Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth
Hodder & Stoughton 2020. ISBN: 9781529330243.
(Young Adult/Adult). Recommended. Chosen Ones is the first in a new series by bestselling Divergent and Carve the Mark author, Veronica Roth. Unlike her extremely popular dystopian young adult series, Chosen Ones is aimed at an adult audience, likely to capitalise on teen Divergent fans who are now adult readers.
The book tells the story of five friends, the "Chosen Ones" who, as teenagers, defeated the magic, otherworldly figure known as the "Dark One", halting his reign of terror and destruction. Plucked from their families by a secretive government agency, the five lived and trained together to fulfil a prophecy that predicted that they were the only ones able to destroy the Dark One. Ten years later, the world is celebrating a decade of peace, viewed very differently by each of the Chosen Ones - Sloane, Matt, Esther, Albie and Ines. It is during this celebration that the unthinkable happens - one of the Chosen Ones dies. Suddenly and viciously, the other four are thrown back into the chaos of a decade ago, realising that the Dark One was never really defeated after all.
Too often in young adult fiction do we see the heroes defeat their enemies and assume that they are able to live happily and trauma-free ever after. Chosen Ones sets out to prove that this is not the case. The five friends are all damaged in their own ways and have spent ten years using different methods - drugs, social media, therapy and busy schedules - to try and cope. The book is an interesting and clever subversion of many of the tropes common to recent and popular young adult fiction. While still suitable for older teen audiences, it is an adult offering that will be appealing to many of Roth's long time readers. Themes: Friendship, Relationships, Trauma, Death, Magic.