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The first novel written for an adult audience by the mega-selling author of the Divergent franchise: five twenty-something heroes famous for saving the world when they were teenagers must face even greater demons--and reconsider what it means to be a hero . . . by destiny or by choice.

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.

419 pages, Kindle Edition

First published April 7, 2020

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About the author

Veronica Roth is the New York Times best-selling author of Poster Girl, Chosen Ones, the short story collection The End and Other Beginnings, the Divergent series, and the Carve the Mark duology. She is also the guest editor of The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2021. Her new novella, Arch-Conspirator, will be released in February. Veronica lives in Chicago, Illinois.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,717 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,945 reviews291k followers
March 26, 2020
She was by the river, the cold air burning her lungs, as she stared across the bridge at the Dark One right before their last battle. Part of her always would be.

2 1/2 stars. I realized somewhere in the last seventy or so pages of Chosen Ones that I could very easily turn this into a positive review. Threads were coming together, showcasing Roth's clever plotting, just as the action picked up and secrets came to light. There's sprinkles of humour:
“Please, for the love of God, don’t be one of those villains who waxes poetic about existentialist nonsense, because if you are, I really will have to cut you,” she said.

And all of this adds up to a book that, looking back, makes me understand why the critics (and probably a lot of other readers) will love it. But I just found it so so slow and boring. How much slog makes the goods worth it? I think your answer to that may decide whether you will enjoy this book or not.

For me, it was a real struggle to push through. I genuinely only made myself finish this book because it is the third book I've read in the last six months that is a popular YA author's adult debut - the others being Ninth House and House of Earth and Blood, respectively - and I DNFed the first two. I figured conspiracy theorists might think I was a book-hating bot working for the dark side if I DNFed yet another. And if you're thinking after three books, maybe it's YOU, then don't worry, I have already had that thought myself.

This one is almost like a sequel to any YA fantasy novel where the chosen ones have saved the world. It looks at what happens ten years later when they're all grown up, miserable and traumatized, dealing with depression, addiction and PTSD. 'Part One' of this book is all about their adult lives now-- the daily struggle post world-saving. The world-saving itself is mentioned only vaguely in these first 120 pages.

I was definitely intrigued by the premise, but it very quickly became dull when so little was happening. Then 'Part Two' gets a little wild at first so I was thinking "Right, yes, now we're getting to the good stuff!" But then that, too, dampens and seems to consist of the characters wandering around or having training sessions (a mind-numbing part of Roth's Carve the Mark, I seem to recall) where the characters "modulate the strength of [their] magical breath".

I also think a major factor that didn't help with the slowness was the third person narrative. I don't know if it is supposed to make the book seem more serious and grown up, but a book like this, with an MC like Sloane - a complex, difficult person dealing with a lot of trauma - would really benefit from being written in first person. I think the third person narrative unnecessarily keeps us at a distance that makes the narrative cold and unengaging.

Aside from being slower and more convoluted, there's still a strong YA vibe running through Chosen Ones. The characters may be older, but they certainly feel stuck in their teenage heads. The conversations seemed like ones that would happen in any YA fantasy. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing, though, just not what I was expecting from an adult fantasy debut.

The ending does make me want to know what happens next, but I don’t know if I can sit through another slow novel of this size. I may need someone to spoil the sequel for me.

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April 1, 2021

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I was not a fan of DIVERGENT or CARVE THE MARK, and found both to be very much soulless "cash ins" based on current trends. And yet, despite that, the idea of CHOSEN ONES appealed to me because of its very simple and yet original premise: what happens to the chosen ones after they complete their mission and defeat the evil force disturbing the universe? Veronica Roth is also the latest YA author jumping about the "let's write for adults now" trend (including Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo), and after reading Maas's utterly abysmal take on "adult fiction," I was curious to see how Roth would fare.

Our narrator is a young woman named Sloane, who, along with her friends, Matt, Ines, Esther, and Albie, were part of a prophesied group who would take on the Dark One. Despite his cheesy name, the Dark One is a genuinely terrifying figure who creates these events called "Drains," which are basically tornadoes made of magic that literally pull people apart.

They were victorious and are now idolized by the public as somewhat of a cross between demigods and A-list celebrities, but Sloane is feeling embittered about her victory. There's something about "peaking" in your mid-twenties that's kind of disturbing, knowing that nothing you do will ever match up to that last battle. She also has serious PTSD from her traumatic battles, and guilt from not being strong enough. Everyone in their group had their own roles to fill, and Sloane fell neatly into the jaded and sensitive slot way too easily, and it's kind of sad how (most) of her friends use that against her or give her a hard time about it.

Then, one day, the ex-Chosens are called in by their old government handlers and debriefed on inexplicable phenomena happening all over Earth. There's a possibility that the Dark One-- or someone like him-- has returned. And then, in part two of the book, all of our heroes find the rug-- and the world as they knew it-- literally pulled right out from under them, plunging them into a terrifying world of magic, mystery, and death. They're going to have to go to battle again, and this time, all of their demons will be joining them, and Sloane is absolutely terrified.

I debated about what to give this book. It engrossed me from the beginning but there were things about it I didn't like as much. I think the world-building is interesting but cheesy (once again, as in DIVERGENT, the story is set entirely in Chicago, which is fine, but begs the question of what the world is like outside of Chicago and even the U.S.? This is never really answered satisfactorily). Not bad-cheesy, but comic book-cheesy, which given this book's premise, actually makes it work better than if it had tried to take itself too seriously. Parts of this book reminded me of Brandon Sanderson's STEELHEART, especially with the idea that superheroes can be morally ambiguous, and other parts reminded me of Animorphs, especially the reluctant hero aspect and the team dynamic.

I do want to say that like HOUSE OF EARTH AND BLOOD, this doesn't really read as "adult." All of the characters are extremely immature and read and act like children, to the point where I had to repeatedly remind myself that they were not. If I were being generous, I might speculate that part of this is due to the trauma of "peaking" at an early age, and emotionally they are trapped in the minds of their teenage selves, much like how child stars who are unable to deal with their fame sometimes act like rebellious teenagers well into their twenties and thirties. But the narrative and the story also feel very "YA-like," so as an "adult" work I almost feel like this would have been better marketed towards a young adult audience, despite the swearing and references to substance use, which did not feel particularly excessive and weren't, in my mind, enough to bar an older teen from reading it. Part of me can't help but wonder if maybe someone decided it might be more lucrative to market to adults rather than children and if maybe this started out as a young adult book that was tweaked. That would explain why all the adults read as kids, and why the writing feels like it's been coded so young.

Sloane's character was honestly one of the best things about this book, though, if you ignore the fact that she acts like she's about seventeen or eighteen and not in her mid-twenties. I loved the way she was so haunted by her past and allowed to be selfish. Tris from DIVERGENT was the worst, and I couldn't stand her. Sloane, on the other hand, felt real. I could see myself making some of the decisions she did. In the beginning, when she's just trying to survive, I ached for her. Her misery pours off the pages and you really sense what a toll her life took on her. Seeing her plunged into an unfamiliar world and having that be the impetus for her first real steps towards healing made sense: she was finally breaking free of the loop that had kept her in the mind of her younger self.

Also, there's a bad guy in here who is basically Kylo Ren with magic, and if that isn't enough to get all of the villain fangirls out there swarming the book shops, I don't know what is. He even has a metal mask. I'm honestly surprised the Kylo Ren angle wasn't pushed harder by the marketing team, especially since CARVE THE MARK (as I recall) was compared to Star Wars, when the only thing it had in common with Star Wars was space. I loved the Kylo Ren character in this book and won't be saying anymore about him because spoilers, but honestly the world needs more villain arcs like his in stories and I'm glad that Veronica Roth actually did a decent job handling his character.

I think a good comparison to this book, actually, is THE BONE SEASON. The world building can be hokey at times but the story is addicting, albeit slow-paced. If it clicks with you and you're willing to make the effort, it becomes a world you can sink into and won't want to leave. But some people aren't going to click and others are going to be put off by the hokey weirdness, and they're going to give the book low ratings, and that is their right. I'm lucky that it clicked for me and I did find the book the effort (even though it was a slog at times). The only thing I really didn't like was the ending. I feel like so many people harped on Roth about ALLEGIANT that she went in the opposite direction with this book and actually ended up creating an ending that felt too easy, and too neat.

Overall, though, CHOSEN ONES was a really great take on the "chosen ones" stereotype and the world-building is pretty creative and original and I had a great time reading it. Anyone who enjoyed books like Animorphs or STEELHEART is probably going to enjoy this, particularly if they like hot villains and sullen heroines who are tortured by a dark past. I just realized that this is book one in a series, and I'm shocked, because it felt done, but I'm definitely curious to see where it goes from here.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!

4 to 4.5 stars
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,130 reviews39.2k followers
June 5, 2022
Here comes unpopular, booed review which will earn me a special throne at the minority kingdom. A promising YA fantasy/sci-fi, super heroes against the dark one and victory and its aftermath story from the brilliant author of Divergent franchise! So nothing can be wrong!

