I received this book for free from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.
The world’s population is genetically damaged. The Lasters are beyond help, ticking time bombs. Those wealthy enough—Splicers—pay for treatments that just might prolong their life. True Borns are the evolved—their DNA a combination of human and animal—and resistant to the Plague that has defended upon the world.
And then there’s Lucy Fox and her identical twin Margo. The two were born into Dominion’s Upper Circle and conjoined at birth, only to be surgically separated. No one wants to tell them what they are—including their parents. An even stranger secret is Lucy’s ability to feel what Margo feels, whether it’s a pinch or a kiss.
When Margo is captured, Lucy has no choice but to trust the True Borns, led by the charismatic Nolan Storm and handsome Jared Price.
What really drew me into L.E. Sterling’s True Born was the unique premise. I’ve been reading a lot of young adult dystopian, but nothing quite like this—with plagues, animal-esque True Borns, and a lot of secrets.
Sterling’s writing is strong and she drops your right into to story—the first five pages aren’t an info-dump, the world gets built as you read.
I thought the different classes of people—Laster, Splicer, and True Born—were really interesting. Splicers were very believable for me, in a maybe-one-day kind of way. And I liked the fantasy the True Borns brought in, at first I was confused about why they were part animal and how that worked but Sterling sets up some mythology.
In relation to genetics, the phrase “evolve or die” is stressed throughout the book—graffitied on buildings, written on signs. And it’s true, all species have to either evolve or die. It seems a phrase directed at the Splicers, who are altering themselves to avoid death. It’s strange though that it’s something championed by the Lasters, when really the True Born are the only evolved. I can’t wait to see how the theme of evolution plays out in the rest of the books.
I really enjoyed Lucy as a main character. She stops being so subservient and really takes action to save her sister and get answers.
Her parents really interested me. It’s very rare in YA—especially in YA dystopian—for the parents to be the bad guys, unless there’s some type of abuse. And I don’t want to definitively say Lucy’s parents are bad, but they are definitely keeping secrets from the girls and scheming—my guess is more for their benefit than their daughters.
This being said, Lucy does have a great cast of characters in her corner—the True Borns, including the handsome love interest Jared Price. Romance definitely wasn’t the main focus of the novel, which I think is great as it allows more focus on the events unfolding. Yet, the two do still have some great moments.
I only had one minor issue, sometimes getting confused about who was who with all the names and had to backtrack.
Can’t wait for the sequel! You can check out author L.E.. Sterling at le-sterling.com. True Born will be available for purchase May, 3 2016, preordering is available on Amazon. Let me know what you think in the comments. Plus leave recommendations for my next book!
Remember to check me out on my social media accounts: