First (Live Once) - Chanda Stafford

*Book source ~ A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.


In a post-apocalyptic America Texans are no longer free. After they rose up against the government 200 years ago and bombed the White House and Pentagon they have been reduced to slaves for their treason. Raised on farms like cattle they are tattooed with a bar code and must do all of the work that their betters don’t want to do. In addition, children of a certain age must stand on line when a First shows up at a farm looking for a Second. The Texans don’t have a clue what being a Second really means because they aren’t allowed to watch television. The only things they know are that the Second is Absolved of their ancestor’s crime, they leave the farm with their First never to return and it’s a great honor.


When the first of the Firsts, Socrates, shows up at Chesaning Farms and chooses Mira as his Second a set of events is put into motion that will have repercussions across the country. Live Once rebels are working tirelessly to take out the Firsts and save the Seconds and as many of the country’s children as they can. Mira, resentful, but resigned to being chosen is about to find out what the free people consider an honor and why Live Once is dead set against the process. Stuck between a rock and a hard place what is Mira going to do?


Told from the alternating points of view of Socrates and Mira this story puts forth an interesting concept in a well-written and fast-paced plot. The fact that the Texans revolted and were consequentially enslaved for their treason and that science had progressed far enough to create the Firsts were interesting while at the same time frightening. Socrates is someone it’s hard to hate and I like those kinds of ‘villains.’ Mira is young and ignorant of the way things truly are and you just want to pull her aside and spill what you know. People trapped by circumstance and by government control are always good fodder for an excellent rebellion and this story is no different as the rumblings of that rebellion heat up. At the end we are left with a stunning decision and an anxious anticipation of the next book. I can’t wait to see what happens next!