The Second Rebel – Linden A Lewis

“I can’t move in my coffin.”

The First Sister didn’t end on a cliff-hanger per se but it left plenty of story to be told and so I was absolutely delighted to be able to dive straight in with the sequel. And my absolutely only complaint about it is that I will have to wait to get my hands on part three! It’s rare that the middle book of a trilogy can out-do the first instalment, but while I loved First Sister, The Second Rebel just amped up everything – the danger, the connection to the characters, the consequences, everything – and wow did I love love love it!

(Usual spoiler warning: just mentioning characters that appear in book 2 gives away some of the events of book 1, and it’s impossible to place events here without giving away how things went before. In other words – just go read First Sister, it’s bloomin’ brilliant!)

Following straight on from all of the revelations and resolutions of book one, we find our cast of characters further along the plot to bring everything – the Sisterhood on one side, Val Akira labs on the other – crashing down as they so well deserve. But we aren’t stopping there: the genius in the sequel is just how much bigger everything gets, without ever feeling forced. So we have the two factions we’re familiar with, Geans and Icarii, then the Asters – those who left humanity for more distant space, now genetically near-separate and also the victims of industrial-level medical experimentation, and who have more than had enough. And before the book ends, we’ll find out a bit more about the oh-so-mysterious Synthetics, too…

I admit, I was at first a little wary of the way the cast of POV characters increases here: from First Sister and Lito alternating chapters, now we also follow Luce – Lito’s little sister – and Hiro, and more. But it’s never confusing, and I’m slightly awed by how well that was done – it’s just seamless. And it really works helping the reader care for all of these characters, seeing their pain and struggles. A lot of things go wrong, a lot of very VERY dark things happen. There were moments when I put the book down after a particularly harsh chapter, wondering if I’d really been in the headspace for what I’d just read, but then I was always eager to get back into the fray, the non-stop action, and the story expanding on several different horizons.

I don’t know how else to sing the praises of this book as much as it deserves. It was a roller-coaster ride, it shreds your emotions and builds so much more of this gloriously grubby, well-imagined world. Look: just go read it already!! 🙂

NetGalley eARC: 512 pages / 49 chapters
First published: 24th August 2021
Series: The First Sister trilogy book 2
Read from 12th-10th August 2021

My rating: 10/10

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