The Chosen (Portals of Destiny #1)
I was given this book as part of Library Things’ early reviewer scheme. But, as you can see, I’ve been honest in my review.
A threat is on the horizon and many worlds are in peril; their future lying in the hands of a group of chosen individuals, currently scattered amongst the various worlds. Unaware of their future, these individuals are being schooled, and protected, by a group of alien beings. These beings await the signs that will herald the opening of a series of portals.
This is a multi-world saga. One world resembles a high fantasy biosphere full of inns and busty maidens.. Terra is portrayed as a dystopia; a world that has returned to its early, non-technical roots. The third world has a futuristic feel; being set in a sterile space which is peopled by clones. The variety and diversity of the worlds enabled the writer to cross genres. In addition, it gives the work, superficially an adventure tale, another interesting dimension.
For a tale of this type, the characters are surprisingly well drawn. Although, you may feel that you’ve seen many of them before; the wise pipe smoking sage, the silly lovelorn teenager, the wise boy who is yet to find his power, the cynical warrior/priest who learns to love the world which he once despised, the evil queen, etc., etc.
In fact, that queen is my main cause of concern. Firstly, she seems to be a stereotypical character. In addition, her royal town, and its back story, trouble me . We are told that this group of women had thrown off the shackles of patriarchy and formed a Matriarchal society. The town is portrayed as a tyranny, having a lustful queen at its head. We have seen this before. Captain Kirk, or some other male Starfleet captain, lands on a planet and finds that it is headed by a woman. The world seems to be peopled by semi- clad women. It always turns into a tyranny. It always has to be saved by men. It’s a cliché and it’s slightly demeaning to half of the world’s inhabitants. This work sets up an interesting world and begins to ask the question- what would a female headed world look like? But, rather than giving us a nuanced picture, the writer returns to the tropes of bad science fiction.
This genre crossing book could have been an exciting, boundary crossing and thought-provoking work. But, the writer never pushes hard enough. The author asks interesting questions but answers them with stereotypes and tropes. But, saying that, if you want a good adventure story, and have a few empty hours, then this book is for you.