I cannot say I hate this book but I pushed so hard to finish it. I puffed, I sighed, I screamed and close the book, I napped, I had so many happy hour times (actually when you’re in quarantine, every hour or half an hour could make you happy! You know what I mean! Cheers!) and I fidgeted, squirmed, walked back and forth a lot. At some point finishing it turned into a mission, a task , a mandatory thing like producing hand sanitizer at your home or working on your dancing moves to burn the calories you got at your 15 times happy hours drinking.

Positive things: I liked the first part: We’re introduced to our five main characters: chosen ones who has defeated the Dark one when they were only kids and gathering together for tenth anniversary!

Sloane is the tough, badass, cool, smart, hiding behind emotional barriers, traumatized because she was one of the two kids who has been captivated by Dark One! I wish the story may have been told by her narration. It will help us to connect with the protagonist more and it could give more intimate perspective to her fight with her inner demons, her struggles to adapt in daily lives.

Sloane, Inez and Albie were my favorite characters from five chosen ones but unfortunately we say goodbye to one of them who was suffering from PTSD and drug addiction and other one got stuck in her universe.

I find Esther and Matt a little pretentious, artificial and unoriginal. Matt was the leader of the group but more than leading, he acted like popular celebrity who has great thirst for fame and spotlight and Esther was not different from her with her social media and over sharing obsession. And third person narration didn’t help us to connect with them, too.

Other irritating thing was at most part of the books characters acted, talked and behaved like teenagers but this was normal because their teenage years have been stolen and they carried a huge burden and responsibility on their shoulders which prevented them growing up like their peers have done.

I think Mox and Ziva were the other likable, badass, complex characters of the book but because of the progression of story, we couldn’t be introduced to them till the half part of the book.
Negative things: I already told about my feelings about some of the characters. I think my main problem was too slow pacing. At some parts I wanted to scream at the author to omit some parts and cut to the chase.

First part of the story: the characters’ adapting in real live after ten years later they defeated the Dark One! But did they really defeat him because his corpse has never been found?
Sloane suffers from nightmares and panic attacks, using tranquilizers. Albie mostly spends his time in Rehab because he was the other one who has been captivated and tortured by Dark One. He already lost sense of touch in his fingers! Inez turned into some kind of agoraphobic. But Matt and Esther adapts in their new lives by pretending and living a perfectly fake social media lives.

The night of tenth anniversary, Matt proposes Sloane in front of a huge audience and Sloane reluctantly says yes because she doesn’t want to humiliate her long-time boyfriend in front of his fans! Then one of them couldn’t take anymore, getting exhausted to fight against the suffering and pain, killing himself.

At the funeral ceremony, something happened and Matt, Esther and Sloane find themselves kidnapped by powerful people at the parallel universe which is the beginning of second part of the book: They have been summoned because there is another Dark One at this universe and they’re chosen to fight against him and if they don’t kill him, they will never go back to their own universes. And… that’s where I stopped telling what’s gonna happen!

But I have to admit, I liked the parallel universe’s characters more. Including Dark One and his soldiers, oh, let’s not forget the Prophet!

The ending was great and but I wish there might be more tempting cliffhanger make me wanna read the second installment. But I really liked Mox and Sloane and I’m so sure, this book was the just the introduction and I hope the author left the juiciest action packed and faster paced story-line for the second book. I still want to read it!

Overall: Ultra slow paced and boring third narration story-telling made me give 3.25 stars but I still think this was interestingly promising start and I still want to read the second installment because

I’m still die-hard fan of this author’s works and as I witnessed before her second installments are always getting better than the first ones.

Profile Image for Maryam Rz..
220 reviews2,609 followers
August 7, 2022
(4.5 ★’s)

“Please, for the love of God, don’t be one of those villains who waxes poetic about existentialist nonsense, because if you are, I really will have to cut you.”

Mary’s Tales, Part One: Interrogation by Society of Popular Attitude Maintenance (SPAM)

You’d think, having been knocked out, kidnapped, and handcuffed to a table in a cold, soulless room, my mind would be preoccupied with—I don’t know—questions, escape, even vengeance and a need to flatten the pretty nose of my kidnapper who happens to be sitting across from me.

But really, all I can think is: why does she look like plucked chicken?

The woman leans forward in her tight black dress, apparently taking my wondering gaze to mean she’s got my attention—which is not incorrect, but probably not done in the way she meant it. “Mary, do you know why you’re here?”

I think hard. “Did I kill someone you loved?” She stares. “Or did I steal something you loved?” She continues to stare. “Wait, is this about the top-secret, let’s-take-down-the-international-currency-and-set-fire-to-the-system heist we’ve got going on? Because if that’s it, I swear, we meant no disrespect. If you get me a phone I can call my lads right this moment and tell ’em to kill it, seeing as we’ve offended such respectful folks.” She is still not moving—is she okay? Did she die? No, she’s blinking. Maybe she’s fallen asleep; what do I know, people do that. “Hello? You still there?”

Thankfully, the lady finally breaks her poker-stare. “...No,” she replies, coughing, “I mean yes I am, but no that’s not it.”

“Ahhh, well sorry. You can forget everything you just heard.”

The woman sighs. “Mary, you’ve been reported as a potential victim of a mind working, meaning that you are under another’s influence and your actions are not your own.”

“Are you saying I’m outta my mind?” I look at her, shocked. “Because that actually makes a lot of sense! Thank you! How’d you figure it out?”

She eyes me suspiciously. “You were seen praising the much hated or should I say disliked book Chosen Ones by author Veronica Roth.”

I pause—what the fuck? “That’s your proof?” My glare bores into her, failing to peel her skin off. “I did not praise Chosen Ones because someone made me; I did it because I absolutely loved this book. And I loved it because it was a weird, offbeat mix of so many genres that looked at all the same old same old tales with a fresh light. I loved it because it was comically self-aware in its poking at tropes in YA Fantasy Chosen One stories, because it was impressively suspenseful with its slow mystery and carefully crafted clues embedded in attached files, and”—I feel my voice thin breathlessly—“because of how genius it was in its questioning of the identity of the true villain plus focusing on the logistics and philosophy of saving the world, its affect on society, and commentary on on what follows after the heroes do the saving.” I stop for only a breath, gulping quickly cause ain’t no way I’m letting this chick shut me up.

Chosen Ones thoroughly lured me in,” I rush to continue, “because it had so much to say and yet did not take itself too seriously in saying any of it. Because every bit of it was unabashedly real and bitterly hilarious like its main character; in other words, it was all”—yup I’m going to pass out—“thorny and unfriendly and hidden and certainly not easy or straightforward to get along with, but rewarding and complex if one does.Breathe, I order myself. My last words are barely an angry squeak, “Am I not allowed to have an opinion?”

I can’t quite figure out if the Plucked Chicken is more bewildered or concerned. “Of course you do,” she says placating. “The Society of Popular Attitude Maintenance is only here to ensure no foul play is at work.”

“You mean ensure foul play stays at work and no one stands against it.” My scowl is all teeth, my breath coming in angry wisps.

She raises her palms. “Now, now, no need to go on the offensive. All you have to do is answer a few questions to show us your state of mind and awareness of your decisions, and then you’ll be cleared.”

I groan. Well, there doesn’t seem to be another way to get out of these certainly-not-cozy handcuffs. “Fine. Shoot.”

“Fantastic!” Chicken Woman claps once and starts shuffling the documents on the desk. “How about we start with the simplest question?” She slides one of the papers across the table for me to see. It seems to be a list of remarks from other reviewers as evidence, with one question written at the top.

What Do You Have to Say About A Book Marketed As Adult That Reads Like YA?

I frown, sobering. “That question is absurd. Are we now judging the content of a book based on marketing, something that is largely out of the author’s hands?”

Plucked Lady replies sternly, “Please only answer the question. This is not a discussion, it’s an interrogation. Make sure to keep that in mind.”

Well, looks like friendly times are over now, aren’t they? “In that case, I would like to refer to another genre: New Adult. A developing genre of fiction with protagonists in the 18–30 age bracket that is similar to YA but can be published as adult because of the included content. Rather an ‘older YA’ you could say, with themes such as leaving home, developing sexuality, and negotiating education and career choices.

“And Chosen Ones, with its switching between serious commentary on life after saving the world and comedic criticism of epic YA tropes, defies the definitions of both Adult and Young Adult categories. It’s too light and juvenile to be Adult, yet too elaborate and literary to be Young Adult. It can’t fully move into one of these genres because it seeks to bridge the gap between them. So, based on the definition of my proposed genre, this book falls neatly into the NA category. The fact that publishers are reluctant to accept this genre is not the author’s—or book’s—fault.”

My kidnapper clasps her hands. “Are you implying that being NA excuses how characters close to 30 years old speak like teenagers?”

“Of course not,” I shoot back. “That is a completely different matter. I want you to imagine being taken from your home in your early teens, your sole purpose being survival from an evil being that is destroying your world. Your only thoughts and focus become fighting and escaping and magic. Now, pray tell,” I lean in, “when are you gonna have time to learn to speak and behave like an acceptable adult?”

“After saving the world? They did have 10 years,” she points out.

“10 years of PTSD and mental struggles, you mean? 10 years of trying to make up for the lost teenage years?” I shake my head. “This is the whole point of Chosen Ones—Roth is showing what it is like to save the world and live to tell the tale. No one teaches the protagonists how to live in the After because most people assume they won’t get to an After.

