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First Chosen by M. Todd Gallowglas
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First Chosen

by M. Todd Gallowglas

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An interesting world where gods and different factions of humans are battling away. The characters are interesting and the writing is good. The main drawback of the novel is that it is too short. There needed to be more character interaction to build them up and allow the reader to get to know them better. The book also ends in the middle of the story. Overall I really enjoyed the story though. ( )
  renbedell | Apr 25, 2016 |
An engrossing fantasy in which a complex religious system plays a pivotal role. This first of four volumes introduces major characters and conflicts that will play out while constituting a readable story in its own right.
  ritaer | Mar 23, 2015 |
Review posted here: http://offbeatvagabond.blogspot.com/2011/10/indie-book-review-first-chosen-volum...

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. ( )
  harleyquinn0887 | Oct 22, 2011 |
I read First Chosen as a Smashwords ePub. The book is available from Smashwords and Kindle.

First Chosen, the beginning installment of the ‘Tears of Rage’ series, is quite an interesting read. We follow Julianna, a young woman with a tragic past who is destined for greatness in a rather unique Celtic-inspired fantasy world.

The story really begins on her twenty-first birthday, when unfortunate events conspire to lead her into a horrible situation and really kick off the story. In order to avoid spoilers I won’t go into what happens, but destiny certainly gets the better of her in this one.

The opening of the novel, which reads somewhere halfway between a prologue and a Part One, could use refinement. As it is, we’re given background on our character’s childhood which could have been interspersed throughout the narrative, at the same time as we’re being bombarded with names and places and descriptions of things that make little to no sense because they’re delivered in such a rapid-fire manner. While I’m not a huge fan of the flashback, I think it could have been used to give us this information in a way that did not feel so overwhelming.

That said, however, once the story begins in earnest, it truly begins, and does not let go until we reach the end of this chapter, which I hope will be continued soon. The characters are well-drawn and the world is truly fascinating, with its talk of gods and miracles. It is an unconventional design for a fantasy novel, and it works very much to the author’s advantage. We get several POV characters to give us different angles on the world, and none of them seem superfluous.

If I’m not too much mistaken, I would wager that George R.R. Martin is one of Mr. Gallowglas’ inspirations for this particular project. The way certain characters are represented and the fact that we see all sides of the conflict with certain POVs being entirely irredeemable as people is what lends me that feeling. Gallowglas’ prose is starker (if you’ll forgive the pun) than Martin’s, however, and the story moves along at a significantly faster pace, avoiding getting bogged down in the repetition and pointlessness of existence that Martin sometimes succumbs to. This, of course, means a shorter story overall, and First Chosen clocks in at only about 60,000 words – though this is not at all a problem, simply an observation.

First Chosen is a strong entry into the indie fantasy market, helped significantly by its fascinating world and genuinely interesting characters. I give it a strong recommendation – though should you find yourself getting bogged down in the first few pages, I suggest pushing through it and letting the overwhelming backstory go by, using it as a reference later if you require it. Giving up would cause you to miss a truly engaging dark fantasy tale.

I wish Mr. Gallowglas all the best with his continued writing efforts, and I am genuinely looking forward to the next installment.

Final Score: 4 out of 5 stars. Highly recommended. ( )
  ChristopherKellen | Sep 13, 2011 |
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