ILLBORN, Daniel T. Jackson's powerful and gritty debut novel, has been officially published by Troubador on 28th May 2021. The novel is the thrilling opening to the epic fantasy series The Illborn Saga.
ILLBORN is available for purchase NOW, as both a paperback and as an ebook.
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Daniel T. Jackson is on Goodreads. Please see the website address link on this page. I would be grateful for any Goodreads reviews on Illborn.
What an amazing novel! I was gripped from reading the prologue onwards, and after that it was a late-night page-turner. What a great story!
If you like epic fantasy for adults, then this is the kind of novel you will love. Loads of gritty action, and a really interesting cast of grown-up characters. I love politics, war, and intrigue, and I haven’t been able to get enough of that since Game of Thrones ended. This book has all of that.
I read this book (which is over 700 pages) in a week, which shows just how much I enjoyed it. I am going to be recommending this novel to all of my friends, and I definitely recommend that other people read it.
by Jeremy Gray
I just want to put on record how much I loved this book. Great characters, loads of action, and a central mystery which runs through the entire book.
It is an epic fantasy with a story which spans war, religion and politics across a continent. I liked all four of the very different main characters, who develop supernatural abilities, and there are also some great villains.
The writing was of a very high quality, throughout.
I can’t wait to see how this series develops, and I'm already looking forward to a sequel.
by Daniel Barlow
Truly epic fantasy novel - highly recommend
I loved this book. I’m a big fan of truly epic fantasy novels, and there haven’t been enough high quality books like that published in the last few years. Generally, I enjoy fantasy for grown-ups, and this delivered. The plot was gripping from the prologue onwards, with a good mix of heroes (some flawed) and villains. The plot features a mystery of a dream which links the main characters together, and the story also has loads of politics, war, religion and action. It’s certainly epic in scope.
The style of the book reminded me of Game of Thrones, with chapters generally alternating between the perspective of one of the four main characters (two men and two women). Game of Thrones is also probably the best indicator for me of whether you would like this novel. If you liked GOT (which I also loved), then this book is likely to also be for you.
I read Illborn cover to cover (700+ pages) within a couple of days, and that for me indicates just what a good read it was. I would highly recommend this.
Awe-inspiring fantasy at its best!
This book had me gripped from the moment I picked it up and I enjoyed every minute. I’m just hoping that the next book in the series won’t take too long as I am completely invested and need to know what happens to Corin and Agbeth and all the others. It is a truly epic fantasy which has been compared to Game of Thrones but is in no way a copy.
Personally, I think it’s better than GoT. There is the odd brutal moment but the author clearly cares about his characters and rarely lets things get too harrowing. And there are plenty of satisfying moments when our heroes/heroines beat the odds and vanquish their foes. The world is exquisitely crafted and unique. The main characters are likeable despite their flaws.
The plot is clever and intriguing with plenty of twists, turns and surprises. I can’t remember when I last read a book that I enjoyed as much as this. I do hope there will be more soon.
Superb epic fantasy from the first to the last page.
The pace is fluid, whilst giving ample time for great characterization, and the plot arcs weave nicely together towards the conclusion of the book.
All four main characters are well fleshed out, with Corin being my particular favourite, moving from underdog to powerful protagonist over the course of the story. There are plenty of action scenes, thought-provoking exchanges and deserved comeuppances!
A great first novel and one that sets the scene nicely for a gripping series. Roll on the next one!
by Ben Appleton
A truly compelling Opener, really enjoyed this first novel in the series. The author has a fluid writing style combining quality with pace and I could easily visualise the lands, characters and actions depicted. The switching between narrators with differing traits gives the book variety and vibrancy. The next installment can't come out soon enough!
Blown away by this debut fantasy novel
This book centres around 4 characters and as each chapter tells a bit more of their story the intrigue grows as to how their lives will come together and who they really are. I am a fan of fantasy series like those of Tolkien and Goodkind, and compared to others I've read this didn't disappoint. It was exciting, passionate and at times un-putdownable! There wasn't a moment of the book that I didn't enjoy. I now just can't wait for the next book in the series.
It's been a while since I last read an adult fantasy book and I'm so glad I decided to pick this one up. Illborn is Daniel. T. Jacksons debut novel and has one of the best prologues I've ever read. It shook me to the core and having just finished the book the ending did the same.
