THE FIRST SISTER by Linden A. Lewis

Combining the social commentary of The Handmaid’s Tale with the white-knuckled thrills of Red Rising, this epic space opera follows a comfort woman as she claims her agency, a soldier questioning his allegiances, and a non-binary hero out to save the solar system.

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 now 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.

A stunning and sweeping debut novel that explores the power of technology, colonization, race, and gender, The First Sister is perfect for fans of James S.A. Corey, Chuck Wendig, and Margaret Atwood.


Title : The First Sister
Author : Linden A. Lewis
Series : The First Sister #1
Format : eARC
Page Count : 352
Genre : Sci-fi
Publisher : Hodder Books
Release Date : August 4, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

THE FIRST SISTER was an engrossing read, once I hit a third through, it was really hard to put down. Told from two different POVs, two sides of a war and two characters that couldn’t be more different, it took quite a time for these separate stories to converge but both narratives were gripping.

The worlds of Mars, Venus, Mercury, the asteroids and moons were complex in their settlements and evolving races but only in retrospect. This complexity was woven so carefully into the narrative without info-dumping. There was a drip of information when it was needed, so I was never jarred by getting to know history and contemporary life and their hierarchy.

I was probably most fascinated with the life of First Sister, her tenuous position on the ship, the new Captain and her self-discovery. First Sister was more than she first appeared, more than her silence, more than her role to serve and comfort. Her self-discovery and stretching of her own boundaries was riveting. Her relationship with Ren, slowly and naturally unfolded.

Lito, Hiro and the Asters were also great reading, as was life on the worlds. This book had a superb non-binary character that I loved, how they were written was just really beautiful in my non-own-voices opinion. I just had a niggling feeling about the later twist and I was right; I felt quite smug about that.

I couldn’t be more excited to see this is the start of a series and not a standalone. I need more from this story of worlds, more from these characters who have found a home in my heart and I want to see justice in this opressive wrangling of species and races.

THE FIRST SISTER is one heck of a debut, written with deep thought, ingenuity and natural flair. The research underpinning the writing felt solid. Linden A. Lewis has my attention and I will be ready and waiting for more.

Thank you to Hodder Books for the early review copy.

MEMORABLE DEBUTS

How do you feel about debut authors? Are you likely to pick up an unknown author or do you prefer reading the tried, tested, and true? We here at A Take from Two Cities find ourselves picking up quite a few unknowns, either because the synopsis of an ARC intrigues us or we’ve heard buzz from the community and/or friends.

Some of these debut titles on our list are quite well known now. Others don’t get half as much love as they deserve (in our opinion). Additionally some of these authors have put out quite a few books since these particular releases, leaving their ‘debut author’ status far behind.

Here’s a list of just some of our favourites.

Micky’s memorable debuts

FROSTBLOOD by Elly Blake
TO KILL A KINGDOM by Alexandra Christo
THE HATING GAME by Sally Thorne
ACT LIKE IT by Lucy Parker
THE KEEPER by Jillian Liota
WINTERSONG by S. Jae-Jones
EVERYTHING EVERYTHING by Nicola Yoon
ON THE ISLAND by Tracey Garver Graves
UNTEACHABLE by Leah Raeder (Elliot Wake)

Hollis’ memorable debuts

RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE by Casey McQuiston
THE HATING GAME by Sally Thorne
BAD JUDGMENT by Sidney Bell
ACT LIKE IT by Lucy Parker
THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE by Katherine Arden
THE KISS QUOTIENT by Helen Hoang
FIRST & THEN by Emma Mills
THE KING’S MAN by Elizabeth Kingston
THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU by Lily Anderson
DAUGHTER OF THE FOREST by Juliet Marillier
THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson


Did your favourite debut also make our list? What would you add? Let us know in the comments!