Cover Image: The First Sister

The First Sister

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Member Reviews

WHOA. I was immediately hit in the gut with this read. You feel so deeply for the characters. I was never a huge sci fi fan but this book has changed the game for me. I expect to hear a lot about it in the upcoming years!!
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While I love sci-fi movies and tv shows, I have always had a hard time getting into sci-fi books. That's why this was such a pleasant surprise for me. This is a smart and engagingly written space opera that addresses gender, prejudice, political and religious corruption, and reclaiming bodily autonomy. 

I did find that there were some pacing issues but overall it's extremely enjoyable. I'll be picking up the second book.
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E-book arc provided by Simon & Schuster through NetGalley for an honest book review. 

Trigger Warnings ⚠️: (not inclusive)
* Amputation
* Mention of Child abuse
* Death
* Execution
* Experimentation
* Mental illness
* Sexual abuse
* Violence

★

First, have you seen how gorgeous this cover is? It’s hard to see this cover and not to hit ‘Want to Read’!
I’ve read this through ebook and audiobook, which definitely made the reading experience even better. Not to mention how good it was that I’ve binged reading this in one day! 

The First Sister by Linden A. Lewis is a story that mainly follows two points of view. The First Sister, a priestess of the Sisterhood in Juno, an Icarii warship that the Gean have seized a year age. And Lito sol Lucius, an Icarii soldier, a Rapier to his Dagger, Hiro val Akira, that have gone to a mission and haven’t seen them since. 

The First Sister, has no name nor a voice, and wants out of Juno to live a peaceful life, and was supposed to leave with her Captain, only to be abandoned by him. Not only leaving her alone there, but also risking her position as The First Sister, and the safety that comes with it. Later, she is assigned by Mother to spy on her new Captain, Saito Ren, breaking her oath and risking her life, because if she’s caught, she will be the one who takes the blame. 

Lito sol Lucius, who barely recovered from his last mission with his partner Hiro, is now given two assignments, first he must finish Hiro’s assignment and assassinate the Mother, who is a religious leader of Gean. The second assignment, which is the most difficult one, he must find his partner Hiro, who he found out was in fact a traitor, and kill them.. Now he is torn between  following his orders or his heart. 

★

“Like Icarus, our forefathers flew close to the sun. But unlike our mythological predecessor, the scientists aboard the Icarus who seeded Mercury and, eventually, Venus, were aware of their mortality and the necessity of a future protected by those who understood peace. It was peace that split us from Earth and Mars, and it is peace that will guide us on our path through the stars.”

I didn’t expect to enjoy this as much as I did! it was a pleasant surprise. And the ending!! I definitely didn’t see these twists coming!
I absolutely enjoyed the author’s writing style, it was very engaging and captivating. 

I enjoyed how detailed the world building was. It a futuristic sci-fi of our universe, where humans have expanded into some of the other surrounding planets. Leading humanity to split into two; Geans, who live mainly on Earth and Mars, and Icarii, who are known for their advanced technology and thrive on Mercury and Venus. 

However, I must admit the world building felt confusing at times and it was hard to keep up with. I would love to learn more of the history and background of the world in the rest of the series since it seems very intriguing!

★

“I wish I had known that throwing away your life for peace is so much harder when you are in love.”

“”If we lose ourselves, at least we’ll lose ourselves together.””

“”No matter what happens to me, I will shield you.””

The characters are well written and were very lovable. I loved how diverse they were. Not to mention how adorable (and heartbreaking) the romance was. 
I’m looking forward to getting to know these characters further more. 

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this, and I will probably continue with the series! .
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Although I was very excited to read this book I was unable to connect with any character and found it very difficult to finish. The pros of this book are the writing style, it was easy to understand. And the representation in this book is also great.
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FIVE STARS BABY!!

Completely unexpected as this was 100% a cover buy for me (look at that stunning art OKAY). I loved this book so much, and days later I am still thinking about it??....