The story follows four main characters, Corin- the meek, Arion- the warrior, Leanna- the religiously devout and Allana- the lustful. In the year of their 19th birthday they each have a dream, they are standing on top of a mountain, entering a gate. In the dream is themselves and four others. However, none of the four characters have ever met each other before or even know of the others existence. Once this dream has occurred a power is unlocked inside each of them. In a world ruled by Aiduel's guards, a religious sect set out to eliminate heretics and those with magic, survival is key.
The character development in Illborn, particularly in Corin, who quickly became one of my favourite characters was amazing. He and his best friend Agbeth, who was my favourite character, a girl who is physically disabled yet has the courage, loyalty and determination of a queen showed the best character growth.
The format of the book follows each character in turn with most chapters ending right when you want more, a perfect way to keep you turning the page. The story just gets stronger and stronger building tension the further in and my heart was beating fast in those last 100 or so pages. The writing itself flowed beautifully without being flowery or pretentious, but every word fitted perfectly.
This book was a whopping 714 pages long and contained War, corruption, family bonds, fear, betrayal and a will to survive. I am now totally addicted to this series and cannot wait to read book two. I highly recommend this one for a fast paced, page turning time.
I love discovering new gems in the fantasy genre, and "Illborn" is definitely one of them! Five solid stars for a new fantasy series, classic and beautiful!
"Illborn" set in a cruel, medieval-like world gripped by strict religious rules and a code of behaviour. Should you step out of the line and you can be outcasted as a heretic and burned on the pyre. Religious fanatics maintain the order and wish to spread that further to other kingdoms and lands.
There are four main and diverse characters in the book, yet they all united by a strange dream and a set of different supernatural skills they all possess. All four of them were born on a particular date and destined to change tides in the world. Having those powers is a dangerous thing. People like Allana, Arion, Leanna and Corin pursued by Aiduel's Guards for execution.
I loved a different scale of depth in all four characters. Allana, the daughter of a courtesan, has the power of domination and lust. She is a survivor. Even though I questioned her methods to get what she wants, I could understand that she had no other choice but to make complicated decisions to avoid danger for herself. Her storyline is complex and the most interesting to me.
Corin, a member of the Karn clan, can order and control others' minds. He is a nice guy but, in my opinion, very naive. I was screaming while reading his chapters! He has much to learn that breaking long-term traditions will never be an easy choice. I hope to see his growth in future books, but currently, he is doing okay only because he has his powers and amazing pet to assist. Or, he is also a lucky one because he has Agbeth by his side!
Arion, the youngest son of Duke Sepian, possesses the power to win in combat and lead armies toward victory. I think he is yet to demonstrate his best in future books despite his victory in the battle of Moss Ford.
Leanna, a religiously devoted girl, can read emotions and heal people. I think she is the most complicated and deep character with an inner light in her very core. What Leanna had to experience toward the end of the story is just astounded me. I think she is the key to milestones in the future.
I love the medieval setting in a fantasy series. It has its beauty, that charm only a person that appreciates history and fantasy can understand. It was so masterly done as I could imagine the world, places, people and the characters. This book doesn't feel like a writer's debut. This story is so beautifully crafted, and it had hooked me from the beginning. I am certainly interested in reading the rest of the saga!
by Valeriya Lloyd
First impression of this book - OMG it's huge (like War and Peace Huge!) it is going to take FOREVER for me to read it. 6 days people! and that wasn't even spending hours everyday reading it. This is a book, that once you start, you don't want to put it down. I spent the time I wasn't reading, thinking about the book, trying to get things done, so I could get back to it. It was slightly (code for VERY) addictive.
Though, the closer to the end I got, I started to procrastinate a little. I could see those pages dwindling away ans I just wanted it to keep going. This is the first book of a series, so it will. Thank you Daniel Jackson.
This is the story of 4 main characters who all have the same strange recurring dream. They are all born around the same time. That is about where their similarities end. Each character comes from somewhere different and they have no common social status. They don't know each other are not connected in any way. (At first). With each chapter, we get to know each of them, their backgrounds and their life stories.
Each character has a very interesting stand-alone story. But together, it makes it epic.
These characters are wonderful. They all begin as 'underdog' types, overshadowed by someone or something. Their lives are not easy and they each have trails to overcome that shape their lives. There is the warrior, the peacemaker, the religious devotee, the 'circumstances mad me into a criminal' type. They are inherently good and some, at times, are a little on the vengeful and violent side. But you grow to like them all and are totally invested in their stories. I found myself willing them on when they found themselves in unwinnable situations and hoping they would find a way out of them, but how? It was like when you watch a horror movie and you yell at the screen "don't open the door!", wanting them not to do the bad things.
