Cover Image: The First Sister

The First Sister

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I looooved the idea of this story but I was just so confused. I don't know why either, I just couldn't get into the story or care for the characters. I'm hoping to try this one in the future, but for now it's a DNF.
Was this review helpful?
**Did not finish, review based on first 47%**

This will be a hard review to write. There was so much I enjoyed in The First Sister, but also a lot of things that distracted me and ultimately led to me abandoning the book. The First Sister by Linden A. Lewis is a futuristic space opera set in a time when humans have colonized the known galaxy and work in tandem with the aliens they've encountered. The book focuses on the priestesses of the Sisterhood who are similar to nuns in their worship but also reminiscent of The Handmaid's Tale. The First Sister is a priestess who travels with soldiers from Earth and Mars. She has no name, no voice, and belongs to the soldiers she serves in body and mind. This is as brutal as you can imagine. 

Lito is a soldier of Venus, now working mostly to train soldiers after being injured in a fight with Saito Ren, the First Sister's new captain. Lito's best friend Hiro disappeared during the attack and was thought dead. Finding out he is not only alive but a traitor sends Lito on a new mission: find Hiro and expose his secrets. 

There was a lot going on in this plot. It was immersive and mostly easy to follow. I struggled with the length and the treatment of the First Sister. I also had a hard time following Lito who was driven by grief and anger. The time line isn't linear, how the galaxy came to war, and the actually main plot is a mystery even at almost half way through. As someone who enjoys sci-fi, I was sad to put this one away. One day I may give it another shot, but not today.
Was this review helpful?
Hm... not sure if space opera just isn't my thing, or if I'm reading the wrong space operas, but I had similar issues with The First Sister as I had with Persephone Station. Namely, that the focus seems to be too much on representation (which is good! and great!) and not enough on world-building or storylines or, even, character development. I feel that The First Sister was more successful in that regard, but I still felt rather left out in the cold upon finishing it. 

I think I was, partially, overwhelmed because the book attempts to take on too much. I wish Lewis's editor had reined her in a bit and worked towards a sharper, more streamlined book. There are 3 POVs, two warring factions, two races, a religious sect that doesn't seem particularly religious, and a whole lot of interconnecting themes - family (born vs. found), bodily autonomy, war vs. peace, racism, classicism, and a dash of other -isms. It casts an exceptionally wide net, and it casts it shallowly. I would have liked a more selective take and a deeper dive on some of the themes.

I found myself sympathizing with the First Sister, and curious about Hiro, but had a hard time connecting with Lito's POV; as he's arguably the force driving the book and the plot (even though it's not him on the title or cover) it was difficult for me to maintain enthusiasm. I would have liked to know more about the First Sister, her past, and the Sisterhood, its history and nuances. I wanted more history in general! The 'Dead Century War' is mentioned repeatedly, but we don't know much about it other than that it caused a rift between humans in space. There's also a heavy-handed subplot about eugenics twined with anti-capitalism that ultimately ends up driving the finale of the book. 

It's like Lewis threw everything at the wall and didn't bother to see what stuck. I'm certainly intrigued by the premise, but my inability to connect with the characters and the book's only skimming the surface of the world-building means that I'm not likely to pick up the second installment.
Was this review helpful?
*Thank you Netgalley and publisher for giving me an electronic ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**

   I really enjoyed this book. I found the world unique and well developed, the characters interesting and thoughtful. This book was smart and focused a lot on politics (the great genre crosser), and what it's like to exist is a broken society. 

      It had beautiful queer representation, believable relationships and bonds. As well as some good old-fashioned space opera vibes. I counted down the days till I could get the sequel!
Was this review helpful?
Wow! This book was addicting. It gave me definite The Handmaide’s Tale vibes! We follow a select few characters, Hiro- a traitor and Lito’s partner, Lito- s soldier sent to kill his partner, First Sister- a mute religious figure and Ren- new Captain of the Juno. Watching this story progress and watching these characters make choices that would effect not only them, but nations, was fascinating. I wish the world building had been more flushed out and explored, this was a great first book and can’t wait to read the next one.
Was this review helpful?
This one surprised me. Due to the blurb, I was expecting a sci-fi romance with dark undertones. That is not what I got.

