(4/5) Dawn of Wonder was recommended to me by a fantasy-loving friend. I picked the book up without reading any premise, and without knowing what it was about. My attention was immediately captured by the rich detail provided by the author, Jonathan Renshaw. I grew smitten with Renshaw’s writing style, the depth of his characters, and the overall quality of his writing.
This story follows a young hero named Aedan, who appears at the start of the story as a trouble-maker, but not in a bad way. He displays wit and cunning from the beginning and is the kind of character a reader enjoys following.
Within the first few chapters of the book, it became clear that Aedan had inner demons of his own, and just enough is given to foster curiosity. At the start of the book, Aedan is the kind of hero that does the right things when no one is looking. As a result, he gets little to no recognition for his deeds. In fact, early on he is persecuted rather than praised. Many of those around him fail to understand the things he has done for them. This issue alone results in a change of scenery for Aedan and his family if they are to remain safe. As a reader, I found myself emotionally attached to him and immensely frustrated for him.
Aedan develops a strong sense for justice and this fuels his decisions later in the book. Such decisions lead him to pursue the path of becoming a Gray Marshal so he begins training with no guarantee of success. Becoming a marshal is no easy feat, and Aedan must go through several elimination processes that are highly physical and mental. These processes weed out those who are not capable of the rigors needed. I appreciated that the Renshaw did not make it easy for Aedan to move forward throughout the process. All the difficulty allowed me as a reader to better understand Aedan and grow more attached to him. For example, sometimes Aedan passed his challenges barely by the skin of his teeth and I found myself smiling to know he had made it. I was certainly rooting for him the whole time.
During Aedan’s time training, he makes both friends and enemies, which he must work with and against, making his goal to become a marshal much harder. I loved the developing friendship he shared. It felt realistic and right. When I watched his friends standing up for him, I was left feeling warm. No one likes bullying and Aedan receives his fair share, so thank goodness he gains some true friends.
In closing, this is a coming of age story about a boy growing into a man, who must face the inner demons of his past. When he does this, he is changed. He’s the kind of character you grow emotionally attached to. The best part is, he isn’t always predictable. I like that refreshing sense of the unknown. Aside from the length of this book (it was a little long for my tastes), I immensely enjoyed it.