Oct 26 2012

Book Review: The Choosing, written by Jeremy Laszio

Posted by Mathias in Book Reviews

Full disclosure: I received a free copy of The Choosing from Mr. Laszio in exchange for an honest review. 

WARNING! May contain spoilers!

The Choosing, I’m sorry to say, had a very, very difficult time even registering on my scale of 0 to 5 stars.  For the first three quarters of the book, I was seriously considering giving it less than one star.  The short reasoning for this is that this story is simply not on par with what I expect from a fantasy novel.  I think my standards are fairly reasonable.  But honestly, The Choosing feels like an unedited, or only lightly edited, draft of a story.  It is missing so much.  It does tell a story, but stumbles in doing so.  And in my opinion the story is not that solid.

Now, for the long reasoning.  I will bullet point the biggest negatives for me before discussing the highlights.

Negatives:

  • A story that never fulfils the promise of the prologue
  • Large swaths of time spent with the characters walking (or sitting) and talking, over observing, and giving drawn out expositions of back story or on their observations
  • Ill-defined POV changes and head popping (sometimes using scene breaks, but often just flipping and flopping from paragraph to paragraph)
  • Shallow characters who delivered dialogue that was often wooden and simply impossible to believe (Sara is the worst offender, Ashton is the second worst)
  • Complex, often stumbling, prose
  • A narrative that repeated itself, and repeated itself, and repeated itself
  • A corny romance between two characters (Seth and Sara) who acted as if they simultaneously failed their charisma rolls against one another to fall into “love at first sight”
  • The immense amount of time spent dwelling on previously mentioned corny romance and the equally stale sexual tension that ensued
  • Whole scenes that were devoted to mind numbing minutia (i.e. as Sara’s shopping expedition, Seth’s “window shopping” temples for a religion, etc.)

There were three positives for this story, which saved it from getting less than one star.

First, the prologue.  Yes, it had its moments of poor structure and repetition, but it seemed very well thought out despite these flaws.  The problem is that the story hinted at in the prologue is not delivered in The Choosing.  It thus feels ultimately unwarranted, regardless of what might happen in later novels in the series.

Second was the scene with Seth discovering, I guess you would call it, his destiny once in Voldadore.  Although, again, cheesy dialogue and set up, coupled with Seth’s seemingly easy capitulation, prevents this scene from being what it needed to be.

Lastly was the battle royale Choosing Ceremony itself.  I don’t know.  Maybe I was just so starved for anything to happen by the time it rolled around that I was happy to see some action.  But for me, although the scene is so short compared to the laborious journey to get there, it was well enough done to warrant pulling the story out of the abyss.  Honestly, it seems like the author spent a great deal of effort on this scene.  I wish the rest of the book had had the same amount of effort put into it.

There may be some out there who will enjoy this story.  I was not one of them.  To each their own.  As I said before, The Choosing is simply not on par with what else is available for the pleasure of reading.   In the end, The Choosing earns a ranking of 1.5 out of 5 stars.   To give it any higher of a rating would simply be dishonest and unfair to those other options.

 

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