Monday, January 21, 2019

Book Review: Mother of the Chosen

Mother of the ChosenMother of the Chosen by Janeal Falor

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The introductory chapters of Mother of the Chosen are superb. There is a pace that is quick and a clear and obvious plot. Unfortunately after those first few chapters things start to head downhill and become a hot mess. There is a lack of focus on this novel overall. Even before I read the afterword/acknowledgements at the end of the book I could have told anyone that it was not properly edited past the first few chapters. It's unfortunate as Janeal Falor has writing potential but this is not a fully formed book yet.

Title & 'plot twist'
So you pick-up a book named Mother of the Chosen. You expect to find out who said Mother is fairly quickly right? Or at least have multiple Mothers in your character scope that it could be. Instead you will read an entire book until the Mother is 'revealed' and you will know from page 50 (or so) that there is only one option of who it could be! I don't deem this a spoiler as it's so obvious it's painful. If nothing else happens with my comments below I would say that changing the title is the most critical piece of feedback I could give.

Using Prophecy
I love fantasy books that use prophecy in them, from Wizard's First Rule to Harry Potter it teases something to the reader and (if done well) makes me feel dumb for not figuring out the meaning of the prophecy sooner! Prophecy is such a strong foreshadow (that can be as convoluted as the author desires) and create a sense of foreboding to a situation that is otherwise a survival plot.
In Mother of the Chosen I was disappointed that the text of the prophecy isn't explicitly written out. I would also have liked our characters to all spend more time on the wording and nuances of the prophecy to try and determine if it affected one of them. This might have helped with the giveaway in the title of the book. I'd still change the title but I'd also create more atmosphere around the prophecy.

A Few Highlights of Issues
I have a plethora of notes for the author on Mother of the Chosen. As such I will keep most of them back from this review and send them to Falor direct. Here are some highlights of things I did not understand throughout this story:

  • If you are trying to escape being caught by guards and your husband why would you go to your parents house? Isn't this the first place anyone is going to check?
  • Our leading lady comments back and forth about being married to her husband and then subsequently her 'running away' makes it seem like she's no longer married. Then another plot point happens and she says she's married again. I'm confused...
  • Why is the magic evil? Who can have magic? The magic is only used at convenient moments instead of a factor throughout the whole book. In my top three pet peeves for fantasy novels; using magic when it's convenient.
  • There are at least 5 different 'beasts' or monsters we encounter in the forest. Instead of a rich description and showing of the beast, the battle, etc. we are treated to 2-3 pages for most of the beasts and with such limited descriptions throughout that I can't even tell you what the monsters were anymore; never mind what they looked like.
  • The story is experienced in first person from our leading heroine. This is all fine and good until she starts thinking like this "if x is 1 then y is 2; wait but could y be 2 and x be 1, or could it be x is a and y is b." Readers don't need our 'narrator' to explain all the possible outcomes. Assume you have explained the situation appropriately and don't leave one-liner after thoughts like your reader is watching a bad CSI episode.

I think this is a case of too quick to publish. I know it's painful for writers to actually spend hundreds of hours on their manuscript, pay copy editors, proofer readers and content editors; but the thing is that these people are absolutely critical to a good book. The fantasy books out there that are top notch have gone through dozens of edits (yes even Brandon Sanderson needs edits and feedback on a multitude of levels).
I really liked the overall concept of this book and our characters were okay. They could be more fleshed out in personality but overall I wouldn't change the characterizations. Unfortunately there are just too many rookie mistakes in this one for me to recommend it (or at least not yet). The potential is there and I hope it undergoes more work and edits and a re-release prior to the second book hitting the market.

Please Note: I received a free copy of this book from BookSirens in exchange for an honest review.

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1 comment:

Leonore Winterer said...'s a shame when promising books don't get the treatment they deserve! Republishing books with better editing has happened, though, so maybe there is hope!