This fantasy book is the first in the "Aedyn Chronicles" series by Alister McGrath and is published by Zonderkidz, a division of Zondervan Publishers.
Chosen Ones is written for kids ages 9 to 12. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
While visiting London during a school break, siblings Julia and Peter discover a hidden garden in their grandparents' backyard. One night they are drawn to a pool in the garden and step into it. The children find it's a portal to another world, and they are transported to the strange land of Aedyn. An aged monk tells them that he called them there to help fulfill a prophecy. Hundreds of years previously, three evil lords — the Jackal, the Leopard and the Wolf — overthrew the beneficent ruler Marcus and began ruthlessly oppressing the citizens and enslaving those who refused to obey the new rulers.
Upon hearing the monk's story, Julia and Peter travel through the woods to the castle where the evil Lords of Aedyn reside. They arrive and pretend to be on the island as a result of a shipwreck. Peter is carrying a small bag of gunpowder in his pocket, and in an attempt to show off, he throws a smidgen of it on a candle flame. The explosion scares and then impresses the overlords, who determine they must pry the secret of this magical powder out of Peter. The overlords imprison Julia and threaten her life, which persuades Peter to make a deal with them. When they still don't free Julia, Peter directs them to make cannons of clay. The cannons are tested, and they explode, providing Peter a chance to escape. Slaves break Julia out of prison, and she and Peter are reunited. The siblings then lead the slaves in a revolt against the Lords of Aedyn. The uprising is successful. Soon after, Peter and Julia wake up back in their garden in London, where their grandmother finds them asleep and shivering in the cold of the night.
Chosen Ones is a simple fable depicting good vs. evil. Neither Julia nor Peter is Christian, but they learn about the Lord of Hosts (who represents God) while in Aedyn. It's implied at the end of the story that the teenagers pledge to live for Him. Before returning to London, they are told that their work in Aedyn will help pave the way for the Anointed One, who represents Jesus.
The story focuses solely on Peter and Julia, who find themselves essentially on their own in Aedyn, where most of the story takes place. Though they're only 14 and 13 years old, Julia in particular seems more mature in the new world, and the youngsters take on the authority roles themselves in this land. An aged monk calls and guides the children into a prophecy. The three evil lords — the Jackal, the Leopard and the Wolf — ruthlessly oppress and enslave those who refuse to obey them.
Julia punches Peter in the face. Clay cannons explode when fired, injuring five guards, burning one beyond recognition and killing another. The men on horses use their swords to kill the guards that were left alive by the exploding cannons. During the final battle scene, arrows kill several of the castle guards.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
Deception – The children lie about being shipwrecked and deceive the overlords.
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