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3 Stars Out Of 5
Lackluster, Magic Content
July 14, 2012
When Peter and Julia discover a mysterious silver garden outside of their grandparent's home on a summer visit, they are swept away into a world, which appears beautiful, but hides dark secrets of slavery. Called to think beyond themselves and offer themselves up as leaders of an in-progress revolution, the two siblings discover they possess mysterious powers that they must learn to harness to help those in need.
Fantasy is tricky for a reader like myself who feels that good characters shouldn't use magic due to the Bible's admonitions to avoid it at all costs. Unfortunately the characters in Chosen Ones (book one of the Aedyn Chronicles) are definitely skirting the boundaries of my comfort levels. While the gifts the children possess could be seen as supernatural giftings, their guide - a holy man of sorts - pretty much admits to be using a type of magic near the end of this first short novel for young adult readers.
If that wasn't enough to discourage me from reading the rest of the series, I'm afraid the rather awkward writing style would - McGrath's skill with the pen just isn't enough to keep me interested in the rest of the series (even if the magic wasn't an issue).
The Christian allegorical undertones are clearly present - the slaves worship a Creator God who they remain loyal to while being dominated by demonistic man-beings and the children are called to free them so the land of Aedyn can return to glory - there are enough points against this book to put it in my giveaway pile.
Peter and Julia are spending their vacation at their grandparents' house, waiting for their father to come home from sea. When Julia sees a hidden garden from her window she becomes drawn to it, and she and her brother soon find themselves in another land, drawn into a battle for freedom.
Book one of "The Aedyn Chronicles," this is a good start. It is written for children, and there are illustrations throughout the book. I found that the writing tends to focus a lot more on getting into the action than character development. For me, this was a bit disappointing, but I would imagine this is a very good approach to writing for children... to keep them engaged. Overall, the story was good, and I would recommend this to anyone with kids who enjoy reading.
Julia and her brother Peter are drawn into the fountain in their grandparent's yard on a silvery night, drawn into another world where they meet an 500 year old monk who knows the legend of 2 children who will come to rescue his people from their oppressors. The story is appropriate for children and early teens, it does not have an overabundance of description or character depth but enough to understand what the land is like and what the people are like which is appropriate for that age. Similar to the Narnia chronicles but perhaps simpler. It moves quickly and has several lessons which are slipped in without preaching or disrupting the narrative. It could be read by a child or read to younger children by an adult. There is some violence involved in the fighting around the castle so perhaps not appropriate for very young children. It is a good delightful story for 9 year olds.