Book Reviews

Rise of the Chosen Randomness

NetGalley delivers digital galleys, often called advance reading copies, or ARCs, to professional readers and helps promote new and upcoming titles. Professional readers–reviewers, media, journalists, bloggers, librarians, booksellers and educators–can join and use NetGalley at no cost.” Netgalley is a special section of my book discussions where I post reviews of the digital books I read through this service. It’s quite amazing the gems you can find. I’ve yet to regret reading a book, even if I don’t like it…


Lifeblood is lurking inside the blood of every living human, ready to take over once the body gives out. Those who fight it wake up as heightened immortals commanded to fight in the name of humanity the rest of the undead. The Watch is the organization that control these Chosen and frankly the Chosen are sick of being on a leash. Newly appointed Watch Guard Samantha Shields gets caught in the middle of the cross-fire.

I love the dystopian genre. I never get tired of it and love to see what others come up with. The opening scene really captured me and I settled in to follow Sam anywhere only to find out she’s a random little thing, all over the place and too special to be true. It makes me a little queasy to say this because I like protagonists with skills and traits that set them apart from those around them! Sam though is so fake that it just felt forced. Contrived is the word that comes to mind. She goes on and on about not killing humans then about 4 days later (literally only 4 days from the start of the book) she strides out talking about killing her some humans! Yeah, random much?! You just contradicted yourself. Now if the narrative setup why her feelings have changed then that would be okay…but you get nothing. It’s what Sam needed to do in the moment so she did it. This isn’t the only time this happens but EVERY encounter with Sam she does a sudden switcharoo on you. Totally unreliable and random. Yet she’s so special she has abilities no one else comes close to on top of being a powerful immortal…and of course, she gets to skip the pain…

I totally loved the world and especially David! The idea of zombies and vampires are neatly worked together here in a way that makes sense. This stuff isn’t new to the genre but it’s put together in a way that feels fresh. There was way too much telling for my liking. It wasn’t even info dumped in dialouge but was simply set down at the beginning and stashed between one plot point and the next. No window dressing – that is not world building! Still the idea of the lifeblood was strong and worked on many levels. I liked the idea of 3 man teams on watch and that one is vampire like superhuman immortal. The Watch was established decently if a little swiftly and again in a contrived manner. I kid you not but 4 days pass in the course of the book, wait maybe it was 5 days! She went from cadet to watch guard in the highest level team to essential to the Chosen cause all within 2 of those days!!

Better for her to have already graduated and gone through some of her training when she is suddenly called back to Savannah. She’s made a crazy reputation for herself as truly being the daughter of the hero Shield. There we meet her two ex-lovers, one male and one female. She’s suddenly been promoted and in meeting with the general in face to face meetings. Then she’s attacked and it’s done at a compromising time, like when she’s with her girlfriend and her mother is killed at the same time. David also would have made a much better character. Even as a co-protagonist he would have helped the book a great deal… Why are his feelings so strong for Sam? Develop their relationship from his side and her side and show the contrast! (This needed time to develop, it went too fast from team creation to chosen meeting. Sam kept acting like she’s been serving with David for a couple years and not a couple days…) How is he motivated for her? We needed to be shown this and not told in quite run down back stories! He’s a steady type of character and we need to see that he’s a good foil for Sam’s crazy. This would help explain some of her random tendencies!

The plot is weak and continues on with the same lack of development and reasoning that is the problem with much of this story… I don’t agree with the whole Brand arc, it happened too quickly to my mind and was just for sudden twist and shock value… One other note: Sam is a bi-sexual. That is made clear early on. I have no problem with this but it really didn’t seem to serve a purpose other than trying to make a more interesting love triangle. I’m not a fan of love triangles anyway so it wasn’t for me. If this really is a young adult (which quality wise it is) then the adult nature of some moments was not to my taste; if it’s a new adult genre then it’s a little tame, which with a bi-sexual protagonist is a good thing to my mind. It’s just another shoe-horned element that doesn’t quite work…

There is still good besides David and the general premise. I really loved Doc and how he changed the whole Chosen angle and how it was essential to protect his secret. I loved the twist as to what was happening to the Chosen (Like Adam’s back history). I liked Julian’s arc – my sympathy was kindled expertly here with his hobby! David’s problem with his blood was also highly intriguing. Also the problem with Sam’s girlfriend becoming Chosen was tantalizing…

These don’t change the fact that this book needs help… it’s one of the most contrived books I’ve read in a while. I gave the story 2 stars despite being 1 star quality on the backs of her great ideas!! The end intrigues me frankly, I won’t spoil it but I would give this and the second book a shot to see if our newbie Anna Kopp improves…

BOTTOM LINE: Good ideas, poorly executed with an ending that intrigues…

Thanks to NetGalley and Blue Moon Publishers for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


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