Sunday 9 April 2017

True North (True Born Trilogy #2), L. E. Sterling

If we listened closely to our bones, fought hard enough, showed the world we'd not back down, my sister and I could pull each other from the jaws of fate
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.

* *
2 / 5 

Unfortunately, for a good chunk of True North absolutely nothing happens. I read this shortly after finishing True Born and what I expected was badass action scenes, exploration of Russia and how it differs to Dominion, more information about True Borns, more information about the preachers, and to discover the truth about the Fox sisters. True North manages to do the last one and throws in more of Jared Price being creepily intense and disturbing to compensate. 

I gave myself a choice: I could curl up in a ball and let the Plague take me. Or I could have faith in the magic buried deep in our blood and bones. I chose to believe

Firstly, a couple of positives. The moment I started reading I noticed that the writing seemed a bit different; it was the same style but more sophisticated and I was impressed. Lucy remains consistent in her characterisation, so if you liked her in the last book you'll no doubt enjoy her here. There's also the introduction of a new character, Alistair, who is likeable and interesting and who I hope to see a lot more of in the next book. Unfortunately he gets pushed to the side when Jared makes his reappearance to continue his transformation into Edward Cullen: he's very possessive, likes smelling Lucy, and makes her cry a lot. He also keeps doing that hot-and-cold routine. Jared Price is not an attractive love interest or character anymore than he was in the first book. 

Around him the air crackles and blurs, especially around his head where the faint blue outline of na impressive set of antlers rises and tangles like a crown

Nolan Storm also became less likeable, which is a shame. He's not in it for a significant amount of time and every scene spends time describing how crown-like his antlers are. After about the fifth time it got a bit tiring. I think the antlers are awesome, but I only need so many words dedicated to them! Storm is keeping Lucy safe in his tower as a ward whilst he manipulates the political world of Dominion which, somehow, keeps him busy and unable to fulfil his promise to Lucy about searching for her kidnapped sister, Margot. After roughly half the book has passed where not much has occurred, Lucy realises he probably isn't ever going to bother looking for her and takes matters into her own hands. Hurrah!

Then we get a chunk of good scenes. There's a boat, an interesting new character, then some train scenes and fights. All good stuff. In terms of action the second half of True North is a remarkable improvement. We get to find out more about why and how Lucy and Margot are so special and why the Russians might be so interested in them, whilst their parents seem to have vanished off the face of the earth - again. But the issue of the preachers and their slogans and graffiti gets almost entirely sidelined whilst new information about True Borns, one of the most interesting ideas in the series, is practically nil. 

I was disappointed by True North. It definitely suffers from middle book syndrome and fails to have much of the political intrigue, Margot, Nolan Storm or awesome fight scenes that I liked from True Born.  

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