five stars · reviews

Review: Secondborn by Amy A. Bartol

Because of life, I ended up reading this book whenever I had time, spread across several months. But every single time I picked it up, I was immediately sucked back into it.

Secondborn by Amy A. Bartol

secondbornFirstborns 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?

Series: Secondborn, #1
Age: 16 years and up
Review: 5 butterflies
The book takes place in the future, with amazing technology that was constantly making me want to play with it. Bartol’s worldbuilding is so incredibly unique that I was constantly wanting to know more about it—though sometimes it was a bit confusing because there are so many Fates and people that it’s difficult to keep track. However, the main characters were so very distinct that I was able to place them even after picking up the book after several weeks.

Roselle was definitely my favorite character. Her strength, persistence, and humbleness were inspiring, especially since her life was disaster after disaster. Even after people were sent to assassinate her, she was able to get out of it with a mixture of resourcefulness, friends, and luck. (Sometimes it seemed like she was a little too lucky, but we knew better towards the end). Her devastating relationship with her brother made my heart hurt and while she was privileged in some ways, she still suffered a lot through her life.

Hawthorne was a super interesting character. While his and Roselle’s romance seemed a little too quick in the beginning (he was getting over his other love who just died, but now he loves Roselle?) it still was a relationship that I rooted for, especially because it made sense that these people would get attached to each other since they were pretty much the only family they had.

The “evil” characters (I’m hesitant to use that word because they were more antagonists than truly evil) weren’t as fleshed out as Roselle and her friends, and they were definitely made out to be the bad guys in a 2D sense. I wish I knew more of why they at like this, but we got a pretty good snapshot (albeit from Roselle’s point of view) for me to find their actions predictable but still very real.

It’s been a while since I enjoyed a book so much, where the story and characters fully pull me in and I forget the rest of the world. This book is so good and I can’t wait to read the second of the series. This is not a stand-alone whatsoever, and ends in such an abrupt way that I held my Kindle for a solid half a minute, staring at it in disbelief with my mouth open. No ends were tied and it honestly does feel like she just realized the book was getting too long and cut it off right there. I am completely ready for the next book to come out and I will impatiently wait for it!

I recommend this book to those who love strong female protagonists, amazing futuristic worlds, and action intermingled with romance and scheming.
Book links: Goodreads * Amazon * B&N * Book Depository


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