Prince Severin has been brought up to put duty before all else. Now, his duty is to marry and produce an heir. He has his choice of princesses. Unfortunately, his passion is for princes.
Havyn has been a slave all his life. When his powers are discovered, he finds himself purchased and freed by a Prince and apprenticed to the royal wizard, Ildar. His duty is to stay chaste to keep his powers strong. Unfortunately, his passion is for Severin.
With kingdoms at war, the throne hanging in the balance, and magic in the air, can the two men find happiness together, or is duty more important than love?
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
[The cover isn’t bad but it makes me think of a creepy, dark, mystery-ish type book. Instead this is a light, fun filled fantasy story so while the cover isn’t bad, it says the wrong things to me as a reader. ]
The Chosen is a classic fantasy novel but without the epic length. Included are long journeys, prophesies, royalty, magic, oracles, wars at stake, forbidden love, runaway elopements, long lost princes, lengthy quests, true love, and a happy ending. Because the story stays pretty true to the fantasy origins, there is not originality offered but for those fans of the genre, the familiar themes are always welcome. The writing makes the story incredibly easy and fast to read so that kept my interest whereas if the pace had dragged I would have been bored. The characters are again right out of fantasy lore so nothing surprising but they are warm and likable. As a first novel, this is a decent fantasy offering that may be of interest to classic fantasy tales.
Severin is a prince out on a journey with his faithful wizard Ildar to find himself after a lifetime of being spoiled at his parent’s whim. Severin buys Havyn at a slave auction, intending to free the man once they return to his home. Along the way, they discover Havyn has magical ability and Ildar quickly makes the ex-slave his new wizard’s apprentice. Life isn’t easy once they reach home though as Severin is set to wed the niece of a neighboring land, yet his chemistry with Havyn causes havoc for both. When the royal family and entourage set out for the betrothal ceremony, there is no end of problems. Murder, intrigue, runaways, long lost royalty, quests, true love, and a happy ending are all involved as the various characters find their way in this realm of magic and mystery.
There is a lot going on in this story but surprisingly, the plot never feels overwhelmed or too fast. Each issue brought up is well handled and builds upon the next so each piece is simply part of a bigger, more complicated whole. Some of the elements are pretty predictable and the story on the whole isn’t wildly original. Often the plot feels obvious as the fantasy themes used are easy to identify so there is not a lot of suspense or wonder associated with reading. Yet the writing keeps the pace quick and characters interesting enough that even those who have read this type of story all the time will keep turning the page here.
Part of this is that the characters are pretty decent. Severin and Havyn narrate the story in alternating third person point of view and for the most part they stay well within the predictable roles. Havyn is slightly over the top with the orphan childhood sold into slavery from birth and never known a bath, clothing, food, or kindness. However this exaggeration is pretty typical of everyone in the book. All the characters seem to exist on the extremes of their description and supposedly almost all are virgins, which is necessary to fill their various roles. This is a bit of a stretch especially at the end when several of these mandates are flipped to provide a happy ending, but it didn’t really bother me since it was clearly coming.
The various characters have a bit of charm, a bit of scheming, and some interest which kept me reading even though I knew what would happen – usually a sign I give up and become bored. Yet again, there’s an ease to the writing that lets you enjoy the classic tale even if there is nothing surprising. The common themes are well loved for a reason and even though just about all used here, it pretty much works. This isn’t a book that leaves you breathless but it is one you enjoy while reading. Or at least I mostly did.
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