"Chosen Ones" by Veronica Roth

"Fifteen years ago, five ordinary teenagers were singled out by a prophecy to take down an impossibly powerful entity wreaking havoc across North America. He was known as the Dark One, and his weapon of choice - - - catastrophic events known as Drains - - - leveled cities and claimed thousands of lives. Chosen Ones, as the teens were known, gave everything they had to defeat him. After the Dark One fell, the world went back to normal. . . for everyone but them. After all, what do you do when you're the most famous people on Earth, your only education was in magical destruction, and your purpose in life is now fulfilled? 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 tot he 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. And this time, fighting back might take more than Sloane has to give. "

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What usually draws readers into a hero versus villain story is to see the hero's fight to victory. The struggle, the refusal to back down - - - we usually put ourselves into this character and root for them to win at any cost. But the Chosen Ones starts us off after our heroes are victorious in the battle against the villain. The heroes are trying to cope with every day life after achieving the most important thing they would ever accomplish, but memories of the war against the Dark One keep them from returning to that normal life.

Sloane is our main character - - - one of the five heroes that was picked by a prophecy years ago to take down the Dark One. One of the effects of battling the villain for her is she now endures PTSD-induced nightmares. We meet her in the midst of one of these nightmares, where she nearly stabs her boyfriend, Matt (also one of the five heroes), with a kitchen knife. And this isn't the first time this has happened: it happens enough that Sloane was put on medication to help with her PTSD, as well as going to therapy.

But with the ten year anniversary of the Dark One's defeat looming ahead, life seems to be getting even harder for the heroes. All the heroes want is to move on and forget the war had ever happened - - - but then something happens that causes them to relive the Dark One's fight all over again.

The heroes end up on a magic-using world called Genetrix where a man going by the name the Resurrectionist is causing the same destruction as the Dark One did on their world. Disoriented and curious, the heroes have no choice but to believe the two main magic users who brought them there, Aelia and Nero. The two seem to be the ones in charge of finding the chosen one to take down the Resurrectionist. But soon after the heroes agree to take down this world's Dark One, they begin to believe that Aelia and Nero are hiding information from them.

The heroes decide to focus on learning to use magic, so they can defend themselves on this world. With the help of siphons, the heroes are able to begin practicing magic for their fight with the Resurrectionist. . . but for Sloane, she is unable to get her siphon to work, instead, she contains an ability that came from a cursed object from their world, a cursed object that wants her back.

This book contains a lot of the problems that went on during 2020, possibly too many of them. Unlike most books released last year, Chosen Ones didn't do a well enough job of hiding reality in plain sight. Chosen Ones also made the mistake of cutting up the story with intermissions of newspaper articles and government reports. Divergent author Veronica Roth disrupted the flow of the story by doing such that it felt like the story continuously came to a stand still.

Chosen Ones also plays up the Young Adult genre tropes. The relationship between Sloane and Mox happens so quickly that it isn't believable to the reader, and the result is awkward to the point of embarrassing. Also, the friendship between the heroes is very flat, so much so that when conflict arises, I was left believing that no one cared if the other one died.

But it was the idea of the story that hooked me as a reader - - - movies, television shows, and other novels normally focus on the heroes during the great fight with the villain, allowing readers to live the war and pick the fighter they want to win. In this novel, the connection with the heroes is severely lacking, especially when the only character development happens to Sloane. Very reminiscent of Mira Grant's 'Feed,' (you can click the link to read my review of it) I couldn't bring myself to like the main character. Sloane tries too hard to be a strong and independent woman, she comes off as a teenager trapped in an adult woman's body, even Ines, one of the other female heroes, is a more well-put together character than Sloane is. This is the trope that is killing lead female characters in the Young Adult genre, but I suppose it's better than having the stereo-typical ditzy female lead characters most adult novels have.

Although the synopsis caused me to buy this book, I was really disappointed with the path in which Roth took it down. The biggest issue was how much of 2020's problems were shoved into one book because it took away from what this story could have been. The heroes are blatantly fighting Donald Trump aka the Dark One, and this subject has been done to-death so much that I couldn't get fully immersed into the story. They also fight against people who can do magic, including people who are apparently Wiccans - - - but Roth labels them as 'evil. ' Having known actually Wiccans in my life, I know that they believe in harming none. Roth's stereo-typing of anyone who is not her heroes shows a shallowness that is becoming more prevalent, unfortunately, in female writers.

Chosen Ones could have been so much more than what it was because it just ends up being another empty story that takes on today's problems just to sell a book. With inconsistencies and bad writing throughout, I can't recommend this book to anyone, but if you love YA tropes, then you'll love this one.

My rating:

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