CHOSEN ONES by Alister McGrath


The Aedyn Chronicles, Book One
Age Range: 10 - 14
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A slight but engaging fantasy wilts under the burden of religious allegory. Julia and Peter, two teenage siblings in an oddly atemporal Oxford, are whisked into the alternate land of Aedyn and tasked with freeing those enslaved by a brutal trio of sorcerors. While the prose is competent and some of the imagery lovely, the narrative relies on an uninspired retread of generic fantasy tropes. Characterization rarely rises above gender essentialism and heavy-handed symbolism: Peter, representing “Science,” is clever and well-meaning but also smug, untrustworthy and led astray by blind naturalism; Julia, as “Faith,” in contrast, is compassionate, imaginative and open-minded, if prone to leaping to conclusions. The villains are bullies and buffoons, with no function beyond being Evil. Between overtly telegraphing Good Guys and Bad Guys and dropping in wildly convenient magical powers and overheard bits of exposition, the plot carefully defuses any hint of suspense. By the point the rebels stage a blatant appropriation of Passover, all pretense at subtlety is discarded. Pleasing, perhaps, for its target audience, but they deserve better; Narnia this ain’t. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-310-71812-3
Page count: 195pp
Publisher: Zonderkidz
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2010


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