Monday, May 4, 2009

The Chosen One Review

The Chosen One - Carol Lynch Williams

Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in an isolated community without questioning the fact that her father has three wives and she has twenty brothers and sisters, with two more on the way.

That is, without questioning them much---if you don't count her secret visits to the Mobile Library on Wheels to read forbidden books, or her meetings with Joshua, the boy she hopes to choose for herself instead of having a man chosen for her.

But when the Prophet decrees that she must marry her sixty-year-old uncle---who already has six wives---Kyra must make a desperate choice in the face of violence and her own fears of losing her family forever.


Carol Lynch Williams' The Chosen One has been the recipient of a multitude of high praise, despite the fact that it has yet to be released. In fact, right on the cover of the ARC edition, it's referred to as "compelling", "powerful", "a masterpiece", "an important book"... With heralds like that, one begins the book with high expectations.

Despite that, The Chosen One does not disappoint. In fact, it even surpassed those high expectations, for the most part. (Just a random side observation - this is also a book written in present tense; how uncanny!) Williams has boiled down to the essence of a thirteen year old voice with the bare minimums in Kyra. The storytelling style is simultaneously captivating and credible. The flashback memories are incorporated well, the tale flows beautifully, and a sense of immediacy is created between the reader and Kyra. The one thing that irked me slightly was the random changes to poetry format. A few of them worked well, but some of the others just felt like overkill. Had the transition been a little more smooth, they might all have worked, but as it were, a few of them just felt fragmented and interrupted the otherwise amazing flow.

Kyra is characterized fantastically as a main protag. Pathos is generated masterly, and readers will be carried along on the intense ride of emotions, feeling their hearts go out to this thirteen year old girl with whom they may not have a lot in common with, but will find themselves unable to remain removed from her compelling tale. Emotions were conveyed beautifully. The supporting cast was also portrayed very well. It was easy to be swept along with the story. When Kyra was wronged by those around her, I felt angry at the perpetrators, at the Prophet, at her uncle. And such was the power of Kyra's narration - the emotions of the characters have the ability to overtake the reader before he or she is consciously aware of it.

A lot of the concepts in this novel offer insight into a world that's so close to our own, but that we don't really know a lot about. It's thought-provoking, and it'll probably draw in some controversy after its release, but especially with the amount of polygamy stories hitting the news recently, the conversations provoked will definitely be interesting.

The Mobile Library on Wheels - now that is one awesome thing. The many twists towards the end though - and this is a book which pulls you along in the story really well, without having you try to predict the answers beforehand because you're too engrossed in the present - those are very shocking and powerful. I, for one, was pretty much blown away by the progression of the climax.

The Chosen One is definitely going to be a book widely discussed after its release. From the awesome hook of an opening line, " 'If I was going to kill the prophet,' I say, not even keeping my voice low, 'I'd do it in Africa.' (Williams 1, ARC Edition)" to the chilling climax, to the hopeful end, The Chosen One is an unforgettable, heartbreaking tale.

*The Chosen One will be released by St. Martin's Griffin on May 12th, 2009.

11 comments:

Iryna said...

Wow, what a great review! You totally need to work for the New York Times (they review books, right?)!

Mary said...

I thought this book was absolutely amazing.
Check out my review: Kidlit Reviews THE CHOSEN ONE

AnneMarie said...

Wow, did you write this review? How can your write a review on a book that's not even out yet? Sounds amazing though. And thanks for visiting my site. Haha, the layout is a bit colorful.

Steph Su said...

I really want to reeeeead this. Great review. :)

Pauline said...

Hey there! Thank you for the sweet comment, you are so amazing :D Your layout is way btter than mine though (obviously) LOL.

That book (novel) sounds really cool, I might read it!

So how are you?

Anda said...

Hey! :) Wow, that sounds like a really interesting book. Aww...poor Kyra, what a family she had to live with :( I hope she can choose Joshua in the end ^^

I hope this book will be released here in Romania too, cause I'd really want to read it :)

deltay said...

Iryna - Aww, thank you! (haha idk, does the NYTimes review books?) I don't think mine are nearly at that level, but hey, ego-boosting is always nice :)

AnneMarie - Yep, I wrote this review :) Books that aren't out yet can be reviewed if one has an Advanced Reading/Reviewing Copy of it.

Steph - Thanks! You'll enjoy reading it :)

Pauline - Ah, but I didn't make my layout; pre-made and found on the internet. The book is really cool, you should ;) I'm good, thanks. How're you?

Anda - It is a really interesting book! Oh wow, you like in Romania? That's so cool!

karinlibrarian said...

You are a master with words. Thanks for visiting my blog and giving me your link. You put my writing to shame. Man, I need to brush up on my word choice!

Kristie said...

Thanks for you comment! I'm sorry I made you lose the game! But no worries, no one can lose the game more than me! I think this book sounds really great, I'm getting a copy when it comes out!

Julianne said...

Thanks for visiting my site & for the lovely comment :)
I love books btw :)

Car said...

Firstly I have to say your layout is absolutely gorgeous. What a fab image!

And yes he seriously thought that he'd got her pregnant. Hahahaha. Sooo funny :P

Your review is really good. It sounds like a really good book! .x

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...