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Linden A. Lewis returns with this next installment of The First Sister Trilogy, perfect for fans of Red Rising , The Handmaid’s Tale , and The Expanse.

Astrid has reclaimed her name and her voice, and now seeks to bring down the Sisterhood from within. Throwing herself into the lioness’ den, Astrid must confront and challenge the Aunts who run the Gean religious institution, but she quickly discovers that the business of politics is far deadlier than she ever expected.

Meanwhile, on an outlaw colony station deep in space, Hiro val Akira seeks to bring a dangerous ally into the rebellion. Whispers of a digital woman fuel Hiro’s search, but they are not the only person looking for this link to the mysterious race of Synthetics.

Lito sol Lucious continues to grow into his role as a lead revolutionary and is tasked with rescuing an Aster operative from deep within an Icarii prison. With danger around every corner, Lito, his partner Ofiera, and the newly freed operative must flee in order to keep dangerous secrets out of enemy hands.

Back on Venus, Lito’s sister Lucinia must carry on after her brother’s disappearance and accusation of treason by Icarii authorities. Despite being under the thumb of Souji val Akira, Lucinia manages to keep her nose clean…that is until an Aster revolutionary shows up with news about her brother’s fate, and an opportunity to join the fight.

This captivating, spellbinding second installment to The First Sister series picks up right where The First Sister left off and is a must-read for science fiction fans everywhere.

512 pages, Hardcover

First published August 24, 2021

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About the author

Linden A. Lewis

5 books633 followers
Linden A. Lewis (she/they) is a queer writer and world wanderer currently living in Madrid with a couple of American cats who have little kitty passports. Tall and tattooed, Linden exists only because society has stopped burning witches.

While there is a 95% chance Linden is a cryptid, they can often be spotted in the wild cosplaying or acting (yes, they appeared in an episode of The Walking Dead). Nowadays, they are most frequently found lurking on both Instagram and Twitter @lindenalewis.

PLEASE NOTE: Linden cannot accept friend requests on Goodreads, as this somehow keeps Amazon from posting certain reviews. Sorry!

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 339 reviews
Profile Image for Linden Lewis.
Author 5 books633 followers
May 11, 2021
Y'all want some sexy goodness with Empire Strikes Back vibes? Just you wait...
Profile Image for iam.
972 reviews130 followers
April 17, 2023
Reread April 2023: Loved this so much. Where book1 is about the loss of bodily autonomy, book2 is about sacrafice and martyrdom, and the decision to harm the one to spare the many. gut-wretching yet enchanting.

Original review: High-stakes, fast-paced, painful and yet full of hope, The Second Rebel is a stunning and worthy sequel that makes me want more.

Read this review and more on the blog!

Content warnings include: violence, mostly off-page torture and experimentation on humanoids (very plot relevant), death, off-page sexual abuse, oppression, blackmail, fade-to-black sex, corruption.
Mentions of: domestic abuse, child abuse, biological/viral warfare, suicide.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The First Sister was one of my top if not most-favourite-of-all reads of 2020. I adored it from beginning to end, so, naturally, I was very excited for The Second Rebel, and had very high expectations.

I am more than happy to report that all of these expectations were met, and more!

The book more or less seamlessly picks up where the previous one left off (making rereading The First Sister right before starting this very rewarding). Astrid, Lito and Hiro are each following their respective goals, all of which become more and more intertwined. There is also a new addition to the protagonists, Luce, Lito’s younger sister, an idealistic artist who just started a new job at Val Akira Labs right when her brother gets into the big corporation’s crosshairs.

The stakes are very high from the beginning, and only keep rising. Old and new players affect the board and reroll the dice more than once. New connections and relationships form and are torn apart, we get to explores ones that were only previously hinted at or shown through second hand.

Hiro, who only got flashback chapters in The First Sister, now has their own present chapters and they are an absolute delight of a character to read about. I adored them in book 1 already, but book 2 only cemeted my love for them.

