Friday, November 19, 2010

Chosen Ones

Title: Chosen Ones

Series: The Aedyn Chronicles #1

Author: Alister McGrath

Genre: Mid-grade (8-12 yrs) Fantasy

Excerpt from Chapter 1 of Chosen Ones:

Once upon a time an old house stood in the English town of Oxford. It was built close by the ancient city walls, ivy growing over its stonework and mullioned windows, and was the sort of place with lots of dark corners and hidden stairways. And in this house lived a professor, his wife, and an old tabby cat.

The professor’s special interest was reading about ancient battles, both at land and at sea. His ramshackle study was filled with paintings of famous naval engagements. The professor had never actually been to sea but rather liked the idea of it, and no one was prouder when his son became a captain in the Royal British Navy. His wife was the cozy, grandmotherly sort of person who specializes in scrumptious teas and biscuits. She had jolly round cheeks and an enormous lap for children to fall into.

On one particular day, not all that long ago, the house was all in a flurry of preparation for the arrival of two special visitors: their grandchildren.

Craft: I’m always looking for exciting new series for midgrade readers, for many 8-12 year-olds read voraciously, and there seems to be an unusually low number of novels I can add to the pile for this group. So I approached The Aedyn Chronicles with more than a little hope.

To my disappointment, I will have to continue my search, for I can say very little good about Chosen Ones. An unimaginative premise, flat characters, a lack of cohesive plot, contrived twist, jagged character arcs—the list of problems seems to go on and on.

Perhaps it is only me. Or maybe it was the time I read the book. I sincerely hope so. But I personally could not find anything to truly engage me as a reader.

Content: Unfortunately, little in the content balances out the flaws in craft. While Chose Ones has some good things to say about serving, humility, and learning who you are, these themes often seemed in-your-face preachy and incorporated in a way that felt jagged and disconnected from the story.

Summary: Aedyn Chronicles: Chosen Ones is pretty safe, as far as books go, with little negative to worry about. On the other hand, it doesn’t offer much that’s wonderful either, at least from my perspective. I could be wrong, and readers are welcome to prove me such. However, I recommend overall that the book be skipped.

Rating: Craft—1, Content—3, Overall—2.1 out of 5 stars

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