“Will get Buffy fans up in their feels.” —Entertainment Weekly on Slayer
Nina continues to learn how to use her slayer powers against enemies old and new in this second novel in the New York Times bestselling series from Kiersten White, set in the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Now that Nina has turned the Watcher’s Castle into a utopia for hurt and lonely demons, she’s still waiting for the utopia part to kick in. With her sister Artemis gone and only a few people remaining at the castle—including her still-distant mother—Nina has her hands full. Plus, though she gained back her Slayer powers from Leo, they’re not feeling quite right after being held by the seriously evil succubus Eve, a.k.a. fake Watcher’s Council member and Leo’s mom.
And while Nina is dealing with the darkness inside, there’s also a new threat on the outside, portended by an odd triangle symbol that seems to be popping up everywhere, in connection with Sean’s demon drug ring as well as someone a bit closer to home. Because one near-apocalypse just isn’t enough, right?
The darkness always finds you. And once again, it’s coming for the Slayer.
About the Author
Kiersten White is the New York Times bestselling author of many books for teens and young readers, including And I Darken, Now I Rise, Bright We Burn, The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, and Slayer. She lives with her family near the ocean in San Diego, where she perpetually lurks in the shadows. Visit Kiersten online at KierstenWhite.com and follow @KierstenWhite on Twitter.
Read an Excerpt
THE DEMON APPEARS OUT OF nowhere. Claws and fangs fill my sight, and every instinct screams kill. My blood sings with it, my fists clench, my vision narrows. The vulnerable points on the demon’s body practically flash like neon signs.
“Foul!” Rhys shouts. “No teleportation, Tsip! You know that.” Even while playing, Rhys can’t help but be a Watcher, shouting out both advice and corrections. He’s not wearing his glasses, which makes his face look vague and undefined. Cillian passes him, mussing Rhys’s carefully parted hair into wild curls and laughing at Rhys’s frustration.
I take a deep breath, trying to clear my head of the impulse to kill this demon I invited into our home and swore to protect. “It’s just soccer,” I whisper. “It doesn’t matter. I don’t even like soccer.”
“Football, bloody American,” Cillian sings, neatly stealing the ball from me. His shorts are far shorter than the January afternoon should permit, but he seems impervious to cold. Unlike those of us who are translucently pale at this point in winter, his skin is rich and lovely. He passes to Tsip. Tsip is a vaguely opalescent pink, shimmering in the sunlight. She paints her claws fun colors when we do manicure nights, and I try desperately not to miss Artemis.
I stay rooted to the ground where I’m standing. Tsip caught me off guard, but that shouldn’t matter. I like her. And the fact that I went from trying to score a goal to plotting a dozen ways to kill my opponent in a single heartbeat is frankly terrifying. I can’t get my heart under control, can’t shake the adrenaline screaming through my veins.
“Gotta take over for the Littles. I’m out.” I wave and jog from the field. No one pays me much attention. Jade is lying on the ground in front of the goal, the worst goalkeeper ever. Rhys and Cillian are bodychecking each other in increasingly flirty ways. Tsip keeps shimmering and then resolidifying as she remembers the no-teleportation rule. They’re all happy to keep going without me, unaware of my internal freak-out.
I’ve deliberately kept them unaware. Things here are going so well. I’m in charge. I can’t be the problem. So none of them know how I can’t sleep at night, how my anger is hair-trigger fast, how when I do manage to sleep, my dreams are ...
They don’t need to know and I don’t let them. Except for Doug, his bright yellow skin almost nineties Day-Glo levels in the thin winter sun. Annoying emotion-sniffing demon. He watches me from our goal, his nostrils flared. I can’t lie to him the way I can to everyone else. I shake my head preemptively. I don’t want to talk about it. Not with him. Not with anyone. There’s only one person I want to talk to about it, but Leo Silvera’s not exactly available.
I do a quick sweep of the perimeter of the castle. Leo loved me. Check the woods. Leo betrayed me. Check the locks on the outbuildings. Leo saved me. Pause and just listen and look, feeling for anything pushing against my instincts. I let Leo die.
I keep walking. Leo loved me, betrayed us, saved us, and then died, and I can’t be sad without being mad or mad without feeling guilty or guilty without feeling exhausted.
Past the meadow, the tiny purple demons are taking turns pushing each other on the tree swing. That, or they’re trying to push each other off. It’s hard to tell with them. With nothing else needing my attention outside, I end up at the front stairs to the castle.
