Thursday, January 21, 2021

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Unchosen, by Katharyn Blair {ends 1/28}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

He sits up. “Because you understand how ridiculous it sounds. Like the hope invented by people who wanted to give their kids some sort of way to cope with the apocalypse. And the ‘Chosen One’ sounds like a trope from a C-list made-for-TV movie.”

His voice, that word, grates on me, and I feel the anger blooming through my bones.

“More ridiculous than red-eyed creatures? Wake up, Cap, we’ve been in a bad fantasy movie for a long time.”

Seth laughs then and sniffs against the cold. The tip of his nose is red, and for the first time since I sat down, I wonder how long he’s been out here. If he thought it was safe to sleep at all. “It’s nothing personal,” he says.

“You’re calling me a liar. That feels pretty personal.”

On paper, it may sound tricky to make a dystopian/zombie-ish/pirate fantasy book work, but this book somehow pulls all those things together for an entertaining read.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Unchosen, by Katharyn Blair {ends 1/28}
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.

Charlotte has always felt like the odd one out. She had no outstanding talent like her older and younger sisters. Even after the essential end of the world, both of her sisters come shining through as valuable entities in the new world, but Charlotte resumes her supporting role. It’s only when she makes a grand gesture intended to save her younger sister that her true worth starts to be revealed.

The premise of the Crimson originally feels a bit like Bird Box (the novel by Josh Malerman, and followed up with the movie starring Sandra Bullock): they can only look strangers in the eye through mirrors, to prevent their tragic and horrifying human death. Sure, it’s an existence, but it feels like they’re just waiting for the attack they can’t stand against. Soon enough, their walled village is invaded and everything changes in a hurry.

The evolution of Charlotte as she struggles to survive, and maybe save the world, was a compelling read. Each interaction with another potential enemy forced her to change the story she was telling, and keep track of more lies to stay alive. While some of it may have leaned toward a bit far-fetched, the story-telling and unique characters were enjoyable and worth a bit of suspension of disbelief.

Overall, I’d give this book 4 out of 5 stars. The pirate legend and mindless-diseased (zombie?) enemies had a fantasy flair, but being set in a recognizable world before the Crimson made it a bit more like speculative fiction. The plot was definitely imaginative, but not overly graphic, making it an acceptable YA read as well. With so many overlapping genres, I think it would be a good read for many people.

{click here to pre-order; it will be online/in stores on January 26, 2021}

Becki Bayley is a wife, mom, reader, and school crossing-guard. Check out more of what she’s reading at


One of my lucky readers will win a hardcover copy of Unchosen!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Thursday, January 28th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be notified via email the next day, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

Spin, by Patricia Cornwell


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