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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Firstborn by Lorie Ann Grover

Where does a firstborn girl fit in a world dominated by men?

When Tiadone was born, her parents had two choices: leave their daughter outside the community to die in the wilds, or raise her as male and force her to suppress all feminine traits. Now, as the first female living as male in her village, Tiadone must prove her father didn’t make a mistake by letting her live.

As her male initiation approaches, Tiadone knows every eye on the community is on her, and desperately wishes to belong and finally be accepted. But at every step, traditional feminine gifts and traits emerge, and the bird she's been twined with is seen as a sign of the devil.

Worse, as Tiadone completes her rites, she finds she is drawn to her male best friend in ways that are very much in line with the female gender.

Confused and desperate, Tiadone tries to become what she must be while dealing with what she indeed has become: a young woman who may be able to stand up to her despotic rulers and uncover her real purpose in life.

Firstborn by Lorie Ann Grover was an interesting if not sometimes shocking read that I found enjoyable. The setting of this novel was very intriguing as it involved a society that had been overtaken by another people group and who required that all first born females either be cast out to die or be declared male. Tiadone was one of these declared males. Along with the other truly first born males, she was required to possess only male characteristics and to take her place as a patrolman in the mountains. The storyline was exciting and quick-paced and contained a nice mix of action, romance, pain, and rebellion. The novel was told from Tiadone's perspective but contained visions and memories from other characters' points of view. I really liked how the author created interesting and unique phrases, traditions, and rites of passage for both the conquered and the reigning communities in the novel. I enjoyed the relationship that existed between firstborn initiates and their rapion and how it defied the rules and beliefs of the conquering people group.

The characters of this novel were realistic, easy to connect with, and definitely one of my favorites aspects of the novel. I enjoyed the easy relationship between Tiadone and her rapion, Mirco, and how it further set her apart as different from the other males. I enjoyed being able to connect with Tiadone and to identify with her struggles with female emotions and desire as well as trying to decide if she believed in the true Creator God that the leaders of her the reigning group denied. As much as I liked the blooming affection that Tiadone had towards her best (male) friend and enjoyed their interactions, I did think that the way it was portrayed made the novel seem less like a young adult novel and more like adult fiction. I think older teens would be fine with the romantic portion of this novel, but I would not recommend it for young teens or those who struggle with controlling their emotions. I also wish that there had been a slightly clearer connection between the Creator-God in the novel with that of the true God. However, overall I really liked this novel, and I hope there is a second one because I would love to see what happened to Tiadone after she made some huge life decisions at the end of the book.

I received this novel for free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

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