"You must face your fears in order to conquer them."
An interesting story with such a dark premise that it makes books like the Hunger Games seem tame in comparison. Here you have a society that has all but destroyed itself in an East vs West Civil War and a so called Fourth World War between nations that killed millions via nuclear bombs. The US survivors have all but given up their freedom and are living in so called compounds because there are those out there who want to do them harm. Or, so they are told.
In a rush to avoid further killing of human on human, they created the Chosen Ones who were meant to protect and guide humanity (naturals) after women stopped having the ability to breed. The Chosen are genetically engineered super-humans capable of incredible strength, durability, and speed. Some of them express hatred for humans by arbitrarily raping and killing them, especially the women.
"Emotional entanglements only led to physical trespasses. We, humans, were weak. We couldn't be trusted with our emotions."
According to the Council, humans were too weak and can't be trusted with their own safety or emotions. Each human is branded a number, in this case Tess, our main protagonist is 258915. (sounds like Nazi Germany to me.) In this society, books and music are banned. Every family is required to offer up their eldest daughter as a servant for 3 years starting at age 16. Many young women are sterilized at the first sign of menstruation.
For Tess, things change, or fall apart, when her eldest sister Emma dies during childbirth. A childbirth she was warned against having for fear that she would die in the midst of it. Thanks to Emma's demise, Tess is sent to work at Templeton the place where the chosen are created and taught how humanity destroyed itself with weakness and unwillingness to fight their own battles.
In the process, Tess meets James, a chosen who is beautiful as he is unique in his love of music and books. At first, Tess is as emotionless as you will find in any character. She seems almost nonchalant in her ability to interact with others. She's even a cold fish when it comes to dealing with her younger sister. This is, afterall, a society that scorns emotions of any sort as weakness.
"He had saved my life twice, and beyond that, he's made me realize that I had a heart and soul that still lived inside me. He showed me that love existed in a world full of darkness, something I long thought was impossible."
Then, things start to change when her relationship with James, a Chosen, starts to heat up and they find a connection among the banned books and music of their forefathers. Eventually, this leads to Tess being labeled as a troublemaker, and designated for death. Her only safe haven seems to be in the letters her own father left for her before he disappeared 10 years before.
This book will catch your attention right from the first chapter when Tess is branded on the back of her neck and then ends up at Templeton as a slave. Her emotional rollercoaster will not turn readers off, nor will her relationship with James sway anyone from continuing to read the entire book.
"I am alone and miserable; man will not associate with me; but one as deformed and horrible as myself would not deny herself to me. My companion must be of the same species and have the same defects. This being you must create."
Readers will definitely find themselves wondering what happens next, and when will the next book in the series come out! Overall the world building is amazing and disturbing all at the same time. For a first time writer, Chosen One's has hooked my attention and now I patiently await the second installment of this series.
ARC recvd 04/08/2012 from Entangled Publishing. Expected publication: June 12th 2012 by Entangled Publishing, LLC
Title: Chosen Ones (The Lost Souls # 1)
Author: Tiffany Truitt
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Release date: June 12, 2012