Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth
Series: Chosen Ones #1
Format: Arc provided by Raincoast Books
Top 3 Genres: Adult, Science-fiction, Urban fantasy
My rating: Set it on fire/If you have nothing else to read/you need to read it/Run and buy it.
To buy the book: CA • US • FR• Bookdep
Add to: Goodreads
Hey guys!! Today the newest Veronica Roth is coming out: Chosen ones! After having loved the Divergent trilogy so many years ago, I was super curious to rediscover Roth in a completely different setting. And I was not disappointed!
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.
Being a hero does not make it all
What happens when you are a hero and you saved the world as a teen? How do you recover from that? How can you? After all the horrors you saw and maybe even had to do? That is what Sloane, one of the 5 Chosen Ones who defeated the Dark One ten years ago, is trying to figure out. And she is not faring well. To be fair, her friends are not great either, but all try to deal in their own way. Sloane, on her side, feels stuck. She can’t put the past behind her and suffers from severe PTSD. It was heartbreaking to see her suffering like that, and (also keep in mind I work with victims of criminal acts so I know about PTSD) I think the author did a pretty good job representing what a struggle it is to live after such a trauma. It is something we need to see more!
I really loved her character from the start, I will be honest. She is blunt and broken, but also so open-hearted. And poor her, while we meet her at the beginning of the book after she suffered a lot of ordeals… it is not over.
Through the book, I was 100% with her. The decisions she took, her thoughts and her perseverance, as well as the way she recognized her flaws and fought against herself… she was definitely one of the aspects I enjoyed the most in this novel!
And the fight is not over!
Because one of the five Chosen Ones dies… and something crazy happens soon after! That will, unfortunately, place Sloane and her friends in the face of their old enemy again…Now, I can’t tell you what this crazy thing is. Big spoiler. What I can tell you is that I was NOT expecting it at all, or for the book to take that direction. At first, I was like WTF and to be fair it took me a while to accept that this was the story the author wanted to tell. But, once passed this shock, I really was curious to see what would happen. It’s just… you know when you start a book expecting something, and it takes you to a completely different place… it’s hard sometimes to make both pictures coincide in your mind? That’s what happened to me here.
That being said, I did enjoy a lot the story and the world-building Roth shares with us (I am so sorry for this very nebulous review, but if you read the book, you’ll understand what I’m talking about haha!). For example, the magic system, based on intent and how to master it, is super interesting, and I thought it was intriguing to see magic dissected in a scientific way!
Veronica Roth vs adult fiction
Now, let’s talk about something else! Before reading the book, I read a few reviews and saw that a common point was people complaining that it didn’t truly feel like an adult book and read as YA. To be honest, I understand why this came out. It’s true that, on a character level, you don’t really feel they are adults closing on their thirties. They could be late teenagers. I did not care much for it, I enjoyed it anyway, but thought I would mention it.
For me, what felt more adult in this book was the heavy atmosphere, some very gruesome scenes (the Dark one is really not afraid to hurt people!), and all the … unease coming with magic. For Sloane, magic comes at a great cost, and she has a complicated relationship with it. It plays a great part in her suffering. All of that together gave the book a somber vibe – it reminded me a bit of how I felt reading Ninth House- that for me would really classify it as an adult book.
One last thing to note (sorry, another very long review by me!) is that the author chose to tell us part of the story through reports, journal articles and book extracts. And I always love that kind of break in the rhythms of the book, and how, in the end, it helps us immerse in the world we are discovering.
In a few words
Mixing magic and science-fiction, while also bringing to the table heavy topics such as trauma and PTSD, this book really took me by surprise! I was not expecting it or what happened through the pages! And even if yes, it could almost be YA, it did not matter to me, I enjoyed it all the same!
See you for a cup!
PS: this book is marked as first in a trilogy, but it can also read as a standalone. I definitely thought it was haha!