I particularly loved how the book expands the worldbuilding. There are more details about the Sisterhood, the Asters, and even the elusive Synthetics. The backdrops again feature both familiar and new places all across the human controlled parts of space, which was interesting to see. And there will be more to be discovered in the sequel…

Hinting at the ending, I won’t say anything other than that I pretty much spent the entirety of the last 30% sobbing my eyes out. It was glorious, is was painful, it was so, so good, and I absolutely cannot wait for the finale of the trilogy.

I received an ARC and reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

Before reading: I remember seeing The First Sister's cover for the first time and being stunned. I can't remember when I was last so mesmerized by a cover! And now book2 managed to make me feel the same way once more!
I absolutely cannot wait to read this!
Profile Image for Bookphenomena (Micky) .
2,415 reviews385 followers
September 3, 2021
Deep plot
Four main character arcs - so lush
Politics and prejudice

Woah, so if I thought The First Sister was deep, The Second Rebel took the reader even deeper. There's much at play in this series, politics, military strategy at the battlefront, prejudice and torture against other races and then the individuals working to find some sense of rightness in all the wrong. This book is one you need to invest in, but it is completely worth it.

The second book told the story from four main character perspectives: Hiro, Lito, Astrid and Luce. It wasn't difficult to have four POVs at all, I welcomed each perspective but Luce and Astrid stole the show at times, then Hiro would grab the show back. That's just my favouritism showing through but these characters were fabulous. Luce in particular was a foolhardy heroine in the literal sense but I loved how her story developed; some bits had my heart pounding and anxious.

I feel like I have been on a journey with this book, learning more about the Asters and the synthetics was really interesting. I loved/hated how Sorrel and Castor had me on side, then off side, then (insert a Micky shrug here). The twists when they came were epic and there were a number that felt like quick punches.

Linden Lewis has created a complex and worthy sci-fi world that I am completely a fan of. The descriptions of life planet-side and on board the ships paint such vivid and easily imaginable scenes. I have been left having no idea what will come in book three but I will be lining up to read it.

Thank you to Hodder Books for the early review copy.

Find this review at A Take From Two Cities Blog.
Profile Image for VICTORIA EDWARDS.
316 reviews98 followers
November 9, 2022
The Second Rebel left me with a shit ton of emotions…some good and some bad.

It’s typically hard for me to move on from the premise of the first book when it comes to series that have a VERY specific element that drew me in. The First Sister focused heavily on The First Sister and the Sisterhood, which was so compelling and unique that I flew right through it. Not to mention all the plot-twist and developments we see throughout the first book. All of it really set the scene for a book that was extremely compelling and unique.

It’s what comes after that’s always tricky; a sequel either reals me in further or pushes me away. With The Second Rebel it did a bit of both. While I missed these characters and I wanted to see what shenanigans they were tangled in, I felt like the world suddenly became so large that I was no longer attracted to what transpired. It was less about The First Sister, Lito, and Hiro, but more about the world around them. Aka world-building. For me it was almost too much as the first book was so much more character driven and less about the sci-fi world they lived in. I say this but it feels bittersweet because the world-building is absolutely necessary especially for the later half of the novel. I won’t say this is a problem on Linden’s side but on mine for not being able to initially respect how they wanted to craft the world to set up what would essentially be a war. Plus in the later half of the book, I began to appreciate the world a lot more with how it interacted with the plot.

Another thing that initially turned me off was the introduction of Luce. She gave me major Ephraim from Iron Gold vibes in terms of how I felt about her. She was introduced and we were given this whole story about what she was currently going through and I didn’t care. Not one bit. Not until all of a sudden there was a shift and her character became so intriguing. It was so odd, but suddenly her life at Val the Akira labs became interesting and I just wanted more of her chapters! I think that’s the issue with this book, a lot of things took time for me to appreciate.

