Chosen Ones: A Review

Chosen Ones by Veronica RothTen years ago a prophecy predicted that one of five teenagers would become the Chosen One–the only person capable of defeating the Dark One and ending his reign of death and destruction.

Sloane was one of the five and together with Matt, Albie, Ines, and Esther they defeated the Dark One near Chicago.

Now everyone is supposed to move on and mourn and watch life return to normal.

Sloane can’t do that.

Haunted by memories and traumas from fighting the Dark One, Sloane feels adrift even with her friends to anchor her. When one of them turns up dead the day before the Ten Years Celebration of Peace, Sloane begins to realize she may not be the only one who hasn’t moved on in Chosen Ones (2020) by Veronica Roth.

Find it on Bookshop.

Chosen Ones is Roth’s adult debut and the start of a new duology.

While marketed as a story about young adults trying to move past their teenaged destinies, Chosen Ones is actually familiar dystopian fare for a slightly older audience. The scene is set for a story of acceptance and moving on only to shift rather abruptly to a new fight with a villain where the Earth’s fate is at stake.

Readers keen on high action and drama will appreciate this shift while others may be left wanting a book with a bit more focus on characters and a little less in the way of fantasy elements.

Chosen Ones is familiar fare aged up with sexier writing and edgier villainy. Recommended for readers looking to branch out beyond the familiar YA suspects in the genre, but not too far.

Possible Pairings: All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders, The Bone Maker by Sarah Beth Durst, Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman, The Magicians by Lev Grossman, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemison, Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire, The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness, Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth

In which I talk about seeing Divergent (with photos!)

Last Friday a very cool thing happened. A coworker at Shiny Job transferred her RSVP over to me for a screening of Divergent on opening night hosted by Veronica Roth’s agent/agency the New Leaf Agency. (Another coworker transferred her RSVP to workfriend so I didn’t even have to go alone.)

My invite felt a bit like a golden ticket.


Finding the building with the screening was much harder than it should have been because I got turned around and lost and the building entrance was on a corner.

Along the way I discovered that 6 1/2 Avenue is a thing.


But once I got there the screening room was pretty swank.

There were snacks and swag bags and other goodies (like a signed book plate–yay) that made the whole night feel festive. I also got to see some of the posters for the movie.

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After enjoying some faction specific cake pops (Erudite and Abnegation–I didn’t get a chance to photograph the others, alas).

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It was time for the movie!


Now I enjoyed Divergent when I read it. But my excitement about the series diminished over time and I was less and less inclined to read the other books after seeing how the trilogy ended when I came upon some spoilers. I also wasn’t prepared to re-read Divergent just so I could catch up on the backstory to book two (which starts really close to the end of book one).

But guess what?

The movie was really good.

I remembered why I loved the characters. I remembered how cinematic the story felt and how kickass Tris is.

The costumes were amazing. The actors were excellent. (I’ve been a fan of Theo James since his one-season series “Golden Boy” and he was great here too. It was a little strange that he looked so much older than Shailene Woodley but, you know what, they were great together and I’ll let it slide. And everyone else in the movie was really great too. It was a talented, diverse cast and really well done.) The factions and the world building were so well-realized. And I’m really excited about this series again.

Some things were cut from the book but it was all of the things that kept me on the fence about the book in the first place. Workfriend hadn’t read the book but she also enjoyed and followed the movie, so it’s a win in every sense.

I urge all of you to get to the theater to see Divergent as soon as you can and to get on board for reading the book if you haven’t already.

(I have Insurgent and Allegiant on hold so hopefully they’ll come in soon!)


Divergent: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Divergent by Veronica RothIn the wake of a warring world, a new order emerged where our Chicago once stood. People did not believe politics, religion or even nationalism could cause wars. People did that.

Factions were created to fix that.

Those who blamed aggression formed Amity to live peacefully. Those who blamed ignorance sought to foster knowledge by creating the Erudite. Those blaming duplicity strove for honesty in Candor. Those who blamed cowardice formed Dauntless. Finally, those who blamed selfishness made Abnegation.

Together the factions have created a peaceful society for their people.

Sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior is ready to become part that society by choosing which faction she will join. Her aptitude test is supposed to help her make the right choice. Instead, the inconclusive results mark her as a Divergent forcing her to make her own choice and hide her real results from everyone–even her own family.

Until now her life in Abnegation has been peaceful. Sometimes it’s even beautiful. But it never feels quite right. Not as right as it feels watching the Dauntless students jump off a moving train to arrive at school each morning.

Nothing about remaking herself as a Dauntless initiate called Tris is easy. Most of it is hard and dangerous. It means leaving her family behind and forgetting most of what Abnegation held dear. The initiation process will be hard, it will be grueling, and it will mean facing her worst fears head on.

Worse, people are starting to suspect that Tris might be different. As Tris learns more about the Dauntless and the other factions she begins to suspect there is more to being Divergent than inconclusive aptitude test results. If she’s right, it might rock the factions to their very foundations in Divergent (2011) by Veronica Roth.

Find it on Bookshop.

Divergent is Roth’s first novel. It is also the first of a trilogy.

Roth has created a convincing world filled with its own social mores, rules, and history. The background is as rich and evocative as the main storyline. Divergent has the perfect balance of world building and plot development as well as excellent characters. Tris is a strong, appealing heroine who knows her faults as well as her strengths. She is also accompanied on her adventures by a promising male lead and a cast of supporting characters who are, both literally and figuratively, strong additions to the story.

Anyone who has finished The Hunger Games and needs a new heroine to cheer for need look no further than this book. Divergent is a taut, dynamic thriller that draws readers in and won’t let go until the shocking conclusion.

Possible Pairings: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Legend by Marie Lu, 1984 by George Orwell, Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte, Pivot Point by Kasie West, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld