by Amy A. Bartol
*** (3 out of 5)
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It was incredibly hard to choose a star rating for this book. While reading the book, I loved it and was super hooked. I was thinking it was going to be a 5. But once I finished it, it sort of pissed me off and I wanted to give it a 1. So I am going to split it and give it a 3.
Since my feelings towards this book are all over the place, I am going to try and break my review up into two parts. The Good and The Bad:
Roselle is awesome. She is a badass, ass kicking, strong female. She can literally fight, and has been training her whole life. In her society, firstborns rule the world and secondborns are sacrificed into the workforce. Roselle is a secondborn sword, meaning she is trained as a fighter. She is unique though, because she comes from an aristocratic family. As a secondborn aristocrat she is elevated almost to firstborn status. She doesn’t welcome the fame though. She would rather just do her duty. That is until she sees all the injustices that seconborns have to endure. She embraces her fame in order to help save her fellow secondborns.
Its not just another rebellion story. A unique thing about this book is that Roselle doesn’t join the rebellion. She knows that when the rebels attack, seeking to liberate the secondborns, they are really attacking the seconborns. (because the lower ranks of the military are filled with seconborns) It doesn’t make sense to attack the people you are trying to save. So she doesn’t join the rebellion. Instead she works on outfitting her fellow secondborns and teaching them how to protect themselves so they can survive the war.
The book randomly skips a year. You follow Roselle as she leaves her family and is sent to the military. You are with her when she makes acquaintances and makes rocky friendships. Then all of a sudden a year passes and they are all best friends and nothing bad has happened. I feel like you miss a lot of character development in that time.
Next, there really isn’t a plot. The story was engaging, but there was no climax, no conclusion, no beginning, middle, and end. It just sort of went on and then ended. I have a feeling more will happen in the next book, but you still have to have some sort of structure in the first books in a series. I hate when books don’t end. Cliffhangers are one thing, but its awful when nothing really happens.
Finally, the relationships are weird. The group of “Best Friends” disbands ish. Two people have to be evacuated for their safety. One is forcibly removed. And the last is just forgotten about? He isn’t mentioned at all when the group is separated. And when Hawthorne (Roselle’s lover) is taken away he doesn’t try to find a way to be with her and leaves her completely in the dark. Based on what you know of the rest of his character, this makes no sense. He isn’t the type to just bow down and accept his fate. Also, when you first meet Clifton, he is made out to be this sexual deviant and that Roselle needs to be careful around him, but then he treats her with respect and doesn’t make any advances. Is his reputation wrong? Or is he just different around Roselle. The two pictures painted of his personality don’t match up.
The more I think about it, the more I dislike this book! Which is sad because it had so much potential! Roselle is awesome, and the universe is unique and different. Its not your normal repressed rebellion story. I really wanted to like this book, but there was just too much that bugged me. I am not going to read the second book.
Random shout out to Book Basset. If you have never heard of this blog, I highly suggest that you go visit it! They let you know about kindle sales where the books are free or really really cheap. I got this book for free! (I love free books) Book Basset is awesome!