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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Dawn of Unity by Nitish Sharma is a fantasy war novel and the first book in the Last of the Seekers series, following the plight of two young men, Will Farmer and Ahmed Sharfi, who are united by a shared destiny despite their different backgrounds. Will has been falsely accused of murder and is haunted by fear, loneliness, and something else beyond his understanding, managing to escape from his imprisonment after discovering a potent gem. His situation, however, takes a turn for the worse when he is captured by Ahmed, a young scholar who possesses a similar gem. Ahmed, a promising student of magic, yearns to earn a position at the Sultan's court. He embarks on a quest to prove his worth by joining the war effort. He is given a task, and initially fulfills it...but starts to have doubts. Despite being from opposing nations, Will and Ahmed find a commonality in their pursuit of truth and redemption. They recognize the power of their gems and their own selves but face the daunting task of altering the course of a war that is so much bigger than they are.
“You will become strong and wise my son; this is for your future.” In Dawn of Unity, author Nitish Sharma underscores the shared humanity of these two main characters. Both seek to rise above their stations and chart their own destinies, and each is shackled to situations not of their own making. Will's desire for exoneration and Ahmed's thirst for knowledge and prestige provide a relatable framework for readers to empathize with their struggles. The story poses the question of whether two individuals, against all odds, can make a difference in a world where others have failed. Ultimately, the tale of Will and Ahmed serves as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit in a fantasy world, and in the face of adversity. The writing is clean and as well as the clearly-developed arcs of Will and Ahmed, others are equally compelling, including the enigmatic Sultan Yazid and King Duggan, who both have their share of supporters and those who mean to end their reigns. Ahmed is the stronger of the two and, despite not being a politician like his master Grand Vizier Mahad Oman in the viper's pit of a sultanate, his magic is the key to his safety. Also key is Will. For a first step in an ambitious series, Sharma's skill as a storyteller is solid.