing quite amateur. Sigh. DNF.
Had I never picked up the pen myself, I probably could've enjoyed the ride. But I'm glad to see plenty of people (all readers, I assume, not many writers) enjoyed this book.

Here are the major complaints I still remember:
- Sentences were not highly efficient and impactful. More words than needed.
- Author over used the term "it," without efficiently assigning a subject at all times. He al
May 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Amazing first book to what promises to be an amazing series!

I'll admit that im a big fan of the whole coming of age fantasy novel, but lately ive started so many books where the writing is so poor or the story is just so cliche and over done that i cant even get through half of them. Dawn of Wonder was definitely not one of these. It took me a couple of days to finish it, but i couldn't put it down. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

The only thing i can complain about is that i kept waiting for som
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Jonathan Renshaw is a former high school English teacher and music producer who now writes full time. He is currently working on the epic fantasy series, The Wakening, launched in May 2015. Connect with him at ...more

Other books in the series

The Wakening (3 books)
  • Untitled (The Wakening, #2)
  • Untitled (The Wakening, #3)

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