Secondborn

Amy A. Bartol. 47North, $14.95 trade paper (370p) ISBN 978-1-4778-4835-7
Bartol (the Premonition series) sets this fast-paced, action-packed story in a caste-driven society in which firstborns are destined to rule, secondborns serve in every other capacity, and all others are executed. Roselle St. Sismode’s mother rules the caste known as the Fate of Swords. Roselle’s secondborn status means that when she turns 18, she’s sent to join the military, where she’s expected to die. Instead, she’s swiftly entangled in a web of conspiracy and made privy to secrets that could affect the outcome of the ongoing civil war. Determined to seize control of her own destiny, Roselle risks everything to acquire allies and power and to protect her friends from an increasingly corrupt system. Roselle is a resourceful, memorable heroine capable of holding her own against impressive odds. The worldbuilding is ambitious and evocative but feels incomplete and in need of further explanation; the glamorous elements (airships, a wealthy ruling class, fantastical architecture) undercut any notion that the draconian population control is made necessary by an absence of resources. A skillful balance of intrigue, romance, and tension just about makes up for this weakness, paving the way for future installments. Agent: Tamar Rydzinski, Laura Dail Literary. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/19/2017
Release date: 08/01/2017
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5366-8269-4
MP3 CD - 978-1-5366-8270-0
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