Release Date: June 10, 2011
Genre: Dark Fantasy/Epic Fantasy
Synopsis from Goodreads
FIRST CHOSEN is the story of Julianna, a noble from the conquered kingdom of Koma. In her moment of greatest need, she frees an ancient god, Grandfather Shadow, from his thousand-year prison. He names her his high priest and to lead his people to greatness once again. Her greatest obstacle: it is a capital crime for any of her people to worship one of the five ancient gods. While evading Inquisitors of All Father Sun and the followers of the god of death, Julianna must learn to use the vast power that Grandfather Shadow has given her in order to survive long enough to unite Grandfather Shadow's fractured people.
And so begins, TEARS OF RAGE a dark, epic fantasy about the power of faith and belief, where even though the gods can inspire these qualities in mortals, it is those same mortals that truly control the religions that form from any god’s divine inspiration. It is also a swashbuckling tale of political intrigue where men scheme against each other and the gods, and how friendship, loyalty, and faith can help people persevere through the darkest times.
I have been lucky enough to be asked to review First Chosen by the author himself. M. Todd Gallowglas. This is a part of the Blog Tour de Force. First Chosen is set in a beautiful dark and epic fantasy world. It is about a girl (a duchess) named Julianna, who has been chosen as the Lord Morigahn (high priest) to protect and lead the Morigahnti (followers of Grandfather Shadow), physically and spiritually. But she can only do this when she speaks the words that will release Grandfather Shadow, a god who has been held prisoner for 1000 years. When she is put in a frightening and traumatizing situation that causes her to use the words, everyone wants a piece of her. So Julianna is in quite a predicament. Not only does she have lots to learn about those after her and who to trust, she also has to figure out her new found powers and who she is.
I really enjoyed this book. The storytelling was truly out of this world. Gallowglas has created something gorgeous and complex. I love a plot that has so many layers that you can pick a part. Not only is the story deep and compelling, but the characters are as well. Gallowglas wrote it in a way where no one is left out. I love that I get a sense of everyone in the story. There is so much mythology in this book and no matter the species, everyone was playing a game. This book is full of betrayals, secrets and lies. If you want a great story on the battle of good vs. evil, First Chosen is a great choice.
I loved the characters. I loved Julianna. After her initial shock of knowing everything rests on her shoulders, you see her growing into it. It was a nice journey with her and Faelin. Faelin was chosen by Grandfather Shadow to help guide and direct Julianna since he is a true believer in Grandfather Shadow. We also have characters that we meet that have their own agendas about Julianna. For instance, the Goddess of Lies, Yrgaeshkil, she has power over Daemyns. But she wants more power, more dominions to control. Her husband is Old Uncle Night. Old Uncle Night is a rival to Grandfather Shadow and he has followers of his own trying to kill off the Morigahnti. But she isn’t the only villain in this story. Some are villains that might be closer to Julianna than she thinks.
Now for a few complaints I have for this book. As I said, we have a lot of characters which was both good and bad. The good: we have many characters to love and/or hate. We get lots of diversity and different sides of the same story. The bad: we have a lot of characters and at times, it is hard to keep up with them. Some get more “screen” time than others, so when another gets mentioned, it is hard to remember who they are in the story. I have seen that was an issue with some people, which leads me to another issue. When starting the book, it is a bit of information overload. Gallowglas wastes no time getting you into the heat of it all. As I said, this book is complex, but it does start off a bit overwhelming. We meet a lot of people in a short amount of time. Last issue, editing. This book had quite a few grammar issues. Not enough to be distracting, mind you. But you do notice them.
Overall, I highly recommend this book for fans of dark and epic fantasy books. This book has a very clever and rich story that made it difficult for me to put it down. There is definitely has a Game of Thrones feel to this book that made me love it even more. Political intrigue, lies, secrets, wars, and supernatural creatures; this book has a little something for everyone. The plot is very deep and makes me very happy that there will be a sequel because there is still more to know. Even with a few kinks, First Chosen isn’t hard to read; well besides some of the characters names. I definitely want to know how to pronounce some of those. Nonetheless, read this book. You won’t regret it.