K'Barthan Trilogy: Few Are Chosen by M T McGuire

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K'Barthan Trilogy: Few Are Chosen by M T McGuire

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Nigethan Sathiyalingam
Reviewed by Nigethan Sathiyalingam
Summary: Don't be put off by the overly chaotic first few chapters, with the majority of the book providing an intelligent, witty action-packed read through the viewpoint of an oddly captivating protagonist.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 252 Date: August 2010
Publisher: Hamgee University Press
ISBN: 978-1907809002

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The Pan of Hamgee is a relatively inconspicuous fellow living in the world of K'Barth, the setting of the battle between the overbearing, alien Grongolian settlers and the fanatic Resistance, described aptly by The Pan as being 'The lesser, but only very slightly lesser of two evils, possibly.' Naturally, The Pan wants nothing to do with this political conflict but due to a number of unfortunate cases of wrong place, wrong time and disastrous luck, he has somehow been drafted in as the getaway driver of a group of bank robbers, and somehow come into possession of a magical thimble with the power to allow teleportation, an object greatly desired by K'Barth's despot ruler Lord Vernon.

Their world is at a tipping point and there are a number of parties striving to grab power during this period of political unrest. Normally, an Architrave, the correct spiritual leader, is chosen by utilising a set of objects, including a number of metal thimbles that allow for teleportation and mind-reading; however, these objects have been purposely scattered by the corrupt Lord Vernon, so that the Chosen leader can never be found, who wants to steal this monumental position of power for himself. When The Pan unwittingly comes into possession of some of these magical devices procured during one of the heists carried out by the gang he is forced to work for, he suddenly becomes public enemy number 1 and must rely on his brilliant getaway driving skills, born out of years of living on the run, to save his skin.

At first, The Pan seems to be a relatively uninspiring narrator, with the author relying heavily on slapstick to convey his character. Nevertheless, as we get to know The Pan and realise that there is a surprisingly intelligent and oddly charismatic Hamgeean underneath the image of a spineless, clumsy fool that he tries to project, he proves to be an engaging, rational narrative voice, who just about manages to make sense of the chaos happening around him. There is an overwhelming sense of in medias res during the first half of the book, with it taking some time for understanding of the relatively convoluted premise to develop. Nevertheless, once I got used to the tone and style of the dialogue, I really began to appreciate The Pan's self-depreciating humour and sharp wit, and how his cowardly nature allows him to look at events with a more detached view, enabling him to make rational, intelligent observations.

Filled with a host of brilliant characters from various wonderfully weird races, none of the different personalities introduced fail to fascinate. Apart from The Pan himself, who is a finely developed unorthodox hero, there is, an enigmatic, intriguing old man who is surprisingly knowledgeable about the magic thimbles, Big Merv, the underworld criminal who displays hidden depth and morals behind his initial image as a quintessentially intimidating, blustering gangster, and a nasty intimidating antagonistic figure in Lord Vernon, the power-hungry military man who has recently carried out a coup.

I know as well as any respectable reader, that you should never judge a book by its cover. But the front and back covers of Few are Chosen have a particularly uninspired look about them. This was really a great shame, considering the fact that the story itself is well written. There is a a relatively elaborate plotline, interspersed with a number of car chase scenes, which are tense, thrilling affairs, with the angry banter between The Pan and his boss Big Merv, as well as The Pan's humorously fatalistic thoughts, helping to really enhance the atmosphere. In my opinion, the tone of the dialogue may have been slightly too informal and colloquial at times, but this problem was only most evident in the first half of the novel. Surprisingly, I was not as irritated as I thought I would be with the cliffhanger at the end of the story, which left the overwhelming majority of mysteries built-up over the book unanswered, as the author manages to subtly include a whole lot of character development in exchange for the lack of major progress in the happening of the overall plot.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

For those who enjoyed the humorous slant of The Pan's narrative and the subtle satire of society and government involved, I would highly recommend the brilliant, uncontrollable-laughter-inducing Bartimaeus trilogy by Jonathan Stroud, the prequel to which: The Ring of Solomon is reviewed here at the Bookbag. Another similarly enjoyable read is Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy.

Buy K'Barthan Trilogy: Few Are Chosen by M T McGuire at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy K'Barthan Trilogy: Few Are Chosen by M T McGuire at Amazon.co.uk

Buy K'Barthan Trilogy: Few Are Chosen by M T McGuire at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy K'Barthan Trilogy: Few Are Chosen by M T McGuire at Amazon.com.


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