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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.I can't believe it took me so long to read this book!!! I've just put it off and put it off for other things, but I am so glad I finally took the time. Fantastic. I did find the relationship between James and Tess developed a teensy bit quickly for my taste, but I also liked the restraint in the beginning and middle of the relationship. It was interesting to see.
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?
I think the most striking part of Chosen Ones for me was Tess. I don't know what I expected, but she certainly was nothing like what I anticipated. Tess starts off as cold and distant from those around her, and even, in a way, from the reader. She knows getting attached to anyone just leads to being hurt. At the start of the book, her sister--one of the few she's let through her shell--has just died. The reader gets to see Tess' transformation as she learns how love can change you. She never understood the things her sister did when it came to the man she married, Robert. But when she comes to know James, she begins to see. I loved Tess for how closed off she was. It was a rational way to cope, and I loved seeing her grow.
The other thing I loved about Tess was her self-preservation. For the most part, she's always looking out for herself. That's just not a common thing to see in dystopians. The heroine is generally only thinking of others in her actions, but I've never felt that to be especially accurate. It's just not human nature to sacrifice yourself for people you don't know. There are exceptions to that, obviously, but I liked seeing someone who is true to herself and true to life.
Chosen Ones has a plot that keeps you on your toes. You've just got your bearings on the world, and it just takes off. It makes for a fast and really entertaining read. This is definitely a dystopian a step above the rest. I can't wait to get into the second book, Naturals, and see where the journey takes Tess and James next!