The First Sister is told from the POV of two main perspectives, The First Sister and Lito. The First Sister is a priestess for the Sisterhood on the Juno spaceship. The space ship is owned by the Geans who are part of the Earth and Mars regime. The First Sister travels through space on the Juno acting as someone the soldiers can make confessions to and gain comfort from. Being given the role of “First Sister” means that one given this title only has to give themselves to the captain rather than other soldiers.
The First Sister has no right to freedom whatsoever and must do as the Sisterhood says. She is unable to speak as only those who are deemed worthy can be given a voice. When the novel opens, there is high hopes The First Sister will be able to leave with Captain Arturo and finally be free. However, Arturo leaves without her, leading to her having to come to terms with staying on the ship with no allies or comfort. Then a new captain arrives in the form of Captain Saito Ren. What this means is that there is the potential that The First Sister may lose her position to the other sisters if she doesn’t get in the captain’s good books. To make matters even more complicated, the Mother who is the head of the order has tasked First Sister to spy on Captain Ren to discover whether Ren is a traitor.
When considering Lito, he is an Icarii Rapier i.e. dualist of Mercury and Venus. After losing a dual to Saito Ren on the planet Ceris, Lito is tasked with assassinating his former military partner Hiro who has been ruled a traitor. Lito is given a new partner in the form of Oferia and both are tasked with going back to Ceres in order to find Lito and kill him. However, Lito discovers secrets that may change his viewpoint on the Icari regime and will lead to Lito having to pick a side.
The First Sister by Linden A Lewis is a sci-fi space opera which can be strongly compared to The Handmaidens Tale due to one of the main characters in the novel. I found the story to be a fast paced and full of surprise twists. Everything about this book is memorable from the fleshed out characters, to the world building which is fascinating and full of wonder. I loved how extensive the world was and how vast it felt. There are different types of factions such as the Icari of Mercury and Venus and have an immense amount of advanced technology. Then there is the Geans of Earth and Mars who are a strict religious regime which draws parallels to The Handmaidens Tale. Finally there is the Asters who are considered to be at the bottom of the barrel due to the way they’ve evolved/ had their genes modified in order to survive on the Asteroid Belt. Essentially, the Asters have been used as guinea pigs to do all the dangerous work.
What I also loved about the novel was how each character had their own individual motivations and journey. I felt really bad for First Sister and her experiences were really heartbreaking. It was therefore great seeing her slowly making a stand and that fire within her being released. My favourite POV was definitely Lito though, his scenes in the novel were more intense and action packed. Chapter 24 specifically blew me away by the action set pieces. It reminded me a lot of the fights Raiden from the Metal Gear Solid video games. The dynamic between Lito and Hiro also added so much to the story. Hiro POV is told in the form of them leaving tapes for Lito allowing the reader to gain a better understanding of their actions and what happened to them. I also really loved the side characters of Saito Ren and Oferia. Their backstory and motivations were super interesting making for an even greater read.
There is also great represention of the LGBT community in the form of First Sister, Hiro, Saito Ren, and Lito. The characters also speak different languages i.e. Spanish, English, and I believe either Mandarin or Japanese which adds to the diversity of the characters.
In terms of the writing, it was fast paced, exhilarating, and full of depth. I flowed through this book with ease and found it very hard to put down. There are so many unexpected plot twists that literally caught me off guard which is often difficult because I’m not easily surprised. The final fee chapters whereby all the characters meet in the middle was fantastic and blew me away. I absolutely loved the surprise twist at the end and it makes way for the second book.
Overall, I can’t fault this book whatsoever. Everything about it was flawless for me and I am so so excited to start reading The Second Rebel. I can guarantee that fans of books such as Red Rising, Black Sun, and The Expanse will love this book.