4 out of 5 Stars
As with all aristocracy. The beauty is only skin deep but the betrayal is through and through..
In a society where the Firstborn is the Aristocracy, the Secondborn are the labour workers and soldiers and the Thirdborn is unheard of and the parents of such are killed on discovery.
“We, the firstborns, must rule. It is our birthright to sacrifice our own for the protection of the Fates. It is an honor for secondborns to serve as champions in this proud tradition—to give their lives to their Fate and to the call of service.””
The Secondborn daughter of the Sword (the Matriarch of this society) Roselle Sword, awaits her Fate on her Transition Day.
“The destiny of our once-great nation lies in the palms of our hands, and never more than today—Transition Day.” I’m unable to suppress a shudder. Transition Day. I’ve heard the words often over the eighteen years of my life. It’s the stuff of nightmares, what people say when they want to scare you: one day soon you’ll become a stranger to the people you love. A picture in a frame. I’ve always known today would come. I thought I’d be ready for it. I’m not.”
When she is put into the lowest position in the Infantry, she knows that her life will never be the same.
“Tiny brown holographic swords project from the lapel of my new, dirt-colored uniform. Tropo. I try not to wince. The emblem denotes the lowest secondborn rank in the military, the mark of the infantry—the expendables. My throat constricts.”
She will be following orders from now on. She will be trained, told how to wear her hair, when to eat and when to sleep. But, things aren’t always as they seem. The system is corrupt and there are people out there who wish to change the Political field. But, who do you trust? The “Gardeners” of the “Rose Garden Society” who want to take down Roselle’s brother so she can step up to become the Sword? Hawthorn, how has been by her side and seems to want to help her? Her Mother? Or is no one who they say they are…
““It outlived its usefulness, so it was killed. There’s something to be learned in that.”
“Never outlive my usefulness?”
“Never, ever trust the pack.””
“Dune growls low. “You don’t have to do this,” he says bitterly. “Roselle’s still too young. She’s not ready for war!”
Othala sobers. She narrows her eyes at her assembled staff. “Leave us.” Clara and Emmitt nearly bump into each other in their hurry to the door. I turn to follow them out.
“Stay, Roselle,” Dune commands.
I hesitate, looking to Mother for confirmation. She remains silent until the others have left, closing the bronze doors behind them, then whirls to face Dune. “It’s done,” she says, sneering.
“You can undo it,” Dune insists. “You can save Roselle.” He is rigid with barely suppressed anger, except for one hand, which twitches near the sword sheathed at his waist. My eyes widen. I know his aggressive posture well. It’s the stance he uses before he attacks.
“You underestimate her,” my mother replies. “She’s resilient and capable of surviving whatever is thrown at her. She has my blood.”
“You will spill her blood!” Dune’s sand-colored eyes narrow. He takes a menacing step toward Mother. My response is automatic. I move between the Clarity and my mentor, as I’ve been trained to do. My hand rests on my own sword’s hilt. I face Dune, my warning unmistakable. “You see?” Dune flicks his hand toward me. “She wants only to protect you, Othala. You have nothing to fear from her. She would never harm you or Gabriel. She loves you both.”
“And you care for her,” Mother hisses. She walks around the golden silk settee, putting it between her and us. Dune grinds his teeth. It’s an accusation I don’t fully understand.
“Of course I care for her. Roselle has been my student since she could crawl!” He rubs his hand over the short, dark stubble of his new beard. “I have always treated her with the utmost respect.”
“Yes, you two are quite close. She looks at you like a father.”
“You and I both know how little interest her own father has taken in her.”
Othala waves her hand as if to dismiss my father from the conversation, or maybe from her life. “Kennet is not one to form attachments. But you treat her as if she were your own daughter. You’ve taught her everything you know about being a leader, a fighter, someone who could maybe one day be the commander of this Fate?”
“I’ve tried to prepare her for any eventuality.”
My mother grips the back of the settee, her bejeweled fingernails digging into the fabric. “You’d just need to get rid of anything that stands in her way, wouldn’t you?”
Dune rubs his eyes, for a moment looking older than his thirty-eight years. “So, this is revenge against me! My decision to end my personal relationship with you, Othala, has nothing to do with Roselle.”
“It has everything to do with her, Dune. You’re her mentor. We both know that if something were to happen to Gabriel and me, she’d be The Sword.” A snarl twists my mother’s lips.
My hand, still on the silver handle of my sheathed sword, grows damp. Dune meets my eyes, and his soften. “Your daughter has no idea what you’re talking about, Othala. She’s a student of chivalry. Her only thought is how to win your love, not steal your power.”
Mother’s blue eyes look upward. “Even if the thought never crossed her mind, she’s still too dangerous, Dune. I have to protect Gabriel. He will rule the Fate of Swords one day, not her. It’s his birthright.””
What a great read! It’s full of action, drama, suspense and mis-direction. Nothing is ever as it seems! I have said before that I’m not a HUGE fan of YA. I enjoy them, but they really have to be done well. This was DEFINITELY one that was done well! It has the feel of “The Hunger Games” or “The Divergent Trilogy” but I found all of the characters very likeable! I thought that Roselle was way more likeable than Katniss Everdeen. She was strong and level headed, and with Society the way it way, even though she grew up around the Aristocracy she spent her time training to be the Secondborn she would always be.
She’s thrown into this life where she’s hated by everyone because she was High born and everyone watched her growing up thinking they knew who she was. She doesn’t fit in with the Firstborns, and the Secondborns do not accept her. It’s a lonely existence. But, she is strong enough to step up, take a leadership role and change the tides of the times. She could be the one who wins the War.
I HIGHLY recommend this book and I can’t wait to get to the rest of them!!
Secondborn is Best Served With
A Three Ingredient Rose Cocktail
So, my antibiotics are complete which (to me) means that I’m back on the wagon again!! Off the wagon?? Well, I’m going to have a drink!! Lol! For Roselle and the Rose Garden Society, I figured that a Rose Cocktail would be fitting! And with Spring on it’s way ….*fingers crossed* we’ll soon be sipping these on our back patio’s!! *wishful thinking*
So, I got this Recipe from Rachel Ray and I just had to try it and dream of spring…
- 2 cups store-bought lemonade
- 1 pint strawberries
- 1 bottle Rosé wine
- Pour the lemonade into an ice cube tray and freeze.
- Cut the stems from the strawberries and place them onto a parchment-lined sheet tray. Freeze.
- To serve, place a few lemonade ice cubes and a couple frozen strawberries into a big wine glass and top with some chilled rosé.