Have you ever read a book that totally transports you from the real world, that you can’t tear yourself away from to do humdrum things like going to work and laundry, and that you spend every spare minute frantically turning pages because you can’t wait to get back into novel land?
That’s how I was a few weeks ago reading Tosca Lee’s Firstborn.
The sequel to last year’s The Progeny, Firstborn picks up literally minutes after the last book left off. For those unfamiliar with the two thrillers, The Progeny tells the story of Audra Ellison, a young woman who has had her memory erased for reasons unknown, even to herself. However, Audra quickly learns that what she doesn’t remember could kill her: she is a descendent of Elizabeth Bathory, AKA The Blood Countess, allegedly one of history’s worst serial killers from the 1500s (you can find more about the real Elizabeth Bathory here). Bathory descendants, like Audra, are called “Progeny” and are hunted by a powerful secret society bent upon eradicating the Progeny. Chased by those who would kill her just because of her bloodline and desperate for answers, Audra treks across Europe, meeting a colorful cast of other Progeny but never knowing who to fully trust.
The Progeny was a fast-paced thriller that I could hardly put down. In fact, I reread it in the week leading up to Firstborn’s release on May 2, and found myself devouring it just as fast as I did the first time, even though I knew exactly what was going to happen.
Of course, at the end of The Progeny, Audra discovers the reason she had her memory erased, but Firstborn picks up moments after she learns that secret. But now the question is: what can she do to protect that secret, and how far is she willing to go to end the centuries-long evil that has hunted her bloodline so that she can truly live free?
Once again, I found myself caught up in the world of the Progeny, holding my breath to see what would happen next, staying up way too late reading (“just ONE more chapter!”), and spending a few lunch breaks glued to the page. Firstborn did not disappoint, except in the fact that it had to end, as all books must surely do.
But while the two books are a wonderful escape for the imagination and thrilling ride, I LOVE Tosca’s overall message. In the afterward of Firstborn, she explains, “In the end, The Progeny and Firstborn aren’t about history at all, but what it really means to be alive, right now, in the only moment that exists: this one.” That has stayed with me, as I think about all of the things I choose to do with my time. Wouldn’t I rather be LIVING this moment, instead of letting it just slip by?
(BTW, Tosca Lee is a beautiful, lovely human being, inside and out. In addition to being a fantastic writer, she is so warm and friendly to her fans. If you aren’t following her on Facebook, you need to, because she’s awesome!)
I’m giving away a hardcover copy of Firstborn, signed by Tosca Lee herself, as well as a Progeny and Firstborn bookmark, and a pin with a quote from the book. Just leave a comment on the blog, and I’ll draw one winner this weekend. The drawing will be open until Friday, June 2, at 11:59 p.m. Good luck!