Format: E- Galley, 321 pages
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Publisher: 47 North
Genre: Young Adult, SyFy
Firstborns rule society. Secondborns are the property of the government. Thirdborns are not tolerated. Long live the Fates Republic.On Transition Day, the second child in every family is taken by the government and forced into servitude. Roselle St. Sismode’s eighteenth birthday arrives with harsh realizations: she’s to become a soldier for the Fate of Swords military arm of the Republic during the bloodiest rebellion in history, and her elite firstborn mother is happy to see her go.
Televised since her early childhood, Roselle’s privileged upbringing has earned her the resentment of her secondborn peers. Now her decision to spare an enemy on the battlefield marks her as a traitor to the state.
But Roselle finds an ally—and more—in fellow secondborn conscript Hawthorne Trugrave. As the consequences of her actions ripple throughout the Fates Republic, can Roselle create a destiny of her own? Or will her Fate override everything she fights for—even love?
Secondborn is the first installment in author Amy A. Bartol's Secondborn series. 18-year old Roselle St. Sismode lives in a world where first born children are given every opportunity to succeed; where second born children are sold to the government to do what they want; and where third born children are hunted down and killed by a group known as Censor's. For Roselle, everything she's ever done has been under the spotlight of cameras everywhere. Which means that everyone knows who she is. A dangerous proposition considering the world she lives in, and the powerful people who are watching her every move. There is no hiding or pretending that she's anyone else but who she is.
Roselle's mother is known as the Clarity of Swords. If you are looking to nominate the worst mother of the year, look no further than Othala St. Sismode. She is so obsessed with her firstborn son Gabriel, that she, like other firstborns, truly believed that Roselle would harm her brother in order to be bumped up and become the heir to the Swords. But, that is not who Roselle is. Roselle has spent her whole life being trained to survive against all odds. Good thing otherwise this would have been a very short story. On Roselle's 18th birthday, we are introduced to Transition day. It is a day where Roselle is stabbed in the back one more time by her own mother who fails to protect her.
Where she finds that she is going to have to become the lowest ranked member of the military (Tropo) which is fighting a brutal civil war in which the survival rate is extremely low. Where she and her mentor Dune are attacked by rebels known as Gates of Dawn. Where she has her first, but not last encounter with her very own nemesis in the form of Agent Kipson Crow. Where she also encounters Hawthorne, the one person who may be the one to stand alongside her. Let me just say that I adored Roselle from the moment I met her, to the final page of this installment.
She is a badass. She knows weaponry like no other. She can fight without needing anyone to back her up. She has an attitude that backs up her actions, but she also understands that someone desperately wants to see her dead and gone. Someone who tries to toss in every imaginable obstacle in her way to prevent Roselle from getting her happy ending. She is also caught in a struggle between forces that want to see her rise up, and those who are playing a dangerous political game that can have devastating consequences for all involved.
Secondborn employs a society that is divided by fates. There are nine different fates; Virtues, Swords, Stars, Atoms, Suns, Diamonds, Moons, Stars, Seas and Stones. It is also a society that forces its citizen's to have a moniker. Monikers are a symbol of class and caste. It carries a person's identification and other vital information. There are some funny, and some questionable scenes in this book. Roselle meets a variety of different characters. Some you see again, others are like intentional props used only when she needed something to get her out of a dicey situation. Is the book perfect? Nah. There could have been a bit more world building.
There could have been less focus on the way that Roselle looks as well. Especially the crazy leg shaving scene. Or, how she is forbidden by three powerful characters from cutting her own hair. Yes, you read that right. The romance is a bit weighed down whenever she is around Hawthorne. She is a totally different character. Sometimes, one that I don't like. But, for me, who is always looking for something a bit different, this was actually a good start to hopefully a grand adventure in the next two installments. One could call this a coming of age young adult dystopian novel. You could also call this new adult since Roselle is 18 when the story begins.