We’re all familiar with the teenage filled, action packed, you’re the ‘chosen one’ story-lines. They take us on a journey that usually ends in one way or another with a ‘happy’ ending. The side we never get to see though, is what happens after? Do things go back to normal? Are these characters at peace now? Is the big bad really gone?
Bestselling author of the Divergent and Carve the Mark series, Veronica Roth decided to explore such themes in her first adult debut, creating a brilliant juxtaposition of adult science fiction and fantasy that oozes with magic, technology and alternate dimensions.
A decade ago, five chosen ones saved the world from the Dark One. Now adults, most of them have learnt to cope with what happened and what comes after, some of them have not. When they learn the ‘Dark One’ had a much bigger plan set in motion, the chosen ones must decide whether to step aside and let somebody else step forward, or risk everything again.
Roth did a great job at cleverly summarizing past events in a short period of time. If you think about it, the events the adult characters experienced as teenagers could easily have been a trilogy in itself. But of course, you don’t want to bore your readers with a pile of backstory when they’ve come for a story following the aftermath and what’s next a decade later. Reports, emails, newspaper clippings and interviews are sprinkled throughout, adding to the world-building but also providing clever summarizing of past events.
Main protagonist Sloane isn’t an easily likable character, though that’s maybe how it’s supposed to be. Sloane’s personality, compared to her fellow ‘chosen ones’ that have found their own ways to move on, makes her stick out like a sore thumb and come across as brash. We as readers have to keep an open mind though as the majority of us would have had very little to no experience in regard to PTSD and how it can affect someone. As time went on though, Sloane’s path became more linear and her character found purpose again.
Chosen Ones is separated into three parts. Between part one and part two there definitely was a shift in pace and narrative. The best way to describe part one was a ‘this is where they’re at now’ summary. Narrative-wise, things suddenly started happening in part two and I was totally on board with it. If part two context was earlier, sure if would have been an exciting way to start the novel but I wouldn’t know what was at stake and why characters responded or acted in certain ways. By part three, I was hooked. Although with a seemingly conclusive story, I do wonder how the story can progress into another book. I can only hope that things don’t repeat themselves and we dive into more of the lore and how the world/s work.
It’s very rare to find a science fiction/fantasy book that balances the two genres, at least that’s the case for me. Also, being able to intertwine heavy themes without overwhelming the reader. Fans or not fans of Roth’s past books should give Chosen Ones a go. The adult novel is unique and different to it’s author’s predecessors and may make it’s way into your favourites.
An unedited proof was provided to me by the folks at Hachette NZ for an honest review. Read more about Chosen Ones on the Hachette NZ website! Kiwi folk, it is set for release 7th April though watch this space as it unfortunately crosses in our 4 week lockdown period. Remember, your TBR list is always at the ready though.