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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
on 4 December 2014
Ms McGuire had me from: “...the loaded gentry” (sentence 3). Pithy observations came thick and fast: “Swamp Things were the only creatures that could punch as hard as Grongles.” “Big Merv was bound to think he’d done it on purpose; nobody normal could be that stupid.” “The Pan didn’t make a habit of retrospection.”
Then there were the characters’ names: Sir Robin Get, the last of the great Nimmists, Frank the Knife (no relation to Mac), Ada the PR front of The Parrot and Screwdriver (The Pan of Hamgee’s local), General Moteurs (a high-ranking Grongolian army officer)... Big Merv’s gang is known as The Mervinettes. I could hear the ghost of Spike Milligan chortling in the skies above Ning Dang Po, the capital city of K’Barth.
Our putative hero – the Pan of Hamgee – follows the time-honoured tradition of being unpromising in his youth. He is disarmingly open about his shortcomings: “It wasn’t so much that he was unhappy with his personality; he just wished it belonged to someone else.” Of course, as the story deliciously and hilariously unfolds, his hidden depths begin reluctantly to emerge...
But if this was all there was, it would be less of a book than it actually is. Accompanying the wit and smooth, skilful writing are some bitingly accurate observations about abuse of power, the subjugation of nations and the tendency of both conquering armies and resistance movements to provide opportunities for psychopaths to develop their full potential. “These days you didn’t ask people about their relatives, not when the State tended to arrest them in the middle of the night and mislay them by the morning.” “Periodically the looners behind the carnage changed, but the end result was the same.” “Passive non-cooperation, that was the K’Barthan way, unless you were a member of the Resistance. Every psychotic nutter in the country had joined them.”
K’Barth is a parallel universe two letters and an apostrophe away from Earth in a quantum mechanical kind of way. To travel between the two you just need a thimbleful of advanced science involving a modicum of Random Mathematics. Add to the mix a fertile imagination and you are in for some entertaining rides in a highly desirable Snurd...
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.
on 16 September 2014
Because M T McGuire is a member of the Gumbee Fantasy Writers' Guild I knew that her books would be of a high standard, and other reviewers’ comments were all very complimentary, however, I was surprised and delighted at how quickly I was drawn into this book.
Set in a parallel earth turning every page was a real treat. From the start the main character, The Pan, leapt out of the book. He is a self-deprecating, ordinary Joe who’s only skill is self-preservation. Living outside the law through no fault of his own and wanting nothing more than to be left alone, he is drawn deeper and deeper into the underworld of society in his quest to simply survive.
In style the book is very reminiscent of Douglas Adams’s Long Dark Teatime of the Soul with a touch of Hitchhikers thrown in for good measure. This Si-Fi fantasy is written in a very amusing way but at the same time the plot is interesting and intricately woven.
I can give it no greater praise other than to say as soon as I had finished reading it I was compelled to buy The Wrong Stuff, K'Barthan Trilogy: Part 2 and start reading it.
on 4 April 2016
This was the first time I had ever read M T McGuire and I am so pleased that I have found such a great author. Her style is so reminiscent of authors like Harry Harrison and Douglas Adams; that it was an absolute treat to read. The balance between the humour and the explosive pace of action adventure kept me wanting more with every turn of the page. Essentially I loved this book, it was full of originality and skillful writing and I will keep buying M T McGuire' s books if they all follow along the style of this one. There are plenty of reviews here to get an idea of the storyline, what I am telling you here, is that if you are looking for a refreshingly good read that will leave you wanting more, then look no further because I think you just may have found it!
on 7 July 2016
The luckiest unlucky guy in his reality, the Pan is a really fun and likeable character.
An exciting story with plenty of action, the use of alternate realities gives this plenty of scope to progress.
Well written, easy to read and lots of fun too.