This was dark, as it has a world where women do not have say in what happens to their bodies. It was also very queer which was great. What is wasn't however, was a romance. Which is fine, just don't make a blurb that makes it sound like there is romance in it.

Over all, the writing was good. I do recommend this if you like sci fi space operas.
Was this review helpful?
#The First Sister is a debut novel. Also a fantasy and mystery. By author # Linden A. Lewis a wonderful storyteller.
Thank you for the advance copy,
#Netgalley and #Gallery 📚 Books
Was this review helpful?
Such a great book! I enjoyed reading this one so much! I highly recommend this book. Side note: the cover!!!!
Was this review helpful?
Let's just start by saying I bought the second book in hardcover before even starting this one.

Space + sisterhood + soldiers + EVERYTHING. I knew I would love it,
When I first picked it up I was slow because I am a huge mood reader & my mood changed, but I picked up again and sped through it!

The connection between Lito and Hiro was incredibly intriguing and then the recordings gave it even more life. I was eating it up. I won't tell much in regards to these relations because spoilers, but fiiire!

Now the first sister - is so relatable. She has been taught to obey everything, but get put in a pickle on following the rules or rebel in her own way. The fight within is written well, but the girl can take some risks and I love it!
Saito Ren is a true badass from the jump with a soft side and truly that all

Just know there is action, attraction, science-y goodness, etc. Obsessed!
Was this review helpful?
I just started First Sister. I gave it about 10 minutes. It’s another pseudo feminist story of how women lap up rewards for being good whores, in space.

May there never be another book written where our good whore loses her status and has to belittle and demean the other whores to claw back her self esteem.
Was this review helpful?
In this story, we are following three main perspectives. Leto, who is a soldier for the Venus Government. A comfort woman known as the First Sister. And Hiro a disgraced soldier for Earth and Mars.

The most fascinating aspect of this story is the world building. In this world, humanity has been able to colonize Mars and Venus. Earth and Mars are constantly at war with Venus, who is more technologically advanced.

The history and the politics of this world are incredibly intricate and was the strongest aspect of the story. I had so much fun learning about the history of this world, and the technological advancements achieved by humanity. The story also heavily deals with religion. Politics and religion are inextricably intertwined, and it was fascinating to learn about. Because religion and politics play an important role within the story, it deals heavily with themes of political and religious corruption.

Unfortunately, the characters were the weakest part of the story for me. In terms of character development, it’s consistent throughout the story, and there isn’t anything particularly wrong. I just found them to be forgettable.
Overall, I think the story is just ok. While I found certain aspects of the story interesting, there isn’t anything about it that has me gripped. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m the target audience for First Sister.
Was this review helpful?
Loved this book, great entry to a series!
Not a great fan of scifi but this book changed mind. Thanks for approving me!
Was this review helpful?
Wow what a captivating story. I stayed up way too late to finish it, I didn’t want to put it down. Definitely recommending!
Was this review helpful?
Love this series! Just picked up book two! This is unlike anything else I've ever read and I can't wait to see where it goes.
Was this review helpful?
I tried to start this a couple of times. I kept re-downloading it because I was really interested, but I could never fully get into it so I had to DNF it. I do think that I'll pick it up again at some point.
Was this review helpful?
Trapped. That’s a word that I kept returning to while reading this adventure. An adventure in space. It is full of larger than life characters , with back stories of struggle and triumph. Here is a story that offers a look into different realms complete with rules and limitations. Once you are here you immerse yourself not unlike CS Lewis and Narnia.
Was this review helpful?
I truly enjoyed the writing and world building of this novel. Often with sci-fi, books load up on world building so heavily out of the gate that for someone who isn't a constant reader of sci-fi, it's incredibly hard to keep up. However, in The First Sister, I found myself easily understanding the ins and outs of the world I was reading. Every scene was easy to visualize and immerse myself into, and this was helped by the way I grew attached to many of the characters and wanted to learn all I could about them.

If I have any critique, it would be that the last 20% of the book or so left me wishing that all of the themes present in this novel were examined even deeper. The pacing towards the end, as well as the ending in general, felt very surface level and not completely satisfying.
Was this review helpful?
I wanted this to work for me so much. This really should be right up my alley. But it just failed to engage me on so many levels. 
This sci fi follows the stories of First Sister, a member of a religious sect in the society that encompasses Mars and Earth. The sisters are forced into ‘blessing’ men during wartime, which they are in with the other planetary group of Mercury and Venus who are more technologically advanced and worship science. Lito is a member of an elite fighting squad for this group and is assigned to track down and eliminate his former partner, Hiro, who has apparently turned traitor. 
The ideas, setting, and diversity in this book really is a powerful draw and SHOULD have been enough for me to enjoy it but…
This book felt unedited. I know this makes me sound like a grammar stickler but really its almost never a problem for me. I never notice syntax and grammar and whatever. I mean, look how I write. Its barely strung together sentences! But I could pick up this book at almost any random page and feel like I would see a clunky sentence. I found myself rereading sentences to understand exactly what it was saying. This obviously created a flow problem for me and was super frustrating. I think this was the biggest snag for me and obviously affected my enjoyment for the entire book. If you don’t mind how its written its other sins might be more easily glossed over. 
I had a problem with the story telling. We get multiple perspectives which I am not a general fan of anyways. One of the perspectives is from Hiro and is supposedly a recording they left for their partner Lito. Lito listens to this as the story progresses. Except…as a recording it makes zero sense. Hiro speaks in a way that makes absolutely no sense, recapping entire scenes in detail that Lito was there for.  It seems as if Lito is listening along with us as we go along with the story but then near the end, he makes it clear that he had knowledge from the next ‘recording’ that we just read when he had ZERO time to actually listen to it. So did he listen ahead? Does he have more knowledge than we do? But then that doesn’t make any sense because he is still asking questions in the last few chapters that he would have known if he listened to the next chapter. I was totally lost. 
The multiple perspectives dilutes the story as well. I feel like it should have picked a character to focus and develop because the splitting our time lead to both of them feeling like half a person. Both stories are theoretically interesting and compelling but neither got the focus they needed to be built up correctly. First Sister and Saito Ren’s relationship especially felt underdeveloped and like something that just happened. 
Some plot points seem to fully rely on the main characters or villains being stupid in order for them to occur.  Which is never really fun. 
Overall, this was disappointing but maybe others can enjoy it more than I did? The writing was really jarring for me and totally made everything feel sluggish in the story. The world building and character concepts were really cool though so it got me through the whole book.
Was this review helpful?
The first time I read this book was actually outside of NetGalley, but I loved it so much, I decided to hype it up here. See, the thing is when it comes to science fiction, you never see more than the white man's gaze because the male-dominated platform makes everything an expected series. While there are aspects of "First Sister" that we're bound to see before, it's to not that Lewis brings a lot of diversity with BIPOC and LGBTQIA+. 

I've been pushing the "First Sister" agenda since I got my hands on it last year and was so privileged to have finished reading it before the release of "Second Rebel" (which is still sitting on my desk about to make me cry). Lewis brings to life the intricate perspectives and timelines to intercede and connect with ease. Their storytelling abilities legitimately makes it feel like you can envision everything within this vast world and the rich laws, politics, and religious attributes that makes "First Sister" what it is.
Was this review helpful?
This is a fascinating amalgam and interplay of power and conflict twisted by religion that's based on holy comfort women and race that has been altered to better fit a specific environment.  The conflicts play out over power and control using religion and  technology.  It is a space opera with interesting character development and plot twists that come together for both a satisfying ending as well as leaving you with tantalizing hints about the next book in the series.  All in all an excellent read.
Was this review helpful?