So my recommendation for this one would be if you're a fan of The Red Rising series or Leviathan Wakes, but want something a little more low key... *insert The First Sister* The POV writing also reminded me of Black Sun, so if you're a fan of that writing style I recommend this book to you too.

This book follows three MCs- one a priestess, one a soldier, and the last a rogue agent. In this space opera (sounds daunting. but I promise it's not), everyone is connected in such interesting ways and the plot twists are STUNNING!! My mouth literally dropped open multiple times. I absolutely loved the world, loved the tech, loved the characters- and found this to be a complex plot, yet easy to understand and picture in my head. 

Overall, this was such a fun time, and I can't wait to read the next book!! I HAVE TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS. There is LGBTQIA+ rep, as well as prosthetics rep, mental health rep and I just loved it all so dang much.

xx
-Christine
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Some good space politics. Character development was good, had some unexpected twists. Not the best I've ever read but a good story.
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The First Sister is the first book in a grand space opera trilogy by Linden A. Lewis. Released in 2020 by Simon & Schuster on their Gallery Books imprint, it's 352 pages and is available in most formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately; it makes it so easy to find information with the search function. 

This is classic science fiction on a grand scale. It hearkens back to old school SF, unafraid to explore social themes such as power, loyalty, humanity, body autonomy, conflict, and grace. I've seen this book being compared to The Handmaid's Tale, but I got much more of a Frank Herbert Dune vibe with shadings of Shari Tepper. One thing I really liked about the book was the LGBTQ+ friendly writing with positive portrayals of a variety of gender identities and sexualities. 

The writing is sublime and it held my attention and engagement throughout. Thematically it's not always easy reading and readers should be aware that the author explores uncomfortable themes such as nonconsensual sexual exploitation, child abuse, loss of body autonomy, PTSD, violence, and gender dysphoria. I was glad to see, however, that there was -no- glorification or positive spin on abuse or sexism - but more of an expository examination of what could be changed to make a better outcome. There is very little on-page abuse - it's implied, but it is there.

The author has a deft and sure voice and it certainly doesn't feel like a debut novel at all. The adult themes, although not explicit in the narrative, would make me hesitate to recommend this book to YA/NA readers. 

Four stars. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
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I found the plot to be perfectly paced and the world grew and developed as the story went on. The characters were interesting and complex and their different dilemmas gave nice layers to the story. As the book goes on there are lots of twists and new developments and you never knew what to expect. An absolutely thrilling and dazzling sci-fi novel in other words!
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Voiceless women who fight each other for position, a disgraced soldier unjustly charged with losing a battle, and a missing son of the elite: these are the protagonists in Linden A. Lewis’s gripping drama placed centuries in the future. Each character is distinct and has a fascinating character arc, and the plotting moves at the perfect place, with unexpected twists which make sense as revealed.

Humanity has split into two groups. The Geans, on Earth and Mars, are ruled, at least in a large part, by the Sisterhood, a religious group which gives some women power by serving up their sisters as confessors and prostitutes to the military. The Icarii split away from Earth, no longer wanting to be involved in an endless war, and settled on Mercury and Venus (yes, there’s a magic element found on one of the planets that explains how that’s possible). The former are considered militant; the latter are technocrats who have manipulated their genes to survive, creating a separate species of humanity.

As is so often the case in the best science fiction, the postulated world reveals insights into our own, showing how both theocracies and technocracies can go wrong, showing how they impact the lives of the powerless. If that doesn’t appeal to you, it’s a great story as well, and I strongly recommend checking out this amazing book.

To be published later this month on Bibliostatic.com.
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I was given a free e-copy of First Sister by Linden A. Lewis (author), Skybound Books, and Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. The First Sister is the first in the First Sister Trilogy, and The Second Rebel, second book in the trilogy, was published in 2021.

This review will be spoiler free.

I would characterize First Sister as a space opera that includes a rebellion.

