The Chosen: Book I, The Youth
I will be the first to say that I am a loud and proud Christian so when author Shlomo Kalo approached me with his Biblical fiction novel, I jumped at the opportunity to read it.
Some might actually classify this piece as a work of Jewish fiction as the novel is a retelling of the story of Daniel from the Old Testament. The language drifts more toward the Hebrew culture as Daniel himself was a Jew. There are references to the Torah rather than the Bible which is not something to stir conflict between the two religions but actually unites the cultures from which they emerged.
The author is obviously very well informed of the stories of the Bible and does great justice to the representation of events and characters. In the beginning of the story there is something like a disclaimer that says the scriptural references are meant to enhance the story and the events playing out in the context of the verse not to necessarily be interpreted as a true representation of the Word of God. As a Christian I think it was very smart of the author to make it clear to readers what they’re getting themselves into. Not all Believers enjoy Biblical fiction for the reason that they feel it’s taking the Bible out of context. I, on the other hand, absolutely enjoy it and I’m glad to say that this book did not disappoint.
The story was written spectacularly well. Even though it was less than 70K words, it read like an epic novel of many more words. The language and the dialogue was very mature—not crude—but full of experience and talent.
Even though the story was written very well and was grammatically correct I did find the narration to be a little odd. Sometimes the main character was referred to as ‘He’ instead of by name. In the beginning of the story it added to the mystery of Daniel’s identity but a hundred pages in, it just seemed weird.
All in all, I think this is a wonderful book that deserves every star I gave it and more. I think readers of all ages and belief systems will greatly enjoy this novel though it will probably be most enjoyed by Christians and fans of Biblical/historical fiction.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*