“In fact, this is addressed in the book itself with Sloane’s remark, ‘You know, once you hit thirty, this whole living-like-a-college-junior thing is going to be less charming and more creepy.’ Roth is not oblivious to this fact about her characters’ manners, and she deliberately did it to make their behaviours sensible considering the circumstances.” I smile. “Anything else?”

Plucked Chicken Lady purses her lips and slides me the next question.

How Were You Possibly Not Bored to Death?

I stare at the words, slightly disturbed. For a moment I feel a hopeless sense of doom because, how can anything I say even be considered by such biased people? I eat my words, of course. Despite what it seems, I actually do love my head where it is thank you very much.

“I think my answer to this question is going to be much shorter than its predecessor. I was not bored, because I was captivated.

“Yes, it’s a slow book, but that doesn’t mean nothing is happening. From page one, I was fascinated by the book/magazine/newspaper clippings, impressed by Roth’s talent to flesh out an interesting character so quickly, in love with Sloane’s bitter anger and practicality in every possible way, adoring the hilarious yet emotional look into a celebrity-ish Chosen One’s After, immersed in the suspense created by trying to decipher the clues given in the top secret files at the end of chapters, and intrigued by the philosophical and sociological musings scattered throughout the pieces and excerpts.” I twirl my fingers around, hands straining against the bindings. “Do you have your answer?”

Chicken wordlessly hands over the next piece of paper. I get the impression the bastard is not really listening anymore. Oh how I want to claw out her eyeballs—I’m speaking to save my life, pay some fucking attention.

Why Did You Like Elements of Chosen Ones Obviously Paralleling That of King of Scars, Even Though You Hated Them in the Latter?

“The problem with this question is that I did not hate those elements in King of Scars, my problem was with how they were handled. For example, in KoS Zoya acts just as brashly as Sloane does here, attacking the acolytes on the site. But while Zoya is praised as an awe-inspiring leader, Sloane is reprimanded for her irresponsibility. Their character-type is one of my all-time faves, and it’s important to note that neither is level-headed enough to be viewed as a capable leader yet.

Leigh Bardugo puts Zoya on a pedestal, so I’m inclined to tear her down. Veronica Roth tears Sloane down, so I’m inclined to put her on a pedestal. By addressing the negative feelings and neutral criticism, authors leave readers to feel as they would, not forcing their love on the reader like a fangirl and rubbing the reader the wrong way with obvious bias.

“It’s much like how I actually liked Matt in this book, even though golden boys usually annoy me. Roth pointed out all his intolerable actions, allowing me to explore my other feelings about him. It’s not about the elements themselves in a story, it’s about how they are written.”

Plucked Lady raises an eyebrow. “And what about the world-shaking twist that both books shared and upended the plot and setting? Are you saying Roth wrote it better than Bardugo?”

“No, in this case the reason the former managed it better than the latter was the nature of the twist itself. Roth had real-world science as a safety net to make her twist more sensible, while Bardugo proceeded to question her entire established fantasy world without a single safety net. That’s the difference.”

The SPAM agent stares at me and shows me the next question which, it turns out, is related.

Were You Not Confused by the Terrible Twist and Transition at the Start of Part Two?

“I was not confused because, as I said, it aligned with scientific theories I had studied, and was managed as best as it could be. I believe Roth wrote the transition beautifully, trying to make connections between before and after to give us readers a footing so we would not fall over dead.

“Yes, the starts of Parts Two and Three were akin to suddenly realising you’d been walking on the walls instead of the floor, but I actually enjoy that feeling as long as it’s not too severe and out-of-the-blue, unlike The Bone Season’s early twist was. I do wish more groundwork had been laid out for Part Two, though, and that’s one of the reasons I have not given it a full five rating.”

I catch a thoughtful look in Chicken Lady’s eyes as she passes me the last but one piece of paper.

Do You Feel Like Yourself?

“Yes, yes I do. I know I am still me because I have criticism of Chosen Ones next to the praise. One being the aforementioned lacking groundwork, and two being the handling of a change in the character and plot’s path in Part Three that I think could’ve used more oiling to be more natural; it did feel a bit forced and scratchy, that one. So yes I adored a book barely anyone did but I am me, and no one is influencing my actions because I am still level-headed and not defending it excessively, which is never my style.” I put down the paper. “What’s the last question?”

That’s when I see the remaining piece is not a question, but a form titled Patient’s Mental Assessment. And it’s blank.

It dawns on me then that none of my words mattered. Not a single one of them. No one listened, and no one cared. As the realisation hits me, I watch the woman get up and walk to the door. She speaks as she moves, “Unfortunately, based on my assessment—”

“—assess my ass you fucking hypocrite—”

“—you seem to be indeed under the influence of a mind working, and I have no choice but to confine you to the SPAM ward until the time your recovery is achieved.” She then proceeds to open the door, letting in three gigantic agents.

This is the part where I tell you about all the fight leeching away from me like a river running downhill but, sadly, I happen to be a believer in the crap about not going down without a fight so, of course, as one of them leans down and unlatches my cuffs from the table, I jerk my fists upward and into his nose (emitting a much satisfactory crunch, I must add), taking advantage of their shock to turn and land a beautiful kick to the second one’s groin and twist away from the third’s grasp.

Considering yours truly is stuck in an enclosed space with three individuals stronger and more skilled than the doomed hero of this story, I don’t see what hope any of you could reasonably have for things to progress any further, because then they have me and then they are lifting me and then they are taking me away and, honestly, what is the point of shouting?

All that is left is a plucked chicken smiling.

At the time of writing, yours magnanimously remains imprisoned in the SPAM ward, brewing an escape plan. Any attempt at rescue or help would be much appreciated.

CW: post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), addiction, suicide by overdosing, loss of loved ones

Companions: Playlist & Related Reviews

Book series playlist: Spotify URL

Books in series:
↳ Chosen Ones (The Chosen Ones, #1) ★★★★✯
Untitled (The Chosen Ones, #2) ☆☆☆☆☆
July 6, 2020
What is this about? Well, I dunno, and neither does the author.

It aggravates me how this advertises itself as deconstructive, because that'd suggest at least a grain of original thought, and this novel has none (false advertising, I should sue). Suuure, it's a "deconstruction", but that's a plastic veneer of creativity over what is patently an uncreative novel. I don't want to be hateful, but this was thirteen hours of regurgitated rubbish and oh-gods-not-this-bullshit-again, so…. yeah. I'm feeling the hate.

“Please, for the love of God, don’t be one of those villains who waxes poetic about existentialist nonsense, because if you are, I really will have to cut you,” she said.

See, the problem is this, this lampshading. It tries, oh, it tries, to be intelligent, but it isn't. It points out tropes, pats itself for being "realistic", but stupidly, ineptly trips into a pitfall of those same tropes. Ugh. You can't, can't fault something for what it is while being guilty of the same fault.
And let me say, the author's vision for this novel is very, very confusing and unfocused—at times, it's gritty and realistic (or it tries to be), at times, it's nonsensically silly. I'm not convinced of what the author wanted for this, but it was... not what I wanted.
Now, what did I want? I wanted psychological portrayals of people and relationships. I wanted a deeper layer to all of it. But, no siree bob. The narrative is so oblivious to what it is and what it should be—and it all becomes a whole lot of eh. People are dead, eh. The world is ending, eh.

As for the plotting. Oh, the plotting. It's messy, off-putting and painfully amateurish. What pitiful spurts of plot progression there are, are all lost within pages of, uh… oh, that's right, nothing.
All I'm saying is that, there's slow, and there's, well, wasting time.
(Thirteen goddarn hours of wasting time.)


note: first time reading veronica roth and let me say, if this is her "adult fantasy", i'm not too inclined to read her ya, don't at me
June 30, 2022
Everything I hoped it would be and more!

I am a bit surprised at some of the low reviews I have seen, because I thought this was utterly fantastic. I loved so much about it and right at this moment I can’t think of one part of this book I didn’t like. I was a bit afraid when I saw there is a second book in the works that it would end on a huge cliffhanger and I would hate the ending but there was no cliffhanger.

I can’t imagine where the next book will go but without a big cliffhanger it could really go anywhere. Especially with they way that it encompasses string theory and magic. It could start with a similar occurrence somewhere else, or it could start with our same people from this book coming up against another big evil. This is my hope because I loved all the Chosen Ones in this book.

I am trying to think of how much I can put in this review without giving things away. I read the book without reading any reviews and I probably liked it more because I didn’t know what was going to happen. So I will do my best to give some background information without giving away anything that is great to learn as you read.

This story, like the blurb states is about five heroes. They were brought together as part of a prophecy when they were children and trained to fight The Dark One. The Dark One is a person that is killing thousands of people at at time using some form of magic to create these drains. The drain is similar to a tornado or hurricane surrounding him that sucks everything nearby into its path. It blows buildings apart and sucks all the people nearby into it and they are torn apart piece by piece.

The prophecy allows the government to search out and find different candidates or kids who fit a certain criteria where they might be the Chosen One. Criteria like blood type, the fact that they had a brother and father that died and have a different last name than their mother. The book is mostly told from the point of view of one of the five chosen, Sloane Andrews and takes place ten years after the Chosen Ones defeated the Dark One.