There are also the inherently evil characters, you love to hate. Those who you would yell "BOO!" at when they came on stage in a pantomime show. You REALLY don't like them at all.
This a 'get to know the characters' type of story, but the way you get to know them is beautifully written and so clever. It takes you on their journeys and you feel like you are right beside them as they manoeuvre through the obstacle course of their lives. You feel proud when they achieve good things and so bad when things go so wrong.
The setting of the book is a very medieval fantasy world. As a historical fiction fan, this was right up my alley. The references to Holy Crusades and Knights, appealed to me a great deal. The author has built a vibrant and colourful world for these characters to live in. Each character possesses a mystical, magical power and each is different. So this rounded off everything for me. History, fantasy, magical powers, it was all there in abundance in a beautifully described world of the past.
When I had finished this book, my reaction was "WOW!" . The last chapter and the epilogue both presented twists, I didn't see coming an that really shocked me. The whole book went along pathways, that weren't predictable and added to the mystery and intrigue. It certainly keeps you guessing, right until the end and then some more. What is going to happen now? I can't wait to find out.
So I would say to anyone who is a fantasy or history fan, you will love this book. Don't be in any way. put off by the size of the book when you get it. It couldn't have been any smaller. This is a big story, full of very big characters and significantly huge events that shape their lives. You will get through the book in no time and be waiting eagerly for the next one, like me.
Thank you to Daniel Jackson for suggesting I read this book. So glad you did.
by Leaha Hosking
I started reading Illborn by Daniel T. Jackson recently and it is one of the most fantastic debuts i've read and i'm glad this is going to be a full series. I went into this book with no prior knowledge of anything but what intrigued me was size of the book - i do enjoy a behemoth fantasy story. This doesn't take away from the story Jackson set out to tell and i was left wanting more by the end.
This is a story about love, lust, betrayal and conflict. Our characters confront an ethereal Gate which haunts their visions whilst wondering how this connects to their new-found, potentially heretical abilites.
There are multiple POV characters that we experience this world through: Corin, Leanna, Allana and Arion. These characters interlink as the events of different parts are influential on each story. The strength of Jackson creating these characters that we care for is incredible and handled extremely well. These characters carried the book and whilst more could have been done to expand on the setting, the lack of action was certainly not downplayed when the characters were as interesting as these.
There are certain religious aspects that i'm unsure if i can offer a perspective to. I'm not particularly religious and it plays a big part here however whilst this was a massive plot point it never unnerved myself or put me off. If anything it made the story more interesting showing how the characters and surroundings played into certain beliefs.
The characters were undoubtedly the strength of this story and the mystery of visions and religion helped push the story forward to a strong debut. I enjoyed every moment of this and definitely recommend it. It can be brutal yet wondrous and i can't wait until book 2 offers so much more. The way that Jackson kept me enticed with the story, the writing and the characters stuck with me and this is strongly recommended for those looking for a new series.
I was completely and utterly blown away by this debut fantasy. Jackson is a master storyteller sucking me in from the prologue. This book has all the makings of high fantasy without the need to drone on for pages about how the sunset looked on a particular night. The dialogue and the style of writing was absolutely brilliant. I honestly can’t believe this is a debut. Illborn reads like a well established experience writer. Switching soo many points of view usually leads me to not have a string of attachments to characters however this has the opposite effect. It was done superbly and has me reading long into the night because i just did not want to stop reading.
I do believe Corin and Agbeth have taken place as my favorites. Seeing as they were the underdogs who have to overcome soo many obstacles. Allana I am on the fence about as well as Arion… but time will tell. Leannas story was heart wrenching and my pulse was pounding towards the end of this book soo hard I was sure others could hear it.
Needless to say I 100% would recommend everyone who enjoys fantasy to pick this one up immediately. Give this author all of the support he needs. Because you will immediately need the next book in this series… I honestly do not know how I will possibly be able to wait for the next one.
Original review: https://www.netgalley.co.uk/book/228878/review/628805
by NetGalley review
Another great read and great new name in fantasy. This is crazy how many pop out in the recent years! This one as amazing characters, great world and very immersive and engaging story! I will continue on this series. Don't know how long I will have to way but I will be here waiting!
Original review: https://www.netgalley.co.uk/book/228878/review/732304
by NetGalley review
This is a wonderfully written, fast paced, action packed medieval set fantasy book and I can not believe this is a debut novel.
It's written so beautifully with fantastic world building and unforgettable characters. This novel had 700 plus pages and I finished it in three days. I just couldn't put it down. Absolutely gripped from page one where you meet the healer to the last page.
