True Born (ARC) | Book Review & Q/A With L.E. Sterling

Author: L.E. Sterling

Rating: 5/5 Star


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.


Thank you so much to Raincoast Publishing for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review and for giving me the opportunity to participate in the book tour.

To start off, I absolutely loved this book. When I first received it in the mail, I jumped right into it and ended up finishing the book in 2 and a half days, which has net happened since I read The Raven Boys.

True Born is the first installment in a three part series by L.E. Sterling. The cover immediately caught my attention for two reasons, it is completely modern and a wonderful mix of blue, white and gray and two, I am wondering what is up with the antlers (first off thinking it had something to do with being a moose, you know being from Canada and all)(this does not mean that there are moose just roaming around all Willy nilly around Canada), and after finding out, I like the cover even more.

I loved Jared. Blonde, snarky, transitioning eye color, and an inherent desire to protect Lucy, it was practically impossible not to create a special place in my heart for this True Born. While they didn’t have an incredibly romantic relationship, each kiss and careful caress made my heart race. The fact that her kept referring to Lucy as Princess made me fall for I’m even more. His snarky remarks were just well enough to showed that he cared, but not too much. With Jared came many nail biting moments, and he kept me on my toes practically the entire book—I stayed about as confused as Lucy on where they stood.

The world building had such complexity. Sterling took a general idea—widespread plague—and added a twist. There were Splicers, Lasters, and True Borns, each indicative of where you stood in society. Lucy and Margot, like everyone else but those labeled True Born at birth, waited anxiously to learn where they fell when they turned eighteen. At their eighteenth birthday day party, there is basically a big unravelling as to how you will live the rest of your life, if you end up surviving.

So did I enjoy the book? I found the very beginning of the book a little harder to get into to, but looking back now it was a slower build up to the book and once my interest was captured I was well and truly hooked, and hated having to put the book down. Would I recommend the book? Yes, this book will appeal to a wide range of readers in my opinion because it encompasses so many genres.

Fans of X-Men will devour this book. Is it too soon to be asking for the next book in the trilogy yet? It ended on a cliff hanger (horrible since the next book doesn’t come out till next year), but I will defiantly be first in line at the book store to receive it when it comes out.


Q&A With L.E. Sterling


Throughout the novel, many of the True Borns are introduced and their true identities are revealed to the reader. Are the animals that they represent given to them based off of their personality and who they are meant to become, or are the genes distributed randomly among the citizens?


Hi, Carly and oooh! What a great question! I hadn’t really thought of that. To my mind, the True Borns “express” certain traits based on their genetic codes. So for instance, Lucy talks about seeing a woman with a fin sticking out of her back. That woman would be expressing whatever fish/shark traits she had in her genetic code.

To my mind this expression is both random and it isn’t. Genes carry traits and expressions going back hundreds and even thousands of years (just look at the way we grow our hair, teeth, fingernails, arms and legs!). I have a photo of a great grandfather who died before I was born, but honestly, he could be the twin brother of my brother and I. That grandfather’s physical traits skipped a generation and were expressed in mine – in just the way that twins run in families but tend to skip a generation.

With True Born, I extend this logic much further back in time (because I’m a science -fiction/fantasy writer and I can do that sort of thing!). Which is all to say: the True Born traits would have had to have been part of the True Borns’ genetic codes already – but in the novel those traits are being ‘re-expressed’ after aeons of dormancy.

Part of my fascination with this subject also derives from the concept of “genetic memory” which, according to some scientists, is a real thing. The theory is simply that our bodies “remember” things which are stored in our DNA (including, for instance, traumatic events, love, environmental stress). Apparently not only is this information stored in our DNA, it impacts whether our genes create mutations – which can lead to disease! I took this logic to its fullest expression in the novel.

-Read On Darlings


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