Sloane was found when she was a pre-teen by the government agency (ARIS) Agency for the Research and Investigation of the Supranormal. She was trained along with the other Chosen Ones by a guy named Bert (not his real name) and the chosen ones fought the Dark One many times before finally defeating him.

The Chosen Ones are famous for saving the world and treated like celebrities, with paparazzi following them, people asking for autographs and mobbing them when they go out. It is hard for Sloane because she only wants to be left alone. Sloane lives with Matt, another of the Chosen Ones and they have been in a relationship since just after the Dark One was defeated. The other Chosen Ones include Ines, who currently lives platonically with Albie (also a Chosen One). They all live in Chicago, but the final Chosen One, Esther lives in California where she takes care of her mother with Cancer and works as a social media darling.

At the ten year anniversary of the defeat, they are gathered together to attend the unveiling of a Memorial to those lives taken by the Dark One. One of them dies not long after that and the rest of them gather again at the memorial for the funeral.

The book uses flashbacks quite a bit, showing times they fought against the Dark One and before that as well. It also uses Internal communications from ARIA that Sloane requested as part of the the freedom of information act. There are also articles that have been written in the press that are used. I like this because these things are great for giving an alternate view of the occurrences as well as additional information the reader needs to understand the background that may or may not have been known to Sloane.

I don’t want to say anything else because that would give too much away that is fun to learn as you read. But I loved this book! It has magic which is akin to superpowers, it has magical objects, it has heroes and villains, intense relationships, difficult choices and more. I was enthralled throughout. This is one of those books that just takes you away into another world and gets you. I laughed and cried and can’t wait until the next book.

I voluntarily read & reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,386 reviews11.8k followers
June 20, 2020
This wasn't as bad as I'd thought it would be. But not as good as it could have been. It's just... there was no good plot in this book.

I actually liked the tone of this novel - Sloane’s PTSD-laced, depressing voice worked for me well. In fact, I wanted to read about people getting over their trauma of carrying the burden of saving the whole world on their young shoulders. The psychology of this was interesting to me (and many other authors who had explored this before; I have a huge issue with anyone who thinks this premise is original). 10 years after defeating the Dark One, Sloane and her 4 co-heroes are trying to make peace with their past and survive. There are glimpses of their past heroic acts and fights with their magical nemesis, and, for me, that they were only hinted at, was what I liked the best. I didn't want to go into the nitty-grippy of the magic acts, because they weren't what this story was about. Or so I thought. Even though the narrative was slow, I didn't mind being in Sloane's head. I was curious where this would all go.

But... the story went to a parallel, magic-filled world, and everything that I was interested in - examination of trauma, relationships among people bound by their shared heavy past, exploitation of the Chosen Ones - dissolved into a predictable, uninteresting fight with the BIG BAD. None of the world building was inventive, the magic was slightly ridiculous (siphons and whistles and magical breaths?), the villain boring, and ... overall the whole thing was tame and uninspired.

When you choose to write such a stock plot, you gotta have vibrant characters, and there weren't any really. Sloane was fine, and the Kylo Ren-like fella kept me turning pages. (There should have been a dedication or at least some thanks to Adam Driver somewhere in this tome.) But ultimately, Chosen Ones was slow and forgettable. See, it already faded in my mind. Will I read the sequel? Nah. I don't think Roth will take here characters anywhere interesting.

People who complained that this wasn't a truly adult book, are not wrong. Ultimately, possible adult, mature topics that could have been explored here, were dropped to give way to your regular YA plot tropes.

The audio production of this novel is quite spectacular. If you liked Illuminae, you should give this a try.
I won't lie, I am only going to check this out because I saw someone say there is a Kylo Ren-type character in this book. Bring on the angst and tantrums!

#intergalacticthirsttrap #hornyspacehamlet (thanks, Dana Stevens.)
Profile Image for Frank-Intergalactic Bookdragon.
528 reviews205 followers
January 21, 2021
"Better to be honest than profound."

Wow, these concepts are amazing!

And that's about it.

Seriously, there are so many interesting ideas in here. Like what do chosen ones do after they fulfill destiny? How would magical powers being discovered in contemporary times effect society? There are also a lot of intriguing fantasy and sci-fi concepts that would make great stories if given room to breath.

This isn't a very long book and it's jammed with a few too many concepts that are disconnected, so although interesting, none of them really get time to shine. It is like being offered a taste test of various foods but not a whole meal.

I ordered a dissection of the chosen ones story, but that plotline is forgotten about by the second act in favor of a million other concepts. It's just like how Allegiant (it's 2021, I can spoil Allegiant, right?) completely forgot about the war between factions a third of the way through and started focusing on a completely new conflict.

Though unlike Allegiant, I actually preferred the new plotline. When I say I was close to DNFing during part one, I mean I had an entire DNF review typed out and uploaded, I just never hit the 'save' button because I was morbidly curious to see what the actual plot was.

That first part felt like walking through molasses. It was mind numbly boring, the characters had zero chemistry, and not a single one of them acted like actual human beings. There wasn't really much character study beyond 'PTSD...is a thing that exists.' Would be interesting to see something deeper like what do you do when the trauma you've been through is something that no one else has been through, like defeating a dark lord? Or what do you do when you peaked as a teenager? What about what it's like for your teenagehood to be robbed so you can become a soldier? It's not that these topics are never touched on, it's that they're only touched upon, like a light tap. Forgotten before they even get to shine in favor of a whole bunch of dull, mundane scenes.

After the first part ends, we are thrown into an unexpected fantasy plot that's a bit more generic, but hey at least something happens in it. This is where all the different fantasy aspects are thrown around that probably needed a separate book to be properly explored. But that's the book I'd rather read.

The characters are also a bit better in the second two thirds, not great and most of them keep the personality of a wet piece of bread, but a few have glimmers of goodness. The lead, Sloane, delivers a little bit of dark snark and there is an attempt to make her somewhat morally ambiguous. She's still a good person (and considerably bland), but I enjoyed how she was allowed to make mistakes, to misjudge things, and to not be praised by every character besides the antagonist. She is an improvement from the blank slate that was Tris in Divergent.

Overall I would say this book is an improvement from the Divergent trilogy, but that is not a high bar to pass. The world building is fantasy based as opposed to Divergent's science based world, making suspension of disbelief a whole lot easier. It still often forgets about it's plot, but at least the tangents it follows are mildly interesting. The politics make more sense, I mean who actually believes something like Divergent's factions could actually happen? But I have no problem believing the government would turn literal children into soldiers without any care for them as people. (Kind of a shame that's one of the dropped plotlines.)

I also found the romantic subplot to be slightly enjoyable. It's a pretty small portion of the story and if I went through the book to find which subplots I would drop to make the story more focused it would be one of the first to go. But I liked how it wasn't the main character's first love and it felt like what Reylo could've been if the Star Wars writers allowed Rey to have a hint of personality and Kylo an ounce of moral ambiguity.

This book is like a dead camp fire with some embers of goodness. And after four books, I think it's time I give up on Veronica Roth's work. I have nothing against her as a person (I don't even know much about her) (I also have no opinion on the Carve the Mark scandal because that happened right before I got into the book community and I have never read nor intend on reading CaM). I just haven't vibed with any of her stories, I don't think I'd even vibe with the first Divergent anymore.

I'm disappointed, but not surprised.

Prereview August 2018
After the train wreck Allegiant and skipping Carve the Mark this better be good, I still have faith in Veronica Roth because Divergent (and only book one) was so good
Profile Image for Debra .
2,198 reviews34.9k followers
July 13, 2020
Patience....this took patience.....and then some.....

This was an awfully slow build for me - at parts I felt way to slow and I do think I would have enjoyed this book more with a little more editing. But that is just me. I am finding that lately I do not have the patience for books with a slow build. That really is a case of it is me and not the book but then again...

Veronica Roth has created a fresh new world with her characters dealing with PTSD 10 years after saving the world from the Dark One. All the characters -Sloane, Matt, Ines, Albie, and Esther are unique. After one of them dies, they learn that what they thought was over, something happens at the funeral and then....

The Pros of this book for me were how she showed the effects of trauma on the characters. PTSD symptoms are not a one size fits all; the individual characters (some you will like, some you will root for, some will annoy you, etc.); the imaginative parallel universe; the magic, and of course, the action.

The slowness was a big Negative for me. I know that she needed time to develop her characters, to build their world, to create the story and set this book up for the next book to come. For me, the first half started good, then became slow and about halfway through I got into the book but again, this was work and it took me 19 days to read this. That is a long time for me. I just found other books more interesting and well - less work – making them easier to read. I found myself reading passages and having to re-read them again due the story line. I am not a big reader of fantasy, but I appreciated her imagination and creativity in crafting all the elements in this book. She had a lot going on. I do think that this series shows promise. I do believe the next book will move at a much faster pace.

Will I pick up the next book? Ultimately yes because my curiosity has been piqued.

Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
683 reviews1,050 followers
October 13, 2021
This was a really weird mish mash of genres. I started losing interest just as the really complex stuff started happening and by the end I don’t even really know what happened 🤷‍♀️

“I don’t have many rules to live by…but ‘when a murderous psychopath tells you to do something, don’t do it’ is absolutely one of them.”

I loved the concept behind this! What happens after the evil has been defeated? How do the heroes cope?