The four main characters are from different backgrounds and develop different powers but they come together for a greater purpose. I liked the way each characters had their own stories to begin with and how they learn about themselves.
I'm a huge fan of epic fantasy novels and this one will be with me for along time. I hope we don't have to wait for the second installment of this series and I can not wait to read it. I highly recommend this debut fantasy novel.
by Nimalee Ravi
Sitting here, trying to write this review, and my brain is just making noises that my fingers don't know how to translate into letters that make any kind of sense. "Illborn" is flipping fantastic! The setting and characters are solid and richly constructed. The writing is astonishing. The plot is far more than enjoyable - it's all-consuming. Pack a survival kit for this one because you are not going to want to stop after you start reading... and this is only the beginning!
My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley. This review was written voluntarily and is entirely my own, unbiased, opinion.
This was an interesting read. The cover and description intrigued me. With Illborn being a debut novel the world was intriguing and the magic system was great. The differing POVs throughout the book was great as the different POVs allowed for a greater understanding of the world. The characters were great and my favourite were Corin and Agbeth. I will definitely read more from Daniel T Jackson in the future.
Original review: https://www.netgalley.co.uk/book/228878/review/741831
by NetGalley review
So this book gripped me with the prologue, dug it’s claws into me deep and didn’t let up.
I will admit I am a sucker for the ‘chosen one’ narrative, so when you throw 4 chosen ones at me with concurrent and interweaving storylines I am not going to say no.
During the first half of this book I knew that I was being lead in multiple directions. The author played chess 8 moves ahead of where you currently were, and by the time what was set up arrives, it was nothing like I predicted whilst reading. I was kept guessing and following red herrings from the first page to the last.
Taking the usual European fantasy setting and throwing in a large Scandinavian and Roman feel helped Illborn stand out against many other fantasies as it was a very unique setting. With its highly religious themes and everything that can come with that it was a world that I cannot wait to go back to.
Character development is a huge strength of this book. With character growth that feels natural and with a large coming of age feel. Nothing about it feels forced or for coincidence. Everything leads onto something substantial cohesive making me care about what they care about, and hating those which want to harm them!!
With an overall 4.5/5 I will be waiting with bated breath for the second instalment of the Illborn saga.
Illborn was an action-packed adult fantasy with a cast of enjoyable characters. One of my favorite things in books are multiple POVs and the author did this well. Each character's POV added something useful and memorable to their storyline that left me frustrated (in a good way) at the end of every chapter.
I thought the magic system in this book was pretty unique and I'm excited to see it develop further!
The beginning of the book immediately grabbed me and caught me off guard! Although, I'm not going to lie, getting into the story was a little tough because it felt a little slow. But, I chalk that up to world-building and character introductions, especially because once I got into the story, the pace picked up.
Overall I enjoyed reading this book and found it pretty impressive for a debut novel. I'll be keeping an eye out for the next book.
Original review: https://www.netgalley.co.uk/book/228878/review/851153
by NetGalley review
Rolls up sleeves and holds up Illborn in the light of the sun on Pride Rock while a crescendo of epic instrumental music plays.
Holy hell! What a book!
Illborn is the first installment of an epic series that tells the tale of four vastly different characters who share the same dream but develop various powers unique to themselves. In a world that is fraught with religious zealots and war they must keep their powers a secret or burn.
This chunky book is not nearly chunky enough! Every chapter was addicting and each character had a unique journey accompanied with battle, love, growth, sorrow and secrecy. I cannot explain the depth of my investment into these characters.
Allana, Corin, Arion and Leanna each had such development that I was awed by the end of the book. The rising tension was unbearable and entirely thrilling once broken. These epic realizations and some heartbreaking conclusions really set the scene for the next book which cannot come soon enough! The mystery of the dream they share is what propels this story to glorious highs and late night reading. These characters develop in ways the left me breathless, angry, hurt, proud, and every other emotion under the sun. Also the epilogue literally made my jaw drop!
I appreciated the way Jackson writes his characters and the trials they must go through to just survive. Their motivations are entirely relatable because we are with them from the beginning. So even if a character makes a decision I didn't necessarily agree with, I couldn’t help but understand why and how they made that decision. I was torn many time between impossible and life altering choices these characters had to make. This book is a gem. It’s a hidden masterpiece that many people do not know about and I must scream it from the rooftops! It’s a phenomenal read. Not nearly enough people know about it and that is unacceptable.
This book has everything that makes for an epic fantasy read. Characters coming together and torn asunder, bloody battles, fearsome monsters, growing powers, mysterious plot, captivating world building, relatable motivations and empathetic hero’s and villains.
