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.
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?
Oh Dystopia. We have had a rough ride in the last couple of years. Whereas before I had read maybe a half dozen books where the Earth (or at least humanity) was near extinct for one reason or another, in the last year alone I've read 14 books with that premise. That's a lot. Like a real lot. It makes it a little hard to find new ways to invent the wheel sometimes.
Chosen Ones does at times remind me of the other books. I'd kill for a YA Dystopia that didn't involve a romance in some fashion honestly, but Tess and James was far more palatable then I would have thought. Its understandable that Tess falls for him almost immediately--different is always alluring and James is very different from any other 'Chosen One' that Tess has meant. James for his part is cognizant in a way that Tess doesn't seem to understand at first, what it means for them to be 'together'.
The history of how humanity reached the level its reached by the story's start was less interesting to me then the real world reactions Tess' father and James extoll. In an economy that is doing better than others, but still seems unable to sustain itself, I can understand her father's sentiment that people grow resentful when their hardwork (in this case protecting the country) seems to mean nothing. If you go off to war to protect your home from being destroyed, but its taken away because you're not being paid enough to keep up the mortgage why did you go off to war? You could have instead found a better paying job and let someone else protect your house.
By in large I enjoyed this book. Some of it dragged with uneven pacing...plus Tess is rather unlikeable until she starts to 'blossom', but Truitt makes up for it by engaging the reader in a game of 'It Could Happen To You'. I certainly hope that the next book, Naturals, builds on the premise (and maybe lets the romance take a backseat).