Cover Image: The First Sister

The First Sister

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Member Reviews

This book was spectacular and that is something coming from someone who doesn’t read sci-fi often. I loved how diverse it was in terms of adding characters of different gender identities and sexualities. The writing style of this author is quite literally out of this world and it was so descriptive without doing too much. The plot was fast paced and THE CHARACTERS WERE AMAZING!

Hiro was definitely my favorite character by far. They were well-written and a bad-ass that I couldn’t help but love them. Their snarky comebacks were probably some of the most entertaining parts of the book. 

The First Sister (who is bi) is probably the character that I related to the most. She’s everything I want to be and the cottage core princess aesthetic is how I imagined her.

Lito was so much fun to read about and was such a complex and well written character.

My main regret for this book is that I am now reading it as an ARC because I already know that I would binge this series in one day.
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Tha is to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. 

As advertised, The First Sister is reminiscent of Handmaid’s Tale with its portrayal of women in submission.  First Sister is a nameless, voiceless women whose sole job is to provide “comfort” and confession to the men on her ship. She and the rest of the Sisters are controlled by Aunties and the Mother who are power hungry and manipulative. 

The secondary story is about Lito, a man who has crawled his way to the top and is trying to prove himself.  He is a man that must come to terms with the betrayal of his best friend while at the same time is piecing together parts of a larger puzzle. 

I enjoyed how these two stories came together, though one major plot twist seemed almost a little bit cliche... 

Aside from that, the themes of the story are very relevant to our current times. A group of people who are reviled by the locals, who are literally the native resident a fact that no one cares to acknowledge or remember? The idea of the government and science experimenting on people in poverty just because they have a limited voice and/or the desperate need for money to survive... all sounds quite familiar? At the same times I didn’t feel like any of these themes were addressed with a heavy hand. They naturally flowed in this sci-fi imagining of the future. 

Overall, a good read and I’m ready for the second in this trilogy to be released.
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What I liked the most about The First Sister is that the book has awesome representation and diverse characters, It felt very natural and was very well done.

Unfortunately I didn't enjoy the plot very much, It changed a bit towards the end, where things started to happen and it ended up being one hell of a ride. 

I will definitely read the next book, I am very curious where will the author  take the characters next.
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This was such an imaginative, fun space opera.  It's hard for me to find a space opera that I truly love for being original and daring.  I can't wait for the next book!
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An absolutely incredible, fresh and new sci-fi world featuring fantastic diversity and representation. Exactly what I've been waiting for in the science fiction genre, and so cinematic I could easily see this translated to a big (or small) screen.
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First, thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for allowing me access to review this title. The world building in this book is phenomenal, though feels familiar. The characters are well  well written and the inner dialogues are entrancing. All that said, this is a slow building read. I almost dnf’d the book in a couple of instances but I’m thrilled to report that all the building made sense in the end and the last third of the book is phenomenal!
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A mark of a good book: my dog collapsing in the entry way once we get back from a walk because I was so sucked into the story that we went at least 2 km farther than we normally do.

For real though, this book was so utterly riveting. It has some fabulous Handmaid's Tale vibes in space with great promise for political intrigue and growing rebellions. The ending is jaw-dropping, with several plot twists that sent my mind absolutely reeling. This was not a predictable novel at all. These characters are so interesting as well! They truly carry the story on their shoulders from opposing sides of the spectrum and I still don't know who I like best. I received an ARC of this last year but decided to read the audiobook, and that was an excellent decision. The three narrators had me making excuses to keep listening because their voices were so engaging, and they captured this diverse, queer cast beautifully.

As you may have guessed, this book is told in three POVS.

First Sister
She has such a heartbreaking tale as a priestess of the Sisterhood, the religion of the Gaen people. The Sisterhood is an oppressive and silencing organization, quite literally. Each Sister has her voice removed and is forbidden to write or communicate in any way with anyone outside of the Sisterhood. The purpose of this is that whatever is "confessed" to them is kept in the strictest confidence. And if a confessing sinner needs a different way to assuage their guilt *cough* sex *cough*, a Sister must oblige. But hey, as First Sister she gets privileges, like only the ship captain can have their way with her. Their bodies do not belong to them at all, and it's so sad.

