The Chosen (Contender, #1)New
Cade is settling into a new boarding school, contemplating his future, when he finds himself transported to another realm. He soon discovers their new world is populated with lost remnants from the past: prehistoric creatures, ancient relics, and stranger still―people. Overwhelmed by his new surroundings, Cade has little time to adjust, for soon he and his fellow classmates are forced to become contenders in a brutal game, controlled by mysterious overlords.
But who are these beings and why did they choose these teens? Cade must prepare for battle . . . because hiding is not an option.
fantastic, suspenseful, fantasy/sci-fi adventure
MAZE RUNNER meets LAND OF THE LOST in this engaging page-turner full of twists and turns in an epic tale of survival and history. Cade was accused of stealing laptops found under his bed at his wealthy private school (which he attended on scholarship). He was innocent and his roommate the likely culprit, but his public defender convinced him to take the plea deal. Thus, Cade is now in a military reform school, which is maybe a step above juvie, and his life is not easy there.
However, one day, he wakes up somewhere different- a world beyond what he could have imagined, with danger around every turn. Why he was brought there and what he must do to get out are anything but clear. As he pieces together the clues and fights to stay alive, the countdown clock adds pressure to the whole situation. Adding onto that the interpersonal relationships with the boys who were also brought from the school and the new people they find in this strange place, this book is action-packed and full of mystery/suspense.
What I loved: The book has a steady pace that allows the reader to absorb all the new information about this world and still feel the suspense. There’s a lot of interesting facts about history and great knowledge/strategy required in the journey that added to the book’s appeal. Cade is really the character we get to know best, and he’s a great leader, intelligent, brave, and considerate. The other characters are some people I would like to know better in future books, but there are a few that I found particularly engaging/intriguing (particularly the girls and Quintus). The world-building was really the focus here, and this is incredibly strong in this book- this unique setting really comes to life through the text.
Cade is also an appearing Indian American of mixed ethnicities/race, which adds some extra elements, particularly to the first part of the book (in terms of some heavy racism). This kind of representation is really important in middle grade/YA, and this is a great book that includes these elements plus a main character of color.
Final verdict: With dinosaurs, Romans, and a battle for survival, THE CHOSEN is absolutely fascinating and quite the page turner. I would highly recommend for fans of fantasy/sci-fi looking for something unique and full of suspense/mystery.