- Date published: 12th June 2012
- Publisher: Entangled Teen
- Format: Paperback, 400 pages
- Series: The Lost Souls, Book 1
- ISBN 13: 9781620610008 ISBN 10: 1620610000
- Categories: Post Apocalyptic YA
- Goodreads / The Book Depository / Booktopia (AU) / Bookworld
- Source: provided by the publisher for review
Life is bleak but uncomplicated for sixteen-year-old Tess, living in a not-too-distant future where the government, faced with humanity’s extinction, created the Chosen Ones, artificial beings who are extraordinarily beautiful, unbelievably strong, and unabashedly deadly.
When Tess begins work at Templeton, a Chosen Ones training facility, she meets James, and the attraction is immediate in its intensity, overwhelming in its danger. But there is more to Templeton than Tess ever knew. Can she stand against her oppressors, even if it means giving up the only happiness in her life?
While Chosen Ones is an enjoyable dystopian/posy apocalyptic read, I find myself disappointed with many of its aspects. I liked the characters but not their interactions, I was chilled by the horrifying world depicted but ultimately confused about it, and I enjoyed the plot but feel it could have been more gripping.
Readers are initially thrust into the unknown world and forced to scramble to pull facts together to understand what is going on. Emma, Tess’ sister, is dying in child birth, and Tess, instead of being saddened, is angry and blames Emma for killing herself. It was very confusing until many chapters on it was revealed that there is some disease affecting pregnant women and preventing them from successfully giving birth. It also usually kills women during childbirth.
In a world where life is created in scientific labs, the roles of females as life givers has greatly diminished, and women find themselves under threat. While this aspect of the world was scary, I didn’t feel like the world outside Tess’s limited experience was explored very well. Templeton is well realised but I wanted to know what the rest of the world was doing while the US was tearing itself to pieces, and what had caused it to lose many of its allies.
I liked the two protagonists, Tessa and James, but felt their romance was rushed and inexplicable. Despite being taught to hate one another, they are attracted to each other instantly. They do spend a lot of time together and eventually their relationship becomes grounded in mutual dissatisfaction in the society they live in. I was also disappointed in the relationship, or lack thereof, Tess has with her younger sister Louisa. I can’t really understand how she became estranged from her sister, and Tess seemed to be unnecessarily cruel to her.
The plot of the book is surprising and provides many twists that kept me engaged. After a somewhat slow beginning, the pace really picks up, but I felt the ending was rushed and didn’t make too much sense. I wish that more care had been taken with the ending and that all the connections between the hither-to mysterious events had been explained better. The way everything fell into place seemed too convenient to me.
I enjoyed Chosen Ones and recommend it to readers who enjoy post apocalyptic stories centred on a romance. I think there is a lot to like about this book, but am looking forward to seeing the author’s writing mature in the sequel, Naturals.