Daniel T. Jackson has done something special and I’m happy to say it’s the best read I’ve had this year so far and one of the best fantasy books I’ve read in a long time. I am now suspended in painful anticipation for book two!! Definitely add this book to your tbr if you haven’t. I need more people I can talk about it with!
To put it quite simply, I loved this book.
Illborn was partly a nostalgic read; it had been a while since I'd read a good high fantasy, and I've been craving one to sink my teeth into. It felt reminiscent of all my favorite fantasy reads. At the same time, though, Illborn feels fresh and new. What an exciting debut!
The story jumps between all four main characters' points of view, and I definitely had to restrain myself from skipping ahead at times to see what would happen to some of them! The suspense was palapable, especially when it came to Allana's story. Though I connected more with some over others, each of the four characters was fascinating, well-rounded, and so genuine. Without spoiling, one of my favorite things about this book is that the characters are not perfect, and at times they veer into morally gray or even villain-in-the-making territory (again, especially Allana). I was rooting for every single one, even when their interests were in direct conflict with each other (which absolutely tore me apart a couple of times). Their arcs and their stories also mirrored each other very well; each of them losing and winning at similar points in the narrative, though they were separate.
Illborn gets a lot of hype for the prologue, and it's very well deserved, but the ending also had me gasping out loud to myself -- both the actual ending and the epilogue.
This very much feels like a first book, in all the best ways. Great character development, world-building, and setup for what I'm sure will be a thrilling rest of the saga. I cannot wait for the next one! In the meantime, I'm recommending this book to all the fantasy fans in my life (may or may not have talked a friend into buying his own copy on Amazon last night...). If you also fall into that category, you won't regret picking up Illborn!
Im going to start this review by saying this is honestly one of the best fantasy books I’ve ever read. I loved it so much, I was hooked from the prologue. After only page 12 I was like . This is a medieval fantasy and this story follows 4 young men and women who somehow develop magical powers of a sort and all have the same reoccurring dream. Whilst dealing and learning how to use these powers they all face their own challenges. This book involves, war, power, lust, deceit, control and romance. The character building was amazing in this book, the author has done a brilliant job at making you equally invested in all of the characters journeys and I love how each main character was completely different. Some books are predictable and you can see where they are going but I honestly had no idea where this book was going. I cannot recommend this book enough and I can’t wait for book 2!
Thank you to Matador for providing me with ARC in exchange for an honest review.
HIDDEN GEM ALERT!
I just love when it happens that I come across such a great book!
And I can safely say that I have a new favorite author in the face of Daniel T. Jackson!
The world building is so rich and immersing, with a full backstory of the world and what led to the events happening in the present.
We follow the story via four POVs and every character have his own distinctive “voice” and feel, which is an ambitious undertaking, but it was amazingly made!
Every POV fits like a piece from a puzzle….or more accurately said like a game of chess that you see unfold by your eyes and everything comes together!
Arion,Corin,Allana and Leanna, all of them have the same persisting dream that haunt their sleep. Over time, they start to remember more of that dream and start to seek answers….why they have that dream, why they started to develop strange powers, and what is the purpose of that given power?
Alas, they don't have much time to ponder on all of that because, as it turned out, they are hunted as heretics for the same reason.
Trying to survive, to figure out the grand picture of all the surrounding strangeness…and seeing that they are not alone in this fight, and they are stronger together.
This book is the first of many I hope because it's the tip of the iceberg of that remarkable story and truly can't wait for the next book.
One of my favourite reads of 2021!
I finished reading Illborn 30 minutes ago, and I am trying to summarise how I feel about this book. Illborn is simply put...FANTASTIC! It has been a while since a story has gripped and consumed me like Illborn. I don’t think that I will justify how much I enjoyed this book in a single review, but I will try my best to convince everyone to pick up this book.
Firstly, the character work is astonishing. Illborn follows four different main characters who all start to develop supernatural abilities. These magical abilities are strictly forbidden and add an element of chaos to the lives of these characters. It is rare for me to enjoy all the POVs when a book focuses on multiple characters. However, Daniel T. Jackson made me feel engaged and immersed in all four plotlines. Each character’s arc is exciting, impactful and gripping! I was emotionally invested in each plotline, which made reading this book so much more intense and riveting. The ending of this book is fantastic, and the epilogue shocked me!
