Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Book Review: Unchosen

One of my goals for 2021 is to read more Young Adult (YA) books because I feel like I haven't really read very many and it is one of my favorite genre to read. I'm pretty open to all kinds of YA books but every once in awhile one jumps out at me, and that's what this book was for me. 

Unchosen - Katharyn Blair

Katharyn Blair crafts a fiercely feminist fantasy with a horrifying curse, swoon-worthy sea captains, and the power of one girl to choose her own fate in this contemporary standalone adventure that's perfect for fans of The Fifth Wave and Seafire, and for anyone who has ever felt unchosen.

For Charlotte Holloway, the world ended twice.

The first was when her childhood crush, Dean, fell in love—with her older sister.

The second was when the Crimson, a curse spread through eye contact, turned the majority of humanity into flesh-eating monsters.

Neither end of the world changed Charlotte. She’s still in the shadows of her siblings. Her popular older sister, Harlow, now commands forces of survivors. And her talented younger sister, Vanessa, is the Chosen One—who, legend has it, can end the curse.

When their settlement is raided by those seeking the Chosen One, Charlotte makes a reckless decision to save Vanessa: she takes her place as prisoner.

The word spreads across the seven seas—the Chosen One has been found.

But when Dean’s life is threatened and a resistance looms on the horizon, the lie keeping Charlotte alive begins to unravel. She’ll have to break free, forge new bonds, and choose her own destiny if she has any hope of saving her sisters, her love, and maybe even the world.

Because sometimes the end is just a new beginning. 
If ever there was a time that we could use a hardcore, feminist book for teens about a crazy ass plague, now is that moment. There is no better time. 

In this book we are in a time during the Crimson, think The Walking Dead but with blood red eyes, and instead of it being spread through bites, it is spread through looking at one of the infected's red eyes. It happens rather quickly once it comes ashore and we find ourselves with three sisters: Harlow, Charlotte, and Vanessa. 

Harlow is the oldest and pretty badass, and she basically becomes a leader of sorts of this little group of people. Vanessa is the youngest and everyone realizes she is the Chosen One, which is (seemingly) what the Infected are looking for to bring to their leader. Nobody knows what will happen then but it surely can't be good and Harlow and Charlotte know they must protect their sister at all costs. 

Then we have Charlotte. Charlotte is the middle kid, she never gets what she wants and nobody asks how she is doing. She is in love with Dean since childhood (never mind these are teenagers so basically still children as it is), but Dean and her sister Harlow are together and in love. Charlotte remains heartbroken but she does her duty to protect Vanessa. Charlotte is the only one who seems to be thinking of a way to stop the Crimson or something, but she feels unimportant because she isn't a leader and she isn't the Chosen One, so she doesn't know what her place is in this strange world. Vanessa randomly speaks in riddles and Charlotte is trying to decode them, and during an attempt to find a priceless headdress, she basically leaves a blinking trail for the Crimson and Runners (kind of like human traffickers but instead of selling sex they are selling uninfected to the infected to... eat/consume) and all hell breaks loose. 

I'll be the first to say that all of the information about the Crimson and laying out the different groups of people (depending on how infected they are), and I was getting worried this would all go over my head. It was all for nothing because once the action starts happening, I could NOT put this one down! 

I love that the Crimson starts because the world believe an angry woman cursed it. I can't tell you how it ends but I will tell you that I love the bigger story of this book. I love that we are telling girls that only they can pick their fate, that despite what history says and what people assume of  you, that only you get to write your story. 
You will not choose my end. 
For this heart is mine. 

If you are looking for a positive, but adventurous, story to read for you or your daughter, I highly suggest this one. It was such a homerun for me and I say that as someone that doesn't consider fantasy one of my top genres. I loved this. I think you will too. 

Thank you to HarperCollins for sending me an ARC for review. The cover is stunningly beautiful, it is even prettier in person, but this book feels like it can be compared to current world health issues. 

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