Sloane, Albie, Esther, Ines and Matthew are the 5 ‘Chosen Ones’. 10 years ago they defeated the dark one and have spent those years dealing with the aftermath.
Sloane is the main character, she is angry all the time and struggling with PTSD from the suffering inflicted on her by the dark one.

After one of the five dies, the remaining 4 end up transported to a parallel universe. A universe where the dark one may still be wreaking havoc.

It was a good concept, and I liked Sloane’s character a lot. But I feel like this tried to be too many things. It had everything from magic to other dimensions and I’m not sure it knew whether it was supposed to be fantasy or Sci-fi.

I enjoyed the beginning, but as it went on and everything became weirder and more complex I got lost and so did my interest.

3 stars ⭐️


I didn’t love the Divergent trilogy and I’ve not picked up Carve the Mark yet but I’m still adding this 😊 First Leigh Bardugo now Veronica Roth - time to see some YA authors tackle the adult genre!
Profile Image for Paige.
152 reviews286 followers
April 7, 2020
"Sometimes Sloan wondered if the world had been worth saving."

Sloan's character really was the redeeming factor for this novel. She was coated in an assortment of layers and I was never exactly sure what she would do next. I didn't really care about her, but she was the only character I felt like I knew since the other characters were underdeveloped.

The story progressed like a herd of turtles. Once one thing was over the group of Chosen Ones would move on to something else while meandering about their day to day business. I wasn't exactly sure the direction the story was going until over halfway through the book.

Part One (p.1-121): Since the beginning picks up in the aftermath of events that are (at this point) unknown to the reader, a lot of the beginning was a little confusing about exactly what had happened. You pick up pieces here and there throughout Part One about what happened to them 10 years when they defeated the Dark One. Other than trying to figure out what happened 10 years ago, it's mainly about their lives and relationships with each other since defeating the Dark One a decade ago. Part 2 (p.123-284): Something happens, and it's exciting. What a tease!...Because halfway through, it gets back to that slow crawl again. The group learns magic...and I got so bored all over again. Part 3 (p.285-419): Stays at a slow-moderate pace until the ending twist. Can't tell you the rest.

I was happy with the ending, which is set up nicely for a sequel. The ending did answer a lot of my questions. Things started to come together, but getting there in a reasonable and timely fashion was backbreaking.

This is a YA book through and through. But it's marked as adult. Nevertheless...I enjoy YA novels, but this one wasn't for me. Without Sloan's character, I would have thrown in the towel. While the characters are supposed to be adults, they talk and act like teenagers. I didn't picture them as adults at all. The only trait solidifying them as adults was their age.

This was an okay read. I won this in a Goodreads giveaway.
Profile Image for Bibliophile.
7 reviews7 followers
October 22, 2020
It's no surprise that the blurb of this book mentions Roth is the author of the Divergent series because there's nothing else really noteworthy about it. It should be a fun book. It sounds like a fun book. Five teenagers defeated the Dark One - and that's all there was to it. They were beloved worldwide, seen as idols, when in reality they just wanted to go back to somewhat normal lives after the trauma that came with saving the world.

It's true so many series wrap things up in a neat bow. Your favourite ship probably got married, someone mildly important probably died. This book is an the continuation of What Happens After - basically the Harry Potter epilogue plus depression and minus the happy family. It's such a good idea, I was wondering why I hadn't seen it done before. Then I read this and it quickly became clear why.

Sloane, our main character, was definitely interesting. Since defeating the Dark One, she's plagued with PTSD and panic attacks. Unlike two of her teammates, who have become social media stars, she's paranoid and trapped in the past. She is the example of what this book was going for, the gritty reality of dealing with something that tremendous. But what the book was aiming for, it didn't achieve.

The most off-putting thing of the book was how unsure of its tone it was. It's been marketed as NA, which a slew of YA authors are turning to now but it really didn't warrant it. The book sounds like YA, is written like YA. Our twenty-somethings still walk, talk and act like teenagers and here's the tricky part - maybe it's because they've suffered so much and they've never had a chance to grow up so they're stuck that way - or maybe it's because Roth typically writes YA and characters with quips and angst are much easier to sell than worn out adults.

It didn't help so much of this book dragged. And when it gets interesting, the tone flips! It goes from at least trying to be realistic to cheesy and running amok with YA tropes. And, it's oh so pretentious. Roth tried to explore the aftermath, and that means dissing her own choices. Like the Dark One being called the Dark One or villainous monologues. If this is supposed to be the "real world", these things would've never happened! The book smugly brushes off tropes, while being filled with tropes itself. It's why I was left utterly confused by a lot of it. What exactly was Roth trying to say if she undoes her messages at other times?

To summarise it, the book starts off as what I conceived it to be about. Five, trauma ridden adults trying to move on with their lives after saving the world. Then the middle chunk just blends together as NA and YA, and from there you could pretty much call it YA. When Part 2 happens, it definitely picks up, but I think my biggest realisation, was why would I be interested in this story?

Like I said, it sounds cool on paper, but the reason why we want to read the "What Happens After" is because we've followed those characters for years and love them. Here, the endless, miserable internal monologue proved uninteresting because Sloane and her teammates journey was foreign to me. For example, I want to know what happens after The Deathly Hallows because I love Harry Potter and the world he lives in (no, The Cursed Child does not exist.) But here, I had no attachment and when the chemistry and action picks up, by then it was too late. The book was too mind-numbing and forgettable before that and nothing invested me in staying with it.

I can't say the ending didn't pique my interest because it did and I want to see where it goes, but if the following book continues with the same wishywashy mix of YA/NA, pretentiousness, and is just another slog, I think it'll probably be a miss for me.
Profile Image for Angelica.
805 reviews1,066 followers
Want to read
April 15, 2020
After the raging dumpster fire that was Allegiant, I'm afraid to read this. But also...I kinda want to??

I guess we'll see.
Profile Image for Alexandra Elend Wolf.
533 reviews252 followers
September 28, 2020
Can I give it 100 stars? Because that's how many it deserves.

“She had lived half her life wanting only one thing – to save the world – and the other half wanting to be left alone, which was almost the same thing as wanting nothing at all. She didn’t know what it was like to desire something between those two extremes. She wasn’t sure she was even capable of it.”

Do you ever look at a book and know, just know that it's gonna be a book that you love deep down to your bones? That it's gonna be something unique, great, special? That, from cover to cover, it will change you? That is exactly what happened with this book.

I saw it first months and moths before it was ever published and I knew that I was gonna love it. I just had this primal feeling about it. I was, however, not ready to just how deep it went.

One thing that just keeps impressing me is the way Roth's writing keeps improving with every book she writes. The beautifully deep and resourceful way she wrote Chosen Ones is just down-right breathtaking and stunning.

Every single detail of it was like falling in love all over again. From the characters to the worldbuilding and the deep, intense, food-for-thought details that littered it.

“I know, about the rage that takes over when you think about someone. About the rage that changes you.”

The chosen one trope is something that, at this point, has me a bit tired. I mean, YA fantasy does it quite a bit and after a while, it loses its impact. I don't hate it or anything, it just doesn't have the same impact anymore.

Regardless, Roth's spin in the story, starting 10 years after the chosen ones won, was certainly a most intriguing concept. She handled it masterfully and with all the deep emotional trauma you would have expected and wanted for such a topic.

The main pull for me was exactly that, the emotional drama that I would enjoy. It's just something I enjoy quite a lot. It delivered it way better than anything I could have thought. Maturely and realistically and layered. After all, what's more difficult, winning against the big bad or living after everything is done? Is life just perfect after surviving one trial?

Seen from multiple perspectives we can see many sides of the same story. How, after all, the children grow up, go on after, but they can never be the same as they once were, and what it all entails.

“They all had their own way of relating to magic, and hers was with craving, and seeking, and understanding. She knew the device, and the device knew her.”

Then came the sides that I was not expecting. The ones that blew me away and filled me with wonder and awe and magic. The unexpected ones that were sweeter than honey.

It's not just a deeply emotional book full of layers and heart and rawness that is driven by the characters. No, it is also wickedly smart and well built.

Seriously, this is something that I probably liked even more than I did everything I was expecting. The dashes of philosophical questions and propositions that made me stop dead on my tracks and re-read and re-read until I could fully understand the magnitude of everything. The sociological conundrums that drove a bigger force forward and shaped everything. The softly springled physics and quantum sciences that made me go wild in a most sensible way.

I was expecting something dramatic and heartbreaking but ended up getting something that was much more. Something that ran deep and dug, dug, dug, and expanded and built up, up, up until it felt vast and otherwordly. Until it was stuck in my bones as much as it was stuck in my heart.

“Now, now. Even the dark things of this world are Chosen. It’s not a badge of honor. If anything, it’s like a blinking arrow that says ‘Kill me!’”

All the characters were so incredibly amazing. With so many layers and shades and sides that you just kept peeling away. All so natural and with a connection that ran deeper than everything they went through together.

My favorite, of course, was Sloane. She is just the most badass and straightforward person and I love her hard edges and fierce sharpness. Every time, it was a delight to see her acting and, just, thinking. She is all the things that you're probably not supposed to be but that are important and necessary to acknowledge.

