500 years ago there had been a terrible rebellion in Aedyn. The traitors had won and given those who resisted the option of death or unquestionable obedience. Those who choose obedience had since been subjected to harsh slavery. Many had forgotten their roots--that once they had been a peaceful people ruled by a noble man who was guided by the Lord of Hosts. The years of oppression had led the people to despair and their only hope lay in the hands of two strangers whose arrival had been prophesied for centuries.
When Peter and Julia (ages 14 and 13) were called to Aedyn, they were simply two young children, staying for a few days with their grandparents waiting for their father to arrive and tell them exciting news. Never did they dream that one night they would find themselves transported to another world to act as deliverers for an oppressed people. They were not heroes when they left Oxford, but by the end of their journey, these two children would learn how to overcome some of life's toughest struggles--ambition, deceit, and selfish desire. In a story which reflects several Biblical events The Chosen Ones is a delightful start to what looks to be an entertaining children's series.
The Chosen Ones is very much a children's story. It has some similarities to the Chronicles of Narnia, but these seem to be intentional and not at all an attempt to mimic the series. The reader is given some creative, fantastical, images along with nice action sequences that should allow this book to appeal to a broad range of children. Though most kids should easily be able to read this book on their own, like the Narnia series younger readers will enjoy reading it with a parent. There are some nice analogies as well as Biblical references which make for good conversations. Unlike the Narnia books, though, this one is not as ageless. The recommended age is 9-12, which I think is about right (younger if the parent is reading). Whereas I still love reading the Narnia books for my personal enjoyment, this one is more to read with my kids.
Since this is a children's story, not a lot of time is wasted on descriptions or flowery settings. For the most part we get a general idea of the surroundings and move on. The same is true for the characters. Not as much background as I would like, but quite appropriate for the intended audience. My main problem was a difficulty in determining the timeframe for the Oxford portion of the story. The book starts out `Once upon a time', but several references were made to Boy's Scout, which was founded in 1907. Kids probably aren't going to care, but there wasn't enough information given to pin point the time frame and that bothered me. It made it hard for my imagination to grasp the environment. I was uncertain of the kid's background and any shared common ground with today's children. Nit-picky maybe, but it prevented my imagination from filling in the blanks.
Overall, this is a sweet story with some good lessons for kids. The black and white drawings are a nice touch and something kids will enjoy. There is no objectionable content and is a nice choice for kids who loved the Narnia series and would like another clean, safe, fantasy series.
"Chosen Ones" is a Middle Grade fantasy novel, but I think kids ages 5-9 would actually enjoy the story (being read to them) the most. There were some black and white drawings of the events in the story, but unfortunately they weren't that accurate to the details in the text. The first half of the story was full of detail--most of it unnecessary to the story--which slowed the action. Very little happened. Many of the details were also very obviously based off of various "Chronicles … more
A little bit about me. I read primarily Christian fiction. My favorites are suspense, with supernatural elements always being a plus. I most enjoy books that will keep me thinking well after I'm done … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
World building and character development take a back seat to religious themes in British theologian McGrath's opener to The Aedyn Chronicles. Teenagers Peter and Julia fall into a glowing pond in their grandparents' garden and find themselves in Aedyn—a small, former paradise ruled for the past few centuries by a trio of masked tyrants. Hailed by the enslaved populace as chosen ones sent by the Lord of Hosts to throw off the oppressors, Peter and Julia participate in a secret communion ceremony (“Why do we eat salted fish on this night of the year and on no other night?”) then lead a successful rebellion. Along the way they learn to reject ritualistic temptations to choose personal safety or power over the greater good, and by the time they return to their own world they've also learned something about having faith—both in a higher power and in each other. Periodic black-and-white illustrations add a dramatic touch to the story. The perfunctory story line may not linger long with readers, but the clear, simply presented messages of its religious core will. Grades 4-6. --John Peters