Book Review: The Path of Heroes (Chosen)
Reviewed by Andrea Marks-Joseph
Four teenagers embark on a mysterious journey to save a magical realm
Besides being unusually bright and skipping a few grades at school, thirteen-year-old Zuri has lived a regular life on Earth. But then he begins manifesting powers and seeing reptilian monsters where his neighbors stand. Things quickly get out of hand from there.
He discovers that he is actually from another realm, and he has been sent to earth to protect him until the prophesy (that he and a few other teenagers have been chosen to battle the evil “Overlord”) comes true.
That time is now.
The Path of Our Heroes is the story of how he meets the other “Chosen” and how they prepare for the inevitable battle against evil.
As Zuri and three other chosen are discovered and told of the prophecy, we are introduced to various realms, different families, and many magical creatures: Tiny winged people, those with powers to speak into your thoughts, wild dogs with glowing red eyes.
What’s quite unexpected—and makes for an entertaining reading experience—is that these teenage main characters are often ill-tempered moody, expressing irritation with each other and with their new objectives. They regularly wonder aloud about why adults can’t perform this duty, why them, and why each other.
Young readers will appreciate and identify with their frustration, especially as even when they are asked to fight for something enormously important, the adults continue to keep secrets from them.
A wrinkle in the whole plan? Zuri learns early on through “dream-visions” that the Overlord is his father. He struggles with self-confidence and self-control once he realizes that this is why his powers seem to be prompted by feelings of rage—initially inspired by the bullies he encounters at school. This brings on tension and trust issues in himself and within the group, but they stick together and predominately choose to believe in the good inside him. The chosen four realize the important of unity as they embark on an extensive magical training camp, making sure they are up to skill at physical combat and wizard battles.
The sprawling nature across realms makes The Path of Heroes disorienting at times. We learn many names of the people in each child’s home before they leave their familiar surroundings. In addition, the perspective frequently shifts from child to their parent to their guards to their enemies and back, within pages of each other. With the various names, mysterious new environments, secret prophesies, and shifting perspectives, it can be difficult to follow the storyline and keep track of where we are—both location-wise and within the plot.
What is beautifully clear is the genuine bond that forms between the chosen. Their interactions always feel natural, during both disagreements and shared moments of play. The four teenagers become true companions, and it’s really sweet to watch their relationships strengthen to support their challenges. The full title “Chosen: The Path of Heroes” is fitting, as this story follows their journey toward the battle against the Overlord. We see them learning relevant skills and lore and coming together as a cohesive group. When Zuri worries about his father, their enemy, contacting him through his dreams to manipulate him, his fellow chosen remind him: “We’re all in this together, and whatever you face, you’ll not face it alone. Remember that.”
A potentially uncomfortable piece of this story is that the book’s main romance comes between an adult personal security guard and a 16-year-old girl he’s known since she was younger.
This fantasy adventure seems most suitable for enthusiastic upper Middle Grade readers who have a strong vocabulary and—very importantly—are prepared for the more creepy aspects of this book: The vividly described reptilian men that haunt Zuri’s dreams, or “the blood-soaked yard and glistening organs” upon discovering freshly-ravaged human remains, for example. Chosen is a perfect fit for young people who enjoyed Secret Headquarters on Paramount Plus, as well as fans of the DC comic (and Ava DuVernay television adaptation) of Naomi.
This is just the beginning for Zuri and his Chosen companions. The Path of Heroes is only the tale of the first steps together. When they unlock the next step of their journey, they are warned that “there are many challenges the four of you will face, but you should know that you have allies around every corner.”
Genre: Young Adult Fiction / Fantasy
Print Length: 378 pages
Thank you for reading Andrea Marks-Joseph’s book review of The Path of Heroes (Chosen) by K.I. Price! If you liked what you read, please spend some more time with us at the links below.