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.
I am legit stumped on how to rate this book–let’s settle with 3 1/2 stars and round up cause Goodreads still doesn’t do half stars in the year of 2020.
Like, it has its faults not gonna lie, but at the same time I devoured it? I don’t know if it was the author’s writing of the inner monologue of the MC, the romantic tension, or the colorful set of characters (found family is my kryptonite)… but it just worked for me. The only thing that didn’t “click” perfectly was the blending of dystopia/pirates/curses because to me it seemed like we were reaching for a little too much. Think on the lines of The Walking Dead set at sea, and instead of a virus think of it as a “curse”– it felt like trying to fit a wrong puzzle piece that really looks like it should work but it is not quite the right fit.
“We lived in a world that predicted our doom at least twice a week. We had shows about it; people stood on street corners, screeching about the end. We were so ready for the fall of mankind. But, when it actually came—we didn’t see it coming.”
However, the rest of the novel really worked for me! I loved getting the POV from the “middle” child who feels like she isn’t good enough because her older sister is a rock star, and her younger sister is a pro gymnast. She is the average one of the bunch. And even after the “curse” hits the world she is still the average one–her older sister ends up being an integral part of their new community, and her younger sister is the chosen one.
On top of dealing with that, Charlotte also has to deal with falling in love with her sister’s boyfriend (who is Charlotte’s best friend). I liked the change of pace. While Charlotte might not be the chosen one she is the only one paying close attention to her sister Vanessa and jotting down all the things she says when Vanessa has night terrors. Which is how Charlotte is able to fool those around her into thinking she is in fact the chosen one, and get them to do what she wants in the name of saving the world.
Is Charlotte manipulative? A little yes, though for the most part she has her reasons. And frankly, I like reading from the POV of a less than perfect MC.
I think in order to fully enjoy Unchosen you have to suspend your disbelief. Whenever something else got added to the pile of the curse, or how the world is working now, I just nodded my head and said “okay sure”. For example, there is a way to become immune to the “curse” but you can only achieve that by giving the curse to three other people (like, tag you are it but in multiples), and only if you do it within 24 hours. That seems… oddly specific. Okay fine whatever, if you say so. The cursed ones (which are referred to as “Vessels”–did not like the word choice) are actually sentient (well, some of them, and nobody knows why coughsplotcoughs) and they pass on the curse by just looking at someone (kind of like Bird Box by Sandra Bullock). They are also super strong, have a great sense of smell, are fast… exactly how can any human survive under these circumstances?
It seems rather impossible.
But I digress, let’s buy that the humans SOMEHOW are still alive (did I mention the only way to kill them is by decapitating them? SH-YEAH, they are a tiny bit OP). If I was in the middle of an OP curse like this I would also run to the sea. It makes sense as you can more easily control your environment and only stop at land when you need supplies. The idea has legs. Other aspects of the novel were predictable (who the bad guys were for example) but it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the novel.
BUT anyways, what I really liked about Unchosen was the characters really. I loved seeing the sisterly bond between Charlotte, Harlow, and Vanessa. The romantic tension and friendship developed with another character (yes, there are two hotties, but I would not consider this a love triangle). The found family theme with Rielle, Lucia, and Thomas. The convoluted plot is something I can forgive in liu of the rest.
I think I am looking forward to Katharyn Blair’s next book.
PS; I was provided a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Thanks go to the publisher!