The world building is a strength in this novel.  Ms. Linden illustrates the circumstances of the rebellion which occur in the background in this story that add layers of complexity to the plot and emotional depth and motivation to the characters. Ms. Linden does not go into great detail with the world building but just enough to provide necessary information and not too much where it becomes an info-dump.

Another strength of the novel are the characters. There are three main characters with two being depicted in the present and the third being depicted in the past. Each of the three main characters are unique, engaging, and fully developed.  One of the main characters does not talk nor write and Ms. Linden shows how this character can still communicate and convey emotion.  Another main character is sent on an intelligence mission to quell a potential rebellion while he is reminiscing about his former partner who may have joined the rebellion.

The first two-thirds of this novel is engaging, immersive, the story continues to move forward, and the flashback adds depth to the story.

The last third of the novel, unfortunately, is where the story bogs down and slows to a crawl due to more telling and less showing.  I thought the ending was too abrupt and did not flow as smoothly as the beginning and middle.  It also felt the ending was more of a set up for the next novel in the series and not to conclude this story.

First Sister is an engaging story for most of the novel, and I would like to read Second Rebel because I am interested in the characters.

I rate First Sister 3 stars because of the ending.

I would like to thank Ms. Lewis, Skybound Books, and Net Galley for the free ARC.
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Okay. This book, this BOOK y'all! I just finished it and I can barely contain myself. 

In my mind, this novel is perfection. The POV characters (First Sister, Lito, and Hiro) all have unique voices and compelling narratives, syncing up into the wider plot with ease. I was hungry for each of their stories so there was never a down-time that can happen when you like one POV more than others. I can't even pick a favorite, it's too hard!

The worldbuilding is interesting and complex between the cultures of the Icarii, Geans, and Asters, along with all the factions and subgroups in between. Everything that happened in the plot was expertly laid in the groundwork beforehand, making even the most fantastical believable because of the author's work there. The twists were amazing. I consider it a personal feat that I was even able to put this book down because of how sucked in I was by it all.

I don't think I've ever been so relieved to know a novel is the beginning of a trilogy because I NEED more! If you read sci-fi or fantasy at all, even a little bit, get this book now. I'm confident you won't be disappointed.


Note: I received a free electronic edition of this book via NetGalley in exchange for the honest review above. I would like to thank them, the publisher, and the author for the opportunity to do so.
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Handmaid's Tale in space is how I would describe this book, entertaining but also very heavy. I look forward to seeing the rest of the story play out in the following books.
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I was given an arc copy of this from netgalley in return for an honest review

I really really enjoyed this book!
Sci Fi isn't usually my genre but when I saw this was a space opera, I wanted to explore something new and I'm so glad I did!
I want to read the novel again, because there was a lot to take in, and that initially meant that it took me a fair bit to really get interested In the book because I felt overwhelmed, but it hooked me in! But I definitely think a second read is in order for me to really understand the world with better clarity as there was so much to take in!!

I really enjoyed that this book was over three separate perspectives, which is not something I'd normally say as I often feel it can be a hit or miss, but this was a hit. It was easy to know who you were reading as, and I really enjoyed each persons perspective!


I liked the twists that kept coming, I absolutely did not anticipate any of them, which was super refreshing!

I also enjoyed the LGBTQ+ aspect of the book, and the inclusion of a non-binary character! It was great to see more natural inclusion in the novel without it being each characters only quality, which can often lead to it feeling very fake and forced.

Overall, while for me this started off as slow and overwhelming, I absolutely loved first sister and I cannot wait for the next one and will absolutely be rereading this!
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This was a really unique book, and I absolutely loved parts of it. Kept me guessing all along, and I couldn't see most of the twists coming from afar.
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The First Sister has been pitched as part of the wave of feminist dystopias we've seen since 2016/the Handmaid's Tale Hulu adaptation, but I think it's more accurately described as Dune with the queer themes made explicit and the Bene Gesserit made into fully realized characters.

