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Last summer I read a book (I think it was written sometime between 2014 & 2016) about this boy whose friend (a girl) was taken by slavers. He travels with his mother -- his father is a drunk and a thief -- through the wilderness to a new city where he trains at a military academy so that he can go back and rescue his friend.

Along the way, he and his companions find giant animals and begin to learn arcane skills. While he travels, trying to learn military and magical skills, he is also trying to solve the mystery of the rise of these magical, giant animals. They even travel to an abandoned, forbidden city where some of his companions are eaten by a monstrous snake, which mysteriously doesn't eat the protagonist.

What's the name of this book? I can't find it!

  • Welcome to Science Fiction & Fantasy! When was this written, approximately? What language was it in? Can you describe any additional plot points? Please try to provide some more detail, otherwise I'm afraid this question is likely to be put on hold. – Paulie_D Nov 12 '16 at 13:11
  • Edited with more info... – Ben Lingenfelter Nov 13 '16 at 13:52
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That sounds an awful lot like "Dawn of Wonder (The Wakening #1)" (all that follows is spoilers):

The protagonist, a young boy named Aedan, cleverly saves his fellow townspeople from an attack by slavers, but his friend is captured by the slavers' leader due to her noble heritage.

Aedan and his family wind up fleeing the town to avoid being scapegoated for the attack. Along the way, they have to take refuge wolves in an forbidden fortress. Aedan's father, an abusive drunk, is also revealed to be a thief when they arrive at their destination city.

Aedan joins the elite Marshals with the dream of not only finding and freeing his friend, but destroying the entire nation of slavers which captured her to begin with.

Near the end of the novel, he's sent on a scouting party back to the forbidden fortress he'd previously sheltered in, to uncover the cause of monstrous mystical beasts and magical lightning strikes. There, they are attacked by a massive serpent. Aedan is struck by the mystical lightning and, at the very end of the book, begins to manifest supernatural abilities.

  • Can you add any details or plot summaries to indicate how this matches? – Adamant Nov 14 '16 at 20:57
  • @Adamant Sure, will do. – Liesmith Nov 14 '16 at 20:58
  • That's it! Thank you! – Ben Lingenfelter Nov 19 '16 at 10:59

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