Book Review: When The Fires Broke Through: A Death At Dawn by Gabrielle Grey

If you like Game Of Thrones you’re sure to like A Death At Dawn.

A feudalistic world, embedded for centuries within the continent of Mystos is falling apart. Peasant uprisings, political and religious scheming from the academia, and the highborn’s lust for power are the causes for this political downfall in Mystos. A DEATH AT DAWN is the first book of an epic fantasy series that follows various characters, each going through their own journey during a time of civil turmoil. 

In the middle of the chaos is the ruling family of the Mountain Realm, House Wayward; a racially mixed family, dealing with their own inner conflicts.

However, when tragedy strikes House Wayward, instead of rallying together, the members split apart and strategize for their own advantage, even if that means taking each other down. 

This story gives the perspective of the people directly affected by these events. As some begin to experience adolescence, other older characters experience a taste of power, misery, deception, and insanity. Within the series, each character has to make decisions that not only affect their lives, but the lives around them, making many question if they are the true hero of this series. Book one sets up the journey that these characters will experience during the series.

(Description from Amazon)

My favorite thing about this book is how the history of each house tangles together into a picture of deceit and vengeance. You don’t know at first, but everyone is connected one way or another. This is hard to execute correctly, but Gabrielle Grey does a good job.

If you have read or watched Game Of Thrones you’ll notice striking similarities between some of the characters. The character Jaslyn reminds me of a cross between Arya Stark and Jon Snow. She’s the girl that refuses to be a lady and she’s a leader who never asked to be one. I loved Jaslyn as a character it was just so strange to read her and see other characters from other series’. If I had to pick a favorite it is definitely her, she’s a total badass and she was the most exciting character to read about. But, she would act out of character at points, like when she suddenly developed this crush on a young lord, at one point she notices the boy and this is how she reacts,

“Jaslyn touched the dirty sleeve of her blouse and realized that he would never notice her.”

To me it felt a little like we were throwing the badass girl who wears boys clothes instead of ladies clothes out the window, for a scared little girl with a crush. I might be being too harsh, Jaslyn is only 11.

The thing about multi-perspective books is that there will be characters that you love and characters that you hate. This can lead to some slow reading. I found myself wanting to stop in a few places because I didn’t want to read about a certain character. I think that the multi-perspective does do a really good job of moving the plot forward and creating a tangled history between the characters. One thing I would suggest is a family tree to go along with the book, just to help keep who’s who in check.

The author has done a good job at creating a world with a rich history and different magic system. This book, while much like Game Of Thrones, also has traits that make it unique. The world itself is interesting and has many moving parts. For me, it was hard to follow along at first, but I got the hang of it and actually enjoyed it. If you’re like me, hang in there through the beginning because you will figure it out and get used to it.

My biggest complaint is that this book is far too long for the content. There are points where it feels like characters are rambling or repeating the same thing for the third time. With the amount of time spent overly describing areas of land or characters emotions we could have been progressing the story. That is always the hardest thing to balance in fantasy, you always want to show not tell. The balance of being told what’s happening versus being shown what’s happening is off-kilter. There are scenes of characters being murdered and you only see it when their head shows up at someone’s bed chamber door. We should see them being killed instead of being told, it adds to the story of excitement. Anything like that I feel like we should see so that we are involved with the story.

I was also confused about a plot point where one of the ladies finds out her son is a bastard and not truly hers. But, how did she not know? Women have to birth their children, so was the baby switched at birth? And why? I feel like this is something that should have been answered immediately, but it’s waiting for the next installment. It would make sense if the father found out he was a bastard, but not the mother.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

With everything taken into consideration I’m going to give this book a 4/5 stars. I feel like it’s more of a 3.5 star book, but since Goodreads and Amazon don’t do half stars I’m bumping it up to 4.

Would you like a copy of your own? Follow this link to purchase a copy, and at no extra cost to you I’ll get a portion of the proceeds.

Published by

Savannah Worman

My name is Savannah, you can call me Sav. I am a recent Oregon State graduate, Siletz tribal member, and aspiring book critic. Join me on this exploration of the literary world around us. You’re sure to find something you like. If you have any questions, concerns, or comments feel free to hit me up on the contact page! I live in the Pacific Northwest with my boyfriend, my Havanese/Aussie Shepard Stark, my Jack Russell/Shih Tzu Daenerys, and my son Finn.

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