What happens to the teenage superheroes once they’ve saved the world? The answer is post-traumatic stress and a life cobbled together of coping mechanisms.
Roth’s portrayal of a group of five Chosen Ones a decade after the last battle against an evil supervillain has been won feels raw and real and much closer to the truth than the billowing capes and coiffed hair of main-stream superheroes. It also feels more true to the effects of actual war on soldiers and that of trauma on the human psyche.
Chosen Ones Sloan, Matthew, Esther, Albert, and Ines defeated a psychopathic sorcerer called the “Dark One” whose “Drains” literally tore buildings and people apart. Ten years later, the five are celebrities, although some more adored than others. Main protagonist Sloane Andrews’s post-save-the-world demeanor is too acerbic to garner much public favor, and it is Sloan’s boyfriend, Matthew Weeks, who falls into the role of unofficial ‘most chosen’ of the Chosen Ones, while Esther is the social-media darling and Albert is just trying not to fall apart. When the government wants to harness a token of the power that nearly destroyed the world (all to protect American citizens, of course), Sloan (who has waded through more than her fair share of bloody horrors) is not about to let history repeat itself. Those who know Roth (a story weaver of the unexpected plot twist) and everyone else, too, will be absolutely enthralled by the plot pivot the story takes about halfway in, shifting gears from character study to tightly plotted sci-fi action. The stakes keep on rising, and the pace keeps on building, and you will not be able to set this book down.
Chosen Ones is book one in a planned duology, with book two set to release in 2021.
Book: Chosen Ones
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: April 7th, 2020
Age Range: adult