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on 4 October 2010
I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of this book and all I can say is if you like the idea of Harry Potter and His Dark Materials with a little bit of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy thrown in - you'll be hooked on this new fantasy adventure trilogy! I guess it's aimed at anyone from the age of 10 years and up (I'm 34 and loved it and my 13 year old stepson was equally impressed!) M T Maguire has created a really rich alternative universe with great attention to detail and a fantastic set of characters, including a brilliant anti-hero who is on the run from the authorities and has only survived for so long because he has eyes in the back of his head... literally!
This book is fast, fun and fantastical - a great buy for tweenagers looking to fill the gap left behind by the end of the Potter series! Our house can't wait for the second book to come out!
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VINE VOICEon 21 March 2013
As someone who is generally wary of self-published novels I have to admit that I really enjoyed 'Few Are Chosen'. It is light, fun and thoroughly entertaining. The intriguing plot has been well constructed and the unbelievable fantasy characters are, well, believable. It did take me a little while to really get into it, but once the action got underway it became quite hard to put down, especially when I got to the last few chapters. Overall a very inventive and imaginative story and impressive debut. And yes, I will be reading the next instalment.
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on 3 April 2013
The Pan of Hamgee ekes out his existence in a world parallel to our own. Working as a third-tier criminal is the only ambition he can attain, because his continued existence is illegal. Capture by the despotic Grongolian rulers means execution for The Pan. Does the dictator, Lord Vernon, have it in for him personally? The dotty and fanatical Resistance is probably an equally bad (or maybe even worse) option for The Pan.

When The Pan discovers a magic thimble, he hasn't a clue that it will be the key to his world's liberation. He didn't want to be a hero, dangit! He was happy with his accidental promotion to getaway driver. It fit perfectly with his natural yellow streak and talent for saving his own skin. He didn't want to save the world. But to his chagrin he finds that somewhere in deep inside, he has a conscience, and the blasted thing won't let him ignore the cause of Underground or the mysterious girl he sees through the magic thimble.

I found myself smiling like a goof through most of the book. MT's delightful humor and silly names were like a sprinkling of chocolate chips on top of a delicious cupcake. The book's ending had me laughing and annoying my husband by reading him snippets.

MT weaves an endearing tale of cowardice paired with surprising bravery. The true growth and maturing of a dopey young man tugged my heartstrings and tickled my funny bone. Little about this story is typical. I loved the delightful dialects and fantastic, complex political and racial balance. The swearing in the book is priceless, not displaying a lack of imagination, but adding a creative exclamation fitting for the setting. Arnold's Y Fronts!

I couldn't wait to read the next page of this book, and am delighted to recommend it for Awesome Indies! This book is a gem and an absolute must-read.

I received a copy of this book from the author for the purposes of honest review and received no compensation for my review aside from a review copy of the book.
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on 11 December 2014
The Pan of Hamgee is useless at most things, and what’s more he’s been on the Blacklist and therefore wanted by both the Grongolians and the Resistance, for five years now. That is a record, but it’s largely because his major skill is… running away. This makes him the ideal person to become the getaway driver for Big Merv’s illicit activities, mainly concerned with robbing banks. Arnold’s Y-fronts! Who would have the nerve to rob the Grongolian Central Bank? Surely nobody in their right mind … ok, you’ve guessed it!

This is a brilliantly inventive romp through a seriously repressed society who are rather used to the status quo, so nobody really minds any more, and anyway the Resistance is probably working for the Grongolian dictators. The author belongs firmly in the theatre of the absurd school of writing and I adore it. There is a tendency (unsurprisingly) to include some in-jokes about London, or English, politics and lifestyles (which I find refreshing in the ebook world, since we Brits are a minority group), but the general tenor of the jokes will amuse all early teens and adults who enjoy Pythonesque humour (or Goons, or Goodies, or HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy). It may even appeal to Pratchett fans.

It also pulls through to early Sword & Sorcery works like Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, another series I loved, or John Brunner’s Traveller in Black. And it deals with alternative universes, which ticks another of my boxes, and the underlying theme is one that will provide lovers of deeper meaning plenty to get their teeth into. And the snurd (the getaway car) will appeal to another set of people – it’s really cool!

It’s pacey, original, intriguing, off the wall, and I love it. Thank goodness there are three more books in the trilogy to look forward to!

I awarded this book Best Read of 2014 out of over 60 books.
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on 17 November 2010
I love this book. It's a cross between Harry Potter, the Discworld novels and Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. I've read book one of the trilogy, could hardly put it down, and I want the next one NOW! This book is fast paced and I think M.T. McGuire is a talent waiting to be discovered.
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on 11 January 2011
This was my first Kindle Purchase, inspired after reading some of the new author blogs on Amazon in which the author participated. Found the story engaging and amusing, only on page 3 when i first had to laugh out loud. Whipped thru it in 3 days as it was real page turned. Am now downloading author previous short stories and awaiting follow up. Would sit happily on shelf next my Harry Potter and Terry Pratchett books if i had bought hardcopy as has elements of both.
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on 6 March 2014
At first I thought what the hell is The Pan of Hamgee, and more precisely what is a Hamgean? (Obviously I hadn't read the prequel). Then you let your mind do a quick brain flick into fantasy mode and it all starts to become clear. The Pan is a hapless, hopeless creature, and you can’t help but start to enjoy a completely unconventional and original fantasy tale riddled with humour about his desperate exploits and antics.

