Review: CHOSEN ONES / by Alistair McGrath

The Chosen Ones / by Alister McGrath (The Aedyn Chronicles, Book 1)

INT (MS)     Rating: 4

Alister McGrath, a theologian, writes his first book for children, The Chosen Ones.  Book 2, The Flight of the Outcasts, will be published in January 2011. Black and white illustrations with an old-world charm drawn by Voytek Nowakowski, lend an air of mystery in this children’s fantasy.

Peter and Julia visit their grandparents’ home in Oxford where Julia stumbles upon a mysterious garden.  On moonless nights, the garden emits a silver glow, drawing them to the pond.  When these young teens fall in, they end up in a new world – Aedyn.

Over 500 years ago, those who opposed a rebellion in Aedyn, became enslaved by three evil overlords.  Many forgot their roots—once they had been a peaceful people with a ruler who was guided by the Lord of Hosts.  This oppression led these people to despair.  Their only hope lay in the arrival of two strangers foretold in an ancient prophesy. Peter and Julia were these unlikely heroes.  By the end of their journey, these two would learn how to overcome some of life’s toughest struggles—ambition, deceit, and selfish desire.

There are many similarities to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but with fewer animals and details about life in Aedyn.  This appears to be intentional, making it simpler and easier to read.  This book is geared towards ages 9-12 years of age, and will even be liked by middle school readers.

The lessons presented on selflessness, pride, grace, and victory, are evident but not preachy. There is some violence as battles are fought, but none that would be inappropriate for its target audience.

Recommended for all elementary and middle school libraries and public libraries.

— reprinted with permission, Christian Library Journal, August 2010.

Disclaimer: Book reviews are my opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.