Firstborn by Lorie Ann Grover is an interesting look at the story of a girl forced to live her life as a boy, and what it means when she realizes nothing can keep her feminity at bay.
Firstborn is the story of Tiadone, a declared male who must live her life as an outcast, barely accepted by her fellow villagers. As a firstborn female, her parents chose to declare her a male rather than have her taken away to be left for dead. Although she got to keep her life, everything else was torn from her.
Tiadone wears an amulet that surpresses her feminity — for now. She acts like a boy and is treated like a boy, though everyone she meets eyes her declaration warily. When she goes off to complete her rites and protect the surrounding area from sandstorms, desert cats, and foreign invasion, Tiadone might just find that those obstacles are nothing compared to the attitudes of her fellow patrollers.
Things get complicated as her rapion, a bird she has hatched and watched over her whole life, is seen as a sign of evil and she starts developing feelings for her best friend. Tiadone must keep her desires in check and play the game her oppressors have set out for her. To lose would be to forfeit her life.
‘Firstborn’ book review
Firstborn by Lorie Ann Grover is an intricately woven story in a world unlike most others. The Madronians suppress the R’tan, and Tiadone even more so, since she is merely a declared male. The history of her people and their religion is one of the highlights of the book.
The other highlight comes in the form of Tiadone’s relationship with her rapion, Mirko. Having carried his egg with her since her birth, as all R’tan do, once he hatches, the two are nearly inseparable. Mirko and Tiadone’s bond is so close, they can understand each other without talking, though Mirko’s own differences from other rapion only complicate Tiadone’s situation further.
Firstborn explores what it is like to grow up living a lie, suppressing your true self, and finally discovering and deciding who you truly are, despite what others tell you. It is not always an easy read, but it is a gratifying one. Tiadone’s journey through life is difficult, but it is made all the more important because of that.