Publication Date: 4/7/2020 – Genre: Adult, Sci fi, Fantasy
This ebook was provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for allowing me to read this book.
A decade ago near Chicago, five teenagers defeated the otherworldly enemy known as the Dark One, whose reign of terror brought widespread destruction and death. The seemingly un-extraordinary teens—Sloane, Matt, Ines, Albie, and Esther—had been brought together by a clandestine government agency because one of them was fated to be the “Chosen One,” prophesized to save the world. With the goal achieved, humankind celebrated the victors and began to mourn their lost loved ones.
Ten years later, though the champions remain celebrities, the world has moved forward and a whole, younger generation doesn’t seem to recall the days of endless fear. But Sloane remembers. It’s impossible for her to forget when the paparazzi haunt her every step just as the Dark One still haunts her dreams. Unlike everyone else, she hasn’t moved on; she’s adrift—no direction, no goals, no purpose. On the eve of the Ten Year Celebration of Peace, a new trauma hits the Chosen: the death of one of their own. And when they gather for the funeral at the enshrined site of their triumph, they discover to their horror that the Dark One’s reign never really ended.
What happens to the hero of the story after she/he is done saving the world? Is it all glory, celebrity, and wealth? What are the ramifications of the decision to save the world and is it possible to return to a normal everyday life?
I feel like Roth set out to answer these questions and provided the reader a glimpse into the life of one of those young adult heroes we read about who are thrust into the spotlight to save the day and after they do, the story fades to black with no further knowledge of what the character then endured as a result of the traumatic and stressful event of, you know, saving the world.
Sloane is our main protagonist throughout this story and, early in the book, we’re provided with a slice of life look into her everyday. Matt, Ines, Ester, and Albie are the four other chosen ones who, together, took down The Dark One and we watch the group experience addiction, depression, and PTSD. I appreciated receiving only Sloane’s point of view throughout this book as I feel the author could have attempted to write the views of each character but, for me, that just wouldn’t have worked. I felt connected to Sloane and understood her behavior from a deeper level, which would have been missing with a multi POV format.
Some of the criticisms of this story describe slow pacing but that wasn’t my experience. I enjoyed observing the character’s lives after the descent of The Dark One and viewing their new normal. I’ve read lots of chosen one stories so I feel like I’ve seen that before, this after-saving-the-world aspect is new and interesting!
The slice of life doesn’t last long anyway and soon we’re thrust into a new predicament and our characters must, yet again, save those around them from dire circumstance. This, however, is a different take and a completely different dimension; think multiple paths, multiple versions of self, string theory and I loved it! The aspect of multiple dimensions fascinates me. I feel like the very possibility of multiple dimensions opens up unlimited possibilities.
It is possible to get confused at points, however if you keep reading events become clear. I thought the end wrapped up nicely. Actually, from the way the story concluded, I believed this to be a stand alone but, looking at goodreads, I noticed there will be a second in the series and I’m not sure how I feel about that. I’m excited to revisit the characters but it concluded so well, do we really need another? I don’t know. You’ll have to determine that for yourself. Let me know what you think of this one, as it seems there’s a lot of conflicting opinions. Overall, I really enjoyed it and will read book two to see how the story develops.