The rest of the cast was great, I think of all the POV’s I least cared about Lito….but of course I felt bad saying that by the end of the book 😵‍💫. Hiro had the most…interesting journey and I hadn’t expected that at all. What I expected them to do was what they plan to do now, or rather in the third book I presume. Astrid was also interesting and I can’t wait to see what happens to her in the third book. She had the most stressful journey of everyone and I just…I just wanna see how it all ends for her lol.

Also the plot twist in here??? Once again they really got me. Jaw-dropped to the damn floor lol.

In a nutshell this is a great read if you loved The First Sister!!! Which you should!!!
Profile Image for Becca (Horners_book_corner).
176 reviews34 followers
June 1, 2021
YES YES YES. The double whammy twisty ending! Frick...this was SO good. Linden has ruined us all! Book three cannot come fast enough 😂
Profile Image for laurel [the suspected bibliophile].
1,413 reviews391 followers
November 6, 2022
Holy shit holy shit holy shit holy SHIT.

It took me a hot minute to get back into this one, mostly because I could not remember all of the things that went on in the first one, but once I remembered and got hooked, I was HOOKED.

I'm sweating it out for whatever is going to happen in the third and final book, though.

There is just SO MUCH happening, it felt like I was reading three separate stories at the same time, and yet, it all worked?
Profile Image for Mike.
387 reviews94 followers
October 8, 2021
Oh. My. Freaking. GOD. I love this series so much.

I LOVED *The First Sister*. To call my review of it “glowing” is a dramatic understatement. To say I was looking forward to *The Second Rebel* is also a dramatic understatement. I was not disappointed.

That being said, last night I was feeling a little let down. I was about 90% of the way through the book, and while it was certainly a good book, possibly even a great one, it wasn’t hitting me quite as hard as *The First Sister*. I was prepared to chalk it up to some combination of a sophomore slump and middle book syndrome, but regardless I felt like it was more than a solid book.

Then I finished the book. All of my mild disappointment was gone. My reasonable criticisms are not valid. This was amazing.

Linden Lewis is, in the words of my fellow /r/Fantasy mod /u/cubansombrero, the “Master of twists that actually make so much sense.” Those who have read either of Lewis’ books will know exactly what I’m talking about. Lewis has a talent for the kind of surprise twist that makes you (once you’ve picked your jaw back up off the floor) go “How could I not have seen that coming?!” and you then reevaluate everything you knew and thought about the book and suddenly it’s all different and you see just how *carefully* Lewis wrote the entire thing. It’s an experience.

To give some non-spoiler details for those who have read book 1: The protagonists have increased from two to four. Lito and Astrid are still there, obviously, but they are joined by both and by Lito’s sister Luce. (If I had to pick a main character for this book, I’d probably go with Luce.) The Synthetics, occasionally referred to out beyond the asteroid belt, are a major factor in this book. For the most part, expect more of the awesome queer space opera you got in *The First Sister*.

I seriously cannot say enough good things about these books.
Profile Image for Toya (the reading chemist).
1,126 reviews97 followers
September 25, 2021
I’m begrudgingly giving this one 3 stars because most of the book was literally a drag to get through. There were a *few* good moments.

After finishing my reread of The First Sister then immediately diving into this one, I feel like I did myself a disservice because the books literally feel like they were written by different people.

Where The First Sister is sharp, focused, and ridiculously clever, The Second Rebel has a meandering plot that is weighed down by excess POVs that barely contributed to the overall plot.

I’m still so upset by how disappointing this book was.
Profile Image for Leo.
4,300 reviews384 followers
May 19, 2022
I did enjoy parts of it and reminded me why I liked the first book. But I struggled staying focused on the story and pick it back up. Perhaps it was due to my mental state then. It still 3.5 stars. Curious about the last book
Profile Image for Esther.
425 reviews106 followers
October 4, 2021
I received this book from Net Galley, in exchange for an honest review.

I enjoyed the first book in this trilogy very much and was eager to read the second. It is even better.

This time there is less combat more military strategy, and some ruthless political wrangling but the story rips along at breakneck speed as the reader turns page after page eager to keep up.

