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The Beginning of Everything

The Rising, Book 1
Written by: Kristen Ashley
Series: The Rising, Book 1
Length: 15 hrs and 14 mins
Categories: Romance, Fantasy
4.5 out of 5 stars (24 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the unparalleled imagination of New York Times best-selling author Kristen Ashley comes an enchanting new audio-first fantasy romance series that will sweep you away!

Once upon a time, in a parallel universe, there existed the continent of Triton. The land was filled with beauty, but it was also splintered by war. Out of the chaos grew a conspiracy to reawaken the Beast, a fearsome creature who wrought only tragedy and devastation. The only way to stop him was to fulfill an ancient prophecy: Triton’s four strongest warriors must wed its four most powerful witches, binding all nations together and finally bringing peace to the land. 

This is the story of their unions: the quiet maiden Silence and the savage king Mars. The cold warrior Cassius and the fiery witch Elena. The steadfast soldier True and the banished beauty Farah. And the pirate king Aramus and the mysterious queen Ha-Lah. Their unions will not be easy, but each couple must succeed, for the fate of their world is at stake....

©2019 Kristen Ashley (P)2019 Audible Originals, LLC.

What listeners say about The Beginning of Everything

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

OMG

cant wait to hear the rest of these. I love it.so zo zo awesome. once again you done it KA

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good ride to work

A bit of a complicated story. I was going to give up half way through because of the vast amount of characters. But persevered because of the lively sex. It was worth it in the end. I will get book 2.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

boring

incredibly boring. didn't finish. narration is lacking. disappointing purchase. . . . . . .

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Love

I very much enjoyed the writing. The performers did great :)
Now on to the next!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Horrible acting/accents.

Interesting, twisting tale but boy is it shocking. The first 10 minutes was horrible.
The story itself is quite interesting and I'm glad I persevered.
That said, the Irish and Scottish characters were completely butchered by horrible acting and accents! So very badly done.
What a shame.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle Customer
  • 2019-12-03

A big fan of K.A., but...

I'm going to preface what I have to say by stating that I've followed Kristen since she published her first book. I own all but a handful of her books and have never given her such a bad review; it's usually an automatic four or five (only given to books I've read more than once) stars.

Kristen historically writes about women who are smart, independent, multidimensional dynamos! It's a welcome change from the dim-witted, emotionally inept women so often portrayed in most romance stories. I also appreciate that she takes her time in world/character building no matter how long that makes the stories.

It's because of the above that I'm writing this review. I initially read the first two chapters and made a hard stop. Truth be told had it been any other author I would have requested a refund. I started all over the next day with the determination to get through the whole book before passing judgment.

On the positive side, it's a great start to a new book (sans my negative comments below). Huge kudos for developing a series that follows four couples, and ancillary characters, concurrently through a series of four books. That's a huge paradigm shift to Kristen's normal writing style, and I don't know too many writers that could pull that off and keep the readership engaged. Also, I'd be remiss in not mentioning the addition of different cultures, races, ethnicities - this makes made characters even more dynamic!!!

Spoiler alert*

What I don't like about the book:
* a ritualistic gang rape and murder at the very start of the book, with a high probability of more to follow in subsequent books as that's how they feed the beast,
* an exorbitant amount of sodomy and orgies (m/m, m/m/f) among more than one culture, and among the priests. I don't mind a bit of this, but there was far, far too much for my comfort. Ick!
* Men using sex as a tool of manipulation/control.
*multiple narrators - I see the need for them, especially in this book with so many POVs, but I found so many to be distracting. I wasted a lot of time trying to place the accents as many didn't sound authentic (i.e. one of the accents was either Italian Spanish or Hindi).

While I don't consider myself a prude, I would never go out of my way to purchase a book with so much sexual violence unless it was based on reality and I wanted to expand my horizons.

124 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • The Curious Otter
  • 2019-12-09

May have Triggers for some. Not impressed.

I've read a few Kristen Ashley books so I usually understand her style of over the top descriptions at times. It generally doesn't bother me, but for this Story, with so many characters introduced in the beginning, it can get very confusing. Without giving each character a really good distinct personality, the convoluted descriptions just get tiring and drawn out and then I can't recall which character is even being re-introduced in a specific scene.

