Fantasy · Net-Galley · review · YA

Firstborn by Lorie Ann Grover

18552617Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: January 28th 2014 by Blink
Source: Net Galley

This book, you guys, had the potential to be brilliant. It tackled interesting subjects and discoursed, albeit in a very superficial manner, gender expressions and portrayals especially with regards to gender being a societal construct. It had feminist themes interwoven with issues of identity. But the execution of the novel left a lot to be desired. The characters are not likeable or individuated satisfactorily, the romance is lacking, the pace stilted and the writing, poor. There are not enough women in the novel. The one female who is free to express her femininity is immediately portrayed as easy because of her desire for the boy Tia herself likes. And there is one other “healer” lady who epitomizes all the clichés set out in Diana Wynne Jones’s A Tough Guide to Fantasyland. Tia herself rails against her father’s decision to declare her male thereby saving her life, desiring the female accoutrements that other women enjoy but not being able to due to the dark overlords who are never given faces – the colonizers, I mean.

Her twining with Mirko, a rapion, is interesting but I have seen too many of the same pairings which have been done significantly better so no, even Mirko didn’t save the book for me. The clunky use of language, the awkward segues and just the lack of character spoiled this book for me. I wasn’t convinced and I wasn’t willing to become the person the writer wanted me to be so I could enjoy the novel. You may enjoy the novel more than I did but perhaps it may be better for the potential reader to check it out of the library rather than buying it.

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