The Dawn Herald: A Book Review

1 12 2012

I was really excited to read The Dawn Herald by LB Mara. After seeing the beautiful cover art, I didn’t care what the book was about- all I knew was I had to read it, immediately. Reading the Dawn Herald is to enter another world and immersing oneself in compelling saga that sweeps the reader through time and space, through generations of epic battles between good and evil. Think of it as A Wrinkle in Time, meets The Chronicles of Narnia,  meets The Lord of the Rings.

The story begins much like any other British, children’s fantasy; a small plain girl named Charis is ostracized by her peers at school, and is bullied by a stratified aristocratic society which has little toleration for difference. Charis’ mother, Isolde, is a suspected witch and Charis, is by default, deemed undesirable.  So, the questions begin. Are Isolde and Charis witches? Why are they living in a provincial English town instead of with a community of other magical beings?

Isolde begins to tell her daughter a tale that will answer the question of Charis’ true identity, and explain her fate.  Charis learns that her mother, a Princess in the land of Gerena in the Tertiary World, has been chosen for the most revered position , that of The Dawn Herald. It is Princess Isolde’s duty to sing as dawn breaks across the Tertiary World. Without the Dawn Herald’s  song the sky will crack and evil will reign.  Isolde is brutally betrayed by two conniving Lord’s, after her father, King Halliam became unfit to rule. Without Isolde ruling her kingdom the sky falls. Isolde flees her home land and gathers together armies who will help her reclaim her place as The Dawn Herald.

‘The Dawn Herald is an impressive literary debut which creates a world as detailed as Narnia. The emotional stakes are extremely high and gripping. Once I started reading, I had to know what had happened to Isolde and what was going to happen to Charis. I am not sure the end of the first book in this trilogy was an emotionally gratifying as I would have liked. I wanted a more substantial conclusion- it felt like the book ended in such a way that if I want to know the conclusion I have to keep reading, not I want to know the conclusion so I want to keep reading.

My biggest complaint is that the book has a little too much going on. There is the main story about what will happen to Charis, and what did happen to Isolde but there are all these other sub stories are that are really interesting which sometimes overpower the main plot. There is also a twin sister that Isolde never knew about because it would mean execution for her mother; the continued descent into madness of Isolde’s father. Not to mention the overarching desire to actually understand what the Dawn Herald is and does. At times, the book feels like every idea of the trilogy is being introduced without being fleshed out. I wonder if there is any more that can be piled upon this epic beginning and whether my heart can take it?

Even though I have some reservations about The Dawn Herald, the beautiful descriptions of the Three Words, and the magical beings who inhabit these worlds are so fresh, and real that I know I will being seeing this epic battle to the final page. It is a book that will linger with you, and begs for a second read through. With such a thorough and lively plot, I have a feeling that with every reading, I will discover something beautiful that I missed before.

This is a great fantasy that will age with you. You’ll love it as a child and again as an adult for completely different reasons.

You can buy The Dawn Herald here:

Learn more about LB Mara here:

Make sure to check out our next book review: A Love Beyond Time by Dante Craddock.




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