Don't take me wrong, each and every one of the characters in the cast is so incredibly interesting and intriguing and I loved them all in different ways and for vastly different reasons. But none of them will quite hold a candle to my girl Sloane.

I'm pretty sure she moved to one of my favorite-female-characters slots and I'm really glad.

The book is NOT character-driven. It has a lot of plot and things going on for it, but they do influence it quite heavily and take a lot of the weight on themselves.

“Perhaps there is no truth to the ancient legends at all. But perhaps there has always been a supranormal force, a little understood energy, that intrudes upon our world.”

Another wonderful aspect of this book is the creative and resourceful way it is told in.

Sometimes, it is all about the way you present the information you are offering and how you deliver the news. Roth found just the perfect way to do it that would fit in her story to enhance and amplify every single detail. That would add dept and mystery and be the perfect way to clarify and drop clues through the book.

The little experts from those Top Security Transcripts kept me on my toes at the same time that it woke my inner detective. Sure, she could have given the same information in about a dozen other ways but they would have never been right for the story.

And they really do just steal all the attention.

I cannot imagine how difficult and fun it must have been to piece them together in the right order, but I must say that I LIVED for the moments when one appeared - and there are quite a lot of them sprinkled through the book - and impart its wisdom and mystery upon me.

“All the most powerful things she knew were also destructive unless diluted in some way.”

The plot and plot-twists are just as cohesively amazing as all the other aspects of this wonderful and brilliant book.

There were so many moments when all I could do was stop dead in my tracks and rewind because I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING and I was just too shocked to function for a while. Because I needed to piece something together and verify that the information my brain had so helpfully stored up, was correct and straight. Because I was been stripped down and built back up with every word and with every twist.

So, when the end came, I was ready to confront it with everything I had. Which turned out to be slightly off but mostly spot on.

It was incredibly satisfying and jaw-dropping even though I already kind of knew what was gonna have to happen. It delivered into everything with force and made it even more epic and layered and complex that I dared hope it would be.

“Either way, we’ll carry it. We always do.”

Above all, the most important aspect of this book is centered around friendship and just how strong it can be. How important it is. How unbreakable and immortal it is.

It delivered in every and gave me about a thousand percent more than I expected. It didn't give me any other option more than to love it wildly and fiercely. It was fated in the stars and it had to happen.

Seeing everything that still needs to happen in the next book is something that has me really intrigued and excited. I can only assume that Roth will create another masterpiece that will amaze me and that it will be even better than this one - if patterns hold up.

“They all fell together like a house of cards, just barely holding each other upright.”



“No. You and me and Esther and Ines… we’re bound for life. It’s like a marriage. Better or worse. Sickness and health…”

- Sloane Andrews: What a badass queen. Fierce and strong-willed, Sloane, is positively the most interesting person to be telling us this story. Shaped by the cruelty of the world from a young age she has not been able to completely out-run the cruelty and darkness inside her soul. She’s smart, resourceful, and independent. I love her completely unapologetic nature and blunt personality. The revelation that cruelty and kindness can co-exist was the most satisfying driving force she could have offered us.
- Mox Micah Oliver Kent Shepherd / The Resurrectionist: A survivor through and through. Cocky and confident, kind and passionate, loyal, and ruthless; he will do what needs to be done to fulfill his fate. The most powerful magic user to date. Formed by the losses and betrayals of his youth he is one of the most interesting characters. A good heart and good intentions aren’t always conducive to pretty, gentle things happening.
- Matthew "Matt" Weekes: Commanding and brave. He always tries to do the right thing. Driven and trying to see the best in everyone, he can be a bit condescending and idealistic, blinding himself to reality and what is right in front of him. Ultimately, he is loyal and loves his family and will work for everything he wants in life.
- Esther "Essy" Park: She doesn’t has any troubles with telling things as they are and doesn’t waste time being gentle. Has an impeccable sense of fashion and a capacity to adapt that serves her well. She may be rough but she will always have your back.
- Albert "Albie" Summers: Brave and quiet. He deserved better than he got. One moment of braveness can change the course of history forever. His death after a life of struggles was the saddest thing that happened. He is a true inspiration.
- Ines Mejia: Dependable and a bit paranoiac, she loves fiercely. Honestly? I feel a bit bad for her since she missed most of the book, but I really liked what little I saw.
- Nero The Dark One Dalche: Ambitious, controlled, over-confident. Driven by his ambition and ego he traded a world for eternity; and eternity for death. His disregard for anyone and anything that doesn’t serve his purpose reminds me strongly of a sociopath. He set himself onto a goal and did EVERYTHING in his power – and beyond it – to accomplish it.
- Aelia Haddox: Praetor of the Council of Cordus and Tribune of the Second Army of Flickering. Manipulative and ready to do what she must to protect her world. She sells her soul to the devil – not literally – in order to keep everyone alive. I cannot believe that she ever wanted anything other than to survive and save her world… even if she went about it in all the wrong ways cornered by terrible circumstances.
- Sybil The Prophet : What’s better than a prophet that hates prophecies and magic? No one. Sybil has a lot of spunk and sass and a very unapologetic nature that is most delightful to witness. Don’t let her fool you, as expected from someone with her titles she is very wise and knowledgeable… even if the way she delivers it is blunt.
- Robert “Bert” Evan Kowalczyk Robertson: Curious and with a thirst for knowledge that is out of reach to most people, Bert goes to great lengths to be able to satisfied his needs. Layered and caring. Even though we don’t really get all that much of him it was clear that he is complicated. He cared about his wards at the same time that he was ready to make them do what was needed. Can love and duty mingle and co-exist?
- Ziba: Brave and loyal, she gave her life to a fight that took and took and took. A great friend, one that is to be cherished, and a good soldier. She knew when to follow orders, when to advise, and when to set straight. Her love and friendship of Mox were truly beautiful and heartbreaking. Some things are worth giving your life for, and your afterlife as well.

“All together, they had not been great wielders of magic, but they had been like the fingers of a hand moving to make a fist.”

“They all fit together in different ways, knew different pieces of each other best.”


That. Was. SO. Much. Better. Than. I. Thought. It. Could. Be.

I don't have words enough right now to even express myself other than unintelligible sounds of pain and awe and anxiety. My brain is mush. I love it so much.

One thing I'm completely sure about is that this one is already in my favorites shelf.


I am so ready to read this book.

I've literally waited months on end to be able to pick it up - thank you delivery system in the middle of a pandemic - and add to that the months of anxious waiting before it was published... well, it's been a long time coming.

To say I'm excited is not saying enough. I'm pumped, thrilled, ecstatic, and beyond words to be able to finally get into a book that promises to be dark and mess with my mind and confuse me in all the best ways.

And if it also has a really nice soin to the chosen one trope, well, that is just the bait I need.
Profile Image for Anissa.
67 reviews892 followers
April 17, 2020
Just gonna leave this gif here.
Profile Image for ✨ Helena ✨.
365 reviews959 followers
June 22, 2020
I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, courtesy of NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

So...I started off REALLY liking this...AT FIRST. Then, my enthusiasm for it just lost steam. I think it may be because I've been swamped lately, but I felt no inclination to pick this up, unlike the other books on my currently reading pile, so I think that's evidence enough that I wasn't too keen on the book.

I really enjoyed the premise, from this mix of sci-fi and fantasy (think X-men meets magic) to the unlikable heroine that I genuinely ended up liking, I truly thought that this would be a new favourite. However, it appears that it was not meant to be.

I'd also like to remark that it seems to be written as an NA book, not adult, because these characters do not act like 30-year olds...more like immature uni students.

The main problem of the book, however, was the plot pacing, which was ATROCIOUS. First of all, the book is split up into three distinct parts, which could easily be turned into three separate books. Part one was reallllly slow, part two was reallllly confusing, and things finally picked up in part three, but by that point, my interest in the book had waned, unfortunately.

For the record, it's not a poor book. In fact, AS I WAS READING, I really enjoyed it. But the minute I set it down, I forgot it existed and didn't give it a second thought. I also most likely shan't be picking up the sequel. :/ I'd say to give it a go if you like the "what happens after the HEA" kinds of books.
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,371 reviews1,834 followers
April 7, 2020
I'm going to start by saying I like the Chosen One trope. I do. And I also really like the post-Chosen-One-now-what-the-fuck-happens trope. I find the former is done a lot better than the latter (though we haven't had that many) but this might've been the best post-Chosen story I've read so far. I think.

There is a lot of really interesting, and quality, content in Roth's tale. The plot definitely keeps you guessing, too, as while the tone doesn't really change, the context and angle does. And also, like, the setting? Things went to a strange place around the halfway mark (maybe earlier, can't remember) and at first I really wasn't a fan.. and then it clicked. What didn't quite work for me was the motivation or, I guess, reason for a certain character and/or plot, but the concept of it, the bare bones structure, was pretty great.

I definitely think this is going to be book that either works or doesn't work for readers. The characters aren't easy to love (or like) and the plot shifts gears — sideways, upside down, backwards — but there are definitely shining moments in both the telling of the story as well as the processing of the grief and trauma and uncertainty of surviving something so beyond comprehension. It feels very true for a lot of us; we survive life to a certain point and then hit that wall of, “now what?”. The only difference is the average body doesn't hit that wall after defeating a dark magical being. But there are glimpses of hope, of being known, of being understood, despite it all.

