- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 2766.0 KB
- Print Length: 664 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01DS1S9DC
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #218,260 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Dawn of the Dreamsmith (The Raven's Tale Book 1) Kindle Edition
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I have known the author for a very long time through an established community forum.
I had the book converted to & listened as an audiobook so I'm not going to write out any names of characters or locations relating to the book/story in case of incorrect spelling as well to not reveal too much information that may be spoiler for some readers.
* * * * *
After the prologue, I was interested in the alternative/inquisitive perspective to a fairy tale that author presented which had intrigued/tainted my expectation/curiosity of what was to come. From the first few chapters I felt strongly drawn in, engaged, wanting to know more about the world and the characters that made an instant impression & a few that don't.
The story or journey that you take along with the characters is like standing in a world of fog, I sometimes felt that I knew what was going to happen around the corner, only to be taken around another corner with your invested emotions laid out for whatever new emotion to consume them.
I rarely read fiction, but this was a wonderful surprise to read/listen to, even has a map of the North & South of the world which was another surprise but also gives you an idea to the detail the author put into this book. I highly recommend this book without hesitation.
And it’s a vividly-drawn bunch of characters we’re asked to invest our time in. Our hero, Cole, is an engaging young man who, without really quite knowing how or why, has the power to enter other people's dreamworlds. We meet Raven, whose terrifying back story opens the novel and explains her taciturn, cautious nature; and the warring princes Adelmar and Jarrod (you don’t like Jarrod full stop, but you’re not exactly that keen on Adelmar – his nickname’s the ‘bloody prince’ – either). We’re introduced to the power-seeking Archon whose aim is to control the entire empire, and meet the saintly captain Brandt who, instead of turning a blind eye to another’s troubles, puts himself in real danger to discover the truth of what’s going on. And there’s plenty of others I've missed out from that roll call.
But for my money – and I bet yours too – perhaps the most memorable character is The Impending Grume a joyously unpleasant, foul-tempered boggit with a great line in invective – he’s forever telling everyone to 'fagorf' (go on, say it aloud). In fact if there’s a moral to this first book in the trilogy then it would be don’t expect a boggit to get you out of a prison cell once you’ve passed him through the cell bars. He’ll just... well if you want to find out what he does then fagorf and buy the book. It's worth every penny.
I have read a reasonable amount of self-published works, and while there are some gems you have to sift through a lot of turds to find them - as such my purchase was more a show of solidarity than a genuinely interested one and I wasn't expecting much. The quality of what he has written has frankly blown me away - to put such a well crafted and coherent work out solo, with no assistance from publishers, editors etc, is staggering.
There is a little clunky prose in literally the first couple of pages, but after that there is no recurrence, indeed the prose is of superb quality overall.
**No spoilers follow** The story told is of Cole, the eponymous Dreamsmith of the title. Events take place which force him out of his monastic life, which in turn leads him to meet Raven, a swordswoman with the goal of discovering what has become of her father. The story is quite epic in scope, but stays wedged between heroic and grimdark in the telling. Cole embarks upon a journey to try to uncover the reasons behind the events which forced him out of his old life, but rather than being an A to B journey, Ratcliffe the author includes vignettes along the way that are almost short stories buried within the novel. For those readers who have enjoyed roleplaying games, think of a small side quest or random encounter. Some of these stories have links to the make plot arc but others are self-contained, something that I thoroughly enjoyed.
The world Ratcliffe has built is a compelling one, with likeable and of course loatheable characters, and the debut sets up the sequel nicely with several unanswered questions.
Any lover of fantasy literature could do an awful lot worse than pick up a copy of this - if he can maintain the quality of writing moving forwards, I would not be surprised to see a spectacular career ahead. Top marks, all the more so for having done it unassisted.
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