Friday, October 26, 2012

(Indy Review) The Chosen by Denise Grover Swank

Chosen (The Chosen #1)
Denise Grover Swank

Overall **** Plot *** Interactions **** Characters **** World **** Originality *** Grammar **** Style ****

What is it with prophecies and fantasy? It seems to me they either be irrelevant or complete story killers. If they are true, they represent a complete lack of control on the part of the hero. Predestination wins over free choice. If they aren't then why do we care? I don't know, but when they're handled well, they really can add to the story. Case in point, Denise Swank uses the prophecy in her story to good effect.

(Mild spoiler alert)

“Chosen” is a contemporary fantasy with a prophecy about the rise to power of two individuals. One of whom will defeat the other—and go on to rule the world one would suppose. It's unusual to combine prophecies with contemporary settings and it put me off when I first learned about it. After all, it's set in this world and we are not currently awash in accurate, or at least understandable prophecies. But, I kept on and felt well rewarded that I did.

“Chosen” is a story which explores questions about loyalty and love in a world where the protagonists are stuck between groups of bad guys. It starts out with a woman, Emma, and her mystically gifted son on the run from unknown assailants whose motives are completely unknown, but whose methods are brutal. She meets a man, Will, who seemingly jumps into her life to save her.

Happily, she is no feinting, helpless princess and he is no Prince Charming. We soon find out that he is a ruthless, seemingly amoral, bounty hunter hired to find her and deliver her to a mysterious group of powerful and wealthy men. From then on the story is about what happens to them.

The reader doesn't find out about the prophecy until the second third of the story and it completely changed the tone from dangerous chase to full-blown contemporary fantasy. I think it would have been less jarring to know where it was going before I read it—which is why I put it here.

The characters are not complex, but they are passionate, feel real, and I found myself caring about them. The story is not complex, but it is entertaining and gripping in places. The writing is well done and for the most part transparent. It does not hinder the story or pull you out of it, which meets my idea of good writing. The story is the first in a series and comes to barely enough of a conclusion so I didn't feel cheated.

Of course, it's hard to feel cheated when I got the book for free, but for me, a free book that waists my time is an expensive book. This one was a bargain. It's a good solid four out of five stars overall.

Of course, now I'm going to buy the second one.

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