The first book introduced us to this world of Geans, Icarii and Asters, the second book effortless develops this world building, expanding on the Aster way of life and the work of the Sisters, while bringing to the fore secondary characters from the first book and giving us more insight into the lives of the characters we already love.
Yet again I felt a strong emotional connection with the characters and an investment in their fate, their story arcs were realistic and courageous, if not always happy.

And then there is the jaw-dropping ending…. Can I bear the wait for the next book?

My review of First Sister, the first book in the trilogy.
Profile Image for Heron.
257 reviews29 followers
August 10, 2021
When I have picked my brain up off the floor and dried my tears and caught my breath, I will be back for a proper review, but until then, please know I loved this even more than the first book and I literally do not know what to do with myself now that I’ve finished.
Profile Image for The Girl with the Sagittarius Tattoo.
2,127 reviews269 followers
March 12, 2023
It took me two attempts, but it was worth it. The Second Rebel was the high-stakes followup to The First Sister, and the final developments were engaging.

The start of the novel was still slow and frustrating because I hadn't refreshed myself on the first novel. But the last half was all action, more focused on Lus, Hiro and Leito this time than Astrid, although her arc moved forward as well.

I'm not making the same mistake by waiting to read the finale, The Last Hero. I've already got it queued up as the book after next.
Profile Image for Andy.
2,408 reviews190 followers
September 29, 2021
I love this series so much!! This book was such a ride and I enjoyed every second of it! I loved the addition of Lucinia as a POV character. The way the conflicts in this book are expanded and resolved was so intricate and thrilling. The ending had me shook. I need book 3 right now.

Rep: Bisexual female MC (unknown ethnicity), Japanese achillean nonbinary MC with chronic pain, arm and leg prostheses, Spanish-Italian demisexual male MC, Spanish-Italian female MC, sapphic female side character, multiple side characters with visual impairments, queer-normative world.

CWs: Blood, body horror, death, gun violence, injury/injury detail, medical content, medical trauma/nonconsensual experimentation, mental illness (anxiety), murder, violence, war. Moderate: past mentions of child abuse, colonisation, deadnaming/misgendering, religious bigotry, sexual content, slavery/forced sex work, trafficking.
Profile Image for Eren.
104 reviews45 followers
Want to read
October 30, 2020
Grabby hands for this one. Will be preordering.
Profile Image for Sahitya.
1,032 reviews206 followers
October 17, 2021
CW: talk of past sexual abuse, past parental abuse and transphobia, talk of biological weapon use, torture and medical experimentation

Definitely a 4.5 and I’m rounding up.

When I read The First Sister a couple weeks ago, I didn’t have much expectations but I was glad that it turned out to be a very good space opera. So this time I definitely was expecting a lot from the sequel but the author managed to completely blow my mind.

This is what a sequel should feel like, especially the second book of a trilogy. While the first book gave us an introduction to this world which had Handmaid’s Tale vibes on one side and an extremely technologically advanced but morally corrupt society on the other side, this book expands on all the aspects we’ve come to know and also introduces us to more players. We get to see the community based societal aspects of the Asters who have been oppressed and experimented on for centuries, the extent to which Val Akira labs controls the political system as well as every single body in Icarii society, and the depths of corruption in the Sisterhood which doesn’t care a bit about the innocents despite professing the tenets of their religion. And along with all this, we also get introduced to the Synthetics, who are much much more advanced and might just be the tipping point in the already existing triangular war. I was amazed at how much the author manages to develop the world without ever feeling like it was an infodump. Despite some of the quieter moments, the pacing in this book is brutal, with so many tension filled moments that I was probably anxious all through the book. And god the emotions this story evokes - it was scary and thrilling and happy and hopeful and then suddenly we are in lots of pain with overflowing tears - this book put me through a wringer and I would’ve have had it any other way.

I fell in love with these characters even more. Astrid, who has now reclaimed her name, is ready to challenge the Sisterhood from the inside by vying for its leadership. She is horrified when she digs deeper and gets to know more truths about their corruption, but ultimately she is a small and new player in this field who doesn’t know her opponents well, and her ambition isn’t easy to achieve. She goes through phases of rage, fearlessness, hope, revenge and despair and her whole character arc was brilliant to read. She is well supported by two sisters Eden and Lily and it was nice to see her finally trust someone and share each other’s burdens.

Lito is a changed man now who is ready to go to any lengths to right the wrongs committed by his people and prevent anymore suffering of the Asters. He displays lot of bravery and selflessness and I can only admire him more. We also get Hiro’s POV this time and it was awesome to get to know them better. They have many demons in their past and quite a few regrets, but they are determined on their path and you can only hope the best for them. Theirs is probably the one plotline which personally made me feel very sad and I just kept wishing that their path would intersect with that of Lito. To complete their trio, we get the new POV of Luce, Lito’s sister. From an artist working for the Val Akira corporation, she becomes an idealist who decides to follow her brother’s footsteps and do her part to help the Asters and expose the Val Akira’s unethical practices. She is initially a bit scared but soon we get to see that she is every bit brave as her brother and extremely selfless, ready to go to any lengths and sacrifice anything to save not just the Asters, but also all the innocent Icarii citizens.

We also get to meet many interesting side characters who play important roles in moving the story forward. I thought Sorrel was quite a unique one and I’m eager to see how his plans and ideas will impact the course of this story. We only get to see Mara for a little bit but the confusing last chapter has given me lots of ideas and I can only hope that what I’m thinking is what’s gonna happen due to her actions. And the final revelations about one of the side characters just left me gasping and I am just stunned at the twist.

In the end, the author blew all my expectations out of the water with this sequel and I’m left reeling from its aftermath. This book is expansive, thrilling, full of anxiety inducing twists and turns, with the final quarter of the story just breaking my heart over and over again but giving an extremely tiny ray of hope towards the end. I’m already so so excited for the finale that I have no idea how I will be able to wait for almost an year. And if you are someone who loves sprawling space operas with amazing ensemble casts, you need to have this captivating queer SFF trilogy in your life.
Profile Image for Christina.
286 reviews10 followers
August 20, 2021
3.5-4 stars. It's so hard to rate book 2s in trilogies. If I am really enjoying the trilogy, I will often reread 1 and 2 just before #3 comes out - and then by the time book 3 is done, I find my rating for book 2 has changed from what I previously thought it was.

That having been said, this did feel like a book 2. It picks up right where the first book left off. There's excitement, adventure, mystery, several stakes get even higher, some fantastic metaphorical discussion of dysphoria and philosophizing about sexuality, wonderful new characters. But in my opinion, it did feel like a bridge book. There are 4 different POVs and I wish the stories had interconnected a bit more. Especially Astrid, who I ADORED in the first book, and just felt I couldn't really connect to as much in this book because the storyline kept jumping all over the place. Of course, this can be remedied in book #3 by bringing everything together (I especially would like more resolution on the Hiro/Astrid front - I LOVED their relationship in the first book, and I want to understand Astrid/Ringer a bit more). So we will have to wait and see.

Did I love this book as much as the first? No. Am I going to read book 3? You bet your ass I am.

Thank you Edelweiss and Simon & Schuster for the ARC!
Profile Image for Bertie (LuminosityLibrary).
471 reviews108 followers
August 16, 2021
The Second Rebel doesn't let up on the action after the brilliant ending of The First Sister. Everything is more detailed; with more perspectives, new characters, and new conflicts. At times I wanted the perspectives to be slightly more interconnected, finding myself exhausted by the constant shifting in setting and story. Regardless, this book ended just as brilliantly as the first. Linden A. Lewis continues to break my heart and pull together mind-spinning reveals.

