Book Review: Secondborn (Secondborn #1) – Amy A. Bartol

1 star

Title: Secondborn
Author: Amy A. bartol
Publisher: 47North
Release date: August 1st 2017
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction


Firstborns 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?


This book really wasn’t my thing. It was overly dramatic, the main character was little miss perfect, the romance made me quite literally gag and nothing about this world made sense to me. It felt like a cheap rip off of the Hunger Games.

Meet Roselle, a secondborn brat, with absolutely no knowledge of the outside world.
It got really weird and akward when somebody had to explain to her why you in the name of God would have sex if you weren’t allowed get any children. Girl, don’t you have any clue? She was raised to be a soldier, she had probably much training with other soldiers (you can’t become a good fighter if you only train with one person). And she always wines about the fact that everybody just acted like she was invisible and just spoke there mind like she wasn’t even there. In all those years of you being trained amongst other soldiers, who apparently just said whatever they were thinking. They never uttered a single word about girls and boobs? Yeah right, not buying that. Throughout the whole book there were this kind of situations were something is said in the beginning of the book and a bit later something else gets said that really doesn’t fit her character. Roselle actually just acts the way it fits best at that particular moment. Would it look awesome if she kicked someones butt without thinking twice or caring? Roselle will turn into a robot who defeats every human without a scratch. Will it look cute if she can’t handle herself in front of a boy? Roselle will loose a fight and needs to be picked up by her love interest and start to cry. Will it look better if she is a feminist at one scene? Than Roselle will tell all those boys who want to save her that she can handle herself perfectly well without any help from other boys! It just doesn’t make sense. I felt like I came across 5 different Roselles in this book!

My biggest question throughout the whole book is: why are secondborns less? Why are they treated like dogs? I really don’t understand what the purpose of it all is.
What boggles my mind about this the most is that although all the secondborn humans are treated like vermin, when a firstborn firstborn child dies, the second born takes his/her places. They literally can go from having zero chances of ever having any importance in the world (they can’t even open up a shop) to being next in line as an heir! Why? Why why why why? If they are deemed completely capable of changing places with their sibling in the first place and it’s even completely legal, why threat them badly? There is never given any sort of explanation for this and I really don’t get it. I don’t have high hopes for the reason ever being explained and the fact that an entire trilogy will be based on something that doesn’t make sense, makes me a bit sad.

This book was completely filled with things that didn’t make sense or didn’t add up. In battle certain soldiers have to stay behind the other soldiers and they need to tag enemies or wounded allies (after the fighting is done) so that the right robot can come and pick them up. If you think about this, this really doesn’t make sense. In this sci-fi world were everything is powered by hydrogen and fusion, the robots apparently aren’t capable of doing things computers already can do today. Why just not sent the robot in the first place, and make them determine if the soldier is friend or enemy? Now, they just waist perfectly capable soldiers doing things that a robot could perfectly well be doing. It’s just one little example of how little thought went in major parts of this book. Because, this isn’t just a thing that is mentioned once, it’s the main characters job were talking about.

Other weird things, everybody seems to want to kill Roselle or die trying to save her. I kind of get the killing part (I wouldn’t be a YA fantasy fan if I wouldn’t get it and let’s face it, she is a bit annoying). But I really don’t get the dying for someone who has no role in society what so ever and who you have never met in real life. Sometimes there were vague comments about her becoming more important but it just felt like an excuse for an interesting story.

Hawthorne, the love interest, was described many times by the way his muscles moved. He was more a doll than a real person. She meets him and he instantly starts to risk his life for her. I get it, he already “knows” her from the TV shows. But we, in this world, “know” the Kardashians, but I don’t know anyone who would give up everything to save a Kardashian. You can like them, but loving them is just too creepy. The overall love story was just not my thing either. It was too cheesy and felt very fake.

I can go on for hours about everything that bothered me about this book. I guess what I mean is that this book just needed much more work before it should have been published. It’s a book with a lot of promise, but everything feels unfinished and forced. Only the romance, that romance can go in the trash completely, please.


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