We have galaxy-spanning wars and political intrigue. We have assassinations and assassination attempts. We have a matriarchal religious order that ties itself to military/political power through the beauty and “servility” of its acolytes. We have a duelist named Lito, who fights with a blade even though he’s part of a spacefaring society with all the high-level technology that entails. We have … okay, I don’t know how Hiro, the rebellious scion of space!Bezos fits into this analogy, but Dune would be a much better book if it had a Hiro character.

Told in alternating perspectives, The First Sister is the story of Hiro, Lito, and First Sister (a mute, nameless acolyte of the aforementioned religious order) journeying from very different beginnings to a single moment of conflict that will change the solar system and all four societies that call it home. Although this book is a sci-fi epic in scope, this drive to a single inevitable crisis gives it a momentum that makes it hard to put down.

Except that I was very invested in these characters and their brave, reckless decisions, so I did keep having to pause for breath when I got too worried for them.

Lito is a poor boy whose rose to become the perfect elite soldier through hard work, self-abnegation, and his partnership with Hiro. Hiro once played the chaotic neutral rogue to Lito’s lawful good fighter, but we’re introduced to them through a series of recordings they sent Lito to confess and explain their treason.

First Sister serves the soldiers serving aboard an elite military spaceship so they can go into battle with clear hearts. As the highest ranking sister aboard her vessel, she is only required to hear confessions from everyone but the captain, but she lives in fear of having her rank stripped from her and, with it, her protection from the other soldiers’ sexual advances.

Their stories unfurl in layers. At first, it seems like the primary conflict is going to be between the Icarii (Hiro and Lito), who embrace technology and view religion primarily as a series of cultural artifacts from earth, and the Geans (First Sister), who revere the natural world and enforce universal worship of the Goddess. Lito is sent to assassinate the head of First Sister’s order (and kill Hiro while he’s at it), while First Sister is ordered to spy on a potential traitor aboard her vessel. Classic science versus religion stuff.

Then things get complicated. Through Hiro’s tapes and the potential traitor’s whispered secrets, Lito and First Sister come to realize the organizations that raised and shaped them have been responsible for untold atrocities. They begin to believe peace would be preferable to victory, but they remain conflicted over abandoning everything they know for a future they can’t even really imagine.

Aside from the rich and nuanced protagonists, what I loved most about The First Sister is the way Lewis manages to portray the brutality of both societies without veering into gratuitous depictions of violence, sexual or otherwise. First Sister has experienced sexual violence, and it looms on the periphery of her every interaction with the soldiers on her ship, but we don’t have to witness it. Lito has conversations with sick and dying children, but we don’t have to read about their final, excruciating moments. We get exactly as much information we need to understand the direness of the situation without the kind of abject despair that lingers even after you finish *cough* other books *cough*.

This is ultimately a hopeful book. It’s about realizing the world can be better and deciding that’s worth the risk. It’s about people who have hurt and been hurt by each other making amends and offering forgiveness – and sometimes not. It’s exactly the kind of book I needed at this point in my life.

If you’re having kind of a rough time (and who isn’t) and you like science fiction full of big adventures and big feelings, you need to pick up The First Sister right now.

Then, please come back and tell me if you saw the final twist coming. Lewis telegraphed it so clearly, I have no idea how I missed it, but I was shocked enough that I dropped my Kindle and said, “Oh,” out loud.

You know that feeling of relief when there’s a word or fact you know that you know but you can’t quite remember it, but then you look it up and you’re like, “Oh, yes, that!!!”? That’s how the final twist felt. Incredible. Please, please do not spoil it for yourself. You deserve that pleasure.
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First of all thank you to netgalley for this late ARC. I absolutely loved loved loved this book! This is the most beautifully built and described sci-fi book I have ever read. The creation of the worlds and the governments were perfect. I could imagine everything in my head which sometimes with sci-fi novels I struggle with. This book felt so different to me because of the characters and the way their stories were set up, I felt like all the different story lines converge were so satisfying. Even the lack of sexual relationships, which normally I don’t like but fit in with this plot perfectly. I also felt that the inclusion of a non-binary person was something I hardly see in the fantasy books I read, Hiro was my most favorite character. 
The evolution of each character & their arcs really drove me to keep reading even when I felt the book was slowing down. I was always on the edge of my seat because I was constantly afraid something terrible was going to happen especially to Ren or Lito or the first sister. 
I loved this image the author created of living in this futuristic world where technology has advanced and we have finally left earth. The picture created had me hooked immediately, I loved the jumping back and forth with perspectives and was even more thrilled how they all connected. This book covers topics of love, loss, hate, racism, sexism, destruction of worlds, war, and more. The sisterhood very much gave me handmaid’s tale vibe but more intricate and complex.
This book was a 5 star for me! I read it slow but I felt that it helped me understand everything happening in the book and fully take in all the details.
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4⭐

