A roller-coaster ride as an unsuspecting heroine tries to save the world... Unchosen by Katharyn Blair (Review) #yalit #dystopian #zombies #unchosen @KTegenBooks @mbeatie

It's been a long time since I've read a paranormal book like this. I've actually been
in the mood for vampires or werewolves or something, and I'll totally take zombies
(especially in this form)! Check out my thoughts on this new YA dystopian below...

By Katharyn Blair
YA Dystopian, Paranormal, Fantasy
Hardcover, Audiobook & ebook, 416 Pages
January 26, 2021 by Katherine Tegen Books


Katharyn Blair crafts a fiercely feminist fantasy with a horrifying curse, swoon-worthy sea captains, and the power of one girl to choose her own fate in this contemporary standalone adventure that's perfect for fans of The Fifth Wave and Seafire, and for anyone who has ever felt unchosen.

For Charlotte Holloway, the world ended twice.

The first was when her childhood crush, Dean, fell in love—with her older sister.

The second was when the Crimson, a curse spread through eye contact, turned the majority of humanity into flesh-eating monsters.

Neither end of the world changed Charlotte. She’s still in the shadows of her siblings. Her popular older sister, Harlow, now commands forces of survivors. And her talented younger sister, Vanessa, is the Chosen One—who, legend has it, can end the curse.

When their settlement is raided by those seeking the Chosen One, Charlotte makes a reckless decision to save Vanessa: she takes her place as prisoner.

The word spreads across the seven seas—the Chosen One has been found.

But when Dean’s life is threatened and a resistance looms on the horizon, the lie keeping Charlotte alive begins to unravel. She’ll have to break free, forge new bonds, and choose her own destiny if she has any hope of saving her sisters, her love, and maybe even the world.

Because sometimes the end is just a new beginning.


“A thrill ride from start to end, this book captivated me with its deadly stakes, breathtaking romance, and unforgettable characters. One of my all-time favorite reads!” —Kathryn Purdie, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Burning Glass and Bone Crier’s Moon

“In the spirit of Walking Dead and Divergent, Blair offers a deeply felt testament to love and survival and sisterhood—to everything that makes us whole and human—in a story that ultimately upends the idea of a chosen one to reaffirm the human heart.” —Margaret Stohl, #1 New York Times bestselling co-author of the Beautiful Creatures novels

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

UNCHOSEN is an apocalyptic story set after a virus spreads that turns people into flesh-eating monsters, but there's more to it than that as its mixed with myth and legend. The story follows the heroine who is one of three sisters, so there's a strong bond of sisterhood with history between them. Then there's plenty of thrill rides between the zombies, pirates, unforbidden love, and prophecy of the chosen one. With a relatable heroine, sizzling romance and a story where readers won't be able to turn the pages fast enough, this is sure to be an entertaining read for YA fans!

This story is a mix of so many things I love! First off, there are these three sisters with the one in the middle, Charlotte and the main POV in this story, feeling a bit overshadowed by the other two. She doesn't feel like she is valued or loved for herself. Add to that her feelings for her sister's boyfriend who only sees her as a best friend and it makes her feel pretty small and invisible. I really liked seeing the way these sisters worked together, even if not in the best way. Their love and bond was strong. When their settlement gets raided and Charlotte has the chance to do something, she takes it. This starts a journey for Charlotte in figuring out what she's made of and really coming into her own. I loved seeing her develop, find her strength and figure some things out. I love character-driven stories and this one definitely has that aspect while also having a strong plot and great secondary characters. Some of those secondary characters end up becoming friends who push and draw her out. I also really loved how strong the female characters were without is seeming like they were coming across as too strong or like the males were weak. They were all fierce and likable. 

Let's talk a bit about some other aspects of this story I loved... like pirates, zombies and romance. The pirates were interesting. They have their own metal island and they generally trade in humans that haven't been infected, so there were quite a few villains. Then there were the zombies. This is a fairly loose term. They eat other humans, but they're fast, strong, have a heightened sense of smell, and some were quite intelligent. They pass along the virus through their eyes, which was another interesting concept. Next, the romance. I've never really loved romance plots where someone is in love with someone else's boyfriend, but the author made this work for me as the story developed (no spoilers here). I really loved the romance and the guy that falls for Charlotte. I also liked that it doesn't override the story. Then there is the whole "chosen one" thing. I thought the whole myth, research and plot about this was really interesting, plus the fantasy aspect this added. Just really cool and I can totally get behind: "You will not choose my end, this heart is mine." I seriously loved how this aspect of the story worked out!

I did have a few things I would have liked done differently. Some parts I thought could have been developed a bit more. There weren't a lot of parts with the Vessels (the zombies) and I thought that maybe could have been ramped up a bit - although I really appreciated that there was almost no gore. I would have liked a bit more development with the setting so I felt more immersed in the story. Less mature content (really, I don't think YA needs its characters sleeping together) and swearing.

In the end, was it what I wished for? This is definitely a page-turner with great characters, some thought-provoking moments, strong relationships, fierce female leads, and a romance to love. If you're looking for an entertaining thrill ride about the end of the world, this one is definitely recommended.

Content: Swearing (quite a few s-words and a few f-words), innuendo, references to a lesbian relationship, violence, and a few referenced fade-to-black love scenes.
Source: I received a complimentary copy ARC from the publicist, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Katharyn Blair is a novelist and screenwriter. She graduated with her MFA in 2015 and is finishing her MA in literature. She’s been a social media coordinator for several films at 20th Century Fox, an intern at her city’s Parks and Recreation Department, a gymnastics coach, and, most recently, a writing professor at Azusa Pacific University. She lives outside of Los Angeles with her family. The Beckoning Shadow is her debut novel.

Photo Credit: Oana Foto

Have you read this one or will you be? Do you like stories with zombies or vampires in them?

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