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A Testament of Steel

(Instrument Of Omens #1)

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  4,727 ratings  ·  260 reviews
A young man with no past must progress into a warrior out of legend.

Cinder Shade’s life begins on a fateful afternoon at the bottom of a well where he awakens, bruised, battered, and bereft of all memory. His only understanding is a driving imperative—to protect those who can’t defend themselves and become a warrior worthy of the name.

He discovers within himself a peculiar
Kindle Edition, 562 pages
Published July 20th 2020 by Heroic Books
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Don Brown Memories of Prophecies: (Instrument of Omens Book 2) is available on Kindle March 25, 2021.

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Average rating 4.27  · 
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Mike (the Paladin)
Nov 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
You will have noted I went 5 stars on this book. The interesting thing is that I could describe it in a way that might make it sound sort of mediocre. I mean it hits a lot of the epic fantasy marks, there are Elves, humans, dwarves, other fantasy races. The Elves think of themselves as superior. There are what would be called "fantasy tropes" (I hate the word trope. It seemed to get badly overused for a while but, you know they are tropes). There is heavy foreshadowing, plot points you will spot ...more
Jul 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Classic epic fantasy that imitates LOTR and WOT, but, imitates well with subtle alterations on the tropes and sensibilities which works quite nicely for readers who want to start reading a comfy and adventurous fantasy tale. I haven't read anything other than this of the author, and while I found it enjoyable, I also felt as if the whole thing was repetitive or I've read the story a hundred times in the past. But, don't let that fool you into believing it as mere imitation, rather it is a ingeni ...more
Vimalathithya (Critically_Reasonable)
******2.5/5 stars******(Squandered_Potential)

This is going to be a bit long-winded but bear with me. It might even prove to be informative.

Honestly, it would be an exaggeration on my part if I gave this book anything more than a four. Or even a three. 2.5/5, average, is what I would rate this book as.

By all rights, I should have hated this book.

Wake up one day, face down in a well, with no memory of your past. Leave your home for a new, temporary abode and fight some bullies there. Then leave

Jason Cross
Jul 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Having received and read an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of this book by Davis Ashura, I have set about writing an honest review of ‘A Testament of Steel’, the first in what promises to be a series of books following the coming of age story of Cinder Shade. From the outset here, I can tell you that I loved it. But let me tell you why…

I was listening to an album the other day and remarked to my wife how much it reminded me of Springsteen. It wasn’t copying or beholden to Springsteen, but there was
Jun 04, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook

Decent YA. Promising characters. Lopsided plot progression.
David S Meanderings)
Nov 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.75 stars

“Perhaps even the worst of us are worthy of Devesh’s mercy, and if so, what does it mean for how we should treat one another?”

I mostly listened to this on audiobook and wanted to give a big shoutout to one of my favorite narrators, Nick Podehl. He managed to do an amazing job yet again.

This book was somewhat hard for me to rate. On one hand my enjoyment level was pretty high. I had a lot of fun with this book and am excited for when the second book comes out. However, there were some w
Aug 27, 2020 rated it really liked it

Full review over at Fantasy Book Critic

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Davis Ashura is an author whom I got to meet at Dragon Con a couple of years ago and since then I’ve read both the first volumes of his previous two finished series. With this book, he has initiated his master series a La Sanderson with his Stormlight Archive. Also this would be his ode to Tolkien, & Jordan for installing the love of epic fantasy in him. I was mighty excited for this book and as promised, it was a big Jordanesque tome.

Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In the efforts of full disclosure: I was sent an ARC (advanced reader copy) of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am also going to attempt to make this review as spoiler free as I can, but it’s going to be tough. But I’ll do my best.

As I’ve read many of Mr. Ashura’s works so far, I went into this one expecting much of the same. While Ashura’s books are incredible in terms of world building and developing engaging stories and characters you become truly invested in, my one small compl
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
I was given an advanced reader copy by Heroic Books in exchange for an honest review. Though I don’t go into much detail about the story, this review does contain some spoilers, so read at your own risk!