This book also NEEDS to come with warnings. There are several Rape Scenes and Sexual Abuse scenes that are very graphically described, and some may feel very uncomfortable with it. ie: M/M scenes. 3 in the first 1/3 of the book alone. I personally felt like this was an attempt to shock, like Game of Thrones was able to do on Television. But if you're sensitive to those topics, then I do not recommend this book.

And a side note, all the narrators did an amazing job!! I would've loved to have more of an audio production similarly to Lauren Blakely's audible originals of Birthday Suit and Instant Gratification where each Narrator has their own character and will voice them during all scenes with their character. Multicast basically.

This book definitely seems to cater to a very specific crowd. My opinion favours towards (unfortunately) the lower ratings of this book. If you do enjoy it, then great.. looks like there are a few sequels coming your way.

91 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • 🔵🔷🔹Del-VALLE🔹🔷🔵
  • 2019-11-28

It’s complicated!

At the very beginning I was able to understand the plot, however as more characters were introduced to the story, it got a bit complicated and it was difficult to understand who was who. I had to go back and forth a bit, but once I had most of the characters in hand, it was easier to understand.

This is the first of a series, and had I known it wouldn’t have a completely full ending, I would have waited for the rest of the books to come out.

Once you get a handle of what’s going on, it is a very interesting story.

The full cast of narrators was simply excellent.

I can’t wait for the whole story to be complete, so I can binge listen to the whole thing.

26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Jessica M. Henn
  • 2019-12-16

Noping out early - TRIGGER WARNING

I got 7 minutes and 45 seconds into this book when I decided I didn't want to continue. Does it get better? Maybe. I choose to view it as they set a tone in those minutes and if it was to continue on in a similar vein I had no interest in continuing.
The preface starts with a British woman telling me about the histories of the countries and I started zoning out immediately. They broke the show don't tell rule and I was fearful the book would all be like that. Then it announces the beginning of chapter 1 and I became hopeful again. This narrator has a cool accent, that must just be a preface and now it will get good. Well, the opening scene is a ritual sacrifice in which a virgin is staked in a spread eagle position, raped by 4 dudes, then stabbed to death. So I decided I didn't need to continue. Even though the rapey bits made lead dude squeamish, he still went along with it and it sounded like he was totally fine with the murder bits, and those just aren't characteristics that make me swoon. So though I know I didn't listen to the whole 15 hours before writing this review, for me this book wasn't even worth 10 minutes of my life.

56 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • sandrathereader
  • 2019-12-02

Not a lot of romance, but I know its coming!

Like in many of this author’s books, I am always highly anticipating the release of her books. It was no different with this one, even though it was released on audio only. I do have to be honest and say listening to it was a bit confusing with so many different characters and narrators involved. And I was really thinking since it was a little over 15 hours long, it was going to take me awhile to finish, but as the story went on, I became more and more fascinated and invested in the main characters and needed to know what happened next.

There were a few scenes that were tough, MM sex is something I have read, but not a favorite and unfortunately there isn’t a lot of love in these scenes. Actually there really is not a lot of romance in this first installment at all (we get close at the end with one couple, but that one also ends with problems). Because these characters are also getting to know each other and with so much going on, there really is not a lot of time for love to develop, but we can see some of the spark is there and because of my trust in this author, I know their HEAs are going to be epic.

The ending was on the cliffhanger side, but with only a month wait I can handle that.

10 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • elizabeth rabe
  • 2019-11-27

Fantastic Start!

So for me when I first started this book I was really confused. There is so much going on and so many characters, that I could not keep up. However, I persevered through it and finally it all started coming together. I understand why this boom has all the couples at one time. I am loving the way this story is being told, and I am aching for the next book. ALL of the narrator's were out of this world. I love love love the start to this book!!

