Have you ever watched the Figure Skating competitions of the Olympics? Years ago, I remember watching the likes of Scott Hamilton, Dorothy Hamill, Brian Boitano, Katarina Witt, Elvis Stojko, Viktor Petrenko, Oksana Baiul, and Kristi Yamaguchi. And who can forget all the drama between Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding? These skaters and the Kerrigan — Harding drama had me riveted to the screen.
Now, let me ask you another question: how many times did you think the judges didn’t give the skater, you thought gave the top performance, high enough scores? I know I often disagreed with scores. However, I never suspected that there was a story behind the scores.
That’s what The Chosen Ones by Lisa Luciano is about. Lisa was a sports reporter who covered Figure Skating for “The New York Times” and “International Figure Skating Magazine”. She includes four of the Figure Skating Articles she wrote for the New York Times near the end of this book.
No, this story isn’t about any of the ice skaters you may have followed on their Olympic journey. The characters and their stories in The Chosen Ones are fictional, but some of the scandalous, sometimes desperate, behaviors and corruption among judges’ scores are based on facts discovered by Lisa while she covered Figure Skating in her journalism days.
The story has a lot of characters, which, in the beginning, was a bit difficult to follow, especially as Ms. Luciano does a lot of head-hopping without page breaks, frequently jumping from one character’s head to another’s from one paragraph to the next. Therefore, it was sometimes difficult to determine whose head I was in sometimes as I was reading, and I had to back track to figure it out. However, in order to really give the reader accuracy and the actual feel of figure skating competition, I honestly don’t know how Ms. Luciano could have written a story as accurate and compelling as The Chosen Ones, with fewer characters.
Also, as I continued reading, I became accustomed to her head-hopping writing style and became very involved in the lives of the characters.
The story was full of drama and conflict. I loved some characters and disliked others, but every one of them kept me turning the pages to see where this was all going and who was going to be a winner, who would be a loser, and who would lose his life before the end of the Olympics.
The only warning I have to issue, because those of you who follow my book reviews know that I do not read books with sexually explicit scenes, is that this book has a few of such scenes, which I was not aware of when I agreed to review this book.
However, if you can skip or overlook such scenes, and have a love or fascination with Figure Skating, you will not be disappointed with this book.
Because of the trouble I had following the characters in the beginning chapters of the book and because I was disappointed to find the unexpected sexual scenes in this story, I give this story four stars.
Reviewer’s Note: I was given a free copy of this book for my honest review.