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?

*Note:  This book was provided to The Book Hookup by the Author but that did not in any way influence this review!

Epic. Captivating. Blockbuster.  Need I say more?

Once again, Ms. Bartol has created a world with such depth and creativity that I’m left in awe of her skill.  The dystopian society that she’s fashioned in this story is rich with detail and complexity, and so very very vivid.  Once you enter this world, you will be fully immersed and, even though it couldn’t be any more different than our current reality, you will begin to understand it as if you were a citizen.  This story will please you, intrigue you, confuse you, and anger you.  Everything about it will pull at your emotions.  And you’ll love every minute of it!

In this world, firstborn children are treated like kings and queens while secondborns are raised simply to become servants or soldiers.  Secondborns aren’t given any opportunity to make their own decisions or plan their own lives.  Roselle St. Sismode finds herself in this position.  And, even though her mother is a very high ranking official, she’s still treated like every other secondborn child.  She’s sent out to the front lines to fight an ongoing war and, it’s at that point that she discovers that she is, in fact, different from other secondborns…and she also realizes how complicated her life really is.  Roselle’s got a big heart and has led a lonely life.  But she’s fierce, intelligent and strong.  She fights for what she believes in and cares deeply for those around her.  When she comes to terms with the fact that the enemy is not the only thing she should be worried about, she uses her wit and cunning to move her life forward.  Already she’s one of my favorite Amy Bartol heroes!

Just like in all her other books, the author gives us many characters to love and to hate in this story.  And love and hate I did!  My problem, as usual, is that I’m probably on a team by myself at the moment (if Amy is reading this, she’s probably laughing…yes, it’s a Russell situation all over again!).  I loved Hawthorne and his connection to Roselle. I adored his big heart and his strength…but I’m absolutely fascinated by Clifton.  This bad guy with a warm heart has already won me over!  I may live to regret it but, for now, I’ll claim him as mine!  There are more characters here than I can name but each has a depth to them and a backstory that allowed me to easily understand how they fit into the story and why they’re important.  The twists and turns are numerous and you might find yourself with whiplash.  Just as Roselle is confused, you too will be unsure of who can be trusted and who should be feared.  This kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end.

In this first installment of the series, we get to experience adventure, danger, mystery, and love.  We learn a lot but we’re also left with many unanswered questions and theories.  Prepare yourself to fall into this rabbit hole…let yourself explore this world and fall in love with its characters.  But, most of all, be ready to desperately want the second book once you’re done!

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