The world-building is also terrific. Illborn is set in a medieval world, which is threatened by war and religious persecution. I loved seeing the impact religion had on society and how the religious authorities were abusing the faith to further their own interest. However, Jackson never blames religion itself for being the reason for corruption or abuse of power. It is human beings twisting religion who are at fault – not the religion itself. Having religion as a central theme is always tricky, but Jackson handles this theme masterfully.
Illborn emotionally gripped me from the first chapter. There were several moments in this book that made my heart ache or made me gasp. Although this is a thick book at 700+ pages, there was not a chapter that I didn’t enjoy. Finishing this book instantly gave me a book hangover which is quite rare! It is quite remarkable that this is Daniel T. Jackson’s debut! Illborn is, without a doubt, one of my favourite reads of 2021.
Illborn is criminally underrated at the moment. If you are a fan of epic fantasy, Illborn is a must-read!
5 / 5
A special thanks to Daniel T. Jackson for sending me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
by Library of a Viking
This was a book I could not stop thinking about. One that kept me up late at night. I was simply spellbound. Consumed by it.
This is a tale in a world with strong religious undertones. A Middle Ages type feel. Where heresy and those suspected of witchcraft is punishable by torture and death.
A select few begin to exhibit influence over others and have prophetic visions. These abilities will be their undoing if discovered.
Wonderfully realized characters. Fabulous battle and world descriptions. Absolutely riveting. Recommend not just for the fantasy genre but to readers as a whole.
by James Harwood-Jones
Authors, take note! Daniel T. Jackson knows how to write a book! If you like suspense, strong characters, intricate details, battles galore - unstoppable bringers of death to foes, cliffhangers, plot twists, and a need for a thrilling, epic fantasy, this book is for you!
It's been a while since a book captivated me from the very beginning but, this book did it and it didn't slow down. Every single chapter ended on a cliffhanger that had me rushing into the next, regardless of time or responsibilities. I was fully immersed and invested in these characters lives as they played out over the course of the story. This is the kind of stuff that I live to read! Consider Jackson on my very short list of auto-buy authors!
P. S. I need book 2 STAT, please!
P. P. S. With more Blackpaw?!
I couldn't put this book down.
I went into this book with no prior knowledge or having read the blurb, it was the cover and name that intrigued me. It's a book on love, betrayal and of course conflict. Jackson does an incredible job of creating characters that you can't help but care for. The characters were key in pushing the story forward, and while I love setting descriptions, it propelled the story in a very smooth manner.
Jackson's story telling and characters were flawless and I cannot wait for the next book.
Original review: https://www.netgalley.co.uk/book/228878/review/826224
by NetGalley review
This is a fantastic debut from Daniel T Jackson. This book was absolutely dazzling. My nose was stuck in this book right up until I finished the stunning last chapter. Each character is written with such finesse and uniqueness. The story is intense, with heart pounding moments that would not let me put it down. When I was not reading it, I was thinking about it. When I was reading it, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. This is a highly recommended gem to all readers looking to be whisked away to a medieval world.
This was really good! Loved the world building, and getting to know each of the main characters. Good pacing, and the jumps between characters didn't get too confusing. I am definitely going to be watching for the next book!
Original review: https://www.netgalley.co.uk/book/228878/review/622451
by NetGalley review
An absolutely brilliant book! I wish I could give even more stars. It simply blew me away!!
After seeing ILLBORN around a few times and hearing nothing but amazing things, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it and get started. Because of that, my expectations were set pretty high … and wow, did ILLBORN deliver. It still astounds me that this is a debut, because it definitely didn’t read like one! The writing was smart, the characters so well fleshed out, the story intriguing from the get-go (that prologue!!), and the world-building incredible … I was sucked in from the beginning.
We follow 4 characters, and usually I prefer one POV over the other, but here I felt invested in all of them. I loved following their different storylines. They all had a very distinct voice and just felt so real which made it very easy to tell them and their chapters apart. The character work here is really top-notch! Seeing how and where they all started, and where they end up being by the end of this book is incredible (and this is only the beginning of what I’m sure is going to be an epic fantasy saga). It’s amazing how much character development Daniel T. Jackson was able to fit into these pages with so many main protagonists to focus on. Also … boy, does he know how to end a chapter! One character’s chapter would end and I would actually think about skipping ahead to see what was coming next. But somehow I did manage to stick to the intended reading order (I may have risked a glance once or twice, though ^^) and as soon as I started the actual next chapter, the next POV, I was invested in that particular character again. The anticipation of them finally meeting was killing me … I just couldn’t wait for their paths to cross, and to find out how their storylines intertwine. We do get some of that in ILLBORN, but since this is “only” the beginning of the story, there’s still a lot of crossing & intertwining to be done in future books! I cannot wait!!
