I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.
True North is the second book in a series. I advise reading the first book if you want to avoid spoilers—you can find my review for the first book True Born here.
Lucy has been abandoned by her parents—who have also taken her twin sister—in plaugue-ridden Dominion. She has no other options to keep herself safe or find her sister besides relying on the True Borns—naturally genetically enhanced humans. But their leader seems to want to use her as well and keeps backtracking on his promises. Lucy must take her life into her own hands as she deals with questions of loyalty and the rumor of a plague cure.
I forgot how good and unique this series is. When this got sent to me—without request, just from me having reviewed the first book—I was like okay I remember enjoying the first one. But then twenty pages into True North I was totally sucked into this plague ridden, elite, True Born world again. L.E. Sterling’s writing just really transports you. Lucy’s emotions radiate from the page. There is so much more happening in True North, but at its core it is.a love story of sisters—twins that refuse to be pried apart, who are each other’s lock and key. And while I’m typically a romance lover that bond is so beautiful.
Lucy is completely cut off in this story. Her parents and this strange man have taken her sister who knows where—possibly Russia—and she is living with the True Borns still playing the role of an elite daughter. I really felt for her because it feels like she went from being a pawn in one game to another. Nolan Storm—the True Born leader—is better than her previous situation but despite their deal she still has to do what she is told and is no closer to knowing anything about her sister or parents.
She takes action and reclaims her agency though—which I love and appreciate in a female character. Lucy really knows how to play the game on multiple levels even when she falls in deeper than she imagined.
Margo is really missing in this book physically. Even the bond between the sisters is broken. Lucy can’t feel her at all, which is worrisome. She does take up a lot of page and head space though in regards to her sister. And if you remember from the first book where her eggs get taken and everything there is some freaky stuff going on with her.
Like in True Born, romance isn’t the central aspect of this story. I like that. I think in dystopians a lot of the time there is too much going on to make it all a romance. But the hint is nice. Jared Price—a leopard like True Born—has definitely snuck his way into my heart as a favorite romantic lead. He is this frightening man essentially that can rip people apart with his bare hands, but he has this weird intense but sweet protective instinct toward Lucy. Like he is literally drawn to her in some instinctual way. It reminds me a lot of Scarlet and Wolf from The Lunar Chronicles. There is so much tension between these two and he is so much like ‘we shouldn’t.’ I loved seeing it play out and there moments were always so charged but also funny at times.
There is a new character introduced as well! I’m not going to go naming names or anything to avoid spoilers. I enjoyed them though. I thought they were really funny and added a nice layer of humor to parts. But they are also very mysterious and have something going on that the characters and myself have yet to figure out. Guess I’ll just have to wait for book three!
True Born and True North are just so out of the realm of anything I have read before. The emphasis on biology and evolution mixed with these fantastical but maybe not so fantastical elements is just riveting. What is happening on the level of corruption is just unbelievable and so deep. It is truly a unique and otherworldly story. You can find the author at le-sterling.com and the book on Amazon.