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  • Darkwind

  • The Starchaser Saga, Book 1
  • By: Renee Dugan
  • Narrated by: Rachel Leblang
  • Length: 14 hrs and 24 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Summary

The Middle Kingdom of Talheim has enjoyed peace for decades. But with the threat of war rising from the ruthless South, the dream of a quiet life is fading. And for the noble but naïve Princess Cistine, that means embarking on a dangerous quest to the Northern Kingdom, where she hopes to forge an alliance against their southern foes and save her people.

But when Cistine is captured by an outlaw and his band of cutthroat warriors, she finds a more deadly adventure than she bargained for - and a greater power within herself than she ever knew.

Swept up in the unpredictable tide of a tenuous and shadowy political climate, a ruthless land governed by the stars, and the unexpected revelations that come from her mysterious new companions, Cistine must learn how to fight, how to lead...and above all, how to trust herself. 

If the young princess can't be forged into a fighter, then her kingdom will fall.

©2019 Renee Dugan (P)2021 Renee Dugan

What listeners say about Darkwind

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great story, hard to get used to listening to it

I wonder if listening instead of reading affected my initial opinion too much. I'm glad I continued because overall, it was a very good story. I can't tell if the very long sentences, ones that appeared to have no commas of breaks in them, were the writing style or the narrating style. I had to show down the narration to 0.9x speed because of the number of times I couldn't keep up with the sentence. Honestly, by the end of some sentences I had forgotten the point of the sentence. It nearly made me stop listening and give up on it.
there was also some very poor editing in the last couple of hours. the quality of the recording changed drastically, midway through sentences, causing me to be taken out of the story.

The world building was fantastic, the character development of Cistine was very well done and there were some great characters added in throughout that truly added to the story. I am incredibly excited to find out more about these other characters in the rest of the series, and i hope they're big glossed over.
Julian annoys me. I can't put my finger on why... the young puppy dog love maybe?
There are a couple of other possible love stories that i can forsee, each of them I hope doesn't happen, if only because they would be clichéd. Although i guess it depends on the delivery. I just hope they become fabulous friends and allies.

I wish we had seen more development of Ash. The relationship between her and Maleck was impressively done. The way it was inserted into the story but not a focal point. I do wish we'd been able to be privvy to a few more of their convos though. The one time we had it, it seemed a bit rushed.



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Very enjoyable.

I was given a free copy of this book and I'm leaving an honest and voluntary review.

This is a very enjoyable experience, great characters and a nice amount of detailing.
it's my first book from this author, Also the narrator. I'd definitely get more books from this author.
the narration is spot on.

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  • barbara duell
  • 29-08-22

excellent

Talk about action and adventure! I fell head over heels in love with the characters and This is the epic fantasy I have been waiting for

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  • DDViews
  • 04-08-22

Expect the Unexpected!

Princess Cistine of the Middle Kingdom of Talheim takes matters into her own hands when she travels to the dangerous Northern Kingdom with a plan to forge an alliance that will help her Kingdom defeat their foes. Things do not go as expected and she is captured by a band of warriors. Her survival depends on how well she can learn to fight and use her new leadership skills. This audiobook is book one in a series; it could be read as a standalone but why would you want to. The narration provided by Rachel Leblang is excellent. I received this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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  • CuteAsADaisy
  • 21-04-22

Incredible New Fantasy Adventure

Parents- PG13- Possible triggers to abuse victims
Language- Gods, hell and a few others but not heavy in bad language and no f-bombs
Violence- some battle gore, heads/limbs being severed, blood, descriptions of violent beatings/abuse
Sexual Content- Kissing, but nothing to warn of in this one

This book was a fantastic start to a new fantasy adventure series. There's a lot of action with fight scenes that do get a bit graphic but the author doesn't delve into a ton of detail as heads of limbs get severed- more or less glazes over and says the characters are disturbed by the scenes and blood. The world building, plot, and pace of the story were all really well done and made this a very difficult book to put down. After reading the summary for this one, I was really hopeful for a fun new series and I was not disappointed! I loved the progression of the characters and the storyline really kept me invested. Cistine (our princess and MC) starts out a bit immature and very naïve, and convinces the King she needs some time away at one of their vacation castles before she's ready to take the throne.... When in reality she intends to sneak off and try to negotiate an alliance that her father won't consider. With her female guard, Ash (BFF) and Julian (friend) they take off even though neither one really supports her plan. Soon after arriving in the other kingdom reality begins to set in, and then they find their group captured by a violent group of outlaws. It just really drags you into the story quickly and then leaves you in a spot that has you laughing, upset and yet anxiously reaching for the next book!

Narrator- did a great job with voices and acting. The speed of the audio did feel a bit slow but I found it was fixed around 1.35x speed.

—I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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  • Nemesis
  • 22-03-22

My first by R. Dugan and she did not dissapoint!

This is the first title I have read from Renee Dugan and she did not dissapoint! A good mix between character development, plot movement, and general action. Overall a great story where you actually feel invested in characters and want the MC to prevail. I look forward to book 2! Audio Version: Rachel Leblang does a great job differentiating characters and keeping them consistent.ry all over again in a new way!

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  • JH & DDDH
  • 18-08-21

Very Slow Burn

Cistine is 20 going on 14. A spoiled princess trying to do the right thing for her kingdom, leaves home without permission to journey into the lands of her nation's enemies. Will she mature during her struggle, become a stronger, better person, answer the mysterious voice in her head urging her on, find love, find success?!? Not so much any of those, but this first book sets up the second if you're still interested by the end of 14+ hours.

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  • Stephanie Lynn
  • 11-07-21

Brilliant Start to this Amazing Fantasy Series!

This is easily one of my favorite Fantasy series, and I'm so excited to get tl experience it in audio form as well! The Rachel Leblang does a wonderful job narrating this one, and I loved the accents and different ways she expresses emotion or changes in the story's tone as the story progresses! This is my first time listening to her, but I'd love to see her narrate the other books in the series if possible! It was so cool to get to see/hear some of my favorite characters take on a new look with the addition of the audio, and loved getting to enjoy this story all over again in a new way!

Previous review for Darkwind book book format:

So, since I first learned about this book, I had a good feeling. Then after reading the author's other title TCC in February, I couldn't wait to start! So when I finally got to Darkwind...I can't even do it justice in a review, or even summary, but I'll try. From the first pages, I loved the complexity and detail of both the characters and the story overall. The characters are unique and diverse, with brilliantly written personalities, and interesting character development as the story goes on. There are those books where the characters almost feel real, like old friends who spring to live while reading, but who can never be forgotten once introduced...These characters are much like that, and I loved it! I found my self laughing out loud while reading, and  even smiled or rolled my eyes in a couple places! 

I also really liked the political and cultural differences in the Three Kingdoms, and can't wait to learn more! I enjoyed that Cistine learned along with the reader, realizing truths and uncovering new pieces to a puzzle much bigger than anyone first realized (or likely even realizes by the end of Darkwind). I'm so excited to see more of her/their journey and to see where some of the lesser mentioned characters fit into the things the princess has already learned.

As for characters, a large part of Cistine's time is with a band of outlaws, the cabal, and two of her closest friends from their home kingdom. And...I can't choose a favorite! I really liked Ashe, her friend, and Cistine has crown into a very interesting character in her own right, but then the cabal, they are all so mysterious and irresistible at the same time! I'll think one is my favorite, then the next page, it will be another! Rare that this happens, but I could get used to it!

This is a must read for fantasy readers, while it does have darker themes, it brought to mind a hint of both ACOMAF (hint- I loved Darkwind even more!) and LotR, both of which I loved, and can see fans of similar enjoying this one as well!