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Exiled: Book One of the Never Chronicles Paperback – April 9, 2012

4 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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The Rose and the Dagger
An Amazon Best Young Adult Book of the Month
The much anticipated sequel to the breathtaking "The Wrath and the Dawn," a sumptuous and epically told love story. Hardcover | Kindle book
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

J. R. Wagner was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania, during a blizzard. The snow made travel by car impossible, so his father called an ambulance when his mother went into labor. The ambulance became stuck at the bottom of their home’s driveway, prompting the dispatch of a fire truck, which towed the ambulance to the hospital where he was born. Maybe it was this experience that destined J.R. to love adventure. A competitive cyclist, triathlete, mountain biker, and adventure racer, he once received a medal for saving a woman’s life during the kayaking section of an adventure race. To keep him “grounded,” J.R. helps run his late father’s Downingtown, Pennsylvania, floor-covering business. J.R. drafted his first story, a sequel to Return of the Jedi, when he was ten years old. A self-proclaimed Star Wars geek, he had lofty aspirations of working with George Lucas on filming the project. In 1990, he began filming his version of The Lord of the Rings in his parents’ basement, but the plug was pulled after he nearly burned down the house. Since then, J.R. has written two full-length screenplays and a thriller novel. After graduating with a kinesiology degree from Arizona State University, J.R. returned to Pennsylvania, where his creative fires were re-stoked by his two beautiful daughters. J.R. considers his wife, Lisa, his muse. He began writing Exiled while they were vacationing in Maine.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Live Oak Book Company (April 9, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936909405
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936909407
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,545,393 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After reading some other reviews of this book, I have to wonder if we read the same book/version. I have a feeling the older-style feel of the writing trips some people up or doesn’t move fast enough or seems boring, but for me the writing was perfectly fitted to the setting, pace, and themes of the story. The fantasy elements of the Never are described beautifully, and the dialogue feels natural and appropriately dated…if that makes sense. I thought the pacing was perfect, and I was never bored - there was so much going on!

I can’t exactly put my finger on what this reminded me of because the premise is quite unique, but it’s something like a mix of “Lost” and “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell” and the creepy island parts of “Life of Pi.” The story moves forward while flipping back and forth between a few characters’ flashbacks, ever adding to your understanding of what is going on in the present timeline. There are so many fantastical twists that introduce magical elements, but at no point was the story confusing or overloaded. Everything fit in this world – both the 1890s England world and the magical purgatory-esque realm of The Never.

James is a great character – starting as a very young boy whose unasked-for destiny forever changes his life, ending as a semi-realized Savior character who still has to sort out who he is in the midst of coming to terms with that destiny. The use of the parent characters was really wonderful (so often parents are missing from magic stories), heartwarming, and added several complex layers to James’s development. Akil, the “greatest” sorcerer of them all, is a bit like Merlin but more dodgy and with secrets of his own. The “bad guy” character is pretty ambiguous at this point, but it’s enough to know that he has it out for James.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Please note: review originally written June 10, 2012; only just now being posted here. Can also be viewed on my blog, Now is Gone, to which a link may be found by clicking on my name.

Book Info: Genre: Fantasy Reading Level: Young Adult

Disclosure: I received a free ebook ARC from JKS Communications (the author's publicist) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: James has never known an ordinary life. As long as he can remember, he and his family have been on the run--moving from place to place, never settling down, never growing roots. Now, just when he's on the brink of manhood, the very thing his family has been trying to prevent tears him from all he has ever known and thrusts him into a place where he is powerless and alone.

Bent on finding a way back, James must brave a place reserved for the worst of his kind. He quickly learns that the land itself poses a greater threat than its inhabitants and if he is to have any chance of returning, he must work with the very people he's been raised to fear.

James has known magic since just after he was born. As a sorcerer, his skills are exceptional yet when he wakes in The Never, his abilities are gone. Armed with nothing but determination and the will to survive, he braves a land wrought with dangers, mysteries and temptations meant to ensnare both body and mind and prevent escape forever.

My Thoughts: This is book 1 in the Never Chronicles. It was released just this past week, although I've had a copy for a couple months now, which I had hoped to read before now; I just got bogged down.

Wow... just, simply ... wow - I literally said that when I finished this book. The Never is a super-cool place.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
J. R. Wagner has weaved a story full of sorcery and magic. As I read I found myself not willing to put the book down just wanting to find out what happens to young James. Exiled to the island of Never, James is forced to find a way out of the Never to full fill his life's path. I found this novel very well written and can't wait until book two in the chronicles. The only disappointment I can say is it left me hanging on a thread wondering what will happen to the young man and his unlikely friends that have also been condemned to the Never.
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Format: Paperback
Let me start off by saying that I really wanted to give this book 3 stars, but I just can't. It was so bloody boring that it was nearly impossible to get through and even though the plot finally picks up in spots, it was too difficult to make it there for me to really have enjoyed it. I almost felt like I deserved a medal for making it to the half way point, much less beyond.

James is a sorcerer, maybe the best one ever, certainly one that has been prophesized about for centuries. With that in mind, you can imagine that James' life was never normal, always expected to save the Faithful's (aka the wizarding worlds) existence from the Epoch Termiuns, which is the beginning of the end for the Faithful. Beyond that, I can't really say much because the whole plot is so drawn out that I don't know what would be considered a spoiler and what wouldn't.

I had two big problems with this book which is why this review is so late. I received a digital copy of this from the publisher sometime last year and tried to read it then but just couldn't get into. Recently I have seen a ton of blogs doing "Review Copy Cleanups" and that kick started me to finish up all the eARCs/review copies I haven't read yet, whether I am drawn in initially or not. With my renewed fervor, I set out to take this book out rather quickly and not let it set unread any longer. I promptly realized that this endeavor would be a bit arduous because my first issue is that the writing style is a little boring. Think about the beginning of the first Harry Potter book. No, not the bits where Dumbledore and McGonagall where dropping baby Harry off at the Dursleys doorstep, the rest of it. The following Mr Dursley around during his day job where weird s*** keeps happening.
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