“Hey, Jessi.” I wave halfheartedly to our resident vengeance demon. She’s leading the Littles through an elaborate game of hopscotch. George Smythe, bundled up and barely able to see under a floppy knit hat, is shouting each letter as he lands on it. “G!”
“What?” Jessi snaps at me.
“I can take over for you.” I find the Littles soothing. They might be three incredibly hyper children constantly needing snacks, entertainment, and education, but at least none of them ever randomly triggers a kill reflex in me.
“No,” Jessi says, her voice as sweet as summer fruit. “G-E-what-comes-next ...”
“O!” George course corrects, wobbling on one short leg before jumping to the required O.
“Good! Oh, you’re so clever. Priya, how are your letters coming?” Priya, a tiny moppet with shiny black hair, is crouched over her own chalk work, which looks more like Klingon than any alphabet I’m familiar with. “Very good, darling! You’re really working hard. Hold the chalk with one hand, like we talked about. Thea, love, fingers out of noses, please—that’s a dear.”
And to think, we once considered these children the entire future of the Watchers. I watch as Thea spins until she falls flat on her bottom. Actually, the future of the Watchers is pretty accurately captured here. I pat Jessi on the arm. “So, you can take the afternoon off.”
Everything sweet in Jessi’s voice turns to ice. “I said no. I don’t trust you with these three precious wonders. We have an entire day’s curriculum to get through, and we haven’t even done story time yet or finished our art projects. Are you going to do any of that with them?”
“You were going to turn on a cartoon and read while their fertile minds were filled with weeds.”
Jessi doesn’t have her powers anymore, but I’m pretty certain if she did, I would have been vengeance-demoned right into something oozing and seeping. She’s already turned away from me and back to her three charges. Her whole face is full of gentle warmth and absolute love.
“R!” George declares, hopping emphatically down on it. Jessi claps like he’s cured the common cold.
Thoroughly dismissed, I skulk up the stairs and into the castle. Jessi could at least pretend to be nice. She’s got a lot of enemies out there—vengeance is a nasty cycle—and without her powers she’s vulnerable. We took her in despite her obvious hatred for everyone over the age of ten. There was some debate, given her history, but my mom argued in her favor. It’s a little easier to forgive a vengeance demon who made it her immortal life’s work to avenge children than a vengeance demon who specialized in, say, fantasy league sports rivalries.
But Jessi’s dismissal leaves me with nothing to do. I used to have my medical center and my studies, all my little Watcher duties. Even with so few of us, the castle ran as near to Watcher traditions as we could manage. Which in retrospect was absurd, since we didn’t have a Slayer and weren’t actually doing anything Watchers should.
But now everything has changed. We lost Watchers—Wanda Wyndam-Pryce, sulking off into the sunset, good riddance. Bradford Smythe, murdered. Eve Silvera, secretly a succubus demon and murderer, smushed thanks to my actions. Artemis, off to find herself with her awful girlfriend, the thought of whom makes my jaw ache as I grind my teeth. And Leo, who didn’t warn us what his mother was (and what he was) but fought her to give us enough time to stop her from opening a new hellmouth.
And now we have a Slayer, again some more, thanks to Leo somehow returning the powers his mother stole from me. I don’t know how he did it, and it hurts too much to think about, like everything else. I spend so much of my days trying not to think, and it’s harder than it should be. I used to believe that all Slayers did was act without thinking. I was wrong, but I wish it were true. There’s so little acting and so much thinking these days.
It’s good. It’s all good. It’s good, I remind myself, over and over like a chant. Sanctuary, what we decided to turn our castle into, is just starting out, but it’s exactly what we dreamed it could be. We’ve taken in demons who had nowhere else to go. We’re keeping them safe, and ourselves safe, and we’ll keep looking for those who could benefit from the generations of knowledge and abilities we have. We’re protecting, not attacking or destroying.
Between our new demonic additions and existing Watchers, everyone has tasks and times to do them. It’s more work than anyone anticipated, keeping everyone taken care of and fed, making sure the castle runs like it should. But so far everyone is happy. Everyone is safe.
I sink down against the wall, feeling the cold of the stone radiating outward. The unpellis demon, all four gentle eyes soft and brown and hopeful, snuggles up to my side like a dog. It’s more animal than human in nature, nonverbal, and still recovering from its frequent de-skinning treatment in Sean’s demon-drug manufacturing scheme. I saved Pelly from that cellar.
I didn’t save everyone, though.
I wrap my arms around Pelly and close my eyes. Everything is exactly what we dreamed it could be. Except I feel Leo’s loss everywhere, and I miss my twin, Artemis, with a constant, physical ache.
