True Born by L.E. Sterling (True Born Trilogy, #1)
Published May 3, 2016 by Entangled: Teen, 304 pp.
Copy provided by Entangled: Teen at NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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.
How goes it?
Oooohh I like this. It’s dark, and with mythology, science, and a bit of religious fanaticism thrown in, it makes for an interesting read. It took a while for me to get into the book’s groove, but I did, and I think this ended on a really good note.
This revolves around Lucinda, or Lucy, and her twin sister Margot. They’re twins, daughters of the second most powerful man in NorAm (this name though, but they did manage to keep Europe, Europe, and Russia, Russia, it’s just North America with the odd dystopian name), and brought up to be the perfect daughters, showpieces for a family intent on keeping power. Everything is going as usual, but then Margot doesn’t come home one night, and the world as Lucy knows it starts to crumble.
This is dystopian, set in a society where the Plague has wiped out most of humanity, and is continuing to do so. The survivors, and the barely surviving, are in cities that are barely held together by governments. Unrest is rampant, and this is a society on the brink of collapse.
I’d say this book is one of those books that grow on you as you read it. It didn’t pull me in immediately – the opening chapter is where we get to see our main characters interact for the first time, and what I read didn’t exactly jive with me. In the first chapter, Lucy is trying to convince her sister Margot to stay in school and not sneak out, and when she fails to do so, she goes back in to get to her classes. On her way, she bumps, literally bumps into, Jared, here still unknown. They basically banter while Jared is holding onto Lucy’s skirt to keep her from falling (I repeat, he is basically a stranger, albeit an intriguing one, according to Lucy). The first few chapters also establish that Margot is the prettier, outgoing twin, and Lucy is the quiet, plain Jane twin. And it gets repeated throughout the book, lest you forget.
What’s clear from the first few chapters though is that this is a difficult world to live in, particularly so if you aren’t from the same circle as Lucy and Margot. At first the world-building for me was a bit hazy – there was a plague, it wreaked havoc everywhere, and now the few humans that are left are either privileged to be able to be given the chance to live, or if they’re not, they just wait to die. There’s another class, but people don’t like talking about them. It does build the world throughout the book though, like layer by layer, so by the end, you get a clear picture of where this is all taking place.
The atmosphere of this book is one of its strong points, I think. It’s bleak, dark, sometimes even gritty, and even if Lucy and Margot live in relative luxury, they aren’t safe from the horrors outside the walls of their home either. The writing is good as well – it keeps the pages turning, and has me wanting to find out more.
The only thing I’d change about this is the hot and cold between Jared and Lucy – I could’ve done without their tiptoeing around each other, or I could’ve if I were more invested in them, but I wasn’t. I feel like the space dedicated to them could’ve gone to elaborating on the more interesting and unique aspects of the book – like the mythology and origin of the True Borns, and the origin of the Plague that’s reduced humanity into basically segregating everyone into three classes.
All in all, I liked this! It may be a slow burn for some (me, particularly) but the writing is good, and it keeps you turning the pages. There’s an abundance of dystopian YA books out right now, but I think this is an interesting addition to the genre.