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eARC Review: Fate Born: Secrets of Sratta by Michelle L. Robison



Release date: 2 April 2024

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis: In the year 3,121, the planet Drammat rules its utopian galaxy with innovation and compassion. The graduates of the Grand Drammatan Academy are the writers of their society’s future.


As the youngest student ever admitted to the Academy, 16-year-old Aria Blake is on edge when her lifelong visions of a teenage boy named Luca become more frequent and intense just before the school year begins.


With mental illness being a thing of the past and a stigma for the rare few who still face it, she’s forced to hide the truth or risk losing everything she's worked for.


When she runs into Luca, alive and in the flesh, at the Academy orientation, her whole world is flipped upside down. It's immediately clear that Luca has secrets of his own, but Aria feels an instant, almost supernatural connection to him. When he eventually opens up to her about his past on Earth - something that should be impossible - Aria learns that Drammat isn't as benevolent as it leads its citizens to believe.


Luca begs Aria to keep his secret to protect both of their lives, but when they uncover a heinous plot on an Academy field trip to the frozen planet Sratta, they must choose between protecting themselves and saving thousands of innocent lives.


Secrets of Sratta is the first installment of The Fate Born Tetralogy, a sci-fi coming-of-age adventure about family, friendship, first love, and finding yourself as you rise to the challenge in extraordinary circumstances.


The Fate Born Tetralogy is for readers of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, The Pillars of Reality Series by Jack Campbell, and The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.

 

Review


Robison’s debut YA sci-fi feels like a pretty good start to what l think will be a very long and complex series.  It also packs a heavy emotional punch.  The premise piqued my curiosity strongly, and I love dystopian sci-fi that shows a perfect world where sinister under workings lurk in the shadows and create mysterious tension and paranoia while reading.  Fate Born brings this in droves.  While there are a few kinks that need working out, overall, I quite enjoyed reading this one and recommend it highly to YA readers who enjoy SciFi political thrillers with grit and no spice.


Alia is a fish out of water in an elite planetary academy, which she has been accepted into early because of her astounding giftedness.  She is younger than her peers, 16 to their 18, and she struggles to overcome self-doubt, intense personal pressure, and high anxiety.  Alia has also been experiencing hallucinations of a young man almost her whole life.  On her first day at the Academy, her lifelong hallucination turns out to be real, and his name is Luca.  Intrigued?  I was, too.  Thoroughly.  Alia and Luca’s connection drew me to the story immediately.  Unfortunately, the book doesn’t really explore what causes this connection in great detail.  I feel the plots of future novels will tackle it in more depth, but I really hoped for more insight into this mystery.  


Interestingly, Luca hails from Earth, and that makes him an automatic assumed criminal.  Robison plays around with physics and interstellar travel here a bit with Luca’s character.  While Aria is 16, Luca’s travel from Earth to Drammat slowed his aging considerably.  He’s technically 28 when he arrives, but he’s only lived 18 years because of the speed in which he traveled from Earth to Drammat.  His arrival not only spurs a massive change in Aria’s life; it also proves a catalyst for his and Aria’s involvement in a conspiracy that goes deep into the machinations of the very workings of the utopian planet of Drammat itself.  


The book does need a bit of polishing up for pacing and organization, but I’m not sure that’s detrimental.  It’s a debut and it’s an indie—I’ve read many, many debut books, and Fate Born fares much better for me than quite a lot of them.   I tend to enjoy indies most; they don’t follow the cookie-cutter narrative trends I see predominantly in the Big 5 book market, and that makes them unique and more interesting to me.  Additionally, SciFi seems to be keeping my attention strongly lately in this deep reading slump I’m in.  I’ve tried picking up every genre of book lately to break this slump to no avail.  Despite my massive slump, Fate Born was not a book that had a hard time keeping my attention.  If you like books and movies like Ender’s Game, Divergent, and Sound of Freedom, I highly recommend picking up Robison’s debut and giving it a read.


My thanks to the author for the complimentary eARC (I also purchased my own copy), for which I give my own, honest opinion.


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