I'll be honest this is probably the first Sci-fi I've truly read, and FOR SURE the first SPACE OPERA, I had never heard of that one until probably the past year or so, and I have to say I loved this story, we're following First Sister, who has no name, no voice. She dreams of freedom, her own home and family. It's about her learning how her voice was taken from her and her taking it back, as well as taking agency for herself. 

This is also a beautiful story about Lito val Lucious, who came from the slums bound and determined to be an elite solider, an Icarii deulist  paired with his other half, his QUEER, Non- Binary partner, Hiro who has betrayed them. Now Lito has been assigned to hunt down and kill Hiro. 

But nothing is like it seems, First Sister, who is bi, has been assigned to spy on the new Captain Saito Ren, by the Sisterhood but is discovering things are not as they seem. 

Lito has found secret recordings that Hiro left,  and finds out that there is seemingly very good reasons for the rebellion against his father all his life and him giving up everything he loved.

Hiro has been through things that most people wouldn't have survived at the hands of someone who was suppose to love him all for reasons that are unfathomable. And is fighting to make changes that will safe lives for years to come. 

Linden Lewis prose is beautiful, the world building is immersive, there was times that I could see and feel what being described. They created a true found family with acceptance of Queerness, with themes of body image acceptance, gender identity and reclaiming agency of oneself. I can't wait to see where Lewis takes this family in future installments.

If you like Sci-fi, Space Opera, Found Family, Queerness  then this is for you. Please don't deprive yourself of this beautiful book.
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This was freaking phenomenal!

I am a sucker for sci-fi, especially sci-fi with queer characters and The First Sister did not disappoint one bit. In this story we follow three people: The First Sister, she has no name and a servant in a matriarchal religious sect. Hiro, once a promising soldier and rich noble, they have now disappeared and might be a traitor to the nation. And finally, Lito, a decorated soldier tasked with hunting down his bond partner Hiro after they defect.

This world was built so well. I loved the culture of all the various parts of the Empire and how magic/technology was handled by each. The magic system and use of tethers between people were so cool! I just want to know everything about the world.

I loved First Sister which is a title. I think getting to explore The Sisterhood through her was one of my favorite parts because it was so different. I was really enjoying the relationship that developed between First Sister and Captain Ren. I liked seeing Ren bring out more of First Sisters personality and getting her to not just be a pawn for the Sisterhood.

And then there's Hiro and Lito. God the pining between these two was perfection. I loved seeing Lito look back through his memories and realize he loves Hiro. And then Hiro's story broke my heart. I hope they get all the good things in the sequel.

The plot was awesome! I thought in the beginning it was slow, but really pieces were being moved so that the last half everything snapped into place and my mind melted. The First Sister was a freaking phenomenal debut and I cannot wait for Lewis's next book.
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i'd been wanting to read this for ages! i can't wait to get the paperback of this gorgeous book for my bookshelves. i'm glad so many people have been picking it up and enjoying it!
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this e-copy of The First Sister. I was not able to finish this book simply because I couldn't get into the story. I was not a fan of the writing but there is nothing actually wrong with the writing. I would still recommend this book because of the sci-fi elements and the LGBTQIA representation. I wish I could have enjoyed this, but it was just not what I had expected.
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