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The Chosen (The Stone Dance of the Chameleon #1)

3.53  ·  Rating Details ·  871 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
Young Carnelian has spent his entire life alone with his father, who years ago rejected the savage cruelty of the Masters of Osrakum and was sent into exile. But now a ship has come flying through the winter gales to shatter his quiet world. Three Masters disembark, and as they remove their masks of gold, Carnelian is awed by the light that seems to radiate from their skin ...more
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published March 16th 2000 by Tor Books (first published 1999)
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(showing 1-30)
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Igor Ljubuncic
Jul 05, 2016 Igor Ljubuncic rated it did not like it
Shelves: ricardo-pinto
Please pay attention, this is a special review.

In the words of Prince, When Doves Cry, can you my darling, can you picture this:

The year is 1986, I am driving a truck in Afghanistan. Through a mine field. There's mortar fire everywhere. In the seat next to me is a vampire midget with a blowtorch, and she will blow a hole through my privates if my speed drops below 50 km/h. Speed, Afghanistan style.

I have drank 12 coffees since early morning. The old speakers are blazing Rock the Casbah. I even h
John Eich
Feb 18, 2012 John Eich rated it it was ok
Imagine if a set-designer and costumer wrote a fantasy novel. It would, of course, be about a place and time when an insanely ornate and decorative race held absolute power. They might keep all of the other, ugly, smelly, non-aesthete races subjugated to their decadent, cruel and whimsical tastes. And clearly, the scenery would have to be described in obsessive-compulsive detail that stretched out for 400 of the 500 pages, with the remaining pages left for a plot to trudge forward, advancing the ...more
Eduardo Fernandes
Terminei hoje de reler Os Escolhidos. A primeira edição portuguesa é de 2003, e somente este ano consegui ter em mãos o fecho da trilogia. Oito anos é muito tempo e confesso que não lembrava muito bem dos detalhes do primeiro livro, de maneira que resolvi reler toda a dança de pedra do camaleão.

É uma pena que o Ricardo Pinto ainda não seja muito conhecido. Eu diria que ele é - de longe - o melhor escritor de fantasia português, mas não há assim tantos quanto isso de maneira que não é grande vant
Jun 17, 2008 Matt rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This is a simply amazing book with some of the best prose in fantasy fiction.

But I ought to have a shelf for books that jump the shark when the main characters have sex. If I knew what to name such a shelf, I would have one. This one would be the centerpeice. The glowing four stars are for the first 95% of the book.

Since the pacing is so slow, the entire book serves as nothing more than well crafted exposition for what should be the meat of the story. However, just when we ought to really be se
Blodeuedd Finland
Dec 31, 2009 Blodeuedd Finland rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
I sadly was not taken by this book, don't get me wrong. He is a great worldbuilder, and has created this rich and complicated race, and he is a good writer. But just because of that I do not have to fall for it.

First up is the main character whom I never connected with, a 15 year old boy who was so more humane than those other Masters that lives back in Osrakum. But I just never cared for him, or anyone in this book. I think this might be a character driven fantasy book and I have seen this year
Oct 27, 2011 Filipa rated it really liked it
When I first read this book (yes, I read it more than once) I found it extremely boring. Specially through the end, with all the politic system of a fictional society explained to the heart paining detail. Yet, even in the first time I read it, I found it quite innovative and refreshing. No elves, dwarves, trolls, fairies or vampires. A entire new and fresh world and races that walked around, that needed all the hear paining descriptions so the reader could perceive a bit of what the world Ricar ...more
Jun 07, 2010 Lindsey rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This book is written about a fantasy world ruled by an incredibly cruel and selfish noble caste lording it over a bunch of those they term "barbarians" on a world that is still Jurassic-Cretaceous in climate and fauna. Also, it's based around an Aztec-Mayan-Latin American sort of backdrop rather than the usual generic European sort of thing.

All of that is neat--Aztecs and dinosaurs, I'm down. There's also a lot of attention to characters and details and sometimes baffling actions by people with
Jun 29, 2007 Jon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adults
Pinto is a truly gifted writer when it comes to description: he creates a world that is so fully described in every way--colors, shapes, customs, costumes, rituals and races--that the world literally leaps off the page and burns itself into your mind. Unfortunately, so much time is spent on these descriptions that the plot itself suffers: there are times when quite literally nothing happens for ten to twenty pages (although those pages are so beautifully written that you can almost forgive him). ...more
Ruby Roh
May 21, 2016 Ruby Roh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Firstly, it must be said that this book is set in a very violent society. The Masters, who rule with impunity, often hand out savage punishments on nothing more than a whim. This concept, coupled with the degree of violence, was something I had some trouble dealing with and probably why I only gave this book three stars.

