Posted in Blog, Book Review, Reviews

StARe 2 – The Chosen

Hello squeeks and peeps!

This week we will be focusing on Stargate Atlantis: The Chosen. Which comes after Season 1, Episode 11: The Eye.

Stargate Atlantis: The Chosen
SGA #3
ISBN: 9780954734381

Of course, a lot has happened since book 1 and a quickish recap is in order if you still haven’t binge watched Atlantis yet.

SGA 1 has been through the gate countless times looking for allies, information on the Wraith and what they’re up to, and searching for ZPM’s. Episode 10 and 11 have Atlantis being bombarded by a massive hurricane that covers a good percentage of the planet.

The city had to be evacuated because they weren’t sure Rodney’s idea would work and didn’t want people dying if it didn’t. However, the Genii (potential allies who turned on Sheppard and his team in an attempt to steal C4 and other weapons) heard about the storm and took the opportunity to Gate in and take the city.

Sheppard is able to get the city back but at a cost.

He not only almost single handedly takes out the Genii soldiers, but is able to activate the Gate’s shield to stop reinforcements from coming in. This weighs on his mind for a long time because that single action killed over 20 people instantly. Of the many things he is, Sheppard is a soldier, and as he says in the books, the reason a soldier fights is for peace.

The leader of the Genii, Kolya, will be coming back later on several occasions. As much as I hate him, he does bring us Todd. Which we won’t get into here for obvious reasons.

Now, onto the book!

Stargate Atlantis: The Chosen, brings our team to a planet that has Alteran technology. But it’s weird. The shield is fragmented and doesn’t cover the entire massive city that reminds our earther friends of “a cross between a monastery and a gigantic castle surrounded by the Great Wall of China”.

Of course, they investigate.

Their first encounter with the natives consists of said natives running for their lives as horns sound a warning. SGA 1 figure it’s a good idea to follow the panicking people, but first stop to help a young woman who has fallen and broken her leg. No one else stops to help her.

Arriving in a village, they find more technology that can only be used by someone who has the ATA gene (I forget what it stands for but it’s the thing that got Sheppard asked to join the expedition).

Now, Dr. Rodney McKay has been given the gene therapy which allows him to control and interact with the technology without needing a natural carrier. This is important in the book and you’ll find out all the intricate stuff when you read it, but it’s too much for me to add here.

The city is controlled by natural born carriers who control the transporters and shields to keep the people safe when the Wraith attack. Problem is, these carriers are old and have interbred too long. Their bloodlines are dying and they refuse to take the council of the youngest member who is the only one capable of using the technology now.

McKay has a problem from the onset with the people because it’s very much feudal and weighs on the side of those who have the gene. He has always maintained that the gene is just a genetic anomaly and doesn’t make anyone better or worse than those without it. The carriers have abused their position to exploit the people.

The population is broken into three main groups. The Chosen, those who follow Dalera (an Alteran long dead), and those who deal in Wraith technology who are seen as unclean and unworthy of being protected.

Lisera, the girl they saved, falls into the third group and our team takes it upon themselves to protect her from those who would harm or exploit her. They don’t know yet, but she’s a carrier of the gene. When she finds this out her entire demeanor changes and she suddenly stops being this nice person they stuck their necks out for and turns into someone who believes because of the gene she is better than everyone else. In the end, it’s insinuated that she will ‘lead’ the new Chosen (who have redubbed themselves Genes) right back into the same broken system of abuse she wanted to escape in the first place.

The Wraith attack and our team is continually split up, having to face things alone and barely managing for several days. They save the day in the end, but the people aren’t what you’d call thankful.

They are told to leave, not in so many words of course, because it’s far easier to blame someone else for your problems than it is to face the problem and make things better.

Having ranted for a bit, I want to go into the characters themselves and what I absolutely loved about this book in terms of character development.

Lt. Ford is a cutie still. Optimistic and young but still mature in the way his experiences would make him. I like how uncomfortable he was with Lisera’s attention after he carried her to safety in the first chapters before she decides that he isn’t good enough for her because she now has the ATA gene. Since I’ve watched SGA countless times, I know what happens later on and it was great to see more of Ford while he is innocent and still looks at Pegasus with wonder.

I was always able to see Sheppard’s mindset if only because of O’Neill’s in SG1, but it’s really great that different authors aren’t skimping on the internal struggles he faces in his leadership role. When he thinks Rodney is dead, you want to reach in and hug him. He’s quite a bit more cautious in their dealings here than he has been before. The Genii having done a good job of making him far more paranoid and ever on the lookout for subterfuge. Danger comes from all sides, literally, and he’s able to lead them to victory eventually, but not before hundreds die in a civil war and the Wraith attack.

On to Rodney!

Rodney’s character development is still one of the best I have ever seen and these books are doing such a good job keeping him multidimensional (even though it’s only the second one I’ve read). He is very much the same character here as he is on the show. Arrogant, brash and sure he’s right and everyone else is wrong.

(Considering he’s right 99.9 percent of the time doesn’t help with the arrogance.)

He wants to give the people the ATA Gene therapy so that the imbalance of power is destroyed. Which is noble, no doubt, but it also causes problems with his teammates. Rodney has no issue saying what he’s thinking and Sheppard at one point, trying to be cautious and not anger anyone, snaps at him. He keeps doing things that contradict his seeming selfish personality. Including swimming across an oil filled river they planned to burn to keep the Wraith away from the city and taking command of the situation when Sheppard is injured.

But the real person I want to talk about is Teyla Emmagan.

Teyla in this book was quite unlikable and I actually enjoyed that. The series always portrayed her as being blind to how her universe really worked and I like that it’s not glossed over here but expounded on. Her attitude toward and concerning Rodney was really what made me mad because despite giving everyone else a chance and looking deeper she obviously wasn’t with him. I enjoyed how the author made her doubt herself and question her beliefs because she definitely should have.

Of all the characters in Atlantis, it’s Teyla that got the least amount of obvious development. She never really gets past the whole ‘the Ancestors are great, the Wraith are evil monsters and anyone who disagrees is wrong’ stage. I can understand her view because she’s lived under the shadow of the Wraith her entire life, but in later episodes after everything she’s seen and done with her team, she still makes such hatred fueled decisions that kill dozens.

This book however, lets us into her mind and shows another side of her that is far more realistic (I know from Goodreads reviews that some people didn’t like this book because of how the characters were portrayed and I can only see Teyla as who they meant since everyone else was spot on in my opinion).

She disagrees with Rodney from the start and her thoughts are quite rude about it. She feels that they have no right to interfere with another people’ way of life. They had no business going to other worlds, meeting other people and deciding that just because they weren’t as advanced the expedition could step in and make decisions regardless of the people’ wishes.

I can agree with that to a point. However, in this instance they were asked and threatened by several different people to help. Of course, with the different groups wanting control who is right and wrong is up for debate when the sides all seem to want to make things better. For me, her growth in this book concerning the Alterans/Ancients/Ancestors is fabulous. She second guesses how she’s always thought of things and changes her mind somewhat on certain aspects. Some if this is no doubt due to the Genii, who she had always considered friends until they betrayed and attacked them. While some of it was simply what happened on the planet.

In essence. I REALLY LOVED THIS BOOK!

Next week we’ll find out what happens when the team discover a living Alteran on another planet!

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