Title: Chosen Ones (The Chosen Ones #1)
Author: Veronica Roth
Publication date: April 7th, 2020
The first novel written for an adult audience by the mega-selling author of the Divergent franchise: five twenty-something heroes famous for saving the world when they were teenagers must face even greater demons—and reconsider what it means to be a hero . . . by destiny or by choice.
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.
Thank you to HMH and Netgalley for an early copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review
Chosen Ones flips the fantasy script and focuses on the aftermath of what happens when you’re Chosen to save the world. 10 years after they vanquished the Dark One, the gang gets pulled into another dimension/universe to slay another villain. Told exclusively from Sloane’s POV, Chosen Ones strikes a balance between being Chosen and being human. Characters are dealing with alcoholism, PTSD, drug addiction recovery, and racism is even touched on briefly. As readers, you don’t really get to see what happens AFTER the big battle – and especially not 10 years later.
The characters in this book all have problems, like serious problems. If you’re looking for redeemable characters that leap off the page with their airy lightness and happiness, keep it moving. Sloane is seriously dealing with PTSD and trying to hold it together. She is dating Matt, but when he proposes she freaks out and burns the relationship to the ground. Matt honestly isn’t much better, but it helps to show that they all aren’t quite back. I happen to like them even more that they aren’t redeemable, but I do feel like some conflict could have been avoided by having simple conversations.
I truly feel like Albie and Ines got shafted in this book. They have SO LITTLE page time, so I really wonder what the purpose was. The beginning to this book (where they existed) was fairly slow going and some scenes seemed unnecessary. However, the book really picks up when they are pulled into the other dimension. This is when the book really starts to get good and I got invested in the story.
THE ENDING. Without spoilers, the ending is a wild ride. I definitely did not see parts of it coming, especially not the big reveal. Along the way I picked up on some clues, but I was still fooled. The ending is fairly clear, there really isn’t a cliffhanger even though I believe there is a sequel. However, I found the writing in the ending to be very confusing and hard to follow. This could potentially be cleared up in edits, as this is an ARC.
Overall, I would give this a 3.5/5 (rounded up to 4 for Goodreads). I will read the next book, however there were some significant enough issues for me that I couldn’t give it a whole 4 stars.
Happy reading, folks!