June 5, 2023

BOOK TOUR Spellbinders: The Not-So-Chosen One by Andrew Auseon

Hi friends! Welcome to my stop on the tour organized by TBR and Beyond Tours for Spellbinders: the Not-So-Chosen One by Andrew Auseon. Check out the post to learn more about the book and the author. Make sure you show some love to the other tour hosts as well - the link to the tour schedule is below. 

Happy reading everyone :)

About the Book

“Ben may only be pretending to be the ‘Chosen One’—but I’ve definitely chosen this one as my favorite new fantasy series.”
—Max Brallier, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Last Kids on Earth series

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Publishing date: June 6th, 2023

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

How far would you go to play the hero? One lonely seventh grader gets way more than he bargained for when he is swept into the fantasy quest of his gaming dreams in this magical illustrated series full of laughs, adventure, and twists.

Ben doesn’t feel chosen by anybody—not by his friends, who haven’t kept in touch since he moved after his parents’ divorce, or by his mom, who’s so busy he barely sees her. He spends all his time living in fantasy worlds and writing extensively planned adventure campaigns in his role-playing-game notebook. So when Niara, a character who could be right out of one of his favorite games, shows up and tells him he’s destined to save her realm (like, foretold-by-a-prophecy destined), Ben has two possible tell her the truth or play along. He’s tired of feeling left behind, so his choice is clear—game on. 

One interdimensional portal later, Ben is in full hero mode. At first, adventuring in Lux seems like a dream come true, but pretending to be the Chosen One—and lying to his new friends—isn’t quite what he imagined it to be. And the more he learns about Lux and his quest, the more he realizes this is way beyond a game—and the rules seem to be changing as he goes. In fact, it might be time for him to write some new ones.

REVIEW of Spellbinders: The Not-So-Chosen One by Andrew Auseon
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Release Date: June 6, 2023
Format: Audiobook (Borrowed from Library) + eARC (Courtesy of Publisher and TBR and Beyond Tours)
Publisher: Labyrinth Road

Andrew Auseon’s middle-grade fantasy release, Spellbinders: The Not-So-Chosen One, is a ridiculously entertaining read complete with imaginative creatures, unique characters, and an engaging storyline. Pete Cross did a great job bringing the story to life with his performance in the audiobook narration. 

Ben is lonelier than ever after being moved away from his friends following his parents divorce. His friends have abandoned him, and his Mom is distant and barely has any time for him. When he mourns his current circumstances on the bench of a convention, a young girl comes up to him claiming that Ben is the chosen one and requesting his help to save his home. Eager for something to do (and thinking it some elaborate interactive convention experience), Ben agrees. However, once they arrive and Ben starts seeing things like flying Narwhals and knights riding giant guinea pigs, he realizes he’s no longer on Earth, that this is very much a real quest and he might not be the chosen one from the prophecy. 

The worldbuilding in this book is zany and innovative, sometimes bordering on ridiculous (see the above mention of knights riding giant guinea pigs), and I am happy to report that I was fully entertained from start to finish. Of course there are the classic elements of a good fantasy book and a tale featuring an archetypal ‘hero’s quest’ - for instance, the call to adventure, many moments of self doubt, the ever present helper, and the major moment of transformation. I really enjoyed getting to see Ben’s journey from start to finish. The story is structured such that it’s easy to understand for the target audience of middle-grade readers, but I think adult readers would be able to find something enjoyable in the read as I did. 

The characters were another highlight of the book. Ben and Niara’s interactions were fun to witness; it was also fun to see how pieces of Earth’s culture influenced that of Lux. I admittedly snorted out loud when Niara said that ‘spaghetti squash’ was considered a curse word. For those who try to read books with LGBTQ+ representation, there is a cool shape changing character that makes an appearance. It’s a casual reference that the author doesn’t make a big deal out of, but I did appreciate seeing it. 

Overall, this was a highly entertaining and humorous read. If you’re a fan of middle-grade fantasy novels or games like Dungeons and Dragons, I really think this book will resonate. I can personally attest to feeling seen, and relating to most of Ben’s struggles. As this is the first book in a series, I’m excited to read about more adventures set in this world in the future!

Thank you to the author, the publisher, the team at TBR and Beyond Tours, and NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary review copy of Spellbinders: The Not-So-Chosen One. I appreciate the opportunity to read and review the book immensely. Please note - I voluntarily read and reviewed the book. All opinions expressed in the review are my own and not influenced in any way. 

About the Author

Andrew Auseon is a writer of novels for young people, and a designer of video games. He holds a B.A. from Ohio University and a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults from the prestigious Vermont College.

He lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife, Sarah Zogby, and their two daughters.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads


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