Warden's Reign: A Young Adult Fantasy Adventure: (Essence of Ohr, Book 1 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
As a dark flame consumes the world, a larger threat looms over the refugees of Solpate.
Winner: Pinnacle Book Achievement Award, Winter 2020 - Best Young Adult Fantasy
"The world-building is intricate, strange but compelling, drawing fantasy elements into its own cohesive and engaging lore... The moving trees, or the ramblers, and the gods of the realm known as the Souls add a mythical and fantastical charm to the story.... Full of dark thrills, adrenaline-pumping moments, and heavy emotions.... With twists, loss, revenge, and a quest for peace and freedom, Warden's Reign hits all the right notes not just for YA readers but older fantasy fans as well." (Readers' Favorite Book Reviews, Lit Amri, 5 stars)
Orphans are snagged from their beds and used in the Warden's dark experiments. Those who seek asylum in the forest must survive the dangers of the night, when the forest trees uproot and roam free.
Fifteen-year-old Kole, with the help of his mentor, Russé, has adapted. He's learned to tame the rampant trees and protect the orphans. But when one of the Warden's mutated creatures discovers the camp and sets it aflame, Kole's life is upturned and the refugees' haven is lost.
Kole must convince the others to make a stand to save themselves — and all their people — from the anguish of becoming the next subjects of brutal experiments. Yet what chance does a rag-tag band of refugees have against the malevolent power and magic of the Warden and his vile creations?
Evolved Publishing presents the first book in the Essence of Ohr series of wondrous young adult fantasy adventures.
"Unique, imaginative, and well-crafted world-building and a plot rife with danger and startling discoveries make for addictive reading." (Readers' Favorite Book Reviews, Caitlin Lyle Farley, 5 stars)
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|Listening Length||10 hours and 7 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||December 18, 2020|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #311,753 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#933 in Epic Fantasy for Teens
#2,993 in Teen & Young Adult Epic Fantasy
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Top reviews from the United States
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That being said, the story itself is enthralling. The characters are well realized, the world clearly drawn with minimal exposition. The protagonist's deepening suspicions and questioning of the history he'd been taught -- and that the foundation their faith is a mythology tailored to give comfort and prevent questions -- complicates his every relationship and decision. As I said at the outset, he doesn't find all the answers, but as the immediate conflict of the first novel comes to an end, he begins to understand his role in bringing those answers to light.
Very much looking forward to the next novel in the series.
There are so many great ideas in this book. I loved the ramblers, the strange forest creatures, the black wall, the making of the kayetans, and the idea of the seven souls.
Unfortunately, the world building was severely lacking. Savairo didn’t make sense to me. He appeared to be evil for evil sake. Why anyone outside of the city followed him didn’t make sense. What were the other towns and neighboring countries doing? The rebels didn’t make sense. What was the refugees plan and ultimate goal?
I liked that Kole was small for his age and that he struggled with physical challenges. His close relationship with Niko made sense as the only person he loved, trusted and respected. I also liked his desire to be truthful and do the right thing. I was confused, therefore, when he was so disrespectful to others, accused someone of lying and betraying him for keeping personal information secret, and then proceeded to lie, cheat and steal throughout the book without a second thought. His anger, while understandable at times, was too one note throughout the book and he never seemed to develop any other emotional response to the circumstances he found himself in.
While I was willing to accept that Kole was the angriest of angry young men, every other character in the book was equally hostile and volatile. They didn’t appear to have affection or connection or alliances with any of the other characters. Every interaction was fraught with distrust and contempt and it didn’t make sense to me.
I loved the idea of the seven souls. Religion in fantasy books is an element I really like, and the seven souls had lots of potential. Unfortunately, it made no sense to me why the gods were so weak, why the people never prayed despite being believers, and I couldn’t understand how every character who met one of their gods treated them with rage and contempt. There was no awe, fear, hope, faith, excitement or even self interest in using the god’s powers to help them.
This book is well written, has some nice ideas and is full of potential, but is an unsatisfying read due to the lack of development of its world, characters and belief system.
I also enjoyed the soft worldbuilding. The author gives us details as Kole perceives them, not necessarily when we the reader need them, but I never felt confused or lost as to what was happening. The characters, too, are presented to us through Kole's perspective, leaving lots of room for twists and turns.
Altogether a strong start to the series.
And I was not disappointed. What I like about it is the combination of traditional fantasy tropes and new, fresh ideas. It starts like many other fantasies, but quickly turns into a story of twists in which you’re never entirely sure who to trust. Kole acts like a real teenager, which is refreshing. And at times annoying, like most teenagers are, which only makes him more realistic.
And the world-building is top notch. The author does a wonderful job of creating a living and breathing world that’s feels refreshingly real. A highly recommended book, even if you’ve lost faith in young adult fantasies.
Top reviews from other countries
I enjoyed Sheets' writing style and found her prose to be both beautiful and crisp. The story moved along at an excellent pace and kept me turing the pages. I also really liked the character, Kole. Sheets wasn't afraid to pull any punches with him, and he often suffered for his mistakes. This really worked for me. I did get a bit frustrated with Kole at times, but in all honesty, he acted realistically.
Despite the young protagonist (which made me think this book would be rather tame) this is not a story for the fainthearted or the squeamish - there are some fairly gruesome scenes. Personally, I found they added to the story and gave it a nice, dark element and an overall feeling of foreboding. Great pace, high stakes and a fascinating world. I recommend it!