Chosen Ones is the first book from Victoria Roth targetted towards adult readers. It follows the story of Sloane, who was one of five “chosen ones” prophesized to take on the Dark One, the story’s main antagonist. It begins a decade after the defeat of the Dark One, where the rest of the country is celebrating his demise, but the chosen ones are still facing the psychological (and for some characters, psychical) toll of their time against him ten year prior. After one of the chosen ones dies, they get dragged back into a similar battle against their will, and must make a lot of difficult decisions, including face the truth of what they went through as children.
I was so excited to read Chosen Ones after reading the excerpt. So much so that I had debated spending a lot of money ordering the exclusive FairyLoot edition, but instead settled for the (still pricey) signed edition from Indigo. And for the first time ever, I wish I had just bought the ebook. Chosen Ones was a novel that I was very much looking forward to as not many books look at what happens after to the heroes who faced unspeakable horrors. I was also very fascinated by how magic was done (via sound frequencies) that I was so curious to learn more about it. However, upon finishing the book, I couldn’t help but feel a little let down.
Most of the story is told from the perspective of Sloane, a young woman who is suffering from PTSD and keeps getting flashbacks to her time as a captive of the Dark One. She is a character that I found to be a little inconsistent and immature, though that could be due to her psychological instability. She despises the fame dumped on her for being a chosen one and is one of those characters who drive me nuts as most of her issues with others could have been quickly solved with simple communication. Instead, she is often hostile and cold towards others, including her friends and boyfriend and later wonders why no one will listen to her or believe her when she tries get a point across.
–Spoilers from here on-
Sloane was a character that I just could not get myself to care about (in fact, the only character who did not frustrate me was Albie). Throughout the book, Sloane refuses to accept her situation and adapt, which winds up putting her friends in danger more than once. One character, who I thought was going to become more important as the story progressed, gets his lungs deflated trying to protect her after she ignores orders to run and tries to charge at the antagonist (who is a powerful magic user) with nothing else but a pipe she found on the ground. She gets upset about what happens to him briefly before he is not mentioned again after a couple chapters.
I also found her, and other characters to be fairly inconsistent. Kyros, for example, starts off as a strict, no nonsense military captain who talks about catastrophe nonchalantly, but is later shown suddenly drunkenly singing (while on duty) with another character. I find it hard to believe that someone who kept pressing how important his orders to watch and protect Sloane were, would suddenly get drunk while on the job and then draw attention to the group afterwards. These consistencies however, were nowhere near as frustrating as the actual plot of the story itself.
A lot of story is also spent building up certain events and characters only to have a conclusion that just feels meh. There is build up to Sloane’s capture by the Ressurectionist. In the next chapter, she just exchanges a couple words with him before the rest of the chapter is spent explaining her escape (which was also just as anticlimactic as their exchange). There is also so much build up around the Dark One and how powerful he is throughout the book that you can’t help but get excited about the final showdown. However, when the final confrontation does occur, so much happens so quickly that I wasn’t left with a satisfying ending. Instead, all I could feel was confusing mixed with disappointment. All the build up for this evil big bad guy was torn apart within two pages at the end and he became, to me, the lamest dude ever. There were so many questions I was hoping to get answered, but instead, it just left me with so many more frustrating questions about the plot that just get skipped over.
Overall, I’d give Chosen Ones 3.5/5 stars. It was just interesting enough that I decided to finish reading it, but not interesting enough that the story will stick with me beyond this review, nor enough that I’d feel motivated to read any future sequels. The story’s premise was captivating for me and had a lot of promise, however the finished product left me just feeling frustrated and confused.