Book Reviews

Review: The First Sister by Linden A. Lewis

You know those audio-books that capture your entire attention? I mean the ones you just sit on the couch and read and then see the sun set? That was my experience with The First Sister. I ended up listening to like 40% in one day. Keep reading this book review to hear my full thoughts.

Summary

First Sister has no name and no voice. As a priestess of the Sisterhood, she travels the stars alongside the soldiers of Earth and Mars—the same ones who own the rights to her body and soul. When her former captain abandons her, First Sister’s hopes for freedom are dashed when she is forced to stay on her ship with no friends, no power, and a new captain—Saito Ren—whom she knows nothing about. She is commanded to spy on Captain Ren by the Sisterhood, but soon discovers that working for the war effort is so much harder to do when you’re falling in love.

Lito val Lucius climbed his way out of the slums to become an elite soldier of Venus, but was defeated in combat by none other than Saito Ren, resulting in the disappearance of his partner, Hiro. When Lito learns that Hiro is both alive and a traitor to the cause, he now has a shot at redemption: track down and kill his former partner. But when he discovers recordings that Hiro secretly made, Lito’s own allegiances are put to the test. Ultimately, he must decide between following orders and following his heart.

Review

TW: self-harm, rape

I had no idea The First Sister was science fiction, but I gotta say the world building is one of my favorite elements. I adored the way Lewis unfolded this science fiction world of battling empires, The Handmaid’s Tale vibes to the First Sister order, and the fighting duel partners. The First Sister is multiple POV and I couldn’t pick my favorite. Seriously. They were all so vulnerable, so flawed, and struggling with loyalty. It’s a story about favor and twisted responsibilities. Loyalty and ambition, futures and love.

The pacing of The First Sister kept my attention the entire way through. I think I finished this audio-book in like two days? The First Sister is about this seemingly never ending war, but how do we envision our futures? How do we fight for the right, the promise of a future? By the end of the book, I was so thoroughly impressed by the twists and turns. I can’t think of an element I didn’t love. The world building was thoughtful. All the characters have their flaws and dreams exposed on the page. It’s queer AF and there is expert manipulation with some shocks I had to sit down for.

The First Sister examines both the ways people, love, and connections are sources of weakness, but also strength. How we need to figure out what to do and to fight for even when it’s hard and our love is on the line. To realize that if we end up compromising all we believe in, all those we love hold dear, than what worth is that love? I am so happy that Mel asked if I wanted to buddy read this book together! Now I need to track down an e-ARC of the next one because I am INVESTED.

Find The First Sister on Goodreads, Amazon, Libro.fm, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.

Discussion

Do you have a favorite Adult Science Fiction trilogy?


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2 thoughts on “Review: The First Sister by Linden A. Lewis

  1. Speaking of characters, Lewis alternates the narrative between the three main figures in first-person point of view chapters. The novel begins from the POV of the titular character, First Sister, who goes by her religious rank on the starship Juno rather than by her forgotten name. First Sister has accepted that she never consented to join the Sisterhood as a child, but she’s resigned herself to wanting a quiet life under the protection of a Captain. When that dream is in her reach, it’s ripped away and instead, she’s called upon by the Mother (the head of the Church) to spy on a suspected traitor. If she succeeds, she becomes First Sister of the planet Ceres—a position of power and luxury. If she fails, she will be executed. First Sister’s story is heart-wrenching and Lewis carefully orchestrates her developing romance with the Juno’s new captain within this stark power imbalance. First Sister, most importantly, is more than a character for readers to pity. Despite the constant threats to her life and dignity, she is resourceful and resilient, carving out a foothold in a society designed to use and discard her. Many self-proclaimed allies look First Sister in the eye claiming to be her only savior, her only hope at a livable life. By the end, First Sister recognizes whose promises are false and realizes she can take her freedom for herself. Of course, this storyline verges on the cliche in the science fiction and fantasy genres—a religious tyrant displaced by a resilient, young disciple—but First Sister’s narration and search for someplace (or someone) that feels like home kept me engaged.

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