Also by this author: The Dream Traveler's Quest, Into the Book of Light, The Curse of Shadownman, The Garden and the Serpent, The Final Judgment
Series: The Lost Books #1
Published by Thomas Nelson on January 2008
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Suspense, Fantasy
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The land of the Forest Dwellers has been decimated by the Horde under the watchful eye of the vilest of all creatures, Teeleh. Thomas Hunter, supreme commander of the Forest Guard, is forced to lower the recruitment age of his army from 18 to 16. From among thousands, four new recruits are chosen to lead--and perhaps die--for the greater good.
The chosen four are sent on a quest to prove their character, but their mission takes a dramatic turn when they are intercepted, sworn to secrecy, and redirected to a different endgame. Now they must find the seven lost Books of History. Books that have power over the past, present, and future. Books whose words are alive. Books sought by the Dark One that control not only the destiny of their world...but that of ours as well.
Beyond the blue another world is opened.
Enter if you dare.
In the West, the Dark One seeks Seven
To destroy the world.
It’s been thirteen years since Tanis drank of Teeleh’s water, releasing the murderous Shataiki from the Black Forest to ravage the land. Now one hundred thousand followers of Elyon must bathe daily in the waters of Elyon lest they contract the dreadful disease that will turn them into the Horde—their mortal enemies. From the very first pages of Chosen, Dekker launches his reader right into thick of the mythos of what is now called The Books of History Chronicles.
This first book in the YA series known as The Lost Books takes place thirteen years into the fifteen year time interval between Black and Red, when Thomas Hunter eats the rhambutan fruit to keep from dreaming while sleeping only a few hours in what we would call real earth. If any of the previous information has confused you, don’t worry. While The Lost Books are intimately tied to the events of The Circle Series, not having read these books won’t affect your understanding of Chosen terribly. Dekker provides a chapter entitled “Beginnings” that gives a brief summary and provides new readers with the story’s history.
Chosen throws the reader into a world where the Forest Dwellers are outnumbered by the Horde ten to one. And the Horde are closing in for the kill. Thomas of Hunter is forced to lower his recruitment age for his army—the Forest Guard—from 18 to 16. Among all of the new young recruits, four are chosen to go on a quest to prove their character and bravery. There’s Billos, the strongest, largest, and most stereotypical warrior among them; Darsal, a girl with more gristle and skill than any other woman her age; Silvie, a warrior with a chip on her shoulder and something to prove; and…Johnis, the one who would rather be reading than fighting, who only became one of the Guard due to a fluke. And yet it is he who shall soon lead them all.
Their simple mission soon becomes a struggle to stay alive when they are ambushed by Horde fighters. They then discover a Horde plan that could annihilate the Forest Dwellers. But even greater than this is when two Roush name Gabil and Michal appear to Johnis and give him a new mission. But Johnis will have a hard time convincing his three warrior companions that fuzzy white bats—thought to be the stuff of legend—have bequeathed to them an important quest. The fate of the worlds lie in their hands and they must not only believe it, but begin to work together as a team to face an enemy so great he is thought to only be legend. It all hurtles to an explosive conclusion that in reality is only the commencement.
Dekker’s foray into YA fiction is not without its flaws. Dialogue is sometimes clunky and character development is jumpy at times. The character of Johnis, the main protagonist, mutates much too quickly from scared little boy to warrior leader. But beyond this, Chosen is a solid YA novel that serves a quick read to flesh out Dekker’s mythos and provides a solid introduction for what becomes an enjoyable series. It’s certainly not up to par with the original Circle trilogy of Black, Red, and White—the stories that form the foundation for the mythos—but then again, that series set Dekker’s bar almost unreachably high.
In the end, Chosen does what it sets out to do. As a YA novel, it brings Dekker’s work to a new age demographic—something I’m sure that his then-publisher Thomas Nelson was interested in. It provides depth to the world first made known to us through the The Circle Series—something Dekker fans certainly wanted. And it provides a solid story—something any reader is interested in. It’s not Dekker at his best, but it’s still Dekker, meaning that it’s better than most.