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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
Devlyn Telvin lives a mundane but tiring life as an orphan and ward at the abbey school of Cor’lera. Like other elf descendants in town, his kind is frowned upon by humans. Everything changes when he sees a mysterious phoenix in the sky. When an elf named Velaria Treyven secretly arrives in the village, she tells a different story about elves, particularly about the truth behind Devlyn's allegedly criminal family. Determined to find out more about his background, he accepts Velaria's offer to leave Cor’lera, followed by his cousin Alex. With shadow elves, dragons, dwarves and much more, Devlyn and Alex discover a world filled with wonders and dangerous situations beyond their imagination. Splendor of Dawn is the first book of The Jewel of Life series by Ryan D Gebhart.
Engaging from the start, Ryan D Gebhart’s Splendor of Dawn has an interesting premise and a multifaceted plot. The world-building is fascinating and complex with familiar elements that fantasy fans will appreciate. The characterization is solid; Devlyn is easy to root for with his cousin Alex giving him familial support and providing humor along the way. They both have their coming-of-age journey, albeit in different ways. That said, I gravitated towards Velaria Treyven, who becomes the boys' guardian, mentor, and at times a wiser, older sister during their adventure. Pacing differs in some parts of the story as the plot gradually reveals different but connected events as the tale unfolds. Even though naturally gifted, young Devlyn still has lots to learn especially when he arrives at Gwilnor, a special learning institution for wielders alike. Overall, this first installment of The Jewel of Life series is an enjoyable read and will easily appeal to its intended readers.