Kirkus Indie Book Review
World of Dawn: Arise
Xlibris (244 pp.)
$29.99 hardcover, $19.99 paperback, $3.99 e-book
ISBN: 978-1-5144-3660-8; March 14, 2017
Some wayward youths unexpectedly find themselves in a world of giant creatures and cannibalistic hunters in this sci-fi–infused novel.
Robbing banks with his uncle could have earned Tanner Kurtz a sentence at a youth detention facility. But he opted to stay at the Halton House, a farm that offers juvenile delinquents a second chance. Returning from a basketball game one evening, Halton House “father” Mr. Conroy has to turn the van around after a landslide effectively closes the highway. The group braves the pothole-laden Windigo Road but unfortunately winds up in an accident. Tanner and others, like hotheaded Colby, assess the aftermath: one person seriously injured; another missing. But their surroundings are considerably more disturbing, with the crew immediately seeing three unfamiliar ringed planets in the sky. There’s a threat of massive, hostile birds and no cell reception, but it’s not all bad: Tanner, et al. come across unicorns and are taken in by a seemingly friendly tribe, the Sawnay. The tribe, which willingly crossed from Earth into the World of Dawn via a portal years ago, is willing to help the newcomers get home. The not-as-cordial Wendo, however, are cannibals that may be more lethal than the beasts. Gale’s (The Stories That Make Us, 2015) book is a striking series opener that quickly introduces its titular world while slyly adding engaging elements. Characters, for one, are gradually drawn out, especially Tanner: snippets of his woeful past (as flashes of memory) form a rounded protagonist whose mother died chasing storms and whose father abandoned him. The narrative’s often playfully ambiguous; details about the World of Dawn (the Sawnay call it “Earth’s mother”) make the realm no less mysterious. The Sawnay, meanwhile, are humanized by a dilemma of their own: their slowly dying river, Cootamain, is making people sick. Lingering questions tease a sequel, not the least of which involves the Wendo’s baffling One Who Sees All, who, for some reason, wants Tanner.
A riveting tale and invigorating characters should have readers locked into this adventure series.
BOOK REVIEW by Julayn Adams
I could not put this book down! World of Dawn: Arise is one of those rare YA finds that most anyone would enjoy. I’ll admit, at first, I was skeptical that I would enjoy this book as I don’t typically like Sci-Fi stories, but boy was I pleasantly surprised!
Gale has created a world full of extraordinary flora and fauna that reminded me of Journey to the Centre of the Earth with its strange plant life, mythical creatures, and danger at every turn, This new world is inhabited by Native Americans that transported to World of Dawn hundreds of years prior to escape the slaughtering of their people.
Not only are the author’s descriptions of this world vivid and engaging, but his characters are just as dynamic. Tanner, the 17-year-old main character, is one of the story’s troubled teens living in a group home to avoid jail time. But he’s not just a “bad kid”. Throughout the novel, circumstances arise that trigger memories of Tanner’s past: time on the ranch, camping, his parents, and the guilt that he carries from his crimes. These stories, along with his relationships with the other characters, create a protagonist that the reader becomes intimately connected with.
The pacing of this book is fantastic with time taken to develop characters and setting balanced with tons of action and unexpected twists. I also liked the few chapters from the antagonists point of view that gives you a little tease about things to come in the series.
I will definitely be reading the rest of this series! I strongly recommend entering to win a copy for yourself. And if you aren’t one of the lucky winners, buy it! Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
BTW…with only a few curse words and no sexual content, this is a pretty safe book for younger teens. There is some violence, but it’s not gory or overly graphic.
A special thank you to Nurture Your Books for offering this fabulous book in exchange for my honest review.
“An intense, new, action-packed YA series that will captivate readers from beginning to end. 5/5 Stars!” – Nurture Your BOOKS™
“Shawn Gale’s novel provides the reader with adventure and inspiration. A story of troubled and traumatized youth on a journey toward self-discovery, recovery, hope, and survival. An exploration and integration of resources for wayward youth proves to be an interesting alternative approach”. —Irene Peterson, Trauma Therapist