Rise of Dawn

Rise of Dawn Book Cover Rise of Dawn
Justin Edward Friday
Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
March 11, 2016

Ebren is a far off place where forces of light and dark, good and evil, oppression and freedom clash endlessly. In this unstable world of feudal disarray, a single young boy, branded as "Possum," will have to fight for his freedom against a relentless Beast Kin Empire. Accompanied by a broken immortal he will have to discover the courage and insight to question the boundaries of damned and divine, as new enemies and allies add themselves to this deadly game of risk, where the very fate of the world may very well rest at their feet. It's always darkest before the dawn.


Rise of Dawn was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Taking the story as a whole into account, Rise of Dawn reads like many other fantasy novels. You have a fantastical world with humans and various other species (in this case, animal people). There is magic and swordplay and a group of heroes. These heroes largely consist of your general fantasy tropes; the young hero, the old man, the honorable thief, etc. The issues that the story suffers come more from its construction than its material.

What sticks out the most is the extremely fast pace of the story. Fantasy books tend to be on the slower side, albeit not all of them need to be Tolkien-level slow. In Rise of Dawn the needle is in the red for practically the entire book. It felt like the content of this one book could have been stretched out across five. When the journey of the characters gets started in the beginning, it is just two people in the group. By the end that has expanded to over a half-dozen adventurers. Not to mention the small horde of villains readers will also be keeping up with. Characters are introduced so rapidly it was hard to keep everyone straight.

The influx of characters combined with the page length also made character development virtually non-existent. Three or four of the characters get focused on and developed, but the rest are static after their introduction. It feels odd for them to change so quickly, but it is not 100% clear how long the group was adventuring. We do not really see them trekking through the woods or walking down roads. They set out for a destination at the end of one chapter and are there once the next one starts. Even when they are sitting around, whole weeks or months just pass in between sequences.

Rise of Dawn’s other pressing matter was the need for a bit more editing. This may have just been an issue with the paperback copy I received, but I cannot say for sure. There are many parts in the book with missing quotation marks, no indication of who was talking when a group is present, punctuation errors, misspelled words, and more. It causes the book to read more like a draft or outline than a complete novel. Rise of Dawn’s story has potential, it just needs to be cleaned up and polished off.

August 6, 2017

4 thoughts on “Rise of Dawn

  1. Justin Friday

    I really appreciate your feedback! It’s my first novel so I’m still finding my way through the whole writing scene. I’m in college right now studying literature, and I hope you’d be willing to read a revised version of this book when the day comes. thank you so much

    ~Justin Friday

      1. Justin Friday

        I’ll be sure to do that. BTW are there any parts of the story that stuck out to you as really good or really bad to you? I’m working on making some major changes, but I’m having a difficult time finding where to start

        1. Nicholas Watkins Post author

          Nothing in particular seems especially good or especially bad, there just needs to be more there. If you stretched it out more, the material in here could probably cover 4 (give or take) books. Things definitely need to be more descriptive, there should be more world-building so we can get a sense of what your world is like instead of just assuming that generic fantasy rules apply. I also felt like the characters were introduced and accepted into the group too quickly. It goes from two people to a full group by the end, when each and every character clearly has interesting back stories that could be fleshed out more naturally instead of through hasty explanations.


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