Thanks to Hodder & Stoughton and Netgalley for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Follow me on my Blog, Twitter, and Instagram.
Profile Image for Trinity.
566 reviews67 followers
June 22, 2022
Building on the rebellion that was rising in the first book, this book takes off and opens up the world. With multiple perspectives to show all facets of the rebellion, this book is entirely engrossing. The character development is incredibly strong. The plot is fantastic. Couldn't have asked for more in a follow up novel.
Profile Image for Michael Burnam-Fink.
1,487 reviews221 followers
September 5, 2022
Second Rebel sees the characters from the first book mostly scattered and on the run. First Sister has a name now, Astrid, and she's aiming at becoming the Mother, the spiritual head of the Gaen nation. Lito and Hiro are working with separate groups of spaceborne Asters, striking back against their corrupt leadership. And Lito's sister Luce is a new viewpoint, as her idealistic artist gets wrapped up in the deadly intrigues.

There's lot of drama here, big emotions same as the first novel, and a little better sense of intrigue and setting. I missed the audiolog revelations from Hiro, which provided a unity of focus that this novel lacked. Four points of view were one too many, and the conflict, playing out in the outer belt between Asters, Icarii, and the Synthetics who have locked humanity in the inner system. Second Rebel is stronger than the first book in some ways, with a more assured setting, but weaker in terms of mystery and that satisfying unity of an ending.

Still, I don't read much new speculative fiction these days, and a light novel or terrible revenge is just the thing.
Profile Image for Katy.
645 reviews430 followers
June 27, 2021
The Second Rebel is the explosive sequel to The First Sister, and just as enjoyable as the first. The author makes a bold choice to go for 4 first person POVs, which I was a little worried about but I think they did a very good job of managing to make each characters voice sound distinctive so I was never confused about who I was reading about. I decided to talk about each of the four main characters seperately, they all go through great character arcs and you care for them all so deeply:

Lito - Lito begins his journey in this book on a mission to rescue Sorrel, along with his partner Oferia. From there he gets thrust even deeper into the Aster rebellion and must reckon with how much his is truly willing to sacrifice for his cause. I really enjoyed Lito's POVs in this installment, I liked his comraderie with Sorrel and Ofiera (both of whom are very interesting characters that I liked getting to know a lot more about in this book). I also liked the fact Lito was confirmed as asexual as this is great to see represented in books! His storyline definitely takes some twists and dark turns, and be prepared to have your heart in your mouth for a lot of it :0

Luce - Lito's sister Luce is a great edition to the POVs in this book, in fact she was probably my favourite! I loved her kindness, strength and spirit, as well as her willingness to do anything to help what she believes in and occasional ruthlessness. I also really liked her relationship with Castor, whom she has a lot of interaction with in the book - it was adorable (until a certain point lol). The climax of Luce's story was excellently done in my opinion and had me on the edge of my seat (combined with the other POVs) and well as being heartbreaking for Luce and the choices she has to make.

Hiro - Hiro is another character I'm glad we got to see a lot more of in this book, I love them and their sass and their relentless nature. We get to know a lot more about the synthetics through Hiro's POV, which I found fascinating and set up the later events of the book very well (and I'm assuming book 3 very well)!!

Astrid - The First Sisters POV was probably my least favourite for some reason, I think possibly because the other 3 characters stories are all very interwoven and this one felt seperate and therefore I just wanted to get back to the others, however I did really like the struggles of Astrid trying to gain power for herself and the lengths she is willing to go to. I also liked exploring more of her relationships with Eden and Lily - the other sisters, as well as her general relationship to the sisterhood. Additionally I liked the exploration with Ringer, but I might have liked a bit more of this, such as why Astrid has developed this coping mechanism. Another thing I slightly missed because there was no reunion or even really much mention was Astrid and Hiro's relationship - a major part of book 1 - so I hope this will be dealt with in book 3!

I thought the depiction of the Aster rebellion/uprising was done incredibily well, with moral compromises on all sides and realistic struggles with leadership and difficult choices on what is worth sacrificing for a cause. I liked getting to know more about the Asters as well in this book, in fact that was probably one of my favourite elements of the book! The storyline with the Asters reminds me a lot of the Belters from The Expanse - another nuanced rebellion story I'm a big fan of!!

