Title: The Arrival:  Ascension Book One
Author:  Dakota Kemp
Publisher:  Dakota Kemp, 1st Edition
Pages: 429
Genre: Fantasy

Reviewed by: Ella Vincent, Pacific Book Review

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Book Review

The Arrival is a grand adventure for readers. Author Dakota Kemp’s debut novel is a fascinating novel readers will be unable to put down.

The Arrival tells the story of Telaine, a sorceress from Gothrond, that tries to stop the war between city states Atia and Tyr in the world of Vrold.  She seeks assistance to stop the war from Kelvar, a dedicated Atian soldier, and from Jarwulf, a brutal mercenary that’s her sworn enemy.  Her former mentor, Jax, is also a pivotal part of her mission that uncovers a secret that can change Vrold forever.

The novel is an engaging and sprawling epic that draws in readers.  The Arrival’smultiple storylines intertwine into one intricate plot that builds suspense. The characters are also well-rounded and compelling. Telaine is a strong, powerful sorceress that defies the one-dimensional portrayal of women with magical powers found in other fantasy novels.

Jarwulf is an exciting anti-hero as a leader of the Viking-like Tarks. His complex character is at times merciless as he slays dragons and humans. However, he has a sensitive side as he takes a young boy, Tor, under his wing. Jax and his wealthy foil, Firiel, provide comic relief with their flirtatious back-and-forth in the novel.

The Arrival not only has creative characters, but a well-developed world of Vrold. From the majestic boats sailing on the Hechani Sea to the posh parties held in the prestigious cities of Telka, the vivid descriptions by Kemp bring the settings to life in the novel.  The settings add to the magic and enchantment in the novel.

The Arrival is an ideal book for adult fantasy fans. Fans of Game of Thrones will love this novel, with enough intrigue, goblins, and dragons to pique their interest.  Kemp was influenced by the tales of the Round Table and ancient mythology, and that shows with The Arrival having characters that are reminiscent of the heroes in the King Arthur stories.

The novel addresses heavy issues like war, honor, and loyalty, but all in an entertaining context. The Arrival also has many ribald and comical moments, with the belligerent Tark mercenaries looking for fun and female company. The Arrival has strong language and violent situations in the novel, but they show the reality of the grave situation affecting Tyr and Atia.

The Arrival has an ending that will leave readers eagerly awaiting book two in the series. Ascension is the perfect name for the first book in The Arrival series because it rises above to deliver a mesmerizing novel.


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