April 2, 2018

Book Review: Secondborn by Amy A Bartol

I picked up Secondborn because every time I browsed Amazon, the site was like, “BUY THIS BOOK!” Since I read a lot of dystopian-fiction-with-strong-female-lead novels, it seems that this one would be a natural recommendation. And Amazon published it, thus the not so subtle promotions.

Secondborn by Amy Bartol
My rating: ★★★☆☆

In Secondborn, the first child is a member of elite society, while the second is a slave to the government. Roselle is the second-born of the Fate of Swords, so while her older brother will one day rule their country, Roselle is destined to become a soldier. And she does. And stuff happens.

I’m having a hard time really summarizing the story-line of this novel because there’s no real driving force to the story. The reader just gets thrown in this wacky world—with no explanation of how society got that way—and follows Roselle as she transitions from living with her family to being a peon for the government.

There are lots of themes and threads that get lost and never tied up. An example: Roselle witnesses the destruction caused by a powerful weapon, so powerful that she must keep it a secret. She asks a buddy to make a special sword which would be immune to the super weapon and, then she gets a weapons manufacturer to mass produce these swords. From the ramping tension, I really thought the super weapon was an imminent threat. Instead, there’s a random year-long break (talk about killing the pacing), and when we come back, everyone owns this cool sword because Roselle owns it, and the super weapon is never mentioned again.

Which brings me to my next gripe: Roselle is such a Mary Sue. She’s beautiful and an excellent fighter, yet still compassionate to the enemy. Every woman wants to be her friend, every man wants to date her, and everyone loved watching her on TV when she was a child (yeah, I don’t get that either).

I did enjoy reading the string of events that transpired through the novel. The whole second-born society is a cool idea. There were some action sequences which were pretty good. But it’s not enough for me to pick up the ‘second-born’ book in the series.

If you like world building and dystopian novels and aren’t bothered by a meandering storyline, then you might enjoy reading Secondborn.

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