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The Chosen Paperback – May 3, 2011
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Queen Laurali faces a dilemma, and she only has one choice to make in those she selects to deal with it. The Chosen is a group of six gifted individuals - two elves, a druid, and two Goliaths. And then there is Halli, a pretty dwarf, who is also a Holy Paladin, with the ability to heal and sometimes resurrect the dead. Yet, eighteen-year-old Halli has no idea she was born to such magnificence. She's an unsure young woman studying at a local school when she receives this news. And she must now leave her comfortable, predictable home and train to defeat Prince Gastle, in order to save Phantasma, the kingdom of the elves.
Things don't go easily for Halli after she meets the rest of The Chosen. The druid, an elf, and both Goliaths seem to like her well enough. But one of the elves has some very good concerns about the young dwarf. Halli never trained for her Holy Paladin abilities. She has no idea what a battle is like. There is nothing in her background to assist her in the upcoming confrontations The Chosen must expect. During their training, however, Halli exceeds expectations of everyone, including herself, and she soon finds herself riding into battle in a very important role - she must ensure everyone on her team is energized and healed as they battle. This must go as she finds herself more and more attracted to Silvor, one of the Goliaths. All goes well, and she finds herself with many surprises when she returns to Phantasma as the victor. Going back home isn't a letdown, and she settles into a routine, until Silvor comes to visit.
The Chosen is a delightful read for people of all ages, but especially for teens. Halli is likeable and very normal with her lack of self-confidence when she hears about her abilities. She's hesitant, but then she grows into a confident young woman ready to take on anything life throws at her. The journey she makes with the rest of The Chosen to defeat Prince Gastle isn't without hazards and challenges, but she rises to the occasion, even when faced with situations she never knew of before. Sea Hags and rat creatures don't faze Halli, and she's an integral part of the destruction of Prince Gastle. The end left me wanting more, and I look forward to reading Nature's Unbalanced, the recently released sequel to The Chosen.
I first want to say that I loved this book. I loved the way it was written and the way it caught my attention right when I started the book. It was one that couldn't put down and when I had to I couldn't wait to get back in it. I loved that had a steady pace to it. I love that it was easy to read. Some fantasy novels can be long and over drawn, but this was the perfect length. It wasn't to long or to short, it was perfect. I can't wait until I get my hands on the next book.
I loved how at the beginning of the story you know who the main character and how important she is. I love how this novel also has a positive role model for young adult women. It shows them to be confident in their abilities and to reach for more.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a good fantasy to read.
The plot of this book moves along quickly, making it ideal for a young independent reader or a parent reading the book chapter-by-chapter to a child before bed. Almost right away, Queen Laurali of the Elves makes it clear that Halli, an 18-year-old dwarf, will play an important role in the story. She sends a messenger for the five other important characters while going to pick up Halli herself before setting off to defeat the evil ruler. And just like that, before we even settle in, the quest has begun.
I enjoy fantasy novels, but I'm often frustrated by being bogged down by too much detail. That said, in this story I was disappointed by the lack of detail. While the plot of this story is inherently engaging, the fairy-tale style of the story left it vulnerable to "telling" rather than "showing." With almost no description in the first chapter, I was left to rely on stereotypes and my imagination to picture the elf and the dwarf. But there were plenty of opportunities for more detail. For instance, I would be interested in learning what Halli's experiences in school were like. What happens at a dwarf school? I wasn't told until the very end. We are also told that Halli has been quite shy her whole life, yet has been demonstrating the qualities of a Holy Paladin for years. I would have liked to see these traits in action, rather than rely on other characters to tell me they are so. The dwarf is also called "beautiful," but we are never given a crystal clear description of her. I have only to rely on stereotypes I have seen/read about dwarfs--whose hardened, battle-ready features are usually not beautiful... We are also told about a love interest between Halli and another member of the party, but we are never shown the chemistry between them, even in innocuous ways, until the last chapter, so I feel like I'm missing out.
The other thing I would have appreciated would be shifting points of view. The story was told largely through an omniscient lens, which led to much telling rather than showing. I would have liked to get into more of the characters' heads to experience what they were thinking and feeling. But then again, I am a fan of character-driven stories (and am guilty of falling asleep during action films in movie theatres!)
The benefit of this Spartan style, though, is that it's a quick read. It's only 114 pages, which is far shorter than most fantasy works. This would benefit reluctant readers and young readers who avoid long fantasy novels because of overly-dense description.
The strength of this story is the message. Presenting Halli as a role model, Buginsky is urging children to follow their inner flame, having confidence in their abilities and reaching their full potential. I would recommend this book for a parents and child to read together before bed--it would open the way for a positive discussion, or for a beginning independent reader, as the story focuses mostly on plot rather than description.
The book is marketed as young adult, but I think based on the level of detail presented, I would recommend the book for a younger crowd. I look forward to the next installment, but I hope the author adds a bit more detail.
My rating is for the book as a middle-grade reader, rather than young adult.
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But the writing? Seriously needs work.Read more