Choice of the Mighty: Chronicles of Stephen Book I
This is the first installment of the Chronicles of Stephen; a set of books which follow a young protagonist who just discovered he has superpowers given to him by God. Of course, there is a lot more to the story than this—Stephen doesn’t wake up one day as Superman with an angel following him around hacking the heads off his enemies: no. Instead the story follows a familiar theme in Christian fantasy with Stephen being a descendant of an Old Testament hero we all know and love: King David.
I think the proper thing to do is start off my review with what I liked about the story before leading into any dislikes but I’m going to do the opposite for this book. One of the reasons I want to switch things up is because my first dislike about the story is actually Stephen’s power. Mind reading and controlling thoughts is something I’ve never cared for, so I found it really hard to find any real attachment to Stephen as a character—let alone the protagonist. From page one, I never cheered for him, I was never totally on his side, and even found him somewhat unlikeable at times. BUT that doesn’t mean the development of his powers (or his character in general) and the concept of the Mighty was lost on me. While I did not necessarily relate to Stephen, I did relate to the problems he faced and found myself thinking deeply on the decisions we make every day as Christians in this world,
My next point is about the writing. Choice of the Mighty is told in third person from Stephen’s point of view, though there are parts that include the thoughts of others—thanks to his nifty gift. But I don’t have any complaints about the narration, I felt there was a lack with the writing itself. The description and detail was very nice but many of the sentences (at least in the beginning) began with the word “He”. Sometimes it felt like I was reading off Stephen’s to-do list. He did this, he looked over there, he felt sad… This wasn’t enough to make me stop reading the story, but it was annoying enough for me to point it out here. The writing was not terrible in any way whatsoever but there are small things that could easily be changed to enhance it.
Lastly… I wish this book had been about a young woman. This comment comes from a young woman of color who is tired of reading about the same gender and the same race over and over—that’s not to say there was no diversity here at all but I’d love to see just a bit more in future parts of this series. Bring me a fearless girl of Asian descent, show me a young black woman who’ll surrender her life for her comrades, introduce me to an Indian girl who falls for a dashing young Hispanic. Christian fiction has come a long way, but I want to see it push the boundaries in other areas.
Speaking of boundaries, Choice of the Mighty certainly pushes them. This is probably one of the most balanced works of Christian fiction I have ever read; sure, there were a few dislikes and complaints but at the end of the day, I believe this is a series that easily sets the standard for good Christian writing. You should know, I’m actually not a fan of urban fantasy (or even of the main character), but I am a fan of adventure, of self-discovery, of solid action sequences, and good writing. You will find all of that here.
If you enjoy fantasy, urban fiction, or Christian books then I would strongly suggest you read this book. Young adults will probably appreciate this story more than others, but adult and perhaps middle-grade readers will find it an enjoyable read as well.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*