The ending (last 20% or so) was amazing, I was so hooked and literally couldn't put the book down!! The tension had built up so well and everything really went down (and downhill lol). Also the very last chapter and epilogue were so so good and have me so excited for the next book (even if one twist was slightly recycled from book one, I actually might have preferred the one in this book!!).

In conclusion if you enjoyed book one - you will love this one, it builds on everything from the first book and expands it to a much bigger scale, packed with lots of great characters, emotionally charged moments and shocking twists!!
Profile Image for Farah Rishi.
Author 7 books461 followers
August 20, 2021
An incredible sequel to The First Sister: characters (old and new) you can root for, epic worldbuilding, blood-pumping action with unpredictable twists and turns, and refreshing themes rarely tackled in books. This is a must-have installment in a staple epic scifi series.
Profile Image for Doomscribe.
82 reviews6 followers
September 12, 2021
Summary: The Second Rebel by Linden A. Lewis is an action packed space opera sequel that wasn’t as gripping at I felt it should be in the first two acts, but more than made up for things with an emotionally devastating final act.

After breezing through the first book, I found this one much harder to stay engaged with, at least initially. Lito and Astrid (the First Sister) are back as) POVs, and they are joined by a full Hiro POV, as well as a POV from Lito’s sister Luce.

Hiro is on Autarkeia, an asteroid governed not by the Geans, nor the Icarii, but a collective aligned with the underworld Aster, Hemlock, and thus broadly with the Asters in general. It is there that Hiro crosses paths with a Synthetic, and thus in a sense the entire Synthetic hive-mind. Not only that, but there are Icarii agents in Autarkeia, further complicating things there. Hiro’s chapters were some of my favourites – now that we know what Hiro was doing all throughout the first book, seeing how they deal with the dissonance of being put in a resolutely female body is rife with feelings. The fact that their father is the architect of so much pain for the Asters and de facto controller of the Icarii further complicates things.

Lito is mounting a rescue mission with Ofiera to rescue her cryofrozen husband, the Aster Sorrel. Things are never simple, and they quickly find themselves on the run, all three of them at the top of the Icarii wanted list. Sorrel is much more than meets the eye, and his entrance to the story definitely shakes things up, possibly not for the better.

Luce is getting into her own trouble, which becomes manifestly more when Castor shows up asking for her help. She works at Akira labs – val Akira being the last name of Hiro and Hiro’s dangerous father – and that access can help the Aster rebellion get information that they need to level the playing field. Luce is in way over her head, and to me the most interesting parts of her chapters were the new insights into Aster culture and biology, something we had not all the much of in the first book, which did dull some of the impact of what the characters were fighting for. I was mixed on Luce’s chapters, at least in the first third.

Finally, we have Astrid. You may have noticed that I’ve barely mentioned the Geans in this review – and that’s because other than in Astrid’s chapters, we don’t get much of the Geans at all, which felt a little odd, given that the Icarii-Gean conflict seemed central to the first book. No, Astrid managed to cause a peace to be brokered between this book and the last, and now she is increasing her political reach, trying to become Mother of the Sisterhood, the ultimate political position in Gean space. Despite her having the backing, and a couple of resourceful allies (and a psychotic imaginary bodyguard due to her implant, yes Ringer is still around) I found this meteoric rise to be too unlikely. Astrid simply isn’t cunning enough for me to consider her a matched opponent to Aunt Marshae, and subsequently I spent the whole of her chapters waiting for everything to go wrong. It wasn’t bad, per se, but it was too much tension for me! Unlike in the previous book where both storylines merged together nicely by the end, the Astrid POV stays mostly isolated, with a couple of small exceptions.

We get more revelations about the implant technology, more information about the Synthetics, and Aster hierarchies, but as a whole I didn’t really feel like we got a great feel to any of the societies in play. Most of the characters are outsiders in different senses, so I think a lot of the macro-level elements just didn’t hit as hard for me as the more personal character moments.

