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Chosen (The Lost Books) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 272 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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- Part of the The Lost Books (6 Book Series)
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In any case, this first book in the series turned out to be a pretty riveting story that had me hooked pretty quick and had me turning pages pretty fast. Typical Dekkeresque twists, mysteries and harrowing action abounds and I would have loved to have gotten this story, but written for his normal adult audience as it was a well told story that ties in nicely with his other books. The story revolves primarily around Johnis who receives a special mission from the Roush we meet in Black, Michal and Gabil. Aside from Thomas, Rachelle and the Roush/Teelah/Shaitiki, there's definite tie in's to not only the circle series, but the Paradise series as well which sheds some light on certain things for Dekker's faithful readers like myself. It reminds me a lot of how Stephen King's Dark Tower series is not only it's very own epic series, but how it ties in with many of King's other novels as well. Brilliant stuff!
In any case, the story completes the first leg of their quest and sets up the rest of the journey which I'm sure will be quite the ride. While it's not quite everything the book could have been because it's a bit more simplistic and 1 dimensional in places because it's written for the YA segment, it's still very good and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.
This first book in the YA series known as The Lost Books takes place thirteen years into the fifteen year time interval between Black and Red, when Thomas Hunter eats the rhambutan fruit to keep from dreaming while sleeping only a few hours in what we would call real earth. If any of the previous information has confused you, don't worry. While The Lost Books are intimately tied to the events of The Circle Series, not having read these books won't affect your understanding of Chosen terribly. Dekker provides a chapter entitled "Beginnings" that gives a brief summary and provides new readers with the story's history.
Chosen throws the reader into a world where the Forest Dwellers are outnumbered by the Horde ten to one. And the Horde are closing in for the kill. Thomas of Hunter is forced to lower his recruitment age for his army--the Forest Guard--from 18 to 16. Among all of the new young recruits, four are chosen to go on a quest to prove their character and bravery. There's Billos, the strongest, largest, and most stereotypical warrior among them; Darsal, a girl with more gristle and skill than any other woman her age; Silvie, a warrior with a chip on her shoulder and something to prove; and...Johnis, the one who would rather be reading than fighting, who only became one of the Guard due to a fluke. And yet it is he who shall soon lead them all.
Their simple mission soon becomes a struggle to stay alive when they are ambushed by Horde fighters. They then discover a Horde plan that could annihilate the Forest Dwellers. But even greater than this is when two Roush name Gabil and Michal appear to Johnis and give him a new mission. But Johnis will have a hard time convincing his three warrior companions that fuzzy white bats--thought to be the stuff of legend--have bequeathed to them an important quest. The fate of the worlds lie in their hands and they must not only believe it, but begin to work together as a team to face an enemy so great he is thought to only be legend. It all hurtles to an explosive conclusion that in reality is only the commencement.
Dekker's foray into YA fiction is not without its flaws. Dialogue is sometimes clunky and character development is jumpy at times. The character of Johnis, the main protagonist, mutates much too quickly from scared little boy to warrior leader. But beyond this, Chosen is a solid YA novel that serves a quick read to flesh out Dekker's mythos and provides a solid introduction for what becomes an enjoyable series. It's certainly not up to par with the original Circle trilogy of Black, Red, and White--the stories that form the foundation for the mythos--but then again, that series set Dekker's bar almost unreachably high.
In the end, Chosen does what it sets out to do. As a YA novel, it brings Dekker's work to a new age demographic--something I'm sure that his then-publisher Thomas Nelson was interested in. It provides depth to the world first made known to us through the The Circle Series--something Dekker fans certainly wanted. And it provides a solid story--something any reader is interested in. It's not Dekker at his best, but it's still Dekker, meaning that it's better than most.
Don't get me wrong; for young adult fiction it's a good read. It's just not cut from the same block as the other relevant works.
Some have said that this is not a spin-off of the original Circle Trilogy. They don't know what they're saying. This series is solidly based in the original trilogy and can not be fully understood apart from it.