An adult sci-fi fantasy novel from the author who brought you the Divergent series!
Disclaimer: I received an eARC copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. This blog contains affiliate links. I make a small commission when you decide to buy books via the Amazon or Book Depository purchase links available in the book review's post.
I was excited to receive an ARC for Veronica Roth’s first adult book! I actually buddy read this with the lovely Natalia and you can check out her review here! This book will count towards ARC August, hosted by Read.Sleep.Repeat.
Chosen Ones (The Chosen Ones #1)
Published March 7, 2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Series: The Chosen Ones
Data from Goodreads
A decade ago near Chicago, five teenagers defeated the otherworldly enemy known as the Dark One, whose reign of terror brought widespread destruction and death. The seemingly un-extraordinary teens—Sloane, Matt, Ines, Albie, and Esther—had been brought together by a clandestine government agency because one of them was fated to be the “Chosen One,” prophesized to save the world. With the goal achieved, humankind celebrated the victors and began to mourn their lost loved ones.
Ten years later, though the champions remain celebrities, the world has moved forward and a whole, younger generation doesn’t seem to recall the days of endless fear. But Sloane remembers. It’s impossible for her to forget when the paparazzi haunt her every step just as the Dark One still haunts her dreams. Unlike everyone else, she hasn’t moved on; she’s adrift—no direction, no goals, no purpose. On the eve of the Ten Year Celebration of Peace, a new trauma hits the Chosen: the death of one of their own. And when they gather for the funeral at the enshrined site of their triumph, they discover to their horror that the Dark One’s reign never really ended.
TW: Suicide, depression, PTSD, emotional abuse, trauma
Rep: Black representation, LGBTQ+ representation
My Review: Decent Story … but SO VAGUE!
This book definitely had some highlights but it also had its frustrating moments, which affected my enjoyment of the novel. This novel is better classified as a New Adult book, based on how the characters behaved.
The Pros: What worked for me
- So fun fact: I love mixed media in books! It is such a lovely break from conventional storytelling, and I love seeing authors use text messages, newspaper articles, and other media to show a different perspective to the story. In this novel, the author used newspaper and journal articles, as well as classified government documents. Whenever these would pop up, I would get super excited!
- Sloane has got to be one of my favourite protagonists! She is such a great anti-hero, and she had such a prickly personality – but it all worked! Her trauma and PTSD served to show how even the greatest “hero” figures can suffer mentally. She was a character that did not want recognition or fame, just peace and the chance to be herself. Her suspicion and paranoia always turned out to be right. It was a nice change from the typical lead characters.
- The twists in this story are clever. They were both surprising and plausible at the same time, so I approved 100%.
The Cons: What I didn’t like
- The other members of the Chosen Ones squad really didn’t shine that much, which was a shame because they brought some diversity to the table.
- I’m not sure if this is because of Sloane’s overthinking personality, but the story dragged on … A LOT. I only managed to push myself because I was buddy-reading. It’s not that things weren’t happening – it just felt like it wasn’t that much. Maybe it was also because there was a lot of telling and not showing going on, which is a major pet peeve of mine.
- So many things weren’t properly explained. At first, I thought the author would reveal things in time, but as the story progressed, this didn’t happen. I had more questions than I did answers and I spent more than half the time wondering what was going on. The worldbuilding just wasn’t clear enough for me, and there were so many useless details/events in the story that had me scratching my head.
- I was not a fan of the revelations that led to the ending – (Click to reveal spoiler) a character shows Sloane some memories to explain his behaviour, but the description of them was so jumbled up that it made no sense to me, even after I read it twice. While I liked the actual ending, the way it came about was just messy. The ending also had me questioning whether a sequel would even be needed.
As you can tell, I had my fair share of positives and negatives with this reading experience. However, once I used the CAWPILE system to gather my thoughts on the various storytelling elements, it was clear that this story gets 3/5 stars. I’m still interested in reading the sequel – but I’ll see how I feel closer to the release date.