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?
“A skillful balance of intrigue, romance, and tension…” —Publishers Weekly
“Exciting, intriguing, and romantic, Secondborn will make sci-fi and romance fans swoon.” —Bustle
“[Bartol] creates a rich world and an appealing main character in Roselle.” —SYFY WIRE
“Secondborn, an exciting, new dystopian romance, kicks off an enthralling series with a fierce heroine who is sure to resonate with fans of Sarah J. Maas and Suzanne Collins. This epic adventure, rich in world-building detail and intense romantic drama, will have teens and adults alike rapt and on edge until the final page.” —USA Today’s Happy Ever After
Top customer reviews
Let me just start by saying that I, LOVED, this book!!!! I LOVED IT. It enthralled me. It swept me away. I read it in one sitting. LITERALLY one sitting. I got up for a drink twice, and the rest of the time I spent trying to leave my nails alone while sitting on the edge of my couch. Roselle is a no nonsense heroine who doesn’t really follow anything or anyone but her own convictions, the science fiction world is exceptionally well developed and interesting, and while the plot up to 50% was good, the plot after 50% blew me away. There is no language, and some very mild sexual content.
And now to the cliffhanger. This is the first book in a series, yes, so not all the loose ends are tied up. But it still has a definitive ending. An ending that was well written, and planned for. It doesn’t just abruptly cut off in the middle of something, leaving you wanting to toss your phone across the room. It ends with this book wrapped up, and then there are some teasers that feed into the next book. I just don’t categorize that as a cliffhanger, and I wanted to offer a difference of opinion for those saying it has one.
But that’s just my two cents about cliffhangers. Overall, I absolutely loved this book. There are so many mysteries. So many, I literally had no idea what was going to happen next. At every turn I was guessing, enthralled, and hungry for more. I really don’t have any idea the last time a book swept me away so thoroughly as this one did.
Get it. You will NOT be sorry!!!
I selected Secondborn as my Kindle First book, largely based on the title, as I am a Secondborn.
See, secondborns seem to be the children most disadvantaged. Someday I may bore you with the details regarding my life, but not here.
Moving on, the author gets our attention early, by teasing us into thinking the hero is dying, but clears that up quickly. She then sets us up for a unique story among the myriad of Dystopian Science Fiction yarns that seem to be all the rage. Read on, if you care to learn more, or buy the book and enjoy an interesting, evocative tale told to us in first person POV.
*** LANGUAGE ***
Bartol stands out in this story, not merely because it is written in a classy, intelligent style, but also because the vocabulary is sufficiently diverse to convey simple thoughts with minimal profanities. No f-words, and very few s-words. For a dystopian novel, this is unheard of. If it were a film, this would probably be rated G. Ditto for graphic sex and violence.
Q – Is this a book that I can read without having to read others first?
A – Yes.
Q – If this is a recurring character or a series, does it have a cliffhanger ending?
A – Yes, which is why I’m rating it four stars.
Q – Are there a lot of typos/misspellings, grammatical errors or other editing failures?
A – No. Impeccable editing.
Q – Is this a fast, easy read or is it more of a leisure read?
A – A leisure read.
Q – My biggest pleasure or disappointment?
A – The cliffhanger.
To give a feel for the editing, and the style and flow of this work, I am posting a brief excerpt below.
‘…“You couldn’t have given her shoes?” Emmitt scolds Gilad, who growls at him in turn. Emmitt retreats a step, his hand going to the base of his throat in a self-soothing way. “We need to get you camera-ready.” He turns to me and urges me toward the hovercar.
“Mother gave orders on my behalf?” I ask. My heart beats quicker with the thought that she cares enough to rescue me.
“No one wants you to disgrace your family any more than you already have. You’ll be prepped and primped.”
I pause and look at Emmitt’s face. “I disgraced my family?” It’s a crushing blow, more powerful than if he’d struck me.
He puts his hands on his hips and taps his foot. “You broke your moniker. Seville ordered you to remain en route, but you and your mentor exited the Vicolt. You know the drone cameras follow you. Every fatedom witnessed our shame because of you!” It’s on the tip of my tongue to argue with him. Our fatedom was attacked—I was threatened—my moniker would’ve been ruined whether I stayed in the Vicolt or not. Did Mother think she could hide the attack?
“We’re going with you.” Hawthorne shoves Emmitt aside and directs me into the hovercar. He gets in beside me. Gilad slides in as well. Agnes, Hammon, and the other soldier climb into the row of seats behind us.
Emmitt sits in front. As the hovercar moves forward, he looks over his shoulder at us. “This is really…’
Excerpt taken from Chapter 7, Secondborn, by Amy A. Bartol.
Four stars out of five.
Comments regarding your opinion of this book or of my review, whether favorable or unfavorable, are always welcome. If you buy the book based on my review and become disappointed, especially, I do want to know that and I want to understand how I can improve as a book reviewer. Just please be polite.
Adventurous, captivating and brilliantly crafted – Secondborn was EVERYTHING I’ve come to love from this author! I was mesmerized by Roselle’s story which is predicated on the long-standing argument of birthright. Bartol created a dazzling tale of class discrimination in a dystopian setting and crammed the pages with action, deceit, a class war of epic proportions and a promising love story.
Roselle is ambitious, smart and a tenacious swordsman – qualities that don’t sit well with her adversaries yet have elevated her to celebrity status. But she’s also a secondborn relegated to serve others all her days. She’s torn between loyalty toward her firstborn brother and extreme disdain for the class system that rules her world. That makes her vulnerable, something she’s not accustomed to feeling.
I love that Bartol writes bad-a** heroines and gives them qualities that make them relatable. Though I don’t generally gravitate towards fantasy reads, I LOVE Bartol’s fantasy. She did a fabulous job with character development, imagery, story pacing and keeping me engaged throughout. The first installment of this new series was fantastic and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book.