The First Sister (Skybound Books, 2020). Jacket design by Nerd Productions.
When the pandemic hit the US hard in mid-March, the flow of review copies to the Black Gate offices dried up virtually overnight. It’s like the whole publishing industry came to a complete standstill, holding its collective breath.
Things are slowly returning to normal in August, and we’re starting to receive a regular flow of books again. And to my surprise, the publishing house with the most impressive late-summer line up (so far) is Skybound Books. It includes Linden A. Lewis’s debut The First Sister, an epic space opera which follows a comfort woman, a soldier questioning his allegiances, and a non-binary hero seeking save the solar system. Library Journal selected it as the Debut of the month, calling it “A layered, action-filled plot… a powerful entry into the space opera genre.” And in her feature review at NPR, Jessica Wick said it “might be just the book you’ve been waiting for.”
Are you interested in political maneuverings and space economics, fantastically rich worldbuilding and sneaky spy stories? … First Sister might be just the book you’ve been waiting for….
The titular First Sister’s role is to act as confessor and provide wordless “comfort” for any Gean soldier — unless the captain claims exclusive rights by naming her “First.” Abandoned by one captain, she scrambles to keep her position when a new captain — the dashing hero, Saito Ren — takes command of the warship Juno. Then she is tasked by her Sisterhood with breaking their own commandments to report her captain’s secrets…
There’s a great deal of heart in The First Sister, where the future is sleek and messy, saturated colors and gritty shadows both. The scientific marvels of the Icarii will stay with me, poisonous environment and physical bodies transformed, as full of glory as a sunset… The First Sister is also an enjoyable action-adventure in space with likable characters, engagingly cinematic visuals, and high Cool Factor.
The First Sister was published by Skybound Books on August 4, 2020. It is 344 pages, priced at $26 in hardcover and $13.99 in digital formats. The jacket design is by Nerd Productions. Read a generous excerpt, the complete first two chapters (33 pages) at Tor.com.
See all our recent New Treasures here.