Saturday, 15 April 2017

BLOG TOUR: 'True North' (True Born Trilogy #2) by L.E. Sterling - SPOILER FREE REVIEW

I really enjoyed 'True Born' and have been dying to get my hands on the sequel, so I was over the moon when I was invited to participate in the 'True North' blog tour (after taking part in the cover reveal too - so much excitement!). I need to say a huge thank you to Entangled Teen and YA Reads Blog Tours for allowing me to be a part of both of these wonderful opportunities.

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 Russie, 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.  
I'm not going to spoil any of the events of 'True North', but if you haven't read 'True Born' you need to look away now!

'Sometimes flesh and bone are as inexplicable as magic.'

At the end of 'True Born', Margot and Lucy Fox were separated. Margot was taken to Russia by their parents, and Lucy was left in Dominion with the True Borns.
When 'True North' starts, Lucy is desperate to be reunited with her sister. She's been helping Nolan Storm, the leader of the True Borns and her stand-in guardian, for the last four months, gathering intel using the charismatic skills she honed as the daughter of one of the most important men in the Upper Circle. Nolan promised her that he'd help her find her sister, but Dominion is on the brink of a civil war so he won't be leaving any time soon.
Lucy takes matters into her own hands. She asks one of the members of a kid gang for help, but when things turn south she's saved by the mysterious Alistair. He agrees to help her find Margot and gets them passage on a cruise liner heading to Europe. Lucy thinks she sneaks away from the True Borns undetected, but within a day of the ship setting sail she realises Jared - her personal bodyguard turned sort of boyfriend - worked out where she was going and is also on board the ship.
As Lucy sails across the ocean, she meets a member of the Gilt: the exclusive group who are even higher than the Upper Circle. It's not until he starts talking about a potential miracle cure rumoured to be found in Russia that Lucy begins to wonder if she's found a map straight to her sister...

'True North' is far slower than 'True Born', so it took me quite a while to read it. Whereas I flew through the first book, I found myself feeling disinclined towards picking this one up, which is a shame: it's very well written and I still love the world L.E. Sterling has crafted, but I was forcing myself through it and I think that's why I didn't like it as much.
I was planning on rereading the first book before I jumped into this one, but I didn't have time. Despite the fact that L.E. Sterling does a great job recapping the events of book one, I still found it hard to get my head back into the world of Dominion, and I struggled to reconnect with the characters who I had previously loved.
That being said, this installment is definitely worth a read. It moves the plot forward exponentially, revealing the answers to questions that I'd had since the first page of 'True Born', but it makes you ask even more - it's impossible to read this book and not want to finish the series.
However, it suffers from middle book slump. Despite the fact that there were a few reveals throughout, it's seems more focused on setting up what I'm sure is going to be an explosive finale. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the third book in the trilogy will pick up the pace and bring back the excitement that thrummed through me with every page of the series opener.
When the third book is released I'm definitely going to reread the two previous novels: this series is perfect for binge-reading. Only four months pass between 'True Born' and 'True North', so it's a very short time between installments! Despite the fact that I could hardly remember what had happened, it didn't feel like long since I'd last walked the Plague-ridden streets of Dominion with Lucy and Jared.
Oh, and talking of Lucy and Jared, if you're a fan of a passionate, tension-filled kissing scene, you're going to love this.

I'm still excited for the third book in the True Born Trilogy. This installment didn't excite me as much as the first novel but I still enjoyed it, and I'm looking forward to seeing how everything gets resolved. I have so many unanswered questions still floating through my head!

About the author:

I was a voracious devotee of sci-fi and fantasy novels all through my
childhood, so I suppose it doesn't come as much of a shock that I've
returned to the genre with a vengeance.
For a while I turned my back on the genre in favour of 'high-brow' literary texts. Ironically, it was my doctoral degree that saw me circling back. There's something about the way postmodern literature plays with the arcane that had me utterly fascinated, and it wasn't long until I fell headlong back into my old ways and haven't looked back since.
My first novel, which isn't in the Urban Fantasy or Fantasy genres, isn't high literature, mind you, even if it tangles with some serious statements about politics and the way our western world runs. My editor described it as something between Charles Dickens and 'The Catcher in the Rye'. Serious Fun, in other words.
My second novel, 'Pluto's Gate', is where I've come home to myself: it's a contemporary retelling of the Demeter-Persephone-Pluto story from Greek mythology. Folded into the mix is a Shaman-in-training, a magical book, Underworld Gods, a world covered in ice, a three-headed dog, and one lousy ex-boyfriend. 

But I'll tell you this much: I believe in the power of words and stories to
transform our inner worlds. Whether the characters be vampires or
vagabonds, a good narrative sucker punches so-called reality anyhow. 

You can find L.E. Sterling on her websiteGoodreads and Twitter. 

If you've already read 'True Born' and can't wait to get your hands on 'True North', sample the first six chapters or purchase a copy here . If you haven't read 'True Born' yet, what are you waiting for?

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