I will say that, for an adult story, I don't feel the characters read their supposed age (thirty). Early twenties I would've believed, definitely. But, honestly, had you redacted the on-page stating of how old they were supposed to be and handed me this book? I would've guessed YA.

So, there you have it. Roth's first adult novel is interesting, creative, and not hard to put down, but not easy, either. But despite it all, not as close to great as I hoped it might be. I have no idea what to expect from book two, particularly as I felt this wrapped really well, but I will pick it up for sure.

** I received an ARC from Edelweiss and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **


This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.
Profile Image for Sara.
1,056 reviews352 followers
April 21, 2020
ARC received in exchange for an honest review ⚡

'Nobody ever prepared me for what came after. They just assumed I would never find out.'

This is the story of what happens after the evil is defeated and the Chosen One goes back to a normal life. A life they perhaps didn't ever think they would have, a normality they can't accept. Its been ten years since Matt, Albie, Esther, Ines and Sloane were picked out from a prophecy as the 'Chosen Ones' and vanquished the destroyer known as the 'Dark One'. None of them has returned to a happy life, but its Sloane who seems to be suffering the most. Ten years of PTSD, ten years of putting her life on hold and ten years of wondering if the Dark One is really dead. So when she hears a whisper on the wind from a lost loved one, she accepts the call and enters into a new destiny.

This pleasantly surprised me. Veronica Roth has never really been a author high up on my list of 'must reads' but the premise for this really pulled me in. To explore a world and its characters after the inevitable battle is won is fascinating, and Roth manages to create an incredibly interesting protagonist in Sloane. She's a reluctant hero, one who hadn't necessarily chosen the path she walks, and she's deeply unhappy. She has everything you think she could want - a loving boyfriend who cares for her deeply, a close knit group of friends, fame... but she doesn't want any of it. Or doesn't think she deserves any of it. She's secretive, selfish, manipulative and deeply unlikeable at the start of the story and as a result her judgements and decisions are questionable. Her character comes across as very morally grey, constantly playing that fine line between morality and what turns a hero into a villain. However I do think some people reading this will struggle to form an emotional connection with Sloane, especially given that this is written on the third person narrative, which makes it feel as though we never really see all of Sloane's personality.

I found the other characters a little underwhelming compared to Sloane, and I think that's because we see very little of them in comparison. The writing relies heavily on Sloane being our main lead, with the other 'Chosen' feeling a lot like a supporting cast in Sloane's journey. Esther feels a little like a characateure, a one dimensional lover of fashion and social media- although I want to feel that she's more like a chameleon who can effortlessly fit in anywhere. Matt I feel ie the most underused and underdeveloped. He's the stereotypical hero, too good for Sloane. Too nice. Too bland. Mox is a more interesting character, although again I felt I didn't learn enough about him to really connect to his plight.

I also really enjoyed the overall concept of this. The first part of the books centres on the tenth anniversary of the demise of the 'Dark One' and how our heroes are coping. The book then shifts in narrative to encompass a parallel world plot device that I personally loved, taking us into a different dimension which is similar but not the same as our own world. At some point in time there's been a diverging of the worlds, which has led to the presence of magic. Interspersed throughout the main story we have snippets of articles and journal entries hat explain what has happened in the run up to the Dark One being defeated, as well as some history about our new world and its inhabitants. I do think that at times the world building was a little lacking, as I never really fully understood the magical system and the way it worked, however this didn't interfere with my overall enjoyment of the plot. I got the main jist of it, and was compelled to know what happened.

The pacing is also generally good, although I did feel that it petered out towards the end and limped into a rather underwhelming final battle. I felt like we didn't get enough answers to the many, many questions that arise from this new and damaged world and a number of threads are left dangling. I also would have liked to have seen more of Sybil. Her character feels very much like a plot device to drive some of the characters together and provide a bit of an 'info dump'. I feel she definitely could have been utilised better.

For someone who regularly reads 'chosen one' tropes in books, this was an interesting and different take on the idea. For the most part it manages to pull off an ambition, world bending story with intricate characters and complex relationships. Compelling stuff and I'm looking forward to seeing where the story goes.
Profile Image for Tina ➹ Woman, Life, Freedom.
384 reviews396 followers
Shelved as 'ebook-tbr'
March 22, 2020
WHY didn't I know of THIS!?
After Carve the Mark Roth been one of my favourite authors; I know many people didn't like it, but I really enjoyed it. though I feel the Divergent vibes over this than a space sci-fi, I must wait & see. (I liked Divergent too.)
I hope this book doesn't let me down. *finger crossed*

P.s. I really don't like cover... even though it is the shade of blue I love, but it's so simple :(
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
125 reviews82 followers
June 29, 2020
When the world is on the precipice of destruction, a rag-tag group of special teenagers come together to defeat the Dark One and save the world. When they triumph and the dust settles, where exactly do the successive years of peace leave these now adult saviors? Veronica Roth’s Chosen Ones explores the psychological aftermath of being the chosen heroes...10 years later.

Now famous adults, five Chosen Ones must cope with the scarring experiences of their past. Matthew Weekes is using his fame as a jumping board for social activism on hot-button issues. Esther is now an instagram influencer. Albie and Ines and Sloane, the main character, are still grappling with the violence and fear left by their battles with the Dark One, leaving them depressed or traumatized. All five have needed anxiety meds or therapy sessions to handle the PTSD-inducing situation of defeating an all-powerful, evil villain as teens.

Chosen Ones had so much potential for a dark and fascinating psychological exploration about the “what comes next” in the world of YA magic. I can’t count how many YA books I have read about the special one(s) destined to defeat some evil villain. It’s a time-tested and beloved story, but I was ready to discover how those teens would live their lives in a now “peaceful” world. At the end, Harry Potter and his friends had jobs and kids (which I was satisfied with) but that’s just a present wrapped with a shiny bow. In all likelihood, the kind of severe and intense rollercoaster of action and danger in youth would have much darker effects on an adult’s psyche.

Unfortunately, Roth didn’t execute this as well as I would’ve liked. The writing is nowhere near offensive, but the internal monologue of Sloane felt childish. I never really believed she was a 30-something-year-old woman, and that perception only worsened as the book progressed. Though we initially get little in the way of world-building, I actually did not mind the blurry rendering of the past, revealed only in small flashbacks or newspaper excerpts and classified documents from the government. In lieu of large scope, I wanted to dig deep into the mindscape of a grown-up Chosen One. Instead, the novel jarringly shifted to a new plot development which made for a tonally asymmetric read. While the pacing of the novel sped up along the way, it was at the expense of interesting character exploration and logical semantics for magical reality.

Really, a missed opportunity here. The characters could have been memorable, but they ultimately stayed one-dimensional, sacrificed for a direction change in the plot that I did not welcome. I don’t think I’ll be continuing on with this series, even though there are strings untied at the conclusion.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
176 reviews
April 15, 2020
I decided to read Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth because like most people, I'd heard of/enjoyed the Divergent series. Although this is marketed as an adult fantasy, it has moments where it reads more like a YA sci-fi.
Most of the time, I must admit, this book is hella slow. The action scenes are great, but they are few and far between. The world building is fantastic however, especially in part 2 of the book. I think my one slight gripe is that this almost reads like two seperate books in one (part 2 comes so out of the blue that it took me a couple of chapters to get my head around it).
However, overall it was a great read and I loved the lead character who really made the book for me.
Profile Image for Pauline.
736 reviews
February 22, 2020
Ten years ago five young people were identified as the Chosen Ones and were sent on a mission to destroy a evil force they called The Dark One.
Their mission was successful and the world was saved from extermination.
Matt, Esther and Ines have been able to get on with a normal life but Sloane and Albie are finding it hard to forget the horror and destruction and suffer from the effects of this. Unfortunately on the day they celebrate the tenth anniversary of their victory Sloane has a premonition that bad things are about to happen again.
I enjoyed this book and the journey that it took me on. Lots of adventures, Magic, Zombies, and parallel dimensions.
I will certainly be reading the second instalment of this trilogy.
Thank you to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Dennis.
746 reviews1,427 followers
March 25, 2020
A bit difficult to follow along (I can get easily confused), but an overall solid adult-supernatural read. If you are a fan of fantasy, this book is definitely up your alley.
Profile Image for Adam.
365 reviews160 followers
May 22, 2020
"Nobody ever prepared me for what came after. They just assumed I would never find out."

The Chosen Ones is Veronica Roth’s first novel that targets an adult audience, as it digs deep into themes that her Divergent series of novels casually explored. It is a Chicago-based urban portal fantasy novel, with a neat twist on the ‘chosen ones versus the Dark One’ trope. The story begins ten years after a group of five teenagers defeated the murdering and destructive Dark One. For better or for worse (it’s the latter) they are now world-famous celebrities with non-existent private lives, which makes it even more difficult for these ex-heroes to cope with the devastating traumas they endured. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed by The Dark One before these Chosen Ones were able to defeat him, not to mention the personal horrors each teenager had to endure along the way. Some long-term effects of physical and mental abuse are examined through the narrative of Sloan, one of the Chosen Ones who serves as the reader’s single point-of-view throughout the story.