A Testament of Steel by Davis Ashura is a testosterone-filled story about Cinder Steel, a teenage boy who loses his memory after a horrific event sees him at the bottom of a well. Though Cinder has no memory of his past, he is driven by a passion and urge to become a warrior of great renown and t
Nov 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
There are a few big problems with this book. The first is repetition.

Basically each time the protagonist goes to a new place, the same situation unfolds:
1. the residing arrogant brat tries to intimidate him,
2. the main character, as main characters are wont to do, doesn't back down
3. the residing upstart ambushes the main character to "teach him a lesson"
4. either the main character proves too much right then, or a little while later after more "training".
The above chain of event pretty much
Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'd give six stars if I could

It's rare that I write a review. This book is long and I finished it in one sitting. The story is that of a warrior of destiny from humble origins who progresses from an orphanage to a military academy and then to the top academy in the empire. He has flashbacks to a previous life as does Princess Anya and these episodes foreshadow that they have unfinished business, both between themselves and with the dark forces. The book was satisfyingly complex, leaving ample ro
Nov 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
Oh wow this reads like fanfiction. That's because in fanfiction they don't really build the world again, or the characters, but they rely on existing canon. So there's some generic fantasy-esque setting that is mostly defined by vaguely sanskrit-sounding words but isn't really described so it doesn't end up looking like anything in your head. The plot and worldbuilding don't come together, it's basically the generic plot in the generic world. When I say they don't come together I mean don't expe ...more
William Howe
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
Is there a point?

Having the MC get amnesia is a great trick to explain the world, but then you need to actually explain it. The logic is unsupported in the text.

Time passes without meaning. Days, weeks...there is no pace or progression.

The plot doesn’t flow. Characters are one-note.

Oct 21, 2020 rated it did not like it

Repetitive writing that is both too descriptive yet actually doesn’t tell you anything. Disappointed cause it had a good plot.
Kathy Elcox
Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this book after receiving it as an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) and loved it instantly, it was the first book I’ve read by Davis Ashura but I can tell he is an author to follow and will become one of my favourites. I've tried to write the review without spoilers.

The main character, Cinder Shade, is a strong, kind hearted man who cares deeply for his friends and is determined to do what is right. He is an easily likeable character, as a typical hero he does no wrong and there is nothing to d
Jarrod Kailef
May 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Let me open my review by stating unequivocally that this book stands alone as a really enjoyable read. However it's a lot more than than that, it's also a part of a much larger branching narrative which makes the entire reading experience truly engrossing. For a little bit of context, allow me to mention that I'm a big fan of science fiction and fantasy, so much so that roughly ninety percent all of the media I consume for personal entertainment falls into one of those two categories. As such, I ...more
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Niamh Ollerton
Jul 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I reviewed an ARC of the book from Heroic Books to give my own fair and honest review.
A 'Testament of Steel' by Davis Ashura is a fantastic book. Fantasy fiction isn’t my usual go-to genre, but I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the book and its story. It really is a page turner and I couldn't put it down.
The book offers you a bit of escapism, transporting you into the world of Seminal with its dynamic characters: from humans, elves, dwarves and more.
Cinder Shade (the protagonist) has the most
Jul 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I reviewed an ARC of this book from Heroic Books in exchange for a fair and honest review.

If you like classic fantasy in the vein of LOTR, you’ll like this book. It has elves and dwarves and giant spiders in a richly realized world. There’s an underdog hero, a band of brothers, the promise of a complicated romance, and an ancient evil waiting to rise.