Right off the bat, we sympathize with First Sister. She is finally leaving the ship to live planetside with Captain Arturo, but her dreams are crushed when Arturo leaves without her and she is faced with a new captain, Saito Ren, to gain favour with so she can remain First Sister. Following her journey with Ren, the discoveries she makes about the Sisterhood and herself, they were probably the most interesting part of the book. It leaves a lot of ground to cover in the sequel that I know I will enjoy.

Lito val Lucius
Lito is a man adrift. He is one half of a pair of duelists, elite soldiers bonded by an implant chip that connects their emotions, suppresses pain, etc. Only, Lito's other half is missing after a devastating battle, and he's not too sure what to do with himself without Hiro. This of course only gets worse when he learns that Hiro is a traitor and he is tasked with assassinating both Hiro and the head of the Gaen religion.

I really liked Lito as a main character. Sometimes nothing makes a character more intriguing than their underdog story and what they will do to cling to the success they literally fought tooth and nail for. In Lito's case, he worked his ass off to rise out of the slums and an abusive family to give his sister a better life and find a new family with Hiro. His storyline delves into the possibility of rebellion, and while I didn't find it quite as interesting as First Sister's, I can't wait to see where it goes.

Hiro val Akira
Their tale unwound a little differently than the other two. As Lito is tasked with killing Hiro, we are often left wondering what the heck happened? As such, their story is told through a series of recordings sent to Lito. The recordings give us a lot of background information on their's and Lito's relationship and their upbringing with the military, as well as their childhood. Hiro certainly comes across as a spoiled brat in the beginning, having grown up with great wealth and a famous family, but there are some ghosts in the Akira family closet. The biggest plot twist absolutely belongs to them and how they disappeared. I have a few feelings about it that I don't quite know how to put into words, but please know I tripped while walking when it was revealed.

For as much as I enjoyed this, it did lack in some areas. I would have enjoyed seeing so much more of this world. Half of it is set on a space ship but we don't see space. It's a very limited sci-fi in terms of the scope of setting, and I found that somewhat disappointing. I also would have liked a little more clarity on the history of the opposing forces and the move from Earth. Perhaps it was because I read the audiobook, but I still feel quite foggy on which planets are "inhabited", who holds which planet, and what the deal is between each force and their antagonism with the other. It kept me at arms' length in a few respects and prevented me from fully appreciating it.

I stumbled upon this book by accident, but please know I will be getting my hands on the sequel the first chance I get.
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Thank you to the publisher and to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review! 

The First Sister by Linden A. Lewis is sci-fi novel set in a galaxy far, far away with plenty of LGBT representation.  I have been hearing about this book everywhere, so I was so excited to see it available to review on NetGalley!  

The story revolves around First Sister, a nun in a Sisterhood that is not allowed to speak, so they have to communicate using hand signals. At the beginning of the novel, First Sister is betrayed by a Captain who promised to take her away.  A new Captain Saito Ren is looking for a partner, and First Sister has to earn her trust or she will be demoted from her position.  

Here is an excerpt from Chapter One that explains the Sisterhood: 

"Much luck in your future, she signs in the hand language reserved for the Sisterhood by law. 
I'm so surprised by her gesture it takes me a moment to respond. Thank you, I sign at last 
This is our sole method of communication, we Sisters, because we are not allowed to write and we cannot speak."

Although there were two points of view in this book, I found First Sister's to be more interesting.  The relationship that develops between her and Saito Ren is a highlight of the book. 

Here is an excerpt of one of their "conversations" from Chapter Fifteen:

"Beautiful, I say again with no voice.
'Even as ugly and twisted as I am? Even with these metal limbs that cannot feel?'
Beautiful, I say once more."

