Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Reviews: True Born

Publish August 25, 2016

In L.E. Sterling’s dystopian novel, True Born, the world has been decimated by plague, and status is determined by human genetics. Lasters lack the ability to fight the plague, while Splicers smugly prolong their lives through genetic treatments. True Borns, however, have a mysterious immunity, and are feared for their animal-like characteristics. Teenagers undergo protocols to determine their nature, which is announced on their eighteenth birthday. As daughters of the Chief Diplomat of the Continent-State of Nor-Am, Lucy and Margot Fox have always known privilege in the influential city of Dominion. With weeks to go before their Reveal party, the twins are assigned a True Born security detail led by Nolan Storm, a powerful figure with connections to many of Dominion’s elite. Lucy instantly clashes with her personal bodyguard, Jared, whose panther-like traits are as frightening as they are seductive. When Margot goes missing, Lucy is catapulted into the True Born world, where violence and instinct are second nature. But Margot’s disappearance is only the first piece of a much more insidious puzzle. Lucy soon learns that she and Margo cannot be classified, and this genetic anomaly may have significant – possibly cataclysmic – implications. The first in a trilogy, True Born was expanded from an 8-chapter novella intended to introduce the universe for a series based on the story’s characters. This unconventional beginning takes its toll on the plot, which unfolds very much like a serialized novel. While the first few chapters are logical, tightly plotted and nicely paced, the story becomes rambling and chaotic past its original ending. Important details are introduced as an afterthought to provide backstory, and multiple unresolved threads snowball into a confusing jumble of gory violence, comic-book villains, and muddied science. The story is salvaged by an engaging shape-shifter romance, and Sterling’s ability to reserve juicy tidbits will maintain reader engagement.

True Born

L.E. Sterling
Entangled Publishing
ISBN 13: 978-1-63375-319-8

Karen Doerksen
Karen Doerksen Karen Doerksen lives in Sherwood Park, Alberta with her husband and four children. She works for the Edmonton Public Library, and holds a master’s degree in Library and Information Studies from the University of Alberta.  

The National Reading Campaign publishes children's book reviews under a Creative Commons License. This review is entirely free to reproduce and republish online and in print. Credit must be given to the reviewer and the National Reading Campaign. Reviews can be edited for brevity only. Contact Us for more information.