It's a well written and imaginative book, and I quite liked the main protagonist, but overall I wasn't left with a burning need to find out how the cliff-hanger ending of the fir
Josh Culbertson
May 28, 2009 Josh Culbertson rated it it was amazing
A lush exploration of the treacherous imperial politics of a low-fantasy empire which combines the most brutal aspects of Rome and several Mesoamerican cultures, "The Chosen" was positively gripping for the 700+ page monstrosity it is. Pinto is unapologetic in his portrayal of a civilization whose socio-economic wheels are greased with blood; I admired his lack of the typical fantasy lone voice in the wilderness who pleads for sanity with the rest of his culture on behalf of the reader's vantage ...more
Sep 21, 2010 Steve rated it did not like it
The Chosen is written with a very slow pace. Most of its pages are taken up with the lavish, yet repetitive description of locations in the fantasy world. But never fear, just when you're finally beginning to distill the basic structure of the river, road, palace, or gate from the unfocused description of its details, the scene will change as the unsympathetic main character moves on to a new location, never to return.

Themes include: slavery, institutionalized racism, mutilation, torture.
Jul 17, 2009 David rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was, by far, the worst book I've ever read. It was boring, presumptuous (the author clearly tries to copy the style of J.R.R.Tolkien and miserably fails) and the 2 main characters are completly disgusting. If the book itself wasn't bad enough, I would have gladly passed away the descriptions of gay sex between those main male characters.
This book is actually WORSE than Twilight. For all those who think that's not possible...try to read this...
Daniel Ionson
Apr 13, 2015 Daniel Ionson added it
Shelves: halted
DNF. Writing was good, but tale did not entice me.
Sep 30, 2016 ~~~N~~~ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wobble-2016, l-a-r
The details are riveting in their own right.
First of all, the author created a strange wholesome world and I would love to read about it in proper prose. This is why I gave the book 2 stars, insetad of 1.

That said, the description intertwines poetic stretches with concrete ones - and the latter are smothered. So, throughout half of the book I just couldn't picture the set properly and, after a while, I just gave up on trying to imagine it.

Still, the book could have been good (there are many books who lack any type of real description, so
Nov 27, 2011 Zachary rated it it was ok
I picked this book up because I heard a lot of good things about it. I can't say I liked it too much. The premise of the book is interesting. A small group of people have all the power and influence and they treat everyone else like crap. I liked how a lot of attention was paid to the day-to-day retinue of the upper class. I really didn't like almost everything else. I didn't understand why the upper class did what they did or why the lower class should fear them. Some explanation of that would ...more
Apr 11, 2011 Devi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my second read through of this book. When I happened upon it originally, I went straight out and bought the second book, as is usually my habit. But I didn't read it until I had the third, because I'd already learned my lesson once before to never throw myself into a series unless I knew it was finished. Lucky thing I waited, because the third and final book took 8 years to arrive.

So, I'm re-reading the first, and it's testimony to how good this is that I only took about 6 days to do it.
Chris Cangiano
Mar 04, 2015 Chris Cangiano rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Pinto has done an amazing job with world building in The Chosen. He really takes the reader in depth into the sights, feel, customs and rituals of the fantasy kingdom that he has created (based in large part on the society of Imperial China). Pinto's commitment to detail is an incredible asset. Unfortunately it is also a weakness. The real meat of the story doesn't start until the last hundred pages of the novel and it becomes a slog at times to wade through the minutia of court etiquette and po ...more
Aug 25, 2010 Michael rated it liked it
I want to throw this book at the wall. It contains more than 600 pages and it doesn't become interesting until page 500. I slogged through a heap of violence and death and a lot of journeying before meeting the one intriguing character and discovering the plot. That being said, I liked that character and the sudden existence of a plot quite a lot. The last 100 pages and the very aggravating ending made me spend $40 to have the next two books in the trilogy sent to me in the States from England. ...more
Michael Cayley
Feb 24, 2015 Michael Cayley rated it liked it
A fantasy novel with an original setting which blends a cruel civilisation clearly partly based on some of the pre-European empires of central and South America with an environment from the Mesozoic, complete with pterodactyls etc. A huge amount of imagination must have gone into the devising of this world, but in the end the novel did not really appeal to me. I think there are two main reasons. First, for me there was too much attention to the background culture, and not enough to the plot, whi ...more
Karen Dales
Jun 20, 2011 Karen Dales rated it it was amazing
This is not the first time I have read this book and it won’t be my last. Ricardo’s debut novel is a masterpiece of prose that transports the reader into a world undreamt of. Each detail is exquisitely painted with the brushes of Ricardo’s fantastic use of language.