Another highlight of this book is how much PoC and LGBT representation there is.  Both of the POV's are by queer protagonists; First Sister has both male and female love interests, Lito is Spanish-speaking, and Hiro is Japanese-speaking.  Although this is very exciting, I found the story harder and harder to keep track of and understand as it got to halfway mark.  I enjoyed the first half, but then I lost track of the names of characters and their planets/political affiliations.  I don't typically read sci-fi though, so this is probably my problem, not the book's. 
Overall, The First Sister is a very exciting sci-fi novel, and I recommend it for all fans of the sci-fi genre.
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Since humans first expanded to the planets around them hundreds of years ago, the Gaens of Earth and Mars have been warring with the Icarii of Venus and Mercury. The Gaens want the Icarii to share some of their resources, while the Icarii just want the Gaens to drop their crazy religion and allow the Icarii technology to take root in Gaen culture (and subsequently further enrich the Icarii). Against this backdrop, Icarii warrior Lito sol Lucius sets out on a new mission to upset the Gaens on Ceres (which Lito was unsuccessful in keeping in Icarii hands), with a strange new partner and plenty of pressure. Meanwhile, the mute and nameless First Sister of Gaen warship Juno finds herself unexpectedly dealing with a new captain, who is not at all what she expected. It seems inevitable that First Sister and Lito's paths will collide, but how?

This book, the first in a planned trilogy, sets up some interesting ruminations on war, peace, religion, identity, and humanity, which is quite a feat. But Lewis manages it admirably, with complex and appealing characters, as well as some truly surprising plot twists. I look forward to seeing what happens next.
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3.5/5 stars. The book is kinda hard to read through some parts but gets good towards the end. I didn’t really like the male POV which is why it’s not four stars.
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This was so good! I loved the representation and the setting was amazing! The writing was amazing! The pacing was very well spaced and the plot was very well paced which I really enjoyed!
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Such a interesting book! Gave me  futuristic handmaids take vibes! I would definitely recommend this to everyone to read, and I can’t wait for the sequel!
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This sci-fi story shifts between two points of view - the First Sister on the spaceship Juno, which belongs to the Geans (Earth and Mars), and disgraced soldier Lito of the Icarii (Mercury and Venus). The First Sister's story  is where the Handmaid's tale comparisons come from (but thankfully it never gets too graphic), whereas Lito is sent on a mission to kill his former partner (military partner, which I want to make clear because I went into this expecting them to have been romantic partners). Both are pawns in a political game beyond their understanding and this made me want to read more to get to the bottom of what was going on. This book was a very easy to read, which is good because I flew through it and I'm now dying for the sequel, but I also think it could use more depth. This is especially true of the ending and the romantic relationship that develops between the First Sister and another character who I won't name, because it seemed to develop rather quickly and I wasn't completely convinced by the end of the book. I feel like a lot of the worldbuilding was integrated well into the story, especially through Lito's point of view. I was less clear about the Geans' society, but that's probably due to the First Sister's circumstances on the Juno, so I'd really like to see more about them and how the Sisterhood operates within a larger society in the sequel. Also, it's really giving the Expanse vibes, which is great because I love that series.
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I don't think it can wait, I need to know how it goes.
The story is a mixture of plots and each character follows a path until they end up crossing each other.
I fell in love with the characters, with the singularities of each one, but I became more attached to the first sister and her story, I want to know more and see what she does with everything she is now.Saito, Hiro there is so much that I love about them but I was a little disappointed in the end, and it's because I want to know more that I can't love them completely.
This book is one of the best I readed this year, there are some much complex issue like race, vender, colonization, technology and identity
I loved the story, the characters and I can't wait to read what comes next..
Thanks to #NetGalley , Gallery Books and Sky bound books for give me #TheFirstSister to read in exchange for my honest review
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In alternating chapter point of views, readers follow two characters throughout this novel: First Sister of the spaceship Juno and Lito sol Lucius. First Sister has no voice or name and must take confessions. As long as she has the captain's favor, she won't need to do the bidding of any soldier; just the captain. Those are the rules of the Sisterhood. When a new captain arrives on the Juno First Sister must use her position to spy on the captain.

Lito is a Rapier-one half of a duelist pair. He comes to terms with the disappearance of his other half-his Dagger Hiro- after they were separated during rehabilitation. When he is tasked to kill not only the Mother of the Sisterhood but also Hiro, Lito must choose to follow orders or to disobey and become a rebel.

