Chosen is an urban fantasy novel and is book one in The Elm Stone Saga. The White Elm council has governed the magical societies of the world for centuries, keeping the peace, leading the way of the light, but when popular and powerful Lisandro announces his intention to leave the council, a line is drawn in the sand.
Young Irish sorceress Aristea Byrne jumps at the opportunity to compete for a coveted position as an apprentice to the White Elm and quickly finds her powers blossoming. Under the tutelage of the council at their Academy she awakens skills she never knew she had. As she finds herself drawn more into the council’s unfamiliar world, and in particular into the web of mystery surrounding council rebel Renatus, she starts to wonder how much is still within her control and how much has been chosen for her…
Sometimes we choose our way. Other times it is chosen for us.
My Rating: 4.75 Stars
Alright y’all, I will admit, when I first started this book, it was a little reminiscent of Harry Potter – I was immediately concerned. Teenager gets contacted by magical school that wants to train her to be a sorcerer…with a wand. However, as the book progressed, it became immediately apparent to me that while the author of this book may have been a Harry Potter fan (Shayla actually confirms this in the guest post she wrote), and this may have influenced some of her creative choices, the main plot of the book is nothing like the popular JK Rowling series we all know and love. As you can tell by my rating, I really enjoyed this book. Let me tell you why.
The main character of this series is Aristea, a spunky 17 year old with self-esteem issues. I actually liked and felt connected to her almost immediately – a rarity for me while reading a book. Her parents and older brother died in a tragic accident during a storm, and Aristea has been raised by her older sister for the majority of her teenage years. While the author doesn’t focus too much on the relationship between Aristea and her older sister, the glimpses we did get throughout the book were really endearing.
Upon Aristea’s arrival at the Academy, we are introduced to whole new host of characters – most notably, the dark and mysterious Renatus. Now, for my fellow romance lovers, Renatus is definitely swoon worthy, however, he is NOT a romantic interest for Aristea – I honestly don’t think she will have one in the series. While the hopeless romantic in me kind of wants for something to happen between the two of them, the sensible part of me appreciates their relationship the way it is. Renatus and Aristea have a really great dynamic, he seems to be a great mentor for her, and because of their shared history, there is a unique level of trust between them.
I think what I enjoyed the most about the book was that while Aristea’s experiences at the Academy are interesting, they aren’t the only thing happening in the book. Three of the members of the White Elm Council have deserted and formed their own group, hell bent on destroying the White Elm Council for reasons unknown thus far. I loved the chapters written from the perspective of members of the council – they were full of action and offered insight on council members that I may not have known much about otherwise.
The only thing that stopped me from rating this book a full five stars, was that I found it to be a little slow in places. The chapters during which Aristea was in class dragged a bit for me – the slow points in the book were few and far between, but there nonetheless. I only took off a quarter of a star for this because for the most part, the slower parts of the book were necessary for world building.
My Takeaway: A fast paced and interesting book with a unique premise and a set of characters that are easy to relate to. I am already halfway through the second book in the series and can’t wait to read the third!
**CHECK OUT MY INTERVIEWS AND EXTRAS PAGE FOR MY VERY FIRST GUEST POST – SHAYLA MORGANSEN HERSELF! I WILL ALSO BE POSTING AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR SOMETIME NEXT WEEK.**