Friday, February 1, 2013

Chosen by Heather Fleener

In the beginning...there were Vampire

Man’s fall from grace sparked the birth of the Dark creatures from the underworld. To counter the explicit threat to mankind, divinely-created immortals were brought forth. The Witch encompassed seven Castes of power; their magic was most effective against the nefarious agenda pursued by the evil ones.

She is Chosen
Kaitriana’s gift of magic is unrivaled. A descendant of the most powerful Ancient in existence, her birth was foretold ages before her time. Destined to lead the Witch faction, she is betrayed by her own kind, destroying her birthright and all hope of delivering the Realm from the sinister shadow of the Ancient Dark.

He is the Key
Lorcan is a mighty warlord in the Vampire species. His animosity towards the magical immortals is personal - his mother was their Queen. Having long since severed all ties with his former kin, his existence remains plagued by the repercussions of her treachery and a secret that threatens to be his downfall.

They are the Prophecy
An arcane prophecy from the time of the Ancients proclaims that only two in all of creation can bring peace to the Realm. When Kaitriana miraculously appears seeking his protection, Lorcan must forsake his duty and disregard the dictates of his breed to shelter the female. Together they must combat the Ancient Dark and surmount the forces within their own factions that would oppose the Prophecy. Their fates have always been entwined and only when joined can they triumph over a blood feud that has shadowed the Light for millennia.

Where to Buy

An interesting introduction to a story idea that has a very epic feel to it. While this book does stumble a bit at times I think, the world it is building is fascinating and the characters are vivid and believable. It introduces you to enough of the larger story to make you want to know more, while giving you a fairly complete story of how Kaitriana and Lorcan come together.

Kaitriana is a very vibrant character almost from the beginning where we see her as a toddler when she meets Lorcan, or he meets her, for the first time. She's brave, bold, daring, highly intelligent, playful, and mischievous. Despite all of her positive characteristics, and her fairly mature attitude toward what she perceives as her duty, she's still very immature in many ways, and her immature, bratty behavior does get on the nerves at times. The reasons why she's still so immature despite her age are obvious though, so her behavior is largely forgivable, but she does persist in it just a little too much past the point where she needed to just grow up already. She generally recognizes when she's screwed up or acted badly, though, and usually takes steps almost immediately to try to rectify any damage she's caused, and in doing so mostly redeems herself. She does display a lot of character growth throughout the novel, which is all to the good, and by the end of it she is truly a very likeable character, as well as a force to be reckoned with.

Lorcan is very much a leader and very much used to being obeyed by those under him. He is not in any way autocratic, though, and seems to rule his coven with a fairly benevolent hand. The fact that he has earned the respect and loyalty not only of his own people, but of those in other covens as well says a lot about him. He is very indulgent and patient with Kat, though there are limits to his patience and he is only willing to put up with so much from her. This leads to him frequently becoming furious with her and dealing rather harshly with her at times, often for justifiable reasons, but not always. It's true that a lot of his anger stems from the fact that he recognizes they are on borrowed time in many ways, that a major confrontation is brewing, and that Kat is going to have to learn to curb her impulsive behavior and immature reactions to things sooner rather than later if they are going to be ready to meet them. Still, at times his angry tirades seem to be prompted more by his own arrogance and alpha-male tendencies that make him feel like it's his right to have Kaitriana submitting to him in all things. At those times, he just comes off looking like an ass, but thankfully those times are relatively few, and the character growth that he goes through in the course of the novel helps him to rise above those instincts.

It should probably be noted that this book moves fairly slowly, and in the majority of it is spent setting the stage for the larger conflicts that are to come in the series. Thus, we get a lot of world building, a lot of introduction of those who will be some of the main players in the drama, and we get a lot of background story that brings us current and helps us understand why things are the way they are between the various factions and groups. All of this is quite interesting, but it does make the story drag in some places and I often found myself wondering when something was going to actually happen. Even the story of Kaitriana and Lorcan's romance which serves as the focal point for all of the world building is handled in a very start and stop manner such that at times I wondered if things were ever going to get any farther between them or if they were going to be stuck in courtship mode for the entire book. It's this dragginess that brought my rating down a touch, though I do understand it in light of this being book one of a probably epic scope series and thus a good bit of world building and such is to be expected.

Overall I liked this book quite a bit, though not quite as much as I wanted to. It has all the elements of an epic fantasy story in the making, but the execution of the concept falls a bit short of spectacular. Still, I think this is one series that is worth keeping an eye on, for I think it really has the potential to become something spectacular once the world building is done and the author can focus solely on her story and her characters. I'd definitely recommend this one to anyone that loves paranormal romance, particularly vampire romances (lots of great sexy fang action in this one!), as well as those who like fantasy and epic fantasy tales. A solid four stars to this one, perhaps pushing toward 4¼.

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