This is a sci-fi novel that doesn't seem like it, thus making it a great introduction to the genre. This happens at least two hundred years in the future from our current present. We meet three different types of individuals: The Geans- technologically challenged civilization that follows the Sisterhood; The Icarii- technologically advanced civilization the uses gene modification to allow their duelist pair (and other) to change features; and the Asters- humanoid individuals that thought to be beneath the other races.

In between our chaptered views of First Sister and Lito are "recordings". It's interesting to read the recordings and then see mention of them pop up throughout the novel. Even though our characters are all apart, readers can tell they will all meet at some point. I formed my own opinions as I read (as you do) and though I was right in some ways, I would read more that would make me think I was wrong!

Once you start reading, I think you will have a hard time stopping. I know I did and I definitely need the next book stat!
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Sorry for bringing negativity and do believe me I am always trying to find something nice to say about the books, but this one, sorry, just wasn't my cup of tea, I do not like it, I could not force myself to finish it and, unfortunately, was my only DNF for 2020....
Underdeveloped, uninteresting, forced book, I am so very sorry for this attitude toward the author and work, but sorry, it is just for a very niche reader group and I am totally off that niche...
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This was one of my favorite books of 2020 so far! Beautiful world building combined with a page turning plot that comes together beautifully in the end. Full review complete with (alas, thoroughly amateur fan art) here:
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Really thought that the comparison between Handmaid's Tale and Red Rising were spot on. This is not an easy book to read as the social commentary is something to make you unsettled, but making it through to the end is worth it. I really connected with the story and I felt that this has left me changed as a human and as a reader. Thank you for the review copy!
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The third act of the book was too much and now I have to sit here and DIE WAITING for the second book. Wow.

I really enjoyed this! It was thrilling, had a diverse cast of characters (both in representation and personality and point of view). I enjoyed getting to know all of them and seeing their world and society from their experience. The world building was well-thought out and had just the right amount of detail for me. I felt like I learned the politics, but didn't feel bogged down in it.

There were times when I preferred being in some perspectives over others, especially halfway the book. There were also moments where this did a lot of action descriptions and I was like "Okay, move on, tell me more about the worldbuilding and the romance", but that's a personal preference.

Overall, a really unexpected but enjoyable experience.
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Think space, intergalactic battles, cutting-edge technology - neural implants that link people's minds, mercurial blades that can be controlled by these implants, gene alteration, specially designed fighting suits, Hermium that makes life sustainable on the planets.

Imagine a scenario where civilization has spread over four planets and even the asteroid belt, but they still fight over petty issues that we see in reality, then put in a pinch of dystopian flavor, very much in the likes of The Handmaid's Tale and Red Rising; there, you have this beautiful piece of work.
It is a world divided into three main fractions: The Geans, who inhabit Earth and Mars, have specially designed war-suits called ironskins, worship the Goddess, and have an entire Sisterhood in her name to serve their warriors; The Icarii, who inhabit Mercury and Venus, worship the Thousand Gods, are technologically superior with their mercurial blades, neural implants and medicine; finally, the Asters, inhabiting the asteroid belt, bound to servitude to meet their needs, experimented on for the benefit of humans, and they have had enough.
  The people in power here are the ones who take the liberty of ignoring the very rules that they set for the masses to follow. Sometimes this does not seem fictional at all.
The world building is wonderful, fast paced, action packed, and you will always be on your toes as to what happens next., all that build up of the plot and changing loyalties make it for an interesting and unpredictable read. The representation in here is not just for the sake of inclusion, it fits in fine as silk, does not seem forced, and I am all for it. Also there is a fight for peace, which if I am being honest does seem like an oxymoron.

I love Hiro val Akira, PERIOD.

Coming to the other characters, Lito sol Lucius is the reason I took out one star from the rating. In every other page, Lito has to calm down or use his neural implant to that effect. It seemed a bit repetitive. By the fifth time this is mentioned, the reader has already formed an idea that Lito is not a flawless being, not a perfect soldier, calm but deadly. He is no doubt deadly, but he does have his share of anxiety and insecurity.
   Besides Hiro, I also really appreciated how the author developed the character of the First Sister.

This book is a strong introduction to the series and I will keep a look out for the upcoming ones.
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