Sunday, May 8, 2016

Review: Chosen


by Denise Grover Swank
Book 1 of The Chosen

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  2.0 Stars

Everything Emma Thompson owns fits in a suitcase she moves from one roach infested motel to another. She and Jake, her five year old son who can see the future, are running from the men intent on taking him. Emma will do anything to protect him even when it means accepting the help of a stranger named Will. Jake insists she needs Will, but Emma's never needed help before. And even though she's learned to trust her son, it doesn't mean she trusts Will.

Mercenary Will Davenport lives in the moment. Hauling Emma to South Dakota should have been an easy job, but his employer neglected to tell him about Emma's freaky son and the gunmen hot on her trail. Instinct tells him this job is trouble, but nothing can prepare him for Jake's proclamation that Will is The Chosen One, who must protect Emma from the men hunting her power. A power she doesn't know she has.

Will protects Emma and Jake on a cross-country chase from the men pursuing them, while struggling with memories from his past, his apprehension of Jake, and his growing attraction to Emma. Will's overwhelming urge to protect Emma surprises him, especially since it has nothing to do with his paycheck and possibly everything to do with the tattoo Jake branded on his arm.

Rich and powerful men are desperate to capture Emma, and Will must discover why before it's too late.

Seeing as how this book seems to be so well liked, I'm probably going to be of the minority here in my rating as well as my opinions. So if you don't like negativity, I would suggest not reading this opinionated post.

To be totally honest, while I DID enjoy reading this book and I DID get caught up in the suspense, the action, and the story line and the mysterious "What makes Emma so special?" and "Who are these strange men and what are they after?" plot device... a lot of things seemed to fall flat for me. I cared for the characters enough to follow through with them to their final destination, but at the same time, I feel like I followed through more on curiosity than actually liking what was going on.

I like Will enough: the smarmy, smartass with his dark past and possible daddy issues and personal demons. He was resourceful, he was charming when he needed to be, and he was definitely a hero, as much as he tried to brand himself an anti-hero. People with flaws who know how to deal with them usually help in my favoritism of them. Will isn't a bad man as much as he likes to think; he just has a lot of issues that he needs to learn to overcome. But with his level-headedness and his flexibility as well as that hidden heart of gold, it would only be a matter of time until he becomes every woman's ideal hero in that action/fantasy/suspense adventure that we'd all love to fall in love with.

I also liked Emma... to an extent. She was pretty kickass in the beginning as she did what she needed to do in order to protect her son. She was smart and fast on the uptake and quick to react. After the second half of the book got underway, I sort of started getting irritated with her. She became kind of whiny and frustrating. I mean, I understood a lot of why she acted the way she did, and I agree with her paranoia from the beginning of the book. But there was a point where she hit that "damsel in distress" mode with an added streak of bratty princess in the mix. Or maybe I was just reading it wrong, but there were several points in the second half of this first book where I physically rolled my eyes and said, "Okay, you're just getting annoying now," to something that Emma either said, did or thought.

On a side note, I'm not sure if it's because I'm female, but I place a lot of stake on the female lead swaying my love of a book. The female lead can be annoying to an extent before I start seething with frustration. It's not like I need her to be kickass 100% of the time, but damn if Emma didn't flip her switch from one extreme to the next overnight.

No matter. I'm still contemplating reading the rest of this series because I'm curious enough to follow it the rest of the way and see how the world will turn out. I'm curious enough to find out what happened to Jake, and what will happen to Will and Emma. And honestly, I kind of like Will even if we seem to keep trying to paint him as the asshole anti-hero. I think he's doing quite fine as Emma's protector as well as the guy trying to solve all the problems now that he's been dragged into them by fate.

I'm also curious about all of this prophecy stuff and how it'll turn out.

In the end, I still have to admit that I liked the concept of the story, I liked the fast-paced, no nonsense narration, and the book definitely kept me interested until a certain point nearing the end. (Somewhere around the last two or three chapters I started to get that dreaded "Oh good, it's almost over" feeling and that usually doesn't bode well. And believe me, I don't like feeling that with a book I've been enjoying as much as I'm sure people hate hearing about it. I don't do it on purpose you know.)

But anyway, overall, still enjoyable and I'll end up finishing the entire series anyway when I get around to it. For the time being, I'm trying to clean up my reading list by actually reading books I already own rather than buying anything new. Granted, this series seems to be on the cheaper side of pricing, I'm still weighing my options since I'm trying to scale back my book shopping addiction... at least for these next two months.

This review was originally posted at Goodreads in April 2013.

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