They were the Chosen Ones. Saving the world made them heroes. Saving it again might destroy them.
When Sloane Andrews and her friends defeated the Dark One, and saved the world, it nearly cost them everything. Ten years later, they are still struggling to put the battle behind them and reclaim their lives. After all, the rest of the world has moved on . . . so why can’t they?
Of the five, Sloane has had the hardest time adjusting. Everyone else blames the PTSD – and her huge attitude problem – but really, she’s hiding secrets from them . . . secrets that keep her tied to the past and alienate her from the only four people in the world who understand her.
On the tenth anniversary of the Dark One’s defeat, something unthinkable happens: one of the Chosen Ones dies. When the others gather for the funeral, they discover the Dark One’s ultimate goal was much bigger than they, the government, or even prophecy could have foretold – bigger than the world itself.
Last time, it took everything she had. This time, it might not be enough.
Veronica Roth’s Chosen Ones is a standalone fantasy novel that reimagines the stereotypical plot device of the ‘chosen one’, flipping it on its head and fast-forwarding 10 years into the future. When a chosen one, or chosen ones, have completed their destiny and saved the world, what happens next?
Chosen Ones illustrates the mental, physical and emotional strain that would be placed on young people if they were expected to save the world like they do in books and movies. Ten years after defeating the Dark One, Sloane and her four friends are still trying to adapt and move on from what happened. Not all of them have thrived since they defeated the Dark One.
“She wanted to comfort him, but she didn’t know how. She had never seem him so tired, so…disappointed. In the world, in himself, even in her. She sat next to him on the couch, her hands clasped over her knees.”
Structurally, the book switches between prose in Sloane’s POV, and document clippings — articles, essays, news reports, interviews, classified government files, and police investigations. Whilst it doesn’t necessarily feel like it adds much to the plot, the documents help give context to the setting and the ‘world’ that they’re in, and will give readers a greater understanding of the danger that Sloane faces.
Unique, interesting and well-paced fiction, Chosen Ones feels fresh. Stereotypes are challenged, and the novel plays with the concept of alternate universes. With transformative imagery and descriptive locations, the novel’s setting feel grand, in-depth and well-developed, something that allows the reader to sink into and devour with each passing page.
At times, Chosen Ones is dark and complex. Explored themes include drug use, mental health, torture and physical disability, among many others. Fans who grew up with Veronica’s young adult novels will feel this is a natural progression — Chosen Ones is diverse and inclusive, with a strong core cast of characters and engrossing magic woven throughout.
“The Drain had driven a crater deep into the ground, so deep that some of the workers looked child-size from where she stood. When Sloane first saw a Drain site, she had expected it to be a uniform substance, like the surface of the moon. But there were still remnants of what had been there: broken planks, crumbling bricks, chunks of asphalt, bits of old fabric.”
Set in Chicago, readers will appreciate that this is a standalone novel. Veronica draws out as much from the world and the storyline as she possibly can, and pulls all threads together for an explosive finale.
Stylistically, whilst the book follows the five Chosen Ones, the book focuses primarily on the character of Sloane. Written in third person, Sloane is sharp, bitter and at times unpredictable, desperately trying to understand where she now fits in the world and how to process her life up until this point. Over time, the reader comes to understand the other characters through Sloane and her experiences, allowing for a greater understanding of her motivations.
“Sloane reached for words and came up empty. He had a point — she had been kidnapped by the Dark One, too, but he hadn’t done to her what he had done to Albie, hadn’t attacked her body and left her with no feeling in her hands and no way to rejoin the fight.”
At times, the science behind the world and the explanations behind the magic felt a little too complex and hard to swallow. Additionally, there were a couple of twists that felt a little predictable and were foreshadowed too much for an adult readership — particularly around the character of Mox — but there are definitely enough surprises in the plot to intrigue readers and keep them enthralled in the story.
Whilst this is being marketed as Veronica Roth’s first book for adults, young adult readers will also enjoy Chosen Ones. Truthfully, it feels more YA than adult. The concept of superheroes and the ‘chosen ones’, the magical elements woven throughout the book, the emotional angst between the characters, and the budding relationship between two characters felt reminiscent of a YA novel.
Recommended for fans of fantasy, speculative fiction and young adult. Aged 14+
Thank you to the publisher for mailing me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Hachette Book Publishers