by Jeremy Laszlo
Seth is a young man torn by fear and indecision. His life no longer in his hands, he fears an uncertain future where the only certainty is a life of servitude to the kingdom. Fortunatly for Seth, he is not alone. His brother Garret too attends the choosing ceremony where their fates will be decided. Together the twins make their way to the castle city of Valdadore for the choosing ceremony but along the way Seth notices a strange new trend in his life. Time after time strange circumstances befall him in what others might call a coincidence, but Seth knows something else is amiss and begins mentally cataloging each new and strange event. Learning his past is all a lie, Seth begins to fear more for his future as a dark goddess vies for his service to her cause. Seths loyalties and responsibilities begin to stack up as he makes friends and allies and even falls in love, but with the choosing ceremony growing ever nearer will he be forced to flee the kindom into a life of exile, or choose to serve the goddess who swears that only through her will he find peace.
Expectations: A little magic, a little sword-fighting, and a lot of new mythology.
The Prologue was gorgeous. I loved the idea of how the gods created the world, and why they need and are intrigued by humanity. The writing of the prologue also felt like a a proper story told by the fireside by tribe elders. It is a great set-up. Unfortunately, the rest of the novel didn't fulfill it's potential for me. The main characters of Garret, Seth, and the two they pick up along the way, Ashton and Sarah, felt a little flat as characters, and I wished the author had more of their backstories revealed in conversation while they journeyed to Valadore instead of giving details about the pace of their walk, or how they did not feel the need to talk. The journey to The Choosing is a large part of the novel, and largely unexciting. What excitement there was - a fight with a Goblin, and the fight for Sarah, was good and I think it would have helped the story for the companions to have experienced a little more danger. The romance between Sarah and Seth was very heavy-handed and repetitive, with little time given for it to actually develop.
The actual Choosing ceremony was a more exciting event, but surprisingly short, and with very little ceremony. I think the ideas in this book are solid, but a little more fleshing out of the mythology of this world would have helped the story.