Reviewed by Melanie Moon for Readers' Favorite
Chosen of Trees and of Talons by Jeff Pryor begins after a devastating war. Once the Arnesians were defeated, their king, Je'Hail Mulnaro, had to surrender his life along with his wife and last Truthseer in exchange for his people’s survival. Although they’d foreseen that The Ones (their enemy) wouldn’t hold true to this agreement, it was the only chance to save his people. After ensuring that his children were hidden and safe, King Mulnaro prepared a journal and a few magical objects he hoped would aid his people in the future to free them from The Ones and the darkness they serve.
After the initial betrayal and the imprisonment of the Arnesians, we learn what The Ones’ plans for these once powerful people are. If they can find a prophesied child amongst the Arnesians, they can unleash the true darkness. In order to do this, they ‘choose’ young men each year from their prisoners that show a particular magical ability. Over the centuries of the Arnesians' imprisonment, The Ones have bastardized history, filling the past with alternate facts where the Arnesians were evil aggressors and The ‘goodly’ Ones barely survived their genocidal attempts. Most Arnesians hate their ancestors for these evil acts and praise The Ones for allowing them to live, and giving them the opportunity to redeem their people.
Chosen of Trees and of Talons by Jeff Pryor is an impassioned epic fantasy with a multi-layered, in-depth plot encompassing a complex world filled with intriguing characters, creatures, and magic. This is an extremely detailed tale with a host of characters. The story is told from numerous points of view throughout the world. Chosen of Trees and of Talons is far too complex with the different guilds, kingdoms, beasts, sentient forest, magic users, mythos, and betrayals to do it justice in a short review. I truly enjoyed this novel. It was an engrossing read with numerous interesting characters, both ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ I’ll be looking out for the next book to see what’s become of some of my favorite characters and creatures alike.