The world-building feels big and imaginative, without being too overwhelming. The author manages to establish a world that can stand on its own and could easily exist somewhere out there. The story in book 1 focuses on a few specific locations, of course, but you can feel that there’s a lot more out there, and I’m sure we will explore more corners of this world in books 2 through 4. Also, it was interesting so see religion being a focal point in this story, and I am very intrigued by the various angles that are being explored here. Like many things, faith can act as a unifying force for good and provide peace & strength, or it can be used as a tool to further agendas and oppress opposing views, causing a lot of pain & hurt along the way. Daniel T. Jackson does a fantastic job of portraying the manifold facets as well as the impact and ramifications of such a powerful means, without blaming religion itself. People are responsible for their own actions.
Yes, with more than 700 pages ILLBORN is quite chunky, but don’t let that deter you. I literally flew through the chapters, because I just needed to know what was going to happen next. I started Friday night and was done by Sunday - even though there were things I was supposed to do, haha, but I simply couldn’t put this book down. And once I was done, I just wanted more … more pages, more chapters, but I guess that will have to wait until the sequel ^^
All I can say is: READ THIS BOOK!! ILLBORN is easily one of the best beginnings to a fantasy series I have ever read, and has firmly secured its spot as one of my favorite reads of this year … maybe ever. I still keep thinking about the characters and wondering what all this is building up to. The sequel is by far one of my most anticipated releases next year. 2022 can’t come soon enough … I just need the next book!!
STRENGTH. VICTORY. GLORY.
Daniel T. Jackson’s Illborn is just fantastic and one of the best books I’ve read this year. Set in a medieval world across multiple lands and kingdoms, it follows four young men and women as they start getting visions and supernatural powers. They attempt to navigate a tense political and religious landscape where discovery can lead to persecution and accusations of heresy by the powerful and fanatical church.
LUST. POWER. DOMINATION.
Told in alternating perspectives, we get to know each one of these four vastly different young people. In Allana, we find a desperate woman who is willing to do what it takes to survive. In Corin, a weak boy from a clan of warriors trying to prove his worth. In Leanna, a devout young woman who believes she has been blessed by the Lord. And in Arrion, a third son wanting to do his duty to his family. Despite their different backgrounds, we grow to like and understand each of them.
DEVOTION. SACRIFICE. SALVATION.
Despite the constant shifting of narratives per chapter, the storytelling and pacing remains sharp. Normally, I would find the constant breaks ruin the tension, but because we grow to love each of the characters, the interest is sustained throughout. Although not all plotlines intersect just yet, we get the sense of the scale the author has planned for the Illborn Saga and we are only just seeing the beginnings of something epic.
FEAR. CONTROL. ORDER.
Illborn is a truly spectacular debut novel and an awesome start to a new epic fantasy series. I already cannot wait for a sequel.
What a wonderous story Daniel T. Jackson has told in the first book of The Illborn Saga.
I was gripped from the very first page to the very last in this terrific self-published page turner.
Everything is there in this gripping epic fantasy novel, an action packed storyline, brilliantly developed characters, plenty of twists and turn and those cliffhangers!
If you are a fan of high fantasy then you must buy this book!
Congratulations Daniel with "Illborn", I'm already eagerly awaiting the next instalment.
by D. L. Lay
Illborn is a one of a kind fantasy debut from Daniel T. Jackson, that instantly captured me (yes I’m looking at that prologue) and had me addictively reading it anytime I could. I can’t fully describe my feelings after finishing it, so instead I’ll try to convince each and every one of you to read it.
Rarely has a book captured my attention so quickly and to this level. In fact I can probably count the authors who have achieved that on one hand. I started seeing more and more of this book appear online and after a few recommendations from friends decided to pick it up. I’m so glad that I did because this book blew my mind.
The setting of Illborn had me completely engrossed. There were a lot of similarities drawn from medieval Europe, which yes is prevalent in a lot of fantasy, but in this case felt so fresh and different that it did not matter. Since history is another passion of mine I enjoyed seeing similarities to The Inquisition and The Crusades. There is a European-esque continent constantly squabbling over meaningless power struggles and on the verge of war, there are parts of a fanatical church vowing to increase their domination over it’s people and there is of course the promised holy land that is so sought after. Jackson did a fantastic job of highlighting the issue with people rather than their religion. Normally fantasy with heavy elements of religion fall short of this, but I think Jackson handled this perfectly. What really stood out for me is how Jackson made his world feel alive and teaming with a unique characters and secrets to be found. I really felt like I was being introduced to a huge new world, that I wanted to discover more of.
