ARC Review: True Born

True Born
True Born by L.E. Sterling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Release date: May 3, 2016

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, including the charismatic leader, Nolan Storm, and the beautiful but deadly Jared, who tempts her as much as he infuriates her. 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.

True Born starts off as a post-apocalyptic fiction of a world ruled by gene editing – there are people who can pay to get the genetic cures for the disease stitched into their genomes, and people who can’t. Class battles with the Splicers on one side and Lasters on another. Then there are True Borns, who have evolved genomes, with shifter characteristics, pushing this in the realm of fantasy. After the truth of True Borns was revealed, and with the prophecy and witches thrown in, it cast the book into the genre of mythology. So, you see the world building was pretty all over the place, and none of it entirely defined. When did the Plague happen? Why does the world feel as much like as our own, with not much to see in terms of advancements, beyond the splicing? There were a lot of questions and many were not answered by the end, which made for a frustrating ending.

The story then suffered from shifting characters – Lucy is not stably written; one moment she is fiery in personality and another meek as a kitten. Then comes her off and on attraction to Jared – like girl, if he has saved you enough times and kissed you as many, it is for sure he is not just being your dedicated bodyguard. I thought Margot was going to play some active part, but she is mostly just the thing to act as a catalyst for the plot. The story was good, though, even with that shoddy world building. I was interested in how the politics and survival were as odds, and the way new players were brought into the board. What I still felt irritated about was chapter progression – which was choppy and spoke of badly constructed scenes. Overall, this starting book showed potential but this trilogy has yet to claim a place in my heart. Hopefully, the sequel will be better written.

Received a free galley from Entangled Publishing Inc, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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