Of course, it’s not all pretty. Our heroine and narrator, Roselle St. Sismode, has long known that her eighteenth birthday will mark the end of her opulent upbringing in the Palace of the Sword, most of it televised for as long as she can remember. Born into the Fates Republic, a society in which only the firstborn enjoy the rights and freedoms of full citizenship, secondborn Roselle is destined for a short and brutal life in the military. But Amy equips her characters with an array of lavishly distinctive clothing, futuristic vehicles, extraordinary weapons, and whimsical vocabulary that are as fun as the culture of the novel is horrifying—thirdborns are flat-out forbidden, for example—and the result is a mesmerizing juxtaposition of beauty and terror.
Punctuated by pulse-pounding action scenes, the book balances the cold elegance of the Republic’s inflexible structure with the roiling passion between Roselle and her forbidden lover, Hawthorne Trugrave. With romance, action, and cinematic science fiction in equal measure, Secondborn offers a one-of-a-kind, genre-straddling escape into a dystopian world that’s as surprisingly sumptuous as it is alarming. And with a heroine like Roselle at the helm, you won’t soon forget it.
- Jason Kirk, Editor