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Chosen: Slayer, Book 2

Book review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
Chosen: Slayer, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Demon-slaying sequel has more wit and angst.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Lots of vampire and demon lore that readers can compare with other takes throughout literature and mythology.

Positive Messages

A major pep talk on handling change, loss, and fear, and how to stay true to yourself and even love yourself despite mistakes made. Plus loyalty to family and friends, finding forgiveness, and protecting those you love. Much of the fear experienced by characters has to do with feeling powerless to protect those they love.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nina gets bogged down with guilt about past mistakes until she doesn't know what the right thing to do is. She also fears the darker side of herself, and, like in the first book, worries that she will lose herself to it. As the story unfolds, her choices are led by compassion for her friends and family, and she sacrifices much to save them. While Nina is a straight character, her twin is a lesbian and her closest friend is in a gay male relationship.

Violence

As in the TV series, there's a lot of demon fighting, mostly with stakes, knives, Tasers, and super-powered martial arts. Eyeballs plucked out of vampires and also one bad-guy human, who then gets his neck snapped. Another vampire is decapitated. Plenty of injuries, including a slit throat, and broken ribs, legs, and arms with much blood loss. Much talk of family members and friends who died. Main character has many dreams where all her friends are dead and lined up in front of her.

Sex

A few kisses (same- and opposite-sex) and some innuendo.

Language

Mostly "hell" and "ass," plus "s--t" and "bastard" rarely. "Fecking hell," spelled like that.

Consumerism

Many Cokes consumed. Many mentions of the Harry Potter books and the band Coldplay, and a few mentions of Star Wars.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Nina and friends get drunk on whiskey and absinthe -- one is underage. They all decide not to drive home and are hungover the next day. A vampire smokes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Chosen is the second book in the Slayer series from the world of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series and movie. It's written by longtime Buffy fan/bestselling author Kiersten White (And I Darken trilogy).  It helps to have watched the TV series to keep up with some of the characters and lore that pop up throughout the story. Like the TV series, there's lots of demon fighting, mostly with stakes, knives, Tasers, and superpowered martial arts. Eyeballs are plucked out of vampires and also one bad-guy human, who then gets his neck snapped. There are plenty of injuries, including a slit throat and broken bones, and there's much talk about the deaths of loved ones and loss. Other mature content includes a few kisses, straight and LGBTQ, and some swearing, including "s--t" and "fecking hell," spelled like that. The main character, Nina, and friends get drunk on whiskey and absinthe and decide it's best to ask for a ride home. For most of Chosen, though, Nina is less decisive. Her guilt over past mistakes keeps her from trusting herself until she focuses every action on protecting those she loves.

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What's the story?

In CHOSEN: SLAYER, BOOK 2, Nina, chosen slayer of demons, is setting up a sanctuary for them. She's determined to only slay the bad ones from now on. But lines get blurred when she finds out her twin sister, Artemis, is in cahoots with a drug dealer who preys on the very demons she's trying to protect. And when she discovers that a major funder of their operations, someone her own mother tells her not to mess with, is preying upon innocents as well. They all have ties to someone called the Sleeper, whose rabid followers will do anything to help him regain his power, even if it means the end of the world as we know it.

Is it any good?

The mysteries are too easy for readers to solve, but Buffy fans will still enjoy this witty, angsty sequel as wooden stakes fly and the other kind of stakes get even higher. Chosen follows the same pattern as the first book, Slayer, so you'll know who the secret bad guys are and you'll know what they're after. You may be miffed that the characters are so blind to it.

That aside, Chosen works well when it combines action with wit. There are plenty of moments where ultra-strong Nina takes out a bunch of villains while delivering the perfect one-liners. They remind readers what a strange job she has in this world of demons that can siphon off your feelings or skip through dimensions or hold conferences at the Marriott. Though, sometimes the wit turns to cynicism, which leads to some serious angst. While these passages of intense reflection could have been edited down, Nina's doubts and indecision are relatable, even if her butt-kicking job isn't, and Chosen soon gets back to the butt-kicking action.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Nina's dreams in Chosen. What do they mean? What does it show that she fears? How does she use them to focus on what's important?

  • What does Artemis want in the story? Why? Does she get it?

  • Would you read more stories in this series? Is there another character you'd like it to focus on? Who?

Book details

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