Roth steadily unwraps the history behind why she and her friends became The Chosen Ones, and how they obtained magical abilities that were used to defeat their enemy. All the while, the Dark One summons Drains, which are magic-fueled natural disasters that appear without warning and kill off tens of thousands of bystanders at once. Sloan and her team attempt to stem these violent events at ground zero, and memories of the terrors they endured are relived through nightmares and visions. The narrative of Sloan’s past is intercut with the ten-year anniversary of the Dark One’s defeat in present day, and her disgust at celebrity, fake selfie smiles, and utter loneliness has reached a breaking point. But then, a major event occurs that might force her to reconcile her past and face an even more horrifying challenge ahead.

“You can’t force someone to want something,” he said. “And knowing what you want—not just vaguely but really specifically what you want—is a big part of magic. You don’t pick the act and then force the desire. You know the desire—the exact shade of it—and then choose the act accordingly.”

The book features an excellent balance of character exploration, world-building, and a twisty plot that maintains a high level of engagement throughout the story. There are some major plot reveals that pave the way for many new exciting themes to explore, but spoilers prevent further discussion. One standout feature is Roth’s development of the world's soft magic system. Magic is influenced by desire and intent, and its level of access is deeply tied into the mental acuity of its caster. There’s an extensive and well-developed set of ideas that support this magic system, and Roth ensures that its impact in society is reflected in its culture, architecture, history, and means of communication. Roth deftly ties these ideas into the greater themes of responsibility and post-traumatic recovery. When factoring in Sloan’s sharp determination and hard-edged personality with a fast-moving series of world-changing events, it all results in an engrossing story that offers plenty of rich areas to traverse.

There were a few aspects to the story that fell a bit short. While the world-building in the first third of the book is fascinating, the plot took a while to establish its direction. Some of the bigger reveals were projected far in advance, and some of the symbolism were more overt than subtle. Although it poses a fantastic set up for the next book in the series, the conclusion felt somewhat rushed after such a long buildup. But none of these complaints detracted from the enjoyment of the novel, and the thrill of what’s to come next.

The Chosen Ones is a fresh and mature twist on some familiar hero tropes, taking aim at difficult themes without sacrificing its tendency toward mystery and adventure. It is an easy recommendation for fans of Roth, offering an impressive introduction into an ambitious and exciting new universe.

8.0 / 10

ARC via Edelweiss. On sale April 7, 2020.
Profile Image for Bethany (Beautifully Bookish Bethany).
1,975 reviews3,291 followers
May 30, 2020
I didn't have any expectations going into this book, but I LOVED it! It's smart, gritty, and subversive with a prickly female main character and thoughtful, fascinating world-building. If you like twisty anti-hero stories and don't think women need to be nice, then please check this out. Also, this would make an INCREDIBLE Netflix show! Fans of Jessica Jones might fall in love with this.

Set in Chicago, Sloane and four other teens believed to be the prophesied "chosen one" defeated the evil Dark One. Now 10 years later, Sloane has insomnia, struggles with relationships, and deals with symptoms of PTSD from what happened with the Dark One. Many of her fellow chosen ones also are struggling to cope with the visibility of public life in the wake of such trauma. But the book asks the question- what if you had to face evil again? Would you do anything differently when you are no longer a naive young person?

Sloane is a character people will probably love or hate. She's not a "likeable" female character, but I loved her. People around her want her to be something she's not and part of her journey is embracing that darkness is a part of her. We see her deal with nightmares, panic attacks, and a whole lot of guilt and anger, but she is also strong.

I can't say much more about this book without spoilers, but this takes unexpected turns that I thought were very well-executed. The world, magic, and ultimate revelations are smart and well-thought out. This felt both gritty and magical in a way that really struck a chord with me. It's something I will be thinking about for awhile. I received a copy of this for review via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Whitney.
131 reviews49 followers
April 24, 2020
Overall: An engaging and magical book about parallel worlds, power, and finding and embracing who you truly are. Though I would not call this an adult fantasy novel, it is still engaging with a strong cast of characters though slightly over the top 3.5/5 or 6.5/10.

Summary: Sloane Andrews, Matthew Weekes, Esther Park, Albert Summers, and Ines Mejia fulfilled a prophecy ten years ago by killing an evil villain known as "The Dark One." This made them instant heroes and they have been living with the aftermath ever since. Each hero has a different personality with strengths and weaknesses but this novel focuses on Sloane. On the ten year anniversary of destroying the dark one, one of the heroes dies. This event is the fulcrum that catapults the heroes to a new parallel world where. In this new world, the heroes have similar challenges but also some major differences they have to face. Together they embark on a new adventure of a lifetime.

The Good: Very engaging and most of the book is difficult to put down. Fast paced with lots of adventure and things going on. I really enjoyed the format which alternated from telling the present day plot to different documents featuring Sloane from the past. You are only given bits and pieces of the history which keeps you thinking and guessing. I loved Sloane as a character though it took my nearly half the book to come to that conclusion. She is shark and complicated, with many different sides to her. I disliked her for the first half before coming around and really enjoying her as the heroine. The other characters are OK though none measured up with the same complexity and depth as Sloane.

The Bad: For a book this interesting I was able to put it down and walk away multiple times. To me, that means it was missing something. I think I may have lost interest when the living dead army developed. Though I changed opinion on that as well by the end, this book just had a bit too much thrown into the mix. Some aspects were quite predictable as well. I had read reviews calling this Roth's first adult novel and I definitely would not call it that. This may have been why I was a bit disappointed, I expected a bit more from it.

Favorite Quotes:
“Just because something is difficult doesn't mean it's worth doing.”

“Nature is bloody, and as a whole, it favors strength over compassion.”

“What, then, is a desire? We may begin by stating what it is not. A desire is not a whim. It is not an idle wish concocted on a sunny afternoon. A desire is a profundity of want, a deep and abiding craving that cannot be denied.”
Profile Image for Ellie.
573 reviews2,083 followers
April 4, 2020
I confess, I had a very solid idea of what this book would contain in my head, and it remained true for about 20% of the book and then veered in another direction entirely. It was absolutely unexpected, but far from unenjoyable. In fact, once I wrapped my head around it, I really liked this.

CHOSEN ONES builds on the idea of "what happens after the villain is defeated?" and for 120 pages, that's what this book is. Set on Earth and focusing on Sloane, it rips away the veneer of "happily ever after" and presents a disillusioned heroine stricken with PTSD after having saved the world as part of a group of 'Chosen Ones' years prior.

Now, I thought this book would essentially be about a group of heroes faced with the realisation that they didn't defeat the Dark One and once again they have to save the world, except this time they are no longer young and idealistic but weary and disillusioned. Very straight-forward. But no. 120 pages in, after what is admittedly quite a slow-burn start, the book goes into a parallel dimension.


Either it wasn't mentioned anywhere in the marketing materials or I'm just blind, but it was incredibly left-field. I really thought CHOSEN ONES would be set entirely in one . . . dimension. In this new world, which is similar to our own but with magic, the original Chosen One was killed and so a group of people reached across dimensions to bring across another hero (or heroes) meant to defeat their own Dark One. Very Marvel-esque.

And in this new world, which is inextricably tied back to Earth and is similar and yet different, failure to defeat the Dark One in this world could mean the destruction of Earth. But then it gets even more complicated and the villain in this new world might not actually be . . . the villain, and then another villain gets revealed and whew. It's like the book was saying you think you know what's going on? Well, you DON'T.

I was very fond of the heroine, Sloane. She's rough and struggles with her own trauma and isn't what people would think of as a "hero". Now, I like these heroines (or perhaps antiheroines) best. I will also flat-out confess that one aspect of the book that elevated it for me was her relationship with Mox, who, after reading about his broad shoulders and big hands and sticky-out ears and notable nose and long-ish, dark hair and nervousness in social spaces, I immediately thought . . . isn't that ADAM DRIVER?! and then, I fell in love

Furthermore, I prefer books where we get intimately familiar with the villain as opposed to as distant, powerful presence, and in CHOSEN ONES you do get that too. There's an aspect of a villain love interest too, until readers come to the realisation that maybe the 'villain' isn't the actual villain after all.

Which leads me on to one of my smaller complaints: the actual "Dark One", the original/main antagonist, still seems hazy to me. I don't fully understand his motives, I don't get how he got to his current predicament. In fact, I could never quite pin him down and I'm not even sure if he was really a "big bad villain" after all (and maybe that's the beauty of it?) There's a lot at the end that leaves questions up in the air, and I know this is only the first book in a duology (?) so perhaps answers will be forthcoming in the second book. Which brings me onto how this book probably could have been a standalone if everything was developed a bit further, as the skeleton of this book - beginning, middle and end - is one that could support a standalone narrative. And as a result, I'm really interested to see what occurs in the second book.

It looks like Roth has written another book - and hopefully series- that's pegged my interest (after finding Carve the Mark disappointing and loving Divergent during my teens but never reading Allegiant), so I'll be keeping up with this one. I guess any book that features an antiheroine whilst talking about the trolley problem as well as Koschei the Deathless will interest me.

TL;DR: This is the "after darkness is defeated" book it's been presented as, but it's also not. Nevertheless, once I wrapped my head around the narrative shift in gears, I really did enjoy the plot and the characters inhabiting it.

> 4.2 stars

I received a review copy from the publishers in exchange for a honest review
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