Title: Chosen Ones
Author: Alister McGrath
Peter and Julia have been sent to spend the holidays with their grandparents. But what should have been a boring trip changes utterly as they are swept into another world. Hailed as the Chosen Ones, they enter the kingdom of Aedyn and confront a destiny beyond what either of them would have imagined. Can two ordinary kids stand against the three immortal rulers: Wolf, Jackal, and Leopard?
I have to give this a lot of credit for being a faith-based fantasy adventure that is actually decently written (mostly). The Lord of Hosts is mentioned, but apart from a few probably-helped-by-something-spiritual moments Peter and Julia have to trust others and move ahead on their own. There is a pretty strong link between a few well-known Old Testament stories and the history of Aedyn (and its prophecies for the future) but in general it doesn’t get too much in the way, since it’s more about the past than the present.
And I absolutely love that the powers both kids were granted is basically a sonic boom attack.
On the not so great side, though, the story really has it out for Peter, especially at the beginning. His love of logic and reason is mocked where Julia’s blind faith is uplifted (to be fair, I don’t think her way is necessarily all that much better—she knows nothing about the Lord of Hosts that would incline her to trust him and her main motivation appears to be a more general goodwill towards fellow man than any real faith in God). I was hoping Peter’s initial failures through logic would be redeemed by having him use logic to help solve the problem he created, but he’s definitely second fiddle to Julia.
And some of the plot details are a bit sketchy. The only weapons on this island are the ones brought 500 years ago when everyone arrived. Nobody thought about throwing rocks? Nobody ever looked at the knives they use to chop vegetables and went, I could hurt someone with this (doubly odd because the guards have swords, which are basically big knives)? I also found it funny Peter had only to write down the recipe for gunpowder and it was manufactured that day. I am amused they had the saltpeter on hand, and that no reference was made to its source.
But, overall, this is definitely on the high end of faith-friendly fantasy. The story is simple enough that it would suit younger readers, but contains a fair amount of detail. I do have hopes the rest of the series delves more into the Lord of Hosts—and I rather suspect the Annointed One will show up before the end somewhere too. I rate this book Recommended.