Book Review: Secondborn by Amy A. Bartol

Title: Secondborn
Author: Amy A. Bartol
Publish Date: August 1, 2017
# of Pages: 321
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️


(From Firstborns rule society. Secondborns are the property of the government. Thirdborns are not tolerated. Long live the Fates Republic.

On Transition Day, the second child in every family is taken by the government and forced into servitude. Roselle St. Sismode’s eighteenth birthday arrives with harsh realizations: she’s to become a soldier for the Fate of Swords military arm of the Republic during the bloodiest rebellion in history, and her elite firstborn mother is happy to see her go.

Televised since her early childhood, Roselle’s privileged upbringing has earned her the resentment of her secondborn peers. Now her decision to spare an enemy on the battlefield marks her as a traitor to the state.

But Roselle finds an ally—and more—in fellow secondborn conscript Hawthorne Trugrave. As the consequences of her actions ripple throughout the Fates Republic, can Roselle create a destiny of her own? Or will her Fate override everything she fights for—even love?


This book has gotten a lot of attention on Goodreads! I had it on my to-read list because I really enjoyed Bartol’s Kricket trilogy and was able to get it as a Kindle First on

Secondborn is a dystopian novel that features two classes: firstborn and secondborn. Firstborns are the ruling class, whereas secondborns are treated like second-rate citizens, relegated to serving the firstborns however they see fit.

Roselle is the protagonist, a secondborn daughter to the Fate of Swords. She’s witty, talented, and seems to understand her place as a secondborn. She does not fight her destiny overly much, though she isn’t one for following the rules. The book follows Roselle through her transition to secondborn and what becomes of her in her new role. While Roselle seems resigned to following her fate, there are many characters who want the stars to align differently for her.

The book is fast-paced and ends on a cliffhanger, as I expected since it’s slated to be a trilogy.

Overall the book was good . . . but not great. I was left with a lot of questions about the world in which Roselle resides. I have the next book on pre-order (ETA April 17, 2018), so I’m looking forward to continuing Roselle’s story.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys dystopian young adult novels.


  1. Roselle. Roselle is spunky and I like her wit. She makes for an interesting heroine.
  2. Love interest. Bartol paints Hawthorne as a very sweet love interest. I enjoyed reading the interactions between Roselle and Hawthorne.
  3. Story concept. I really like the story concept. While some things need more detail, the overall concept of the story is appealing.
  4. Great antagonist. Angent Crow is great. He’s a bad guy who’s hard to completely despise. He’s slimy and evil, but I still like him!


  1. The “so what?”. Bartol illustrates the world of firstborns and secondborns but fails to explain the “so what?” Why are firstborns and secondborns divided? Why is the world the way it is? Why is having a third child illegal? I have so many important questions that haven’t been answered. I sincerely hope this gap is rectified in the second book.
  2. Character depth. A lot of characters are introduced in Secondborn but few of them have any depth. If any one of the main characters died, I wouldn’t shed a tear. Bartol hasn’t give me enough details of each character for me to feel any sort of attachment to them.

I had help reading this book (thanks, Emma!)


“A vast world exists inside of me. I have a hard time comprehending how it all fits.”

“‘Nothin’ is too late if you’re still breathin’.'”

Buy It

Check this book out at your local library, or buy it here* on Amazon.

*Note: this is an affiliate link


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