Ricardo takes us journey through this exotic land to live along with Carnelian, the young protagonist. Forced to leave the only home he knows to live in the land of his people Carnelian is entangled in a vicious game for the throne t
Feb 16, 2012 Jaime rated it did not like it
First, I will admit that I couldn't finish this book. It's very rare for me to not, but the book was very violent -- sometimes gratuitously so. And it was not a violence of equals, but usually one-sided violence of the powerful abusing the powerless. I'm usually okay with violent imagery, but in this case, there was nothing that drew me into the story that balanced out the violence.

So if you're not comfortable with violence or extreme abuse of power, this book might be something you want to avo
For the first half of the book I had difficulty getting myself to sit and read it, despite finding the setting and society interesting. I think it might've been easier to follow if Pinto had explained some of the more complex elements of the culture when it was first mentioned - the blood taints and voting system in particular (for the voting system we have to wait until almost the end of the book to completely understand how it works). However, the second half was much more compelling to me and ...more
Jul 20, 2016 Shane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From some of the comments I was a little hesitant to start this book, but I'm glad I did. It's not perfect - flat characters and some clunky writing, especially early in the book, for example - but there are a lot of original ideas here and by the end you come to care about the point-of-view character. If you like fantasy and don't have any hang ups about one page of lightly touched non-graphic male/male love then you'd probably like this book, especially if you can get through the first 150 pag ...more
Jul 19, 2012 Neida rated it it was amazing
The Stonedance of the Chameleon trilogy currently ranks as my number 1 favourite in the Fantasy genre. The first book, The Chosen, is my favourite of the 3, for nothing more than the fact that it introduced me, in glorious fashion, to this amazing fantasy. I miss the feeling I got the first time that I read this book and dove into a world of astonishing contrasts, wondreous and terryfing at the same time. I have nothing bad to say about this book. I have read and re-read it multiple times. In fa ...more
Jan 16, 2015 Inna rated it it was ok
The author builds a very vivid, original, unexpected world. Unfortunately, this world makes me sick. I read through two books naively hoping for some rebellion, unrest or uprising. No such event occurred. These series made me feel a sense of hopelessness that I sometimes get reading nonfiction books about war and genocide. That very well may be what the author intended, but it's not what I, personally, look for in a good fiction book.
Sep 07, 2015 Isana rated it liked it
My question is what has happened? The characters were great but nothing happened until at least the last hundred pages. It was chock full of unnecessary description. It had lots of potential was goodness. And the ending. I'm not even sure what I should be thinking. This may be the worst cliffhanger I've experienced with books. It was like I was watching the season finale of Endeavour all over again.
Ann Marie
Nov 23, 2009 Ann Marie rated it liked it
Very inventive fantasy book - I would have given it a 3.5 if half stars were allowed. I liked this even though my genre preferences run to the Celtic rather than Eastern mythology. There is a lot of detail about the world this is set in and some of that is tough to get through, but overall an enjoyable read. I'll definitely read the next one in the series.
May 01, 2011 Bradley rated it liked it
I sure know how to pick 'em. This book is good considering it is the author's first book. I really did not care for the theme of slavery though in this book. Pretty dreary really, but the author has a fine hand for detail and making you believe you are captive to his world. Not for me, yuck, but others who enjoy long boring journies laced with cruelty are more than welcome to his story.
Aug 13, 2012 Audrey rated it really liked it
Mr.Pinto is a very gifted writer. The world he made felt very terrifying and seemly hopelss. But even so the main character adds light to a very dark atmosphere. I don't want to spoil any of the story so if your interested in this book be prepared for a lot of cruel acts. You'll have to read the other two books after this one to find out if the Masters stay in power.
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