by Marisa Chenery, fantasy (2008)
Liquid Silver Books, $5.95, ISBN 978-1-59578-473-5
I've been hard on Marisa Chenery's technical skills in my reviews of her last few books that I've read but I have to concede that The Chosen One shows some marked improvement in that department. The author still writes too much in passive voice here, but the prose flows smoother and is therefore much easier to read. It doesn't scream "Amateur!" like some of her previous works.
This one revolves around Gar and Kali. Kali is not the Indian goddess of death, she's instead the warrior queen of the land of Zudris. What makes her special - these heroines are always very special, after all - is that she has inherited the rare Pantherinae gene that gives her golden eyes and the potential ability to shift form into a panther. As she slowly experiences those dreams where she gets the chance to explore her abilities, she also has to contend with Gar. She once chose the warrior to be her mate, but our hero magnanimously decided back then that he had to stay away or she would become too dependent on him and would never grow up as a result. Well now he's back and ready to play the mate-mate-mate game.
Kali is a decent heroine in the sense that Ms Chenery actually allows Kali to be a warrior queen when she has to kick some rear ends. Kali may defer to Gar at times when he decides to play the alpha male, but she has a steady backbone. Kali isn't some helpless doormat here, a fact that I like. Gar on the other hand is a pretty straightforward hero of his ilk, although he can be pleasantly gentlemanly when he wishes to. These two have decent chemistry and some convincing romance here.
There are still some technical issues here that prevent me from giving this book a higher score. The build-up to the grand denouement is hardly present and the action-driven scenes have the same urgency as the more quiet scenes. In other words, if the characters aren't engaging, the story will be very dull due to the pacing issues. Fortunately, the characters are engaging in this case.
All things considered, The Chosen One is not a bad read at all.
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