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The Chosen (W Book 2) Paperback – September 28, 2012
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"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
About the Author
Joyce and Alexandra Swann are mother and daughter. Joyce homeschooled her ten children from the first grade through master's degrees. She is a well-known author and speaker on the subject of homeschooling. For nearly a decade she was a popular columnist for Practical Homeschooling Magazine. She now blogs regularly on parenting, homeschooling, and Christian lifestyle issues.
Joyce and Alexandra have co-authored five novels: The Fourth Kingdom, The Twelfth Juror, The Chosen, The Invitation and The Force. The Fourth Kingdom was a top four finalist in the Christianity Today 2011 book of the year awards. Joyce's personal story of her experiences raising and educating her family is chronicled in Looking Backward: My Twenty-Five Years as a Homeschooling Mother, published in February of 2011. Her novel, The Warrior, which tells the story of one woman's ten-year prayer vigil for a man she has never met has been downloaded on Kindle over 100,000 times since its release in May of 2012 and has over 500 five-star reviews on Amazon. She is also the author of two children's books, Tales of Pig Isle and The McAloons, which began as stories that she told to entertain her grandchildren, and the young adult series N. She lives in Dallas, Texas, with her husband of over 50 years.
Alexandra is author of No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master's Degree at Age Sixteen, Writing for Today and The Planner. She works in Dallas, Texas, in financial services.
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This is a sequel to The Planner and even though I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 I give it my highest recommendation. This book is slightly slower than the first. The first book is one of the most genuinely frightening books I've ever read. Here we continue the story and telling it requires a little more detail and explanatory conversation. This means the book's flow isn't quite as fast paced or smooth as the first but it's still excellent.
I'm in a bit of a spot as I don't want to use spoilers, the story really should be read from first to last to get the fullest out of it. But I will say that the story follows logical lines and holds the interest.
I was less interested in the interpersonal relationships in the book but I suspect that part of the book will be the favorite of some readers...something for everybody then.
I'm not going to go into the ideas behind this book except to say that they are not far fetched. The plot uses existing legislation to build it's story and it's horror. I hope readers take this seriously, I really do.
Martin Niemöller a pastor in Hitler's Germany said:
"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me."
I was looking forward to this sequel since I had enjoyed The Planner very much. The main characters and many elements of the plot in this book are the same as the previous book, but the tone of the story itself has changed. While the first book could easily be classified as a political thriller or speculative fiction, the sequel might be better classified as Christian fiction with elements of a political thriller. While I read quite a lot of political and other types of thrillers, I avoid books with a religious slant since I don't care to read books with religious themes as my entertainment.
The political thriller portions of the book build naturally from the scenarios presented in The Planner, with the federal government overstepping Constitutional boundaries both in the name of the War on Terror and in their social engineering. The first book was built around the social planning horrors, and this one concentrates on the anti-terrorism actions taken by an out-of-control executive branch. There are some good scenes with a constitutional attorney with explanations of specific safeguards against the types of arrests and imprisonment that contradict the letter and spirit of the highest law of the United States. The constitutional crisis part of the story would have been sufficient to build the book around without bringing in the religion aspect that was not noticeable in the previous book.
There are some problems with the book beyond the religious soapbox that is brought out repeatedly. Practical problems with how the main characters are supporting themselves, how they have electricity and internet connections in an abandoned house out in the middle of nowhere, and how they always seem to have enough cash to buy a house, food, gasoline, and other necessities are all ignored by the authors without even an attempt to explain any of it.
I also did not agree with the way the authors chose to wrap up the story. Instead of following through with the aftermath of the court's decision, they decided to jump ahead several decades and have the characters' children do retrospective speeches about what happened to their parents. After following these characters and the buildup of the story, I wanted to read about the actual events and fallout. What happened to the president and his staff? How did Congress react to the ruling? How did society react? Did anything change about the premise of the original book and the social engineering and property grabs?
In spite of the problems, I'm giving this four stars based only on the political thriller portions of the book. Recommended for readers of The Planner looking for a continuation of the story. If you have not yet read The Planner, read that first then decide if you want to read more about those characters and version of the country that continue in this book.