Book Review: Rise of the Chosen by Anna Kopp

by - 7:33:00 PM

Title: Rise of the Chosen
Author: Anna Kopp
Pages: 210
Genre: YA Dystopian/ Science Fiction
Release Date: 04 October 2016

From Goodreads: "In Sam's world there are two rules. Rule #1: Nobody dies. Protect the living at all costs. Rule #2: Everybody dies. At least once.

The Waking was a global event in which a force called the Lifeblood invaded all humans who died. The few strong enough to control it came back as powerful immortals. The rest let the bloodlust take over and awoke with one goal - to kill.

Newly appointed Watch Guard Samantha Shields has a legacy to uphold. Her father died a hero defending their city and now she wants to follow in his footsteps. Except for the dying part, of course. Unfortunately, fate has other plans as she discovers deep dark secrets that make her choose between her loyalties and the lives of everyone in her city. Both rules are in play as Sam is forced to make hard decisions that could cost her everything - including the person she cares about most."

Thank you to Adam Mawer, DigiWriting, NetGalley, and Blue Moon Publishers for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for review!

Rise of the Chosen follows Sam Shields, the daughter of Brand Shields who is a well-known hero that died defending the city of Savannah from Woken. As a new member of the Watch Guard, Sam wants nothing more than to follow in her father's footsteps, minus the dying part. On her second day of Watch duty, Sam discovers secrets that the Watch Guard has been keeping from the people they've sworn to protect. Now Sam has to decide where her loyalties lie and just how far she's willing to go to protect those she loves.

I absolutely flew through this book! It was a very nice, quick read that I ended up enjoying more than I initially thought I would. This takes the zombie genre and turns it on its head with the Woken and the Chosen. Woken make up about 99% of the dead and their only desire is to kill. They have enhanced strength and are nearly immortal, but of course can be killed by beheading. Woken are easy to spot because the mysterious Lifeblood shows in both their eyes and their veins, causing them to glow red. Chosen are different in that they are incredibly rare (only about 1 in 1000 deaths) and while the Lifeblood still flows through them, it's much more faded compared to the Woken. Also, Chosen retain their humanity and instead of red glowing eyes, their eyes are the same color that they were as humans but they glow. The Chosen are used in the Watch Guard as a member of a three person group that helps control the Woken killings throughout the city. This is such a different take on the traditional zombie story and I really liked how the author took the time to give the definitions at the beginning of the book to help the reader understand everything.

I normally don't enjoy reading fast-paced books, but I think Rise of the Chosen was a book that wouldn't have made sense as a slower-paced book. It wasn't the highlight of my reading, unfortunately, but I understood why it had to move faster than I would have liked. In a situation like the one Sam is in, things wouldn't move at a snails pace. With people dying almost daily, whether by choice or not, it would be unrealistic to imagine that the lives of everyone in that situation would go at a slow or normal pace. While things are not at an apocalyptic level and society is still attempting to function as it used to, the fact that Woken and Chosen exist makes things different, and therefore makes living different. I can't say this enough but this was such a unique twist on the genre and it really stood out as something I haven't seen before and something I really enjoyed.

Sam as a character was a lot of fun to read about. She goes through quite a lot in this book, and it's all in the course of maybe three days. Everything she knows to be true is turned upside down and she has to quickly adapt to her new situation. Not only is she strong, but she's also smart, and very dedicated to keeping those she loves safe. I liked that there was some LGBT representation in this book with Sam and Lena, and it really made this book stand out even more. Their relationship was absolutely adorable and I was so happy with how things went between the two of them! I really hope to see more of their relationship in the next book and maybe for Lena to eventually have a much bigger part in the series. Something I am worried about is that the author will try and give David a chance with Sam and push Lena out of the picture, simply because there were multiple hints at potential feelings that David has for Sam. I think that having a strong female character that is in a relationship with another female is a great way for this story to go!

When it came to the other characters, I did feel that there were a lot of names but not a lot of information about them. We got a pretty basic description of many of them, but I was hoping for more description and backstory. The story was told from an omnipresent point of view so there was a lot of opportunity to provide more information about some of the characters, such as Sam's father, the general, and even David. I would love to know more about David, as he's a pretty big part of the story as a member of Sam's team and also a Chosen. There also seems to be a connection between him and Sam and I'm really curious to see why and how that developed. I'm definitely holding out for more side character development and backstory in the second book because I'm interested in learning more about a lot of people that were introduced in Rise of the Chosen.

All in all, Rise of the Chosen was a great start to the Lifeblood series. There was a lot introduced in this first book that I am eager to read more about and see expanded upon in the next installment. The writing and world building was so well done, and I loved the environment that Anna Kopp built. By the end, I was dying to have the second book in my hands! The cliffhanger was just too much to handle, but I liked how it ended because it allows the reader to speculate on just how important and powerful Sam is. I'm so excited to see where the story goes from here, because there are so many ways that the plot can go, but it can only get better as it goes on. Starting off strong and ending even stronger, Rise of the Chosen is perfect for anyone looking for a unique take on the traditional zombie story or just looking for a fast-paced, exciting beginning to what is sure to be an incredible series!

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