Thursday, May 2, 2013

Chosen - Jolea M. Harrison

    2011; 293 pages.  New Author? : Yes.  .  Book 1 (out of 8) in the Guardians of the Word series.  Genre : Epic Fantasy.  Overall Rating : 7*/10.

    Dain and Dynan are a pretty special pair of brothers.  For starters, they’re twins.  And telepaths.  And princes.  And the ones that prophecy says will save or doom the world.

    But they’re only 16 years old.  And they have normal teenage priorities.  Like girls and archaeology.  One of those interests is going to get them in a lot of trouble.  We’ll let you guess which one.

What’s To Like...
    Fans of Robert Jordan’s WoT series (like me) might get a feeling a déjà vu.   The Ultimate Evil is about to break free after 1,000 years of being contained.  There is a “taint” to deal with, and there’s even a Lews Therin-type of character flitting around.  I kept waiting for one of the girls to start tugging on her braid every couple pages.

    But Chosen quickly goes its own way.  There is a religious presence here, where there is none in WoT.  And a lot of the book is spent in an “other world”, which I really enjoyed.  To boot, you won’t have to wait 20+ years for the series to be completed.  Jolea M. Harrison has just published the eighth, and final, book.

    The weapons repertoire is unique.  There are swords, knives, and arrows; but also laser rifles and transport pods.  There is magic (which is not the same as religion), and well-developed medical technology.

    You will meet a slew of characters, so you might want to make a list.  Mine had 30 names on it by the end of the book.  A lot of these play only minor roles, but I suspect they'll have bigger parts as the series progresses.  So I'm thinking it’s prudent to get them sorted out now.

    I don’t think I’d call this a YA novel, even though one hero takes a vow of purity to abstain from, well, you-know-what.  Sarah Palin would be proud.  There are some bloody parts, and the f-word gets dropped a couple times.  Still, I think teenage fantasy readers will enjoy Chosen just as much as adults will.

    As he watched the service, Maralt questioned again if he believed the things he’d been told nearly the whole of his life.  The idea that their worlds, all of humanity, were locked in some sort of time loop wasn’t an easy concept to accept.  It would continue until a specific set of events happened, or were prevented as the case may be, breaking the cycle and restoring the true Gods.  Maralt wasn’t so sure he believed in the Gods.  (loc. 769)

    “Alurn Telaerin is a ghost?”
    The High Bishop pulled in a sharp breath, reminding Maralt to be careful of his choice of words.  Being called a ghost was nearly as bad as being called a wraith.
    “Soul spirit is the preferred term,” Gradyn said with an arched brow.  (loc. 1009)

Kindle Details...
    Chosen is a free Kindle download at Amazon.  ANAICT, it is always free.  The rest of the books in the series range from $2.99  to $5.99,  and increase in page count up to 700+ pages.  You'll get your money's worth.

“The land of the damned isn’t for the living.” (loc. 1976)
    The storyline drags a bit in the middle (at the hospital and at the temple), as talking steals the spotlight from the action.  But this is not the same as “telling instead of showing”; the characters just get the yabbers.  I only had one WTF moment – when the “second” rescue gets carried out with jaw-dropping ease.

    But the ending more than makes up for these quibbles.  While Chosen is Part One of an 8-volume epic, the basic plotline here is wrapped up nicely, and you can read it as a standalone.

    I found Chosen to be enjoyable, but not compelling.  The writing and storyline piqued my interest, but didn’t pull me in the way some epic fantasies have.  Then again, keeping in mind that this was Jolea M. Harrison’s debut novel, maybe I've yet to see her best stuff.  Book 2, Myth, sits on my Kindle, waiting to be read.  7 Stars.  Rating subject to change, pending further reading of the series.

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