And, worst of all, with enough time after Tsip surprised me to calm down and remind my body there’s no danger ...
I still feel like killing something.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This was just as great as the first book, Slayer! So much fun, lots of action!!! And some familiar faces too in the Buffy world!!! A great fast paced story that I could not put down! I love the characters, and the plot!! Lots of quirky fun!!! I am praying that Kiersten White continues this series!!! I love this world, and also basically anything she writes at this point!!!
I absolutely loved Slayer so I was impatiently waiting for this book - it did not disappoint! I have to admit I had never watched Buffy before reading Slayer, but I decided to watch a couple episodes and I love how both books have the same “vibe” as the television series. So much fun to read this! In Chosen, the new and last Slayer Nina is still learning how to use her powers and recover from the events that took place in the previous book Slayer. But, because she is the Slayer, life is never easy or dull. Nina is not only dealing with family issues, like her twin sister Artemis being gone plus a distant mother who is at the Watchers castle with her. She is dealing with getting her Slayer powers back from an evil succubus, the darkness inside herself, and a new threat. Chosen begins where Slayer left us, with several characters we already met and some new faces. The best part of this series is how good White is at transporting the reader back to being a teenager. Nina is completely believable and relatable as a teen torn up after losing Leo and feeling abandoned by her sister. She is learning and growing into her role as Slayer and that means making mistakes along the way. White is a masterful writer and she’s made me a complete Buffy fan!
I loved Chosen. Keirsten White writes a witty, fast paced, Buffy-esce story about two sisters finding their way in a Slayer/Watcher universe post Hellmouth closure. It’s so fun to have the Buffy world cameos. I kept wanting to turn to someone and be like look who it is! I love that it is it’s own duology and is able to stand on it’s own. With or without Buffy. The plot is so fast paced that I felt myself turning page to page to see what’s going to happen next. There was enough of the not knowing what’s happening that made you want to keep reading to find out what is happening. The characters have just gone through so much betrayal in the first book that you keep wondering, is everyone here alright. What’s that person up. Artemis really bothered me and I kind of didn’t like her. I also kind of get where she is coming from though. I feel as she goes through the phases she realizes what she is really doing. So her character arc in the story is interesting. Even though I kind of didn’t like her in Chosen, I kind of thought she was kind of kick butt how she just goes for what she wants. What I liked about Nina was that there is no painting over her grief and pain. I felt like in the beginning of the book you can really feel what she is feeling. She doesn’t just bounce back and say hey let’s save the world. Yes they started the sanctuary but she still feels like she’s drifting after everything she has gone through and lost. So we get to see her navigate through all of her emotions and finding her place now. I like all the side characters. It’s a great team that they have at the castle. However, for some strange reason, I absolutely love Jessi. She isn’t even in the book that much. Everytime she says something it makes me laugh. Chosen is a great wrap-up to the duology that started with Slayer.
When I was diving into Slayer, I’ll admit to being filled with mixed emotions of excitement and concern over my expectations. This is the Buffyverse. It’s special, it’s sacred. Thankfully Slayer ended up being a big giant ball of awesome. Chosen is no different in that aspect. While it is a more serious story, and there isn’t nearly as much teen angst as the first, it was the perfect conclusion to the story. This duology is definitely required reading for every fan of Buffy. White does an outstanding job at keeping to the tone of the world we have all known and loved for decades. These books that she’s written really do feel like a proper extension of the series. As a side note: if you’ve read Slayer but don’t remember the details, I would recommend a reread as there isn’t a whole lot of a “recap”. Plus it just means you get to reread an awesome story.
It was so easy to jump right back into this series with page one of the book. I also adored all the little cameos of characters from the original BTVS tv series, Clem, Oz, Harmony, just to name a few. The author does a great job with hitting just the right sense of humor and snark with the characters in a way that reminds me of the original tv series. For instance, when they misheard a name, and called him Ian Von Assface. But I also loved the newer pop culture additions, like Harry Potter references, fist pump for all my fellow Hufflepuffs, like Nina. Then there were twists and turns, where I just knew something was going to happen, but what did happen in the end was totally not what I'd been expecting. There were the betrayals of those I thought you could trust, as well as ones I suspected throughout. I loved that the author even brought in the Tales of the Slayer stories in a way, when she referenced the history of slayers, and of course loved Buffy always being referred back to. Because even though this is a new series with new characters, Buffy will always be "THAT" slayer. Probably more well known than even the First Slayer, to all current slayers. I loved it so much. I just hope that the author can continue to write more in this world and that I will have a third book to look forward to next year!