By Giselle Simlett
The Chosen Saga #1
Published on December 29, 2015
Young Adult, Fantasy, Debut
A girl with a past she tries to forget, and a future she can’t even imagine.
Leonie Woodville wants to live an unremarkable life. She wants routine, she wants repetition, she wants predictability. So when she explodes in a blaze of light one morning on the way to her college, it’s enough to put a real crimp in her day.
And things only get weirder…
Leonie learns from her father that she is last of the Pulsar, a phenomenally powerful member of a magical species called the Chosen. It will be her sole duty to protect the Imperium, a governing hierarchy, from all enemies, and to exceed the reputation of the Pulsar before her. So – no pressure there, then.
Leonie is swept away from her rigorous normality and taken to a world of magic. There, she is forced into a ceremony to join her soul to a guardian, Korren, who is both incredibly handsome and intensely troubled, a relationship for which ‘it’s complicated’ just really doesn’t cut it.
But Leonie is soon to learn that this ancient world is no paradise. With violent dissidents intent to overthrow the Imperium, and dark entities with their own agenda, she and Korren find themselves caught in a war where they will have to overcome their differences if they are to survive.
Dare to dream. Dare to hope. Dare to be a legend.
We all know what a second-book slump is. We all know the disappointment when a fabulous series starter is followed by a gloomy, angst-infested, and sometimes even boring, sequel.
You might be wondering what I am rambling about since, if you paid attention, Girl of Myth and Legend is the first book in a series.
Well, no matter how illogical it sounds, I diagnose this book with second-book slump. Its symptoms, including a lack of world-building, angsty relationships, and an infection of tropes, create a lull in the book that could have easily been cured.
When I started the book, it seemed like I missed the first installment. There was a lot of suspense with Leonie's life that I did not feel was necessary. I felt out of the loop in a bad way, like not knowing anything about the main character. Eventually, the information was dripped into my parched mouth, but not nearly as soon as I would have liked it.
The relationship dynamics were also very similar to a slumpy sequel. While Leonie and Korren were cute at times, the whole master/servant trope got on my nerves. They were constantly thinking about each other's feelings and mushy gushy things rather than the fact that they need to figure out how to survive.
I will admit that the dual perspectives from Leonie and Korren put things into perspective (obviously, right?). But really, I liked seeing the plot and characters from two completely different sets of eyes. This did create more opportunities for needless gushiness, but the differing points of view made me more sympathic toward both characters, which is what reading is all about.
But, the other trope that got on my nerves was the Special Snowflake Discovers She is the All Powerful Being. The whole first half of the novel is various Chosens telling Leonie how wonderful and powerful and magical and SPECIAL she is. But there is never any real proof of that except for some spontaneous combustion in the first couple of pages.
Despite its shortcomings, I did find enjoyment from Girl of Myth and Legend. I liked Leonie's independence and stubbornness. She bravely stuck to her morals and personality, even though an entire world seemed to be against her. She provided a nice contrast to the Imperium and its cold, strict laws.
I also loved the unique aspects of the world; the Maiden's destructive power, the different variations on power, and the culture of the rebels.
In fact, my favorite part is the mystery of the rebels. This is the only instance in which I was pleased to have a lack of information. Simlett expertly kept me guessing about the motivations and intentions of the rebels. There was an interesting dynamic, like whose team are they playing for? Are they playing for a team? What sport are they even playing? These questions kept me interested in the book, even when Leonie and Korren were sharing one of their many "moments."
Even though I did not love this series-starter, I firmly believe that the second book will be better. The world is (mostly) laid out. The relationships have their foundation. There is a lot of political and cultural intrigue. I am more than willing to continue on this journey with Leonie and Korren, just to see where Simlett is going to take this magical world.
If you are patient and you like stubborn and independent female leads and unique magical worlds, then you should try Girl of Myth and Legend. There will be a little bit of a slump and a lot of relationship drama, but underneath, there is a world that is worth exploring.
Have you ever read a series-starter that felt like it was already in a slump? Do you have any advice for dealing with troublesome tropes? Have you ever read the sequel after not loving the first book in the series?