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • IreneMBBT
  • 2019-12-02

Get into it before deciding

I wasn’t sure I was going to like this book but did - after I got further into it. Ashley introduced so many characters so early that it was hard to remember names and who they were and what country they were associated with. In most books, you become invested in the primary protagonist and get drawn into the story. Not possible here. You have to move forward into the book and then you become interested/invested in the story and charmed by the characters. I borrowed the book through my Audible Escape plan and this story made the subscription for this month worthwhile.
My only recommendation is that Ashley get better editing assistance. Example: I really enjoyed Elena giving Cass a jolt when she walks into the Dinner, and I really liked their conversation when alone!! But I found the beginning of the same chapter, The Bargain, to be over-the-top disingenuous with her description of the makeup application. The book could greatly benefit from editing down at least 10-20%, and maybe taking 4 books down to 3. It’s not like she’s writing a single book about each of the couples.

I fully intend to check out the next book in the series to see where Ashley takes the characters and storyline. I would be thrilled if she can see it through at this level or above.
The multiple cast performances for the narration was wonderful. I believe it elevated the book up a level.

15 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Morinne J Kearns
  • 2019-12-07

Rape in first paragraph

One paragraph in and a woman is tied up crying after being raped, and one of the main characters is all, “I didn’t really like that, but oh well.” Awful. Didn’t continue listening.

29 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Book Bruin
  • 2019-12-20

Intriguing & Somewhat Confusing Fantasy Romance

I've heard a lot about Kristen Ashley and her books, but this is my first book by her. Fantasy romance is not my typical read/listen, but I found it really intriguing and entertaining. There is A LOT going on in this book. There are numerous characters, storylines, alliances, and locations to keep track of and sift through. I understand (and expect) for the first book in a series like this to be somewhat confusing and detailed though, because it is setting the stage for everything and building a brand new world. I do wish, however, that there would have been some kind of glossary or reference for listeners to keep track of all the characters and new terminology. Because of this, I will admit that I'm not 100% sure releasing this as an audiobook first was the best decision.

It took a bit for me to become invested in the story, since much of the beginning is laying the foundation for what's to come and introducing us to the 8 different main characters. Once things got going though, I couldn't wait to find out what would happen next and the final chapter had me on the edge of my seat! I really liked the contrast between each of the couples (as well as the individuals), but I did feel that the instalove was too strong. Feelings can certainly develop quickly, but I need more than a shared glance or stare for these deep connections to form. I had also hoped that the women (especially Elena) would have been just as strong and powerful as their male counterparts based off of the blurb, but it appears that is not the case at least in this book. My fingers are crossed that the power differential will improve as the series progresses. I also felt that some of the sex scenes were unnecessary and overly graphic, especially since most did not involve one of the 4 main couples. The entire Serena storyline is problematic to me as well and just seems so out of character for her, given what we currently know about her.

My favorite characters at this point are cousins, True and Silence. True is the least alpha of all the men, but I'm always a sucker for the all around good guy gentleman. His history with Elena is an interesting twist and I'm curious to see if that will become an issue later in the series. Silence showed the most growth through the course of the book and I loved her curiosity and how she embraced the Firenze culture. I was all in for her and Mars up until he began discussing the practices of Firenze married couples. I don't condemn him for bringing it up though since it is a common and accepted occurrence in their culture, but I'm hoping that Silence will eventually voice her displeasure over this in the future.

The narration of The Beginning of Everything by this all star cast is incredible! There is so much variety and each performer brings a unique sound to the characters they are voicing. I am impressed not only by the multiple accents and the ability of the performers to voice both male and female characters so convincingly, but also the range of emotions that they each convey. This is an amazingly talented group of narrators, and I'm looking forward to continuing on with the series.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • S. B. Designs
  • 2019-11-27

At last!

I am not finished reading. In fact I’m only on chapter five, yet I felt the urge to stop and write this review. The Fantasyland series is one of my favorites of the Kristen Ashley creations. So I am thrilled that this is more of that world.
My only complaint is that it is not also available in Kindle. I frequently buy both and switch back and forth as the story progresses depending on my surroundings.
That being said, the performances of the narrators so far have been excellent. Their voices add to the emotions and dimensions of the story.

10 people found this helpful