Review: True Born

cover-true bornTitle: True Born
Author: L.E. Sterling
Series: True Born #1
Genre: YA Dystopian Sci-Fi
Length: Novel
Available: May 3rd


Welcome to Dominion City.

After the great Plague descended, the world population was decimated…and their genetics damaged beyond repair.

The Lasters wait hopelessly for their genes to self-destruct. The Splicers pay for expensive treatments that might prolong their life. The plague-resistant True Borns are as mysterious as they are feared…

And then there’s Lucy Fox and her identical twin sister, Margot. After endless tests, no one wants to reveal what they are.

When Margot disappears, a desperate Lucy has no choice but to put her faith in the True Borns, led by the charismatic Nolan Storm and the beautiful but deadly Jared Price. As Lucy and the True Borns set out to rescue her sister, they stumble upon a vast conspiracy stretching from Dominion’s street preachers to shady Russian tycoons. But why target the Fox sisters?

As they say in Dominion, it’s in the blood.

Source: ARC from Entangled: Teen via NetGalley

Prepare yourself for a story in which many, many questions are posed and very few are answered. This is a dystopian tale set in the future (Near? Far? Post-apocalypse war certainly, but other than the genetic advances the world hasn’t changed much) where the rich stamp on the poor, and use their money to splice their genes in an effort to escape the Plague that is wiping humans out. All humans, that is, except for the True Born, a mysterious underclass of people that aren’t really discussed, because they have animal traits, are stronger and are also resistant to the Plague.

In the midst of this are the Fox sisters, twins conjoined by their toes at birth, raised as privileged near-royalty in Dominion, growing up in the tight restrictions of their father’s rules. Margot is the carefree one, the bold one, the exciting one, while Lucy (our POV character) is quiet and more watchful. Until things start to change in Dominion, trouble ignites on the streets and the True Born enter their lives in ways they never imagined before.

I really enjoyed this one. I liked Lucy and how she came into her own throughout this book. She’s smart and determined and I liked how she protected Margot whenever she could, even if I get the feeling there’s a lot more to her protection than I think Lucy realises at times. I also liked how she wasn’t afraid to confront others in order to get the answers she wants. She doesn’t actually get them, mostly, but I still liked that she tried. I also liked her romance with Jared, even if at times it felt like it was edging into typical Shifter romance territory with some sort of fated mates type feel. But it progresses slowly and I enjoyed the push-pull between them. I especially liked how he forced Lucy out of her snobbish, privileged upbringing and made her see that she is part of the problem and that her precious Upper Circle have far too much to answer for.

It’s a surprisingly quick read too, considering that when I look back on the whole thing I realise not a lot actually happens. There’s a lot of circling around issues, going back over the same ground and waiting for other stuff to happen, yet it kept me gripped. Even if I was often left asking why they were doing certain things (returning home, going back to school, caring about their useless parents). Those things aside I have so many questions, so very many questions, not least about the Plague itself and the history of the True Born. There’s a nice hint of mythology mixing in with the dystopia, but it mostly led to even more questions which could have grown infuriating if I’d let myself think too hard.

Don’t think too hard about this book. At its heart it’s a mystery, with a touch of a thriller and a dash of romance in a dystopian setting, with two girls who are “special” in ways no one seems to understand. There are shifters and riots, incredibly strange bombs and creepy preacher men, disaffected and dying poor, uncaring and selfish rich, there’s even a witch and a tantalising glimpse at a hidden mythology. It’s like someone grabbed a bunch of dystopian sci-fi elements, a sprinkle of fantasy, shredded up a mythology book and threw in some shifters, stirred it all up in a big ol’ YA pot and poured this out. Which is no bad thing, because this was the result and I thought it was great. Can’t wait to read the next one – and hopefully answer some of those pesky questions too.

True Born is out May 3rd!
Visit L.E. Sterling for more details.


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