Reading level: Young adult
Trade paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release date: July 3, 2012
Series: Lost Souls #1
Source: Review copy from Rockstar Book Tours
Reviewed by: Jenn
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?
How had I not heard of this author before I saw the Rockstar Book Tours announcement for this review tour? CHOSEN ONES is a wonderful start to Tiffany Truitt's Lost Souls trilogy, a set of young adult dystopian novels set in a very disturbing North America. It's one of the gloomiest books I've read in a while, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The worldbuilding is probably the most outstanding part of this novel; Truitt has created a dark, undemocratic society that I definitely wouldn't want to live in. The country has been divided and wage war using chosen ones, male soldiers who are engineered, not born naturally. They have special gifts and fight for the naturals, who serve them and live a stark existence outside of the chosen ones' compounds. Tessa, the protagonist of this trilogy, is sent to work at Templeton, one such compound, after her sister dies and Tessa is forced to assume her role. There's no real hiring process; instead, there's a public branding. That's right, Templeton girls are marked with a brand on their necks. One brand means they work there, two brands mean they live there, three brands mean...well, no one knows what it means but there's no one around with three marks so it's not good.The things that Tessa sees at Templeton are truly horrific and highlight the injustice and oppression of the naturals' lives. Things are definitely not rosy in the Lost Souls world, and you'll know it from page one.
Needless to say, Tess' life isn't filled with happiness. Her parents are dead, her sister is dead, and her youngest sister and brother-in-law are all she has left. She doesn't have friends or any other close relations. Everyone thinks she's unfeeling but she's actually brimming with emotion, as you'll see when you read CHOSEN ONES. There are, however, a couple bright spots in Tessa's existence, the main one being her blossoming relationship with James, one of the chosen ones.
James is a really interesting character. He's a chosen one but he's not like the others. Physically, he has a scar on his chin, which is really unusual since chosen ones are usually paragons of physical perfection. As Tessa later discovers, he's also got some genuine emotions. I liked Tessa but I was really drawn to James because he's so different from the other male characters in CHOSEN ONES. He could have been just a regular stock character but Truitt gives him a lot of heart and I really liked him.
I was also really intrigued by Tess' dad. We get to know him gradually over the course of CHOSEN ONES even though he's dead and getting to know him helps you get to know Tess. They also lead Tess to some moments of self-discovery and this is one of the ways that she grows as a character.
The only negative about CHOSEN ONES is the fact that some of the storylines are predictable. I found myself a little ahead of Tess in terms of understanding what was going on and what was being alluded to, but I still enjoyed the book. Younger readers may not encounter this problem but I found some of the big reveals to be somewhat predictable. There were times, though, when I was surprised and I think those moments were the best ones because they were so unexpected.
CHOSEN ONES is definitely an excellent young adult dystopian novel. It's dark enough that even fans of heavier plotlines will be satisfied. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it and you can be sure I'm on the way to the bookstore to find a copy of NATURALS, the second book in the series, which is out now!
This review and giveaway are part of a tour organized by the awesome ladies at Rockstar Book Tours. (Thank you, Jaime and Rachel!) To see other stops on this review tour, click on the banner! You'll find other reviews of CHOSEN ONES and also reviews of Truitt's latest book, NATURALS!
Ripped away from those she loves most, Tess is heartbroken as her small band of travelers reaches the Isolationist camp in the mysterious and barren Middlelands. Desperate to be reunited with James, the forbidden chosen one who stole her heart, she wants nothing to do with the rough Isolationists, who are without allegiance in the war between the Westerners and Easterners. But having their protection, especially for someone as powerful as Tess, may come at a cost.
When James returns, Tess’s world once again feels complete—until she discovers her sister, Louisa, has taken up her old post at Templeton, the dangerous chosen ones training center and the site of Tess’s loss of innocence. Tess will do anything to protect her loved ones—but will the price be more than she can give?
This second book in Tiffany Truitt’s dystopian series is a thought-provoking, thrilling story that asks who the true enemy really is—the chosen ones who are different, or the naturals…who are just like us.
There is a tour-wide giveaway of three (3) e-books of NATURALS, the second book in the series!
To enter the giveaway, obey the Rafflecopter!a Rafflecopter giveaway
Tiffany Truitt was born in Peoria, Illinois. A self-proclaimed Navy brat, Tiffany spent most of her childhood living in Virginia, but don’t call her a Southerner. She also spent a few years living in Cuba. Since her time on the island of one McDonalds and Banana Rats (don’t ask), she has been obsessed with traveling. Tiffany recently added China to her list of travels (hello inspiration for a new book).
Besides traveling, Tiffany has always been an avid reader. The earliest books she remembers reading belong to The Little House on the Prairie Series. First book she read in one day? Little Woman (5th grade). First author she fell in love with? Jane Austen in middle school. Tiffany spent most of her high school and college career as a literary snob. She refused to read anything considered “low brow” or outside the “classics.”
Tiffany began teaching middle school in 2006. Her students introduced her to the wide, wonderful world of Young Adult literature. Today, Tiffany embraces popular Young Adult literature and uses it in her classroom. She currently teaches the following novels: The Outsiders, Speak, Night, Dystopian Literature Circles: The Hunger Games, The Giver, The Uglies, and Matched.
Tiffany is proud to call herself an educator and Young Adult author. Her first book will be published by Entangled Publishing.