An edgy release from Grover!
Wow. I'm still reeling from reading the final pages. This is not a book for the young and light of heart. Written in first person present tense (as so many are these days...), we get an intimate look into the life of Tiadone, a biological young woman, who has from birth, been declared a young man in order to preserve her life. This is what drew me to the story after skimming the back cover copy. Pure intrigue.
The mastery of this story world is incredible. It felt almost tangible. However, there were a couple minor details left unexplained that I didn't work out until halfway through. I found it a minor drawback, albeit a distracting one. Other than that, I felt immersed in the story. I'm duly impressed.
Tiadone is a highly unusual character. As I mentioned earlier, she has been told for most of her life that she is a male, not female and that the amulet around her waist will suppress all feminine traits in her. Her gradual transformation over the course of the story is near perfection. Most YA books these days seem to be written in first person present tense, thus it's common. But Firstborn is a classic case where this perspective is needed. It's fits the story better than first person past tense would. We're thrown in the moment, and Grover wrote it exceedingly well.
I can't spend too much time on Ratho in this review, but I will say my affection for this particular hero goes back and forth. Once or twice, I felt like he acted out of character, but this is just my opinion. Firstborn pulls you in and wraps it's talons around your imagination, pun intended. I was loathe to ever put it down. I hope there is a sequel in the works, because I want to read more! It is worth mentioning that Grover offers a raw story holding little back, for this reason I recommend this book to girls fifteen and older.
Things to note for my younger readers... There are some gruesome violent scenes, and given we're in Tiadone's head we are given intimate details about her body, thus my recommendation to girls.
I received an ARC of this book from Blink in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!
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.