“Truth Six: Not to be chosen would yield a cruel fate of my own making.” Carrington Hale knew these words; she had recited them since she was a small child. But she never imagined she’d be faced with the reality of not being chosen. Now she is deemed unworthy and labeled a Lint, the lowest servant in her society. Amidst the darkness of her new reality, Carrington is befriended by Larkin, who introduces her to Aaron’s teachings. In his message, she finds confusion and a small glimmer of hope. But what is the truth—what she learned her entire life or these new ideas that suggest freedom? With a strong beginning and some good themes, The Choosing is a nice debut novel from Rachelle Dekker.
The Choosing is good for a debut novel, but shows the author’s inexperience.
Debut novels are rarely strong from beginning to end and such is the case with The Choosing. The opening chapters are very polished and flow beautifully. The reader can instantly grab hold of the plight facing Carrington and truly feel for the situation she finds herself in. These chapters are very character driven and filled with strong emotion. Unfortunately, this doesn’t last as the story morphs from character driven to event driven. This transition might work better if the suspense was stronger and the outcome of the events not as evident.
The story starts out very strong and Carrington’s situation is clearly understood by the reader.
Though there are some flares of creativity, overall predictability and originality is a bit of an issue in The Choosing. For the most part, this book doesn’t add anything new to the dystopian genre. The events that bring the reader from the past to the present are very common and some of the elements too familiar for fans of the genre. While this keeps the book from feeling fresh, overall it doesn’t cause too much of a problem. What is a bigger issue is the predictability of the plot. I can only think of one instance where I was surprised by what happened and there were times when I felt like the attempt to conceal the events only heightened how obvious the outcome was. Unsuccessful suspense is not particularly uncommon in a debut novel, so I suspect that will improve with experience.
Fans of Ted Dekker will recognize some familiar themes and the presentation of those themes.
Though the pacing and character development is somewhat uneven, the storytelling is quite good. Rachelle has a smooth and confident voice making the sluggish parts of the story easier to read.
It isn’t hard to pick up Ted Dekker’s influence as there were times I felt like he was being quoted. Many of the themes will be quite familiar to Ted’s fans and even the presentation of those ideas will reminder readers of his stories. However, in some ways I think Rachelle does a better job of incorporating her spiritual themes. The ideas are still obvious, but not quite as heavy-handed and dramatic was Ted’s most recent books. More importantly, though, is what Rachelle has to say and it is an important truth for readers to think through and accept.
As with most debut novels, The Choosing has some ups and downs, but overall it’s good. The story could stand to be a little more original, but the themes help to offset this issue. Though it’s not a perfect book, I plan to keep reading the series.
Carrington Hale has spent her entire life preparing for her Choosing ceremony – the day that she is to be chosen to become a wife. After years of careful preparation, she is not prepared for this moment to end in disaster. Instead of being chosen, she must spend the rest of her days serving in the lowest level of society as a Lint. Knowing the Authority cannot be questioned, Carrington prepares herself for a life of toil and drudgery, completely shut off from her family. She soon establishes a connection with another Lint girl, and discovers that there is a whole other side to their society, a rebellion that shakes her beliefs to the core and resonates in her heart in ways that she never imagined. Then Carrington is given an unheard of second chance at the life prepared and dreamed of, but things are not quite what they seem. With an assassin killing Lints and corruption looming in the upper echelons of the Authority, Carrington must find out the truth before it destroys her and those she has come to love.
Rachelle starts with a heightened scene that really pulled me into the action.
I don’t read a lot of dystopian fiction, but when I saw this as an option to review, I took the chance because I love checking out debut authors, and the premise sounded intriguing to me. From the first chapter, I was drawn into the story. Rachelle starts with a heightened scene that really pulled me into the action. While I found some parts of it to be similar to things I have already read, I still enjoyed her debut novel.
I appreciated that details of how the society worked were threaded throughout so as to avoid a big pile of information. The details were mentioned, but I didn’t feel that it was overwhelming at any point.
The world that Rachelle created here at first seems very simplistic. I think that it’s a little deeper and more involved than it might first appear. I appreciated that details of how the society worked were threaded throughout so as to avoid a big pile of information. The details were mentioned, but I didn’t feel that it was overwhelming at any point. I do wish I could have learned a bit more about its history and what it actually looks like. Even though I learned about the various elements of the government and society, I never really got a feel for what it looked like – was it futuristic, was it part old and part new, did homes look like they do now or are things more uniform? Overall though, I felt that the world building was done well and created a great backdrop for the story.
Carrington’s character is interesting, but for me, she didn’t have any special quality or quirk that really brought her to life and established a connection. I felt empathy for her and was compelled to continue reading her story, but never felt that “something” that I look for in main characters. There is a lot of introspection in her character that I found to become repetitive, although I can see her realizations resonating greatly with a lot of readers. I look forward to Carrington learning who she is as a daughter of the true Father.
Carrington’s character is interesting, but for me, she didn’t have any special quality or quirk that really brought her to life and established a connection.
The plot was entertaining, though nothing out of the ordinary. I was fairly certain what was going to happen, but I still enjoyed getting to the heightened scenes in the book. For me there were a few elements that I felt were left a little vague. How did Aaron and his followers meet without detection? Did he live outside of the city or hide somewhere inside? Perhaps more will be revealed about how those who function outside of the Authority live, as Carrington discovers more about who she is as a daughter of the true Father away from that society’s control.
I know that this is the first novel is a series, so perhaps I just need to be more patient and wait for more to be revealed in the second book. Overall, The Choosing is very well-written debut novel, and I can see how there is plenty here for the sub-sequent books in the series to delve deeper into Carrington’s society and the rebellion. I recommend this for young adult readers who enjoy dystopian settings.