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.
|Contributor||Lorie Ann Grover|
Lorie Ann Grover is the author of young adult novels including Hit, which Hypable calls “a powerful book about tragedy and recovery which shows you both sides of the story, for better or worse.” She has authored Loose Threads, a Booklist Top 10 Youth First Novel, and On Pointe, a Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year. As a literacy advocate, she is a co-founder of readergirlz, which was awarded the National Book Foundation’s Innovations in Reading Prize.
|Publish Date||Feb 4, 2014|
- Review by Written Melodies
Facing many challenges as the first declared male to come of age, Tiadone falls under further scrutiny once her rapion, Mirko, voices his song. Notwithstanding the extra attention, she aces the male initiation ceremony and sets off imbued with the Smoke of Sending, plus the power of her amulet—a pouch containing the heart of a desert cat wrapped in her father's hair coils—for her mandated year of border patrol. Shunned by her best friend and unaccepted by all, but one patroller upon reaching Perimeter, Tiadone must pull on the strength within herself to perform her duty. To spare their daughter's life, they declared her male, but a female life will not be suppressed.
Despite being well-written and the promising premise, the story failed to captivate me. I didn't form an attachment to any of the characters, although I did love the connection between Tiadone and Mirko. My first thought upon completing the book—unfinished. The conclusion seemed more like a beginning for Tiadone rather than an ending. Though her visions, albeit a feminine trait, allow her to save her baby sister; the book ends before Tiadone's purpose is revealed, unless her only purpose is to reclaim her femininity by saving and raising her sister.
It would have been nice to have a picture of the rapion somewhere in the book. As hard I tried (sigh), I don't think I envisioned the rapion exactly as described—a pity because I found the bird quite fascinating, each born with their own distinctive fragrance. The desert cat and Sloane should have been fleshed out a little more. Besides learning that the desert cat is "as big as a man" and that the heart "purportedly" carries power, I obtain no other knowledge about the ferocious feline. Grover did an excellent job introducing readers to Sloane; however, how does his character evolve during the story? What happened to him after he performed that vile ritual? Was he or wasn't he embolden with the power of the rapion? Did anybody else discover his grotesque activities? Overall, Firstborn is a good read...it just needs a bit of fleshing out to be great.
I won this book as part of the Firstborn Book Launch Party. (Posted on 9/15/14)