A Testament Of Steel is the first installment of what promises to be an epic fantasy of good versus evil. In a world inspired by the myths and cult
Edmund Milne
Jun 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC in return for an honest review here. That being said, this is a standout novel. The characters are well drawn and likable, or unlikable in some cases, the narrative is well paced and thought out, but one of the trickiest feats DA accomplishes in this first volume of his third multi volume series is how deftly he interweaves the new story into his existing universe - clearly making it a part of it, but a very separate part of it. He deftly balances the appeal to veteran and new ...more
Jul 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received an advanced copy of this book to provide an honest review. I have never read any of Davis' books before so a real test case for him as I had no particular allegiance other than enjoying a good read, so here goes....

Short Review Summary:
Did I enjoy the book - yes very much so
Will I read the next instalment - definitely
Do I want to read more of Davis' books - for sure, he has whet my appetite
Do I want to wait patiently for the next book - hell no, hurry up Davis!!!!

So I picked this up w
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the best things about reading a book is arriving at the point where you just can’t put it down. It’s a wonderful feeling to find yourself immersed in another world. There are books that draw you in right away while others can be slow on the draw. The first few pages of A Testament of Steel, with their slow paced place setting, do a wonderful job of disguising the book as one of the latter. Soom after you are hurled into action in a way that makes your heart race with the sudden change of ...more
Brian Sutterfield
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Also an ARC reader here, as man of the other reviews have stated. I've read every other book that Davis Ashura has put out, and I highly recommend them all. His world and character building are fantastic. The characters are extremely relatable as being very human, even as many of them go above and beyond to do extraordinary things.

Now, on to this book in particular. I absolutely loved it. I was hooked from the first chapter, and had trouble putting it down. I'm already planning a reread after I
Greg Smith
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read an ARC of A Testament of Steel with no knowledge of Ashura and his previous work. What immediately struck me was that this fantasy universe was drenched in Asian culture and tradition, which is a real departure from most Western fantasy and a breath of fresh air.

The world that Ashura creates in this novel is beautiful and mysterious, and I loved that as readers we discovered the universe alongside the fantastic protagonist, Cinder Shade. At times I found the dialogue to be a little forced
Jun 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
William West
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A Testament of Steel is an engaging, thought provoking, wonderful read. Following the exploits of Cinder Shade, a crippled, lower caste member of society as he navigates racial prejudice, physical weakness, unjust actions of others, all while trying to share his ideal of a better world.

Though the system may be different than what one may be used to, it is a wonderful fantasy story and keeps you cheering for more. I look forward to the next adventure of Cinder and follow him as he grows along wi
David Uko
Nov 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is based on the audiobook version. Right, this was a really good read. I’d give it a solid 4.4; I saw great reviews and I wasn’t disappointed...... but I also wasn’t blown away. Great pacing, detailed world building and realistic character development. I just felt that there could have been more; I mean, the book cover raised my expectations, sadly the MC never got to that level. The performance by Nick Podehl was entertaining and the story had a more than satisfactory ending. I am excited ...more
Kevin Mackie
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book, well written with characters that develop as the book progresses. This is the first book I have read by Davis Ashura but it won't be the last one. Good paced story always leaving you with that just a few more pages before I stop reading for tonight feeling. ...more
Peter Rylander
Jul 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent! Can't wait for more

I am a big fan of his other books and this one does not disappoint. Excellent world building and and interesting characters.
Aali Hashim
Aug 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

A Testament of Steel is an interesting story about Cinder Shade and his journey towards becoming the greatest warrior there ever was. Set in a fantasy world full of elves, dwarves and magic, what elevates the setting for me is the fact that everything is inspired by South Asian myths and culture. The plot is simple - Cinder has lost his memory but knows that he has to become a warrior - and aside from the first 100 pages whic
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Davis Ashura is an author of such sublime depth and beauty that his works have been known to cause a tear to fall from the eyes of even the hardest of hearts.
Just kidding.
But he does write.
This humble writer, who refers to himself in the third person, resides in North Carolina, sharing a house with his magnificent wife who somehow overlooked Davis’ eccentricities and married him a

Other books in the series

Instrument Of Omens (2 books)
  • Memories of Prophecies (Instrument of Omens, #2)

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