Book Review: True North by L.E. Sterling
Author: L.E. Sterling
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Fantasy
Release Date: 04 April 2017
From Goodreads: "Abandoned by her family in Plague-ridden Dominion City, eighteen-year-old Lucy Fox has no choice but to rely upon the kindness of the True Borns, a renegade group of genetically enhanced humans, to save her twin sister, Margot. But Nolan Storm, their mysterious leader, has his own agenda. When Storm backtracks on his promise to rescue Margot, Lucy takes her fate into her own hands and sets off for Russia with her True Born bodyguard and maybe-something-more, the lethal yet beautiful Jared Price. In Russia, there's been whispered rumors of Plague Cure. While Lucy fights her magnetic attraction to Jared, anxious that his loyalty to Storm will hurt her chances of finding her sister, they quickly discover that not all is as it appears…and discovering the secrets contained in the Fox sisters' blood before they wind up dead is just the beginning.
As they say in Dominion, sometimes it’s not you…it’s your DNA."
Thank you to Entangled Teen for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for review! All opinions are my own. Also special thanks to YAReads Blog Tours for having me on this amazing blog tour!
True North was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017 and it definitely did not disappoint! While this book certainly has the "middle book" feeling, it was a great continuation to the series and sets up the story to have a fantastic finale.
This book begins about four months after the end of True Born. Margot is still missing and Lucy has no idea where she's gone. Having been abandoned in Dominion City, Lucy has had no choice but to rely on the kindness of the True Borns, namely Nolan Storm who has promised Lucy he will help her find her sister. But Storm has his own agenda that doesn't involve finding Margot, and Lucy gets tired of waiting, so she takes off for Russia with her True Born bodyguard, Jared Price. But Lucy can't help but worry that Jared's loyalty to Storm will hinder her chances at finding her sister. All is not as it appears, and the secret to the Fox sisters' blood must be discovered before they wind up dead. As I said above, this book definitely feels like a middle of the series book. There was a lot of build up to get to the "good stuff" so to speak, and a lot of it felt kind of boring at times, which was unfortunate because I was so excited to read this. Lucy spends a good chunk of the book putting her faith in Nolan Storm and his "promise" to help her find Margot before she realizes he's really not going to help her and she decides to take matters into her own hands. It was a lot of her and her inner monologue that involved either Jared and her frustration with him, where Margot is, and her growing distrust of Storm. Fortunately, however, once they got to Russia and discovered just why the Russians were so interested in Lucy and Margot, I was all about it. This book definitely builds up more on the twins and their "specialness" and I was so excited to read more about them, but the book was over before I knew it! There's a lot more world-building in True North, and you also get to visit new places outside of Dominion City which was really great to experience. At 400 pages, this certainly isn't a short book, but I absolutely flew through it and was dying for more by the end. It perfectly sets up the finale and I am so excited to see just where the story line goes from here!
I'm not going to lie, I felt like Lucy wasn't as strong of a character in this book. She didn't act very smart, making reckless decisions such as wandering off from her bodyguard detail only to get pulled into a trap, and a large portion of the time her thoughts were on Jared. I definitely still enjoyed her connection to Margot and how dedicated she was to finding the key to her lock, as they are described several times throughout the book. Now that's not to say I didn't like her, I still love Lucy, but I just felt she wasn't the same Lucy from True Born. Which I suppose I can understand seeing as how she's completely cut off from her sister for such a long period of time. When it came to Jared, he drove me absolutely nuts! I couldn't understand why he constantly pulled Lucy around and was so hot and cold with her, and there were times where I was completely convinced that I was done with him as a whole. Especially the parts where he would comment about smelling Lucy. I just couldn't handle how...odd that was. But again, understandable as he's basically a cat, you know? The tension between the two of them was a huge part of the book and it was enough to make me shout at my Kindle several times. I did enjoy Ali as he was funny and had that something special about him. Although I shuddered at the thought of there being a love triangle introduced because I wasn't sure I could handle that. But he was great and I really wish there was more of him instead of Jared being all possessive about Lucy and then pushing her away. I was also pretty annoyed with Nolan for obvious reasons, but he definitely still had that electric personality that's just so hard to dislike. I think all of the characters were written so very well throughout this entire book and I was so happy to be back in this world with them and exploring more about Margot and Lucy. I have such a soft spot for all of them in their own ways and while I may not have been happy with every single thing they did, I still think they were all fantastic and I can't wait to see where each of their stories goes in the next book.
L.E. Sterling has this way of writing that is elegant yet creepy. This entire book gives off the most spooky and dystopian-like vibe I've ever read about, and it's such an incredible experience. You get so much more world building with True North and it's just as desolate and terrifying as it was in True Born, if not more so. There's a constant sense of danger that accompanies Lucy throughout and you really get the feeling that something bad could happen at any time, anywhere. I loved the distinction between Dominion City and the other places that Lucy visits. She makes a comment about how it's always raining in Dominion, and that really gives you an idea of just how torn down and on the brink of complete destruction that place is. It's definitely one of my favorite dystopian cities I've ever read about because it feels so real, almost like I could climb through the pages and visit the alleyways with "Evolve or Die" written on the walls and see the kid gangs that roam the streets lining dead bodies with rocks. Being able to create such a vivid and frightening world that is still somehow beautiful is an amazing thing, and L.E. Sterling does it effortlessly. Her writing is unlike any I've ever read and it's incredible to see the growth from True Born to True North. It's growing and evolving into some of my favorite writing ever and while the wait for the final book is going to be long and hard, I know the words between the pages are going to be more elegant and chilling than ever.
True North is a book that is filled with fantastic characters, a plot that will leave you breathless, and writing that is sure to send shivers up your spine while painting a beautiful picture in your mind at the same time. I highly recommend picking up True Born first if you haven't (not only because it's fantastic but because it will provide all of the backstory you need to appreciate this book) and then having True North next to you to continue your journey. It's an incredible continuation to a wonderful dystopian/fantasy series and definitely cannot be missed!