Hey everyone! So today’s post is my stop on the FFBC’s blog tour for the start of Taran Matharu’s new series Contender — The Chosen. I first read Taran’s work last year when I read the prequel to his first series, The Outcast, as part of the FFBC book tour for that release — I can already tell I’ll love the Contender series also!
Read on for my full review!
Title: The Chosen
Series: Contender #1
Author: Taran Matharu
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends (US) Hodder Children’s Books (UK)
Release Date: 4th June 2019
Source: eARC ARC provided by the UK publisher (this in no way affects my review which is honest and unbiased)
‘Introducing an epic new trilogy from Taran Matharu, author of the New York Times–bestselling Summoner series.
The Chosen is a gripping YA sci-fi that’ll have you begging to find out just what the heck is going on from the very beginning. It starts off with our protagonist stranded somewhere, and we aren’t told much about how or why because not even he is aware of this. We get glimpses into what led to this though, finding out about Cade’s past. Our main character has been framed for a crime and placed in a correctional school, full of boys who are intimidating and basically not the kind of people who you’d want to stuck somewhere unfamiliar with.
Unfortunately for Cade though, he ends up stuck with some of the meanest characters from his school, along with a few of the more redeeming boys.
Cade is a great main character, he’s smart (a huge history geek — which comes in handy) and he comes a long way with his development in the story. Whereas he starts off as someone who thinks the best thing to do is lie low and not defend himself in any way, he ends up being a great leader as he gains confidence.
The world though, that’s definitely my favourite part. We’re introduced first to creatures who our characters refer to as ‘Vipers’, nasty and terrifying animals unlike anything they’ve seen before. Then we have glimpses of Roman history too. As the story progresses, Cade ends up in a caldera jungle where there are Mayan ruins, lost Chinese ships and… dinosaurs. (For those of you wondering, this was of course my favourite thing about the story). There were a few scenes which gave off serious Jurassic Park vibes and from a geeky perspective, THANK YOU Taran for referring to raptors as Deinonychus instead of Velociraptor. I loved how it was all intertwined with history though because it was done so well.
Cade gets a cute little AI following him around too, called Codex. He’s basically a flying robot who can tell historical facts and project a map, but Cade tries to make him respond more human-like so he’s relatable to him and I just really liked his character.
Codex is, however, part of the overall story. Our characters know that they’ve chosen for something called the qualifying round but that’s all they know for a long time whilst stuck in this dangerous world.
Other boys who have been chosen include Spex, Eric, Scott and Yoshi, who are the “nice” guys from the school, along with Finch, Gobbler and Jim. Finch is basically a huge bully, Gobbler would do anything to please him and Jim is kind of just doing what he thinks is best to keep his neck. We don’t get as much time with these others though because Cade is separated from them and ends up in some tricky situations, including one where he meets a Roman called Quintus. Quintus is a super sweet character and probably my favourite, he’s been in the world for a year and helps Cade even though he doesn’t have to.
Cade meets a group of girls in his travels too, who also end up helping but I don’t want to say much more because I really don’t want to spoil this awesome book for anyone!
Basically, The Chosen is a gripping story full of action and if you’re a fan of YA sci-fi I’d definitely say it’s one to pick up! The ending has me dying to find out what happens next in this series.
About the Author
Check out the other stops on the FFBC blog tour here!
Have you read this yet?
What did you think?
Feel free to leave a comment or Tweet @LuchiaHoughton!