I didn’t know quite what to expect when I picked up Unchosen by Katharyn Blair. I thought it might be a fluffy YA dystopia, but it is so much more. The characters live in a world ravaged by a pandemic, and Charlotte struggles with the changed world and feeling invisible next to the people in her life that always stand out. And the story spoke to me. I devoured this book and loved it so much.
Thank you to Harper360YA for sending me an ARC. All opinions are my own.
STAR RATING: 4.5/5 ✶
PUBLICATION DATE: 26/01/21
SUMMARY: 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. (from Katherine Tegen Books)
OPINIONS: Unchosen is simply a great book. It features a compelling narrative, gallows humour, identifiable characters… and a fierce Pirate lady. While it is initially unsettling to read a book set in a pandemic of sorts, it soon becomes clear that this world is far more complex than that and utterly different to our own situation. The state of the world is handled with humour and anxiety is addressed in a way that resonated strongly with me. It is a feminist tale for all those who have felt invisible.
Charlotte, the often overlooked middle sister, is the heroine of Unchosen. Feeling less-than next to her sisters, a series of circumstances lead to her choosing herself and so playing with the ‘chosen one’ trope. She undergoes copious amounts of growth, developing confidence and overcoming issues that have been blocking her. She deals with what reads like PTSD and anxiety in a world without therapists, and I feel I have learned more about myself and how to deal with stress situations through Unchosen.
One of my favourite aspects of Unchosen was the dynamics between Charlotte and her sisters as well as with Seth. Nuanced relationships are amazing to read and like catnip for me. I also loved the connection to in-universe mythology and history through the cursed Pirate queen, and the feminist resolution to the story. This is truly a georgeous fantasy novel about choosing your own destiny that needs more attention.