Pacingwise I really did struggle to get heavily into this book early on. The only chapters which had me completely gripped were the Lito ones, but that might just be because it was consistently action packed! I struggle to find any specific fault with how it was written, just that I wasn’t invested. That all changed, however, in the final act. The final act was everything I hope for in a book like this – exciting, explosive, gut-wrenching, with twists that I didn’t see coming and moments that had me cursing the author (in a good way). Lewis wrote on the goodreads page for this book that it’s the Empire Strikes Back of this series, and while I wouldn’t read too much into that on a plotting level, when it comes to feels this is absolutely true.

The last part of this book was so incredible that it redeemed what to me was a much weaker opening two acts. It remains to be seen whether I will be an outlier or not with this reaction. I think if you loved the first book, this one is well worth reading, if you can fight through the weaker sections to the really good stuff.

Rating: 8/10

Thanks to Netgalley and the Hodder Books for providing me with an e-arc copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

For reviews like this and more, visit my blog
Profile Image for Delaney.
1,105 reviews
July 23, 2021
After really loved The First Sister I was a little hesitant that this installation would suffer from "second book syndrome".

Oh boy was I wrong.

I really enjoyed this. We have our regular perspectives, Astrid, Lito, Hiro, and we also get Luce's perspective in this one, which added a lot to this story.

Lewis steps up their game both with the worldbuilding and the character arcs. There was so much that was expanded upon, and it was done flawlessly. I really enjoyed that each of the characters are set up to be in different places, and we get a slow build that leads to a few of them reuniting in the end.

And the ENDING. If you're expecting one simple plot twist, be prepared to have your heart broken. Lewis does not take it easy on you. There are sacrifices made and hardships both won and lost. The last 150 pages were unputdownable, and even the epilogue will leave you on the edge of your seat.

I cannot wait to see how this series concludes, and am so excited to get my finished copy of The Second Rebel next month when this gets released.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Skybound books for the e-ARC. All opinions are my own.

Go read this, and then find me on Instagram and Twitter!
Profile Image for Jenny.
580 reviews45 followers
April 27, 2022
This book certainly suffers the middle second-book syndrome slump. I found this book to be overly drawn out and longer than necessary. From the first book, I was really only invested in the First Sister storyline and found that both Hiro and Lito needed further development. By adding a fourth POV, which was another rather weak one that needed more development, it only further drew out the storyline. I still only really find myself invested in Astrid's story and her quest to expose and correct the Sisterhood.

I also found that Lewis was trying to make the politics and the dynamics overly complicated, and often times it was rather difficult to follow and stay invested in all the various aspects going on. Because the worldbuilding continues to need a bit more refinement and definition, there is a lot going on in the story and it certainly takes some effort to keep everything straight. Much of this book was also dedicated to setting up the finale book, so the pacing moved rather slowly until the very end.

Since I'm already two books into the trilogy, I will read the final one and hopefully, everything that was slowly set up in this book is able to come to fruition.
Profile Image for Jen K.
1,018 reviews6 followers
November 6, 2022
Action packed book 2 of the First Sister Trilogy. The story is told by 4 POVs, Lito, Luce, Hiro and Astrid in the aftermath of taking down the mother. Lito, Luce and Hiro team up with the Asters and the outlaws seeking to improve the lives of their community by taking out val Akira labs which of course isn't as easy as expected. I enjoyed learning more about the Asters, the Outlaws and the Synthetics. Meanwhile Astrid continues to work on correcting the wrongs of the sisterhood. When trying to work the system leads to lots of means justifying the ends compromises, it seems like another method may be needed. I'm still a bit confused by the whole Ringer thing but I still supporting the very complex Astrid.

I enjoyed the journeys, personal and physical, by all the MCs and really look forward to see how it all comes together in the final book.
Profile Image for Kerine.
127 reviews152 followers
January 20, 2023
My babies are no longer laughing. They're fighting for their lives. They're stressed, crying, fighting, plotting, scheming, throwing up...and this is only book two🫠
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