Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Chosen by Kiersten White

Chosen by Kiersten White
Release Date - January 7, 2020
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  353 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from publisher in exchange for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Nina continues to learn how to use her slayer powers against enemies old and new in this second novel in the New York Times bestselling series from Kiersten White, set in the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Now that Nina has turned the Watcher’s Castle into a utopia for hurt and lonely demons, she’s still waiting for the utopia part to kick in. With her sister Artemis gone and only a few people remaining at the castle—including her still-distant mother—Nina has her hands full. Plus, though she gained back her Slayer powers from Leo, they’re not feeling quite right after being held by the seriously evil succubus Eve, a.k.a. fake Watcher’s Council member and Leo’s mom.

And while Nina is dealing with the darkness inside, there’s also a new threat on the outside, portended by an odd triangle symbol that seems to be popping up everywhere, in connection with Sean’s demon drug ring as well as someone a bit closer to home. Because one near-apocalypse just isn’t enough, right?

The darkness always finds you. And once again, it’s coming for the Slayer.
A continuation of a series you loved is always a conflicting situation. You are excited to be part of that world again, but fear that the new addition to the story could not possibly measure up to what you remember. I think that Kiersten White manages to avoid this with her Slayer series. She gives fans something that both works with and sits along side the original series.

A large part of what worked about both Slayer and Chosen for me is that we are following brand new characters set in the same world. We can take what we love about the original and remember it fondly without irreversibly breaking it. The new characters keep the story feeling new while still feeling known.

Nina reminded me a lot of Faith. Nina struggles with being a slayer and, in particular, the darkness inside her. She makes a lot of really bad choices. She also has things in common with Buffy though. She relies on her friends to help her through, and really does what to make the right choice even if that isn't always possible.

The side characters are some of the most easily loved. Doug, a demon who loves Coldplay, was a personal favourite. Nina's friends become important to the plot in a similar fashion to the Scoobies and that enriched the story for me.

The love story was one of my favourite elements of this series. It has the same epic scope that made me love the Buffy and Angel relationship so fiercely. There are many love stories being told and all of them resonated with me in their own way.

My only real issue as I was reading was the character of Artemis. I felt like I understood Nina's motivations and character. I did not feel that Artemis was fleshed out in the same way. I wanted more from her and a deeper insight into what was driving her in this book. I did appreciate that the sister relationship was a central part of the story arc but I just didn't feel as connected to Artemis.

Nostalgia is baked into the premise of this series and the way it is used it masterful. There are some cameos that had me entirely losing my cool. Kiersten White captures the essence of these beloved characters that it felt like coming back home in a way. My emotions were always in the surface and that is because of the respect and care that was shown to the story and characters I love completely. I do not want to ruin any if the surprises but rest assured that fans of the television show will be satisfied. The amount of inside jokes (with a brilliant one included towards the end) warmed my heart and delighted me to no end.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans should immediately pick up this series. It is like returning to Sunnydale in a way but through the perfect means. It allows those perfect memories of the show to remain untainted while still giving us more of the world we love. It is exactly what I hoped it would be, I am just sad we have to leave these new characters so soon.

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