3 out of 4 stars
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Dawn Power Dream: Guild Chronicles of Revolution and Violence by James M. Gabagat is a fantasy adventure set in Valtasia. Syramont Qinjai Altavi, The Mad Vangkaim, and Isys - a Braestani woman who is Altavi's friend and occasional lover - are the Dawn Power Trio, three warriors tasked with maintaining order over the poor and oppressed. Their first mission is to recover a stolen medallion belonging to Syramont Marlow Guneka from a young thief, Twige, and his gang.
Vangkaim is a sadistic, violent attention-seeker who once released a book of short stories about incest, bestiality, necrophilia and other taboo subjects just to make a name for himself. By contrast, Isys abhors violence, preferring to resolve conflicts peacefully wherever possible. Altavi is cold and pragmatic about the killing of others. He reasons away the death of teenage boy Twige by saying he wasn't a child and he chose to join the wrong sort of people. Isys believes this is Altavi's way of avoiding guilt.
King Aira Falon's Paladins arrest Guneka for treason and strip him of his worldly possessions. Meanwhile, bounty hunter Suvessi enlists the help of the Dawn Power Dream Trio to transport a captured thief, Siamprima Bubette - a self-involved pretty boy - to the capital city, Valabel. In the course of their travels, Altavi decides to add others to the Dawn Power Dream Regime, including Guneka, who has access to a yacht they can use. Altavi volunteers to take on a contract worth one hundred thousand gold cerins, a rescue mission to the creature-infested island of Manganga.
Gabagat's writing is easy to read, his sentences relatively short and neat. In this regard, the book is well-edited. Unfortunately, there are a few unexpected changes of tense and many uses of incorrect words. Some examples are: "walk passed" for "walk past", "use to" for "used to" and "did its worse" for "did its worst". Commas are also often used instead of semicolons or sentence breaks. In addition, the early self-description of Giavi Lychee seems more fitting to a man describing an attractive woman than a female point of view. It is a little coarse and focussed primarily on her most obvious physical attributes, which I don't believe fits with how a woman would describe herself.
Having said that, these are really the only negatives for me about this book. Gabagat has a dry sense of humour which works well. Comical events often hit the reader suddenly, surprising you into laughter. The humour and the sharply written dialogue are often coarse and sexually oriented. I didn't have a problem with this, but those more sensitive to sexual jokes and coarse language might want to avoid this book.
The characters in Dawn Power Dream are clearly delineated with their own individual traits and eccentricities. From the inappropriate behaviour of The Mad Vangkaim to the strength and power of Suvessi and the detestable greed of Guneka, the separation between personalities is excellent. Particularly vain and self-involved, Bubette takes on the role of comic relief. At one point he says: "I guess I'm just exceedingly intelligent. Handsome and intelligent. By the Gods, I wish I could mate with myself." Character histories are well-developed, enabling the reader to better understand their motivations and what they are willing to do to survive.
Gabagat writes some quality descriptive passages to depict physical locations, providing enough detail to give the reader a clear mental picture. There are also some interesting plot twists where certain character allegiances change unexpectedly, and an interesting interlude detailing some history and mythology of the gods of Valtasia. The main themes in this book are loyalty and honour, as the members of the Dawn Power Dream Regime are all warriors fighting for a cause. They each take a blood oath upon joining the guild, the idea being that they always stay together and are members until death.
Overall, I enjoyed Dawn Power Dream. It seems shorter than its 700 pages, contains well-developed characters, some enjoyable humour, and an entertaining story with a strong ending. It just needs a final edit to fix its many minor errors. For this reason, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. It would appeal to most readers who enjoy action-oriented fantasy adventure.
Dawn Power Dream
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