When he initially burnt down his employer’s apartment by accident, and feared a dirt-nap with concrete boots amongst the fishes (Big Merv is a highly feared gangster after all) and yet managed to escape, The Pan had me hooked. You couldn’t help but root for him.

How many incidences can one person find themselves in where they are pursued, threatened, beaten up, incarcerated then they flee, get caught again, manage to escape, get caught again by an adversary worse than the last one, take another thrashing and still survive another day is beyond me, but that’s the sum of The Pan’s existence. He is nimble, quick and tricky, and he’s also a self-confessed coward who has made his ability to escape tight situations (usually of his own doing) into a fine art. Trouble is, he often falls from the frying pan (no pan pun intended) into the fire, and as an outlaw anyway, there is a price on his head and many who would claim his hide for the reward. He’s not very good though at keeping out of trouble, and his mouth engaging before his brain is partly the root of all his woes. And that is what made this novel all the more amusing, and amazing.

I loved this story and read it avidly night after night, wondering what kind of ‘doo-doo’ The Pan would find himself in next. I also loved the inclusion of strange artifacts, appliances and flying vehicles, and the discovery of a unusual portal. This story is set in a parallel universe and I was blown away by the imagination of the author. Thus, I have already sought out the sequel and continue to enjoy the antics of The Pan as his troubles escalate. The story has been described in the many reviews this has received, so I won’t go into it at length suffice to say it's just a brilliantly intriguing story with a great deal of imagination surrounding the quest to find The Chosen One, with creatures from different planets and a great deal of humour thrown in.
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on 28 February 2011
I was offered this book for review and although YA fantasy isn't something I'd usually consider my thing I took a look at the reviews and seeing mentions of Harry Potter and Hitchhikers Guide, which I have read and seriously enjoyed, thought maybe I should give it a go.

The Pan of Hamgee has been blacklisted and on the run for years. Having eyes in the back of your head probably helps keep you out of the clutches of ruler Lord Vernon and the equally ruthless Resistance. Without much choice in the matter he ends up as getaway driver for a criminal gang, a job he excels at. While life hasn't been comfortable for The Pan for a long time it starts to become more and more curious when his landladies and an old man start making oblique references to another resistance movement and he lays his hands on a mysterious thimble. The first part of the book sets up The Pan's life and current position, and the second part really introduces the mystery and magic.

This book creates a whole new universe with a range of species all of its own, those species having their own appearances and characteristics, all well described by the author. I'm always slightly concerned about fantasy novels, with whether I'll remember lots of strange names or lose the plot. In this case K'barth is about as close as it gets to a name with lots of Xs and Zs and no vowels, and some of the names are brilliantly comic so no problems on that count. It is well edited and I only spotted a couple of typos I'll pass on to the author.

The Pan is a lovely character, he is abundantly clear that he is a coward and has no grand illusions about himself, but people around him (and gradually the reader) see something special in him. Being so down on himself makes him all the more likeable. I really enjoyed the way his relationship with his scary Swamp Thing boss developed and the change in The Pan after he starts questioning things.

I would say this book is probably most suitable for tweens and younger teens but even in my early 30s I still really enjoyed the read. It is left on a real cliff-hanger and I definitely want to carry on reading the series.
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on 6 January 2015
Very good book, sort of like a cross between Harry Potter, His Dark Materials & Hitch-hikers. Very enjoyable. Just wish I'd known about the prequel first (I'm a bit retentive that way). I've now bought all 5 books in the trilogy (VERY Hitch-hikerish) and look forward to enjoying them all.

Another reason that I like this book is that it appears to have been properly proof-read (unusual in self-published books, it seems). A lot of otherwise good books have been spoilt for me by atrocious English vocabulary and grammar. Not so in this case.
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on 14 September 2013
The Pan of Hamgee is a coward. This comes in very useful when he's on the blacklist and has only his wits and his cowardice to keep out of trouble and stay alive. However he soon gets caught up in the very trouble he's avoiding.

Even though I knew I'd like this book, it took me a few goes to get into it. As it's an other worldly adventure, I kept getting thrown by mention of characters' greenness and antennae. But once I got used to that and once the heist got going, I got carried along myself.

This was a gently funny story. I liked the characters of Ada and Gladys as they seemed to know more than they let on. The Pan was likable enough and made a lot of sense in his trying to keep out of trouble.

I had a problem in that the story ended kind of in the middle of a bit of action. The first chapter of the next book was included and that wrapped things up a little better. I think if that first chapter was this book's last chapter, then it would have been more satisfactory and tidy.
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