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?
My thoughts on the book:
Chosen Ones takes place in one of the most horrifying and oppressive dystopian worlds I've ever read. The awfulness of the world gives the reader a feeling of urgency, and I could not put this novel down. Truitt does a fantastic job of building this terrifying world, creating believable characters and allowing them to evolve over the course of the novel, and writing an intriguing plot. This book is wonderful, and I can't wait to read the sequel, Naturals.
Tess is a bit of a "negative Nancy" for a good portion of the book, but as awful as her life is, I actually couldn't blame her. Nothing she says or does is overly dramatic or uncalled for, in my opinion. She also grows a lot and becomes stronger as the narrative progresses. I didn't necessarily like her or relate to her, but I tolerated her just fine and cared what happened to her. I kind of liked James, but he isn't swoon-worthy in my opinion. I mean sure, he's pretty and the knight in shining armor and all that, but he's also broken. I liked that about him, though. I hope I get to know him better in the next novel. He's an extremely complex character. The other characters aren't as well-developed as the main two, but they have their own distinct personalities, and I have a feeling that we'll get to see more of them and learn more about them in the next installment.
The plot, writing, and world-building are fantastic. I really love how Truitt uses various works of Classical Literature as a way to help her tell the story. For example, Frankenstein helps us understand James better. As I mentioned before, the world Truitt created is horrific. Women are so oppressed and hated upon that the oldest girls in the family are forced into three years as a sex slave, more or less, for the chosen ones. Also, women are taught to hate their bodies and to fear sex (because for some reason the women have become infertile and having babies now kills them). Education is withheld from them, except for the propaganda videos that teach the girls to hate themselves, and books and music are outlawed. It's repulsive, and I really hate the Counsel. One thing I don't feel was explained very well is how the Counsel will remain in power after the founding members die. If they are dead set on eliminating all naturals, then those specific naturals who formed the Counsel can't pass down their legacy. Therefore, I don't get why they want to commit genocide against their own people. I'm sure the why will come out in time, but I felt that it could have been explained a bit better without giving everything away.
Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who's looking for a unique Dystopian. Chosen Ones stands out in an over-saturated genre, and I have high hopes for this series.
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