Review: First Chosen

"First Chosen" by M. Todd Gallowglas

Publisher: Bards Cloak
Pages: 202 pages
File Size: 406 kb
Language: English
ASIN: B0055I14BG
Purchase: Paperback, Kindle
In this high fantasy novel, Julianna is a young woman born admist the clash of gods, given the ability to free the god Grandfather Shadow by one of his followers hoping for his return. On several occasions, in seven year intervals, opponents of Grandfather Shadow try to quash Julianna before Grandfather Shadow can be successfully freed - but in the end cost her family and security, because she's completely unaware of the depths of involvement of her parents in religious and mystical matters. When on her twenty-first birthday Julianna and her friends are ambushed during a birthday picnic, an old friend returns and the full cost of Julianna's birth and gift become apparent. There are also other factors that complicate the return of Grandfather Shadow that involve the mysteries of Julianna's parentage.

The world building in this book is highly detailed in terms of the warring religions and the classes of people who live out following these belief systems, as well as the clashing gods and goddesses behind these religions; in some ways, it reminds of reading Greek or Roman mythology which while occasionally humans interacted with the gods, little was actually said about society - probably because it was a presumed understood shared world experience. The lens with which readers view the religious clash doesn't go beyond a handful of families in this book, which is both good and bad. Fortunately Julianna and the other major characters are detailed and fleshed out enough that a reader is drawn in and wants to find out what happens next. I do want to learn more about Julianna, and about the world on a grander scale, which hopefully will become apparent in later volumes.

The text did however suffer from a number of glaring misspellings, some of which radically changed the meaning of sentences (one that sticks with me is members of the ritual brotherhood being called "Bothers," which rung true in an unintended way). My particular copy, received as part of a free promotion via Smashwords - which is no longer available - also was rife with font size errors with partial or entire chapters in heading size, but the sample I'm seeing online for the Kindle edition doesn't seem to suffer from this. Yet I do have to note the semi-frequent spelling and grammar issues. If Gallowglas put as much care into his presentation as his world development, this would have been a stronger review.

Reviewed by: Shannon Muir