This is my first Veronica Roth book and it was one that I actually wished for and my wish was granted on NetGalley! It took me a while to getting around to reading it and this book ended up being very middle of the road for me. Not great, but not bad.
Thank you to HMH and NetGalley for providing me an ARC of this book for review. This is a spoiler-free, honest review and all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth
Published: April 7, 2020
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
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.
This book is pretty middle of the road for me. When I started this book, I was in love. I had immediately thrown it over to my fiancee with the request that he read it immediately. But once we got into part two I was so lost. One moment we were at her friend’s funeral and the next we’re in an alternate dimension? It was so weird to be transported with no idea what happened, though it seems that was kind of just what happened.
I didn’t expect this book to go the direction that it did and I’m curious how there’s going to be a sequel. The ending was so clean that I’m not sure what else is supposed to happen. Going off of what did happen, I was kind of disappointed with how this book went. The beginning held a lot of promise and once we got transported, it just felt like a copt out almost? Like it would have been so much cooler if the plot lines had taken place in their universe and The Dark One’s plots had unfolded that way. Or there was a different plot line in general. Though there were several plot points I enjoyed – again, very middle of the road for me.
While I like the alternate universe plot line, it just wasn’t what I expected. One thing I really like about this book though, is Sloane. She’s not the typical hero and it brings up the question “what happens to the hero once the villain has been vanquished?” Her experiences after The Dark One was vanquished shows that not everyone recovers from their trauma quickly, nor should they have to. She’s the opposite of a people pleaser, not caring if others are uncomfortable in her presence or making anyone happy. Though it did make me sad to see her leading Matt along. It’s a shitty thing to do, but she’s our anti-hero, so it’s clear she’s not perfect.
There are a lot of things I liked and stuff I didn’t. I had high hopes for this book and where it was going to go, but this book ended up being middle of the road for me. I’ll probably end up reading the next book in the series, just to see what else is supposed to happen. If you like anti-heroes, alternate dimensions, and discussions of trauma/PTSD – this is a perfect book. But be warned that the jump from part one to part two is pretty jarring and you will be confused – I definitely was.
If you like urban fantasy, check out The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue or Vicious by V.E. Schwab!