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3.7 out of 5 stars89
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 16 November 2000
Dawnthief is...a good book which leaves you wishing there were more to it. It's main and best feature and difference is that James Barclay is not afraid to kill off characters. You think one person is the main character, but then he is killed, then you think it is another, and he is killed!!! The book is a good experience, with strong character characterization. There is no doubt that this book has elements of it's own innovation, but that's also the problem. There isn't enough of it, although what there is, is interesting and one can't help but feel how much better this book would and perhaps should have been with more innovation. Still, a fine book, and entertainment throughout.
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on 25 July 2000
Its refreshing to read a book where heroes die, and dont win every encounter. Dawnthief is that book. Set in a country that is divided by warring Barons and mistrustful magical colleges the Raven, a respected mercenary band famed for always winning their fights, are slowly dragged into a quest of epic proportions. Fighting against the Wesmen In order to stop the resurection of the wytch lords the Raven must struggle against their so callled allies as well as their known enemies. A book full of intrigue, backstabbing, death, magic and mayhem, it really is a joy to read. I would write more but ive started the sequel......just buy it its worth it
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on 29 October 1999
As the relationship between the Raven unfolds at the begining of the book you start to realise that this is no ordinary first novel, that you will have to keep reading and that there are a number of basic concepts (such as "casting") that although you knew all about them, nobody has ever bothered to explain them until now. Even as the book draws to it's inevitable conclusion you are starting to formulate the next episode in your mind.
Vivid, colourful and interesting, with a good storyline and some facinating characters. Sadly no elephants, still there is time for the next two episodes to develop !
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on 7 December 1999
Very few books are able to grip the reader from start to finish, even from some of the great fantasy authors and especially in their early writing, but Mr. Barclay does this with an amazing eloquent ease, is it really his first?
The Raven are instantly thrown into action as the book starts and throughout show their strength's and weaknesses whilst dealing with different situations. These can only be understood by reading this book for yourself, as I will not reveal any content other than to say that I could not put it down until complete, to the detriment of my working and social life.
More we cry, MORE!
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on 2 August 1999
Dawnthief is an excellent read, matching relentless action with fast-paced dialogue. The Raven, a no-nonsense team of mercenaries just slightly past their sell-by date, are a strong group of characters increasingly reliant on each other as their belief in their invincibility is chipped away. It is their relationships and reactions that shape the narrative as they are forced to fight an apparently hopeless corner. The quest-based story line rips along, carrying the reader on a thrilling ride with the loss of the world as the price for failure. I'll certainly be looking out for book two.
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on 14 January 2001
The only bad reviews of this book I have read are by people expecting to much, this is plup fantasy at its best. If you want a breakthrough fantasy novel then this its not for you, but if you like me you are tired of all the drawn out fantasy epics with books with thousands upon thousands of pages that just go on and on then this makes a refreshing read. I am now looking forward to reading the next of the series and think that Mr Barcley has writen a fine example of fantasy, with heros who have some but not to much emotion and villans who are not all them seem. An all round good read.
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on 19 March 2014
I make no secret of it. Mr Barclay is one of my favourite authors.
Balaia is a believable setting, it's not all sunshine and rainbows, but neither is it all doom and gloom.
The magic system is fantastically realised, combat scenes are cinematic in their descriptions
And the banter between the heroes, and with supporting cast members is absolutely brilliant.

it has everything, tragedy, humour, action and an amazing setting.

And it only gets better as the series carried on.
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on 6 May 2013
I read these some years ago and had lost my copy of dawnthief so I finally got round to replacing the matching one!

I really do recommend this series. It's totally immersive and the battles/fights are detailed, blow by blow descriptions.
The world is detailed and the characters engaging, whom you grow to love very quickly.

As cliche as it sounds and I'm cringing saying this... but if you love lord of the rings and/or harry potter, then this series is perfect for you.
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on 14 October 2005
Well I have to admit, shallow as I am, I was suckered into this by the ever so pretty purple and black cover. Of course never judging a book purely by a cover, the glowing recommendations from Eddings and Furey gave me the urge to splash out on this. A novel with the promise of pace and action, a much needed antidote to the ever increasing sensation of wading through treacle that I'd experienced further down the line with the Wheel Of Time series.
So lo! I'd bought a nice new shiny book, what better to do than to sift through Amazon and check out the other opinions of fellow reviewers. To my dismay, I was shocked to find two parallels of opinion, either extatic 5 star praise of pace and excitement, or the lowly 1 star flaming of cliche and shallowness. I feared that I may have gone from rock to hard place as far as reading material was concerned.
Monday morning commute commenced and I took the big plunge. Yes, the novel doesn't pull any punches, there is no gentle introduction. Its WHAM, straight in there with the Raven dividing people horizontally with vicious sword action and HardShields all over the shop. After the D&D comparisons read here, I was concerned, half expecting members of the Raven to pause between hits while waiting for an Active Time Battle bar to recharge before attempting a Limit Break! But wait, after the initial confusion and a rather surprising downsizing of the initial Raven outfit, things do settle down somewhat. Surprises ARE sprung, a more weighty plot kicks in and you find yourself becoming part of the new band of Raven. As promised, plenty of energy and excitement yet not overtly cliched and it hardly maintains the sense of being a D&D book for 14 year old metal heads.
I've found myself caught up in the plight of the Raven, the despair as the close knit band is slowly picked apart, but joy as the need to save the world leads to the forming of a new Raven. Everything just slots into place just nicely, written with precision and purpose. The finding of the three catalysts could have easily been spread over three novels, but the decision to go with action pays off. The pages keep on turning and the chapters tumbling by.
This isn't the deepest of fantasy that you will ever read. Certainly the history of the Wytch Lords, land itself and the politics of the various ruling bodies & factions is very lightly delved into and only when the plot deems it necessary. Also it is exactly what it says on the tin, very gritty and down to earth, not quite conjouring the whimsical otherworldly fantasy of Tolkien (but then again, what fantasy has managed this since?). However, I have found this the ideal antidote to a case of the Jordan's, and my commuter packed train journeys have been made better for it. I can easily see myself picking up the next in the series.
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on 26 April 2000
This was a pleasant surprise. Not usually a fan of standard fantasy I still picked this one up and didn't regret it. The action is fast and furious and the characters very likeable. Even the rather standard plot has quite a few fresh ideas. My only real complaint is the relative lack of substantial female characters. There's only two and one of them spends far too much time crying for my taste (though she has a good reason). Anyway, I look forward to the sequel.
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