There are many “chosen one” stories out there. Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Frodo from Lord of the Rings, etc. All of these stories end with the hero vanquishing the villain and living happily ever after. But do they really? We really never see what happens to them as they grow old. Well, we get a glimpse of Harry’s ever after if you have seen the Cursed Child and well, it’s not pretty for him. Anyways, Chosen Ones grapples with what happens to child heroes after they have saved the world and grow up. Sloane, Matt, Albie, Esther and Ines were all kids when they were charged with fighting the Dark One and after years of fighting they do. The story picks up at the 10 year anniversary of their victory and all 5 of them are have moved on one way or another. Well, all except for Sloane. She still has nightmares and panic attacks. She was heavily scared from what she did to take down the Dark One that she can’t really move on and when one of the five dies suddenly, it brings everything into a whirlwind. Maybe, the Dark One isn’t gone after all? They get kidnapped into a parallel universe, who’s Dark One is still out there and they must take him down all over again. However, Sloane is older now and more weary. As a kid, she may not have questioned what she was asked to do but now she does. She is no longer going to do anything until she is given a reason why and has no problem with asking questions or just finding out for herself. I really enjoyed reading this book. It was the best book from Veronica Roth since Divergent. I really felt for Sloane and her struggles. As a young girl, she was given over to the government to fight a force she knew nothing about and really didn’t have much chose. It broke her and scarred her ways that she is still is dealing with and forced to act like everything is fine. Like she didn’t spend her childhood in perpetually peril. So when she takes things into her own hands, I could only cheer her on. So, yes this was a good book and I think you all will enjoy it too.
What happens to the heroes after they have vanquished the big bad and save the world? The 5 chosen ones were teenagers when they were chosen to fight the Dark One. 10 years later after the final battle and they still are fighting demons but this time it’s their own. Everyone else has moved on but why can’t they? I really like this premise so I’m super stoked to read it.
Inspired to reread this book after listening to the Bad Women podcast. I do hope that Maureen Johnson is able to finish this series some day. I really love this series and it’s a shame that we don’t know what happens to Rory, Stephen and the rest of the Shades of London.
I feel bad making this post because I don’t think I reviewed anything in 2021. And I barely read anything. I just haven’t had the bandwidth for books. Maybe it is that I need to really focus and put down my phone more because social media has broken my brain. or maybe it is the pandemic. Perhaps it is that I work in an industry where the bulk of the employees, myself included, are on varying lengths of short-term contracts and I am never not looking for my next job. Meh. I don’t know. So, I don’t think I finished five books this year. I have listened to a fair number of podcasts that have inspired my reading, so here are my faves from this year, as thin on the ground as they are.
In April, I listened to Jamie Loftus’s Lolita podcast. I think Vladimir Nabokov is a thoughtful and adept writer and his controversial classic, Lolita, falls into my favorite genre of horror, where the absolutely horrifying thing is presented as normal or even desirable. (Dolores Haze is twelve years old when the book begins. Twelve.) So, I was interested in the podcast and found the added context and the number of different ways of approaching the material presented interesting. Following the podcast, I listened to the memoir Being Lolita by Alisson Wood. This is also a thoughtfully presented, if uncomfortable, narrative about an inappropriate relationship between a high school student and a teacher.
Most weekdays I start my day with a series of news podcasts and some music. Spotify makes a couple of lists. What a Day from Crooked Media is often on the list. I like Gideon Resnick and I love former co-host, Akilah Hughes. The new co-hosts Josie Duffy Rice, Tre’vell Anderson, and Priyanka Aribindi have big shoes to fill, but they’re doing a good job. More than once this year they interviewed Stacey Abrams. I already knew she wrote romance novels, but through these interviews, I found out her first thriller was released this year. It’s called When Justice Sleeps and a big part of the story is about what we do when a supreme court justice is incapacitated but not dead. The founding fathers did not anticipate a world in which there were living wills and life support. I don’t read a lot of thrillers, but this was a lot of fun. I do recommend it.
I read a book that incorporated the lore surrounding the Salem Witch Trials. It was okay, I guess. I don’t actually remember a lot about it. How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather. The book trailer is here. It wasn’t a bad read around Halloween. I started Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco, but I haven’t finished it. I will, though. If I can get back to it. I’m also listening to the Ripper podcast and I would like to read the book The Five by Hallie Rubenhold but I haven’t gotten to it yet. I know I’ve listened to a few romance novels on various road trips but… I can’t remember which ones or what they were about. Except romance. Obviously.
This year has been a lot. Last year was a lot. Next year one of my goals is to get back to listening to audiobooks while I cook. If you have suggestions, I am all ears! What have your favorites (in particular non-fiction) been?
Well it was a year. I did read more books then I did last year but not anywhere near my pre-pandemic levels. But who is. I have found it harder to write reviews recently. You may have noticed. I’ll try to do better in 2022. Anyways, without further ado. These are top 5 favorite books of the past year. In order of which I read them.
Stormbreak by Natalie C. Parker – I just loved this whole series of women pirates taking on the systems keeping society down. It was just one adventure after another and it a great ending. I highly recommend the whole series.
The Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeiine Boulley – This book is just so heartbreaking. What Daunis and her people have gone through is just so painful and yet the strength they processed is just amazing. Boulley’s writing is very striking. She doesn’t sugarcoat the experience her characters experience. Be aware. It does deal with sexual assault, drug use, racism and domestic violence.
The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab – Addie Larue made a deal that she wanted to live her own life but in exchange no one remembers her. 300 years later, she finally remembers her and it seems like things maybe turning around but of course things are not as they seem. This book is such a rich book. Fantasy and historical fiction all in one. Loved it.
The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee – Jo is lady’s maid. Not by choice but because her options are limited. When an opportunity presents itself to write an advice column under a secret identity she takes it. It gives her the freedom that she doesn’t have in day to day life. I loved reading about Jo because despite the card stacked against her she doesn’t give up.
The Naturals series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – I’m choosing this series as a whole since I read them all at once. It was recommended by a coworker and she knows her stuff. Cassie and her fellow Naturals are not your normal teenagers. They know how to read people and for that makes them useful to the FBI. I just got sucked into the mystery of this series and I was so happy that I waited to read it all at once.