Chosen Ones is the first adult novel by bestselling author Veronica Roth. It shows the psychological trauma that remains ten years after a group of teens defeats the Dark One. It’s a twisty, action-filled story that puts a different spin on the familiar trope.
From the publisher:
Fifteen years ago, five ordinary teenagers were singled out by a prophecy to take down an impossibly powerful entity wreaking havoc across North America. He was known as the Dark One, and his weapon of choice—catastrophic events known as Drains—leveled cities and claimed thousands of lives. Chosen Ones, as the teens were known, gave everything they had to defeat him.
After the Dark One fell, the world went back to normal . . . for everyone but them. After all, what do you do when you’re the most famous people on Earth, your only education was in magical destruction, and your purpose in life is now fulfilled?
Of the five, Sloane has had the hardest time adjusting. Everyone else blames the PTSD—and her huge attitude problem—but really, she’s hiding secrets from them . . . secrets that keep her tied to the past and alienate her from the only four people in the world who understand her.
On the tenth anniversary of the Dark One’s defeat, something unthinkable happens: one of the Chosen Ones dies. When the others gather for the funeral, they discover the Dark One’s ultimate goal was much bigger than they, the government, or even prophecy could have foretold—bigger than the world itself.
And this time, fighting back might take more than Sloane has to give.
I loved the premise of Chosen Ones as soon as I heard it (enough to add it to my list of Most Anticipated YA Books of 2020, even though it’s not a YA book). We typically get very little insight into what happens to the successful band of teen heroes after the defeat the Big Bad Whatever. What information we do get is typically a “happily ever after” (think: Harry Potter and friends on platform 9 3/4 sending their kids off to Hogwarts). Interestingly, an exception to this might be the end of Roth’s Divergent series (no spoilers).
Each member of this group of five is handling their experience differently. The main character, Sloane, suffers from PTSD. Their leader, Sloane’s companion Matt, is obsessed with keeping up his image as a hero. Another struggles with addiction. It seems very realistic that there would be lingering trauma and it would present differently in each individual.
In coming together to battle a new enemy in Chosen Ones, we see Sloane start to question the leaders who are begging for help. It’s not something we usually see from teenage protagonists in YA novels, and it makes sense that as a adult, especially one fighting through PTSD, Sloane would be more suspicious.
Chosen Ones was an instant bestseller in the US and London, and deservedly so. It’s a page-turner with tons of action and twists and a unique perspective.