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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Blood Ties: The King's Chosen by L. Waithman is a mid-grade coming of age fantasy adventure that revolves around a youth named Lucas, who finds himself alone and without a family after witnessing his father, bound and tied, die by the sword before his very eyes. Lucas is taken in by Father Ansan at the monastery where Lucas had already been visiting. He is sheltered and educated, and eventually initiated into the warrior monk order. He then, quite literally, runs off with the circus. His visibility puts him in view of the king, who singles Lucas out in the belief that he is of the bloodline of powerful ancient warriors, now known as “the chosen”. The murder of Lucas' father and its tie-in to who Lucas is, and who he is meant to become, begin to truly unfold against a fully immersive medieval backdrop.
I'm not embarrassed to say that I fell in love with a mid-grade book and that the amount of fun I had reading Blood Ties: The King's Chosen meant that my real mid-grade reader had to wait. L. Waithman writes a pretty straightforward medieval fantasy but is able to harness enough unique elements to put her own stamp on it. I loved the character of Zera, a strong, capable, and witty girl who also happens to carry the chosen bloodline; a virtually unheard-of anomaly of a female carrying the line because she is a twin, whose brother is among the chosen. I also love how no matter who Lucas becomes or where he travels, the monastery is always the home he can return to. He turns to the monastery at his first loss, and this comes full circle when Lucas is in dire need again. The writing is excellent, the pacing is perfect, and the storyline is both intriguing and appropriate for readers of any age. And their mothers. Very highly recommended.