Unchosen by Katharyn Blair

Unchosen by Katharyn Blair
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult (14 – 18 y.o.)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Cholla

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.

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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.

How many times can the world end before it ends for good? Every time Charlotte Holloway thinks that she’s seen the worst, something worse happens. Now, she’s looking at the choice between saving her sisters and saving herself. Trouble is, none of them might make it through this alive.

Charlotte is a hot mess when all of this starts. She’s in love with her older sister’s boyfriend for starters. In addition, she feels like she’s forever in the shadow of her older sister, Harlow, a talented musician before the Crimson, and now a leader you don’t want to mess with. She also feels overshadowed by her younger sister, Vanessa, an adept gymnast and the Chosen One. As a middle child myself, I could fully relate to Char’s feelings regarding her sisters. Knowing what it’s like to be in her shoes (sort of), I was even happier as I watched her come into herself and fully grasp the person she was meant to be.

Harlow has a tendency as the older sister to be both overbearing and overprotective of her sisters. While this might be normal and natural, she kneecaps Char a bit with her rules and expectations. I think Char wouldn’t have taken so many risks if Harlow had given her more level footing to work from in the beginning. Vanessa isn’t given a whole lot of page time, which is a shame. She doesn’t get a chance to really develop as a character until near the end of the book.

The pirates were some of my favorite characters. Seth, of course, is the handsome, alpha captain, without many of the alpha hangups. Rielle, Lucia, and Thomas are his crew, each of which has their own endearing personalities. Rielle is sweet and funny and takes no time to warm up to you. Lucia is a bit gruffer, but you soon learn she’s a softie when she wants to be. Thomas was there to keep Rielle and Lucia from going off the rails, I think.

Probably the most interesting thing about this novel was the Crimson. It’s a deadly curse of sorts that’s spread via eye contact and, once you’ve caught it, you deteriorate into what’s basically a zombie. I thought that having it spread this way was a different sort of angle on the usual super flu or something similar. I also really adored the pirate angle. You have runners kidnapping those who haven’t been exposed and selling them off, and then the ones working against the runners to save their cargo. It made for some exciting reading.

Unchosen is a different sort of adventure story. One where the not-chosen takes on the role of the chosen in an attempt to save the true Chosen One. A true story of love, family, and determination against the odds.

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