DON'T WATCH THE VIDEOS! (tremendous spoilers)
Mr. Porretto writes well and tells a good story. His style in "Chosen One" may seem a bit blunt to some readers. I believe the straightforward storytelling fits with the major themes of the book.
I don't want to give anything away, so I won't discuss those themes. But I was delighted - uplifted - to see them expressed in a modern novel. As CW Johnson quotes in a review below, I literally stopped, smiled and nodded when I got to the part where Kevin Conway says,"Louis Redmond is who I want to be when I grow up."
(Heck, I'd be overreaching to aspire to be Kevin Conway.)
I wish I'd read more of Mr. Porretto's books when they were free because I'm going to be reading a LOT of them!
DO NOT READ THE REVIEWS BELOW!
Do not watch either of Francis' videos. SPOILERS!
This is a "tight" series. That is, it keeps characters, plot, themes and morals closely intertwined. You may think the story-telling is a tad "brusque," but you will be caught up in the end.
This series is not about the next terrorist attack or the secret government thingy (although that might be the backdrop. It's worth reading just for that angle!) It is about our own morals and what we would hope and expect of our best selves.
I've been a fan of Mr. Porretto's writing since I came across his blog last year.
"Which Art In Hope" is perhaps most easily described as a science fiction novel. But Porretto will surprise you. Against a backdrop of a sweeping interstellar saga, he skillfully blends big themes, deep characters and how moral choices affect - even transform - not only individuals, but societies as a whole.
Be prepared to spend more time than usual wrestling with your take on "Which Art In Hope." It reminded me of vintage Heinlein - not in style, necessarily, but in how he's not afraid to have his heroes (and "villains?") address questions of ethics in strong clear terms. This isn't just space-opera.
This *is* the third volume of Mr. Porretto's Realm of Essences trilogy, but is a very powerful novel in its own right. I highly recommend reading all three, but if you're strapped for cash, this is the book for you. It stands on its own and feels complete, even as it "wraps up" so many threads.
I heartily concur with the praise expressed by the other reviewers here. I want to add that this is a very satisfying book to read. I appreciate the craftwork of Mr. Porretto in melding so many themes and in doing it so well.
But I found equal satisfaction in many of his characters as well. We've gotten used to strong, silent heroes such as the cowboys played by Gary Cooper and Clint Eastwood. I got great pleasure from the passion and depth of several of the characters in this novel.
Finally, if you've read either or both of the other books in the trilogy, you absolutely *must* read Shadow of a Sword! You'll finally figure out what the heck is going on! :)