The characters in Illborn are what really stood out for me and you’ll quickly realise why this book is so aptly named Illborn. Despite the overarching theme of the story, each character also had their own conflicts to deal with. The story follows four main characters, each possessing some kind of innate magical ability that coincides with their character also linking them to each other. Following their development while they each discovered this ability one by one, felt quite entrancing.
Firstly there was Arion, son of a duke and wanting to make his mark on the world, Allana, who finds herself struggling to survive on her own, Leanna who is set to decide her future between two huge choices and lastly Corin who finds himself an outcast from his clan. What made these characters feel special is that each was so different to the other and came from such different backgrounds, while possessing different yet even complimentary abilities. The issues each character had to deal with felt real and aided in their character development. Now, I usually find I have a clear favourite character, but in this case all four were extremely likeable and relatable, so that I found self engrossed in every single one of their chapters. I will say Allana and Arion stood out for me just a tad bit more. Allana’s struggle and drive to survive was an extremely addicting read and I found myself rooting for her survival. Arion on the other hand had a much more privileged upbringing, but was no less interesting due to his drive to become a leader among his people and prove to his family he was a capable of this. I will say, if you read fantasy for it’s characters, then this is a must for you.
The writing in Illborn was absolutely excellent and it surprises me just how good it is for a debut novel. It’s clear that Jackson has a huge amount of experience writing and has decided it was finally time to make use of his skill by writing fantasy. Never was there a slow moment, so that I took in every sentence like the sweet taste of wine. I can at times be a serial skipper if a book doesn’t engross me, but in this case I can safely say I savoured every-single-word.
I cant express enough how much I can recommend this absolutely phenomenal book. This really is for anyone looking for a fresh character driven fantasy from an indie author, who I firmly believe everyone needs to know about. Really, just go read it! Oh, but be ready for that ending…phewwwww!
If you've not read this book yet, what are you even doing? You need to drop everything and read this. Now. Or as soon as you can. Because as soon as you read the prologue, you'll be as hooked as I was.
Illborn is a debut novel, but it very much reads like something written by someone more seasoned. Had I read this without this knowledge, I'd be tracking down the author's backlog to read before the sequel comes out in November. It's been a very long time since a debut has overtaken my life as obsessively as Illborn has. I'll be talking and thinking about this book for a long time yet, and I'm already convinced the series will end up amongst my favourites - if each book manages to keep getting better.
Throughout my reading journey, I couldn't shake the feeling that I was a child. Ignorant. Oblivious. Barely touching the edge of what the author was capable of. In both the sense of me trying to guess what was going to happen, but also when it came to the depth of the world Jackson had spun and woven. Reading this feels like a beginning to something wonderful. And also an emerging of an amazing new voice within the fantasy community. It feels like there's still so much to tell, so much more to discover.
Personally, I'd recommend going into this book with little knowledge of what it's about. The blurb is actually vague enough to allow room for this, so I'll not attempt to reword it for. But I will say; if you like epic fantasy, you'll probably like this a lot. It has a bit of everything in it, plenty of different things so everyone can find something to like. From religion, war, politics to love, friendship and family. Each POV is distinctively different from the other, and very well crafted too. They all felt equally real and fleshed-out to me. At the end of the day I ended up liking Corin the most, but just about. They all deal with different aspects of the plot, and bring in angles, knowledge and motivation that you won't find in the other POVs. I'm also very interested to see how they all end up interviewing further, in the coming sequel.
All in all, I can't recommend Illborn enough! If I had to choose something that I either didn't like or didn't enjoy, it'd have to be some use of language. I'm being really specific and picky here for the sake of showing that I can still look at the contents of the book critically. For example, the use of 'Mum' within the fantasy medieval context (as opposed to 'ma' or 'mother' etc.) felt too modern, and quite British. This initially bothered me a bit at the beginning, but I wasn't noticing it by the end. I can't bring myself to find fault in the characters, world, or plot otherwise! Truly an extremely strong novel that deserves all the positive reviews it's been getting! And more!
Daniel T. Jackson is a fantasy enthusiast, with a love for fantastical worlds and epic adventures. After 25 years of creating stories for friends and family, Daniel finally escaped from his day job to fulfil his lifelong ambition of writing Illborn. With The Illborn Saga, he hopes to create the next classic fantasy series.
Daniel is married with four children, and lives in the United Kingdom. He also loves hiking, cycling and piano, and volunteers for a number of good causes. Illborn is his first published novel.