4 out of 4 stars
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Sword Chosen, the first book in The Swordthane Saga series, is written by Donald Haynes. Separated into two books, the first book sets the scene where the paths of Cormac and Princess Orianna become entangled, while the second book introduces the layout of the land and gives more background information on the characters.
As an Apprentice Storyteller, Cormac dreams of nothing but becoming the greatest Loremaster to ever walk the lands. However, one fateful night, a devastating storm brings Princess Orianna and her Uncle to his doorstep. Not only does this bring in new challenges, but when they tell him he is to be the new Swordthane, Cormac realizes that his dreams of becoming a Loremaster have been cast aside. With Princess Orianna as his Swordmaiden, the two must journey across the lands to fulfill her Uncle’s dying wishes. While their journey brings many challenges, Cormac’s sense of adventure is heightened as he explores the various places where he has only heard stories about.
From the start, I was easily pulled into Cormac’s world with the author’s detailed description of the settings and characters. What I liked the most about this book is how the author described each scene in great detail so that I could picture the emotions of each character. Cormac’s character definitely showed a lot of growth. He seems very unsure of himself at the beginning of the book, but by the end, with the help of Red and Princess Orianna, he manages to push away his fears and worries to do what he needed to do.
Since the book is divided into two parts, I thought it was interesting that the author decided to do most of his world-building in the second part of the novel. This helped to clarify a few things that were not explained very clearly in the first part. It also allowed me to get a better understanding of each character’s thoughts and feelings. Also, there is a map included at the beginning of the book that helps orient where the different cities and kingdoms are located.
Overall, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. While I was expecting more action, since it falls under the fantasy category, the story-building and description of the settings made this book an enjoyable read. I only found one grammatical error, but other than that this book was free of errors. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy character-driven fantasy books.
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