Tuesday, 19 April 2016

PROMOTION & REVIEW - TRUE BORN - TRUE BORN TRILOGY BY L.E. STERLING

Title: True Born
Series: True Born Trilogy
Author: L.E. Sterling
Genre: YA, Sci-fi, Fantasy
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Expected Release Date: 3rd May 2016

BLURB from Goodreads
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.
 

Amazon UK


EXCERPT
“Isn’t it a little weird that we have to do our tests again? Was there some kind of mistake with the first one?” Margot says it innocently enough, a slight twang to her voice to match the nurse’s rabble-like twang.

            “Well, hon, sometimes they get mixed signals, you know? Like when you think a boy likes you but then he goes all hot and cold?” She winks. Margot’s fingers tighten on mine.

            “Uh huh.” Margot nods. “So there’s a problem with your machines? Or with the staff?”

            The nurse frowns. “Not this staff. They’re five-star amazing. Must have just been a bad sample or something. Try not to worry about it, sweetie.” She pats Margot’s arm just before she shoves the needle in my sister’s vein.

            I squirm on my seat. The skin on my arm crawls from the sharp pain originating in my sister’s arm. Relaxed beside me, Margot doesn’t move a muscle. She knows what I’m feeling even if she can’t do anything about it. This is just how it is with us.

            “How much are you going to take this time?” My voice shakes as our coltish nurse comes around to me and drives a needle into my arm. It doesn’t hurt nearly as bad as Margot’s did. Our hands stay folded together. There’s a note in our file about letting us. One of the perks of being born us.
           
            “Oh.” For the first time she looks a little dismayed. “I’m sorry, hon. Didn’t they tell you? We gotta go through the whole protocol again. The whole shebang.”

            My twin and I did know. We’d been told. Still, it bothers us. A full day’s worth of giving blood, going through tests, having your organs measured and documented. Urine
samples, more blood samples, hair samples. We’d already been through this two times in the last two months. We no longer believe they’d gotten “bad” samples—not that we’re
going to let on to the nurse.

            And funny thing is, each time we come, the Protocols Nurse is new. This is the third we’ve had, each as clueless as the last.

            We know better than to ask our parents. The deepening silence and constant rounds of testing and lies must mean the news is the worst. Late at night we lie together, holding hands and whispering under the deep canopy of one or other of our beds. We’ve thought about what it will mean if one of us turns out to be a Laster. We’ve talked until dawn about what we’d want, what we’d do. I tell Margot I’d want to go with her, but she’s against the idea.

            “One of us needs to survive,” she said to me, her graygreen eyes as serious as I’ve ever seen them.

            “What if it’s not that?” I asked her.
           
            “What do you mean?”

            “What if we’re, you know,” the words mere whispers, “True Born?”

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Could you begin by giving us a short description your book True Born please?
To my mind, True Born is a novel that takes the sci-fi dystopian genre of literature on a whole other, unique path. The book follows twin sisters Lucy and Margot Fox. A terrible Plague has descended onto the world, decimating the human population, and it’s only girls like them - descended from the richest families of Dominion - who can afford to have their genes manipulated to avoid certain death.

But Lucy and Margot are mysteriously put through round after round of Plague testing as they reach their big milestone: their Reveal party. Those turning 18 are given a Reveal where they are told whether they will be a Splicer - able to survive the Plague with new DNA, a Laster - usually the poor, who don’t stand a chance, or a True Born. The True Borns are thought to be those whose DNA has skipped back in evolution, taking on the characteristics of animals and making them immune to the human Plague.

And when Margot goes missing, Lucy turns to a group of  True Borns, led by Nolan Storm and the very handsome but annoying Jared Price, to help her get her sister back.

Add some crazy plot twists, a Russian aristocrat, a Reveal party, and you basically have this novel. Voila!

How long did it take you to write True Born, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Hmmm. The “original idea” is a messy concept. To be honest, I originally intended True Born to be nothing but a novella. It was to be the “back story” of another set of novels I intended to write. I published a novella-length version of True Born on Wattpad and it went crazy.

After that, I decided to finish the project as a novel, then thought…this is so fun, why not write a trilogy on these characters? And so, to make a long story short: the novella took about a month and a half to write, but between the novella and the finished product sat a period of around two years.

Where did you get your plot ideas for True Born from?
Plot just happens in my novels. It comes from the characters, but it also just comes in these short bursts of “oh! That happens!” In fact, it almost seems as though these novels plot themselves.

What/Who was your inspiration?
There are a few things that led to the book but the most interesting is the incredible story of my great-grandmother, who was born in England and sent to the U.S. to be an indentured servant. As the story goes, she was very young when she was shipped over, and I imagine the whole voyage was traumatic, because apparently my great-grandmother forgot who she was through the crossing.

When she finally arrived in the U.S. she gave them her twin’s name. What’s remarkable is that she lived her entire life, up until she was a middle-aged adult, by her twin’s name. It’s such a fascinating tale - I really wanted to explore the idea of having a bond with someone that was so close that it took over your own, so I explored this in a fictional world.

How did you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for True Born and who designed the Cover?
I actually didn’t know who designed the cover until I saw the galley proof. The designer is from Entangled, a woman named Lousia Maggio. I think she’s amazing - but what do you and your readers think?

The title just sort of came to me, along with the original first lines of the novel/novella: Splicer. Laster. True Born.

Did you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
This book sort of chose its own title, I’d have to say. It has the same title as it did as a novella. It’s a weird title but I don’t know – these True Borns just popped out of my imagination and demanded to be seen and heard!

How did you come up with characters names and place names in True Born?
Great question – I wanted the city to really resonate with the idea of a city-empire, so when it came to naming my fictional metropolis I looked to Canadian / British history. “Dominion” is an echo of the British empire, which considered outposts like Canada part of the “Dominion.”

Did you basic plot/plan for True Born, before you actually began writing it? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it took the story?
I know up to a point what would happen – I actually write up a “story bible” where I track plot, characters and other notes of interest. Still, I can add to the bible, change things around. I’m easy. And if the characters decide they want to go one way (and not the way I’m scripting them) I follow their lead!!

Do you have a favourite character from True Born? and why are they your favourite?
Lucy! I love my heroine. She’s so bold, even if she doesn’t see herself that way. And I love how caring she is, and how dedicated she is to doing the right thing.

If you had to choose to be one of your characters in True Born which would you be? and why?
Oh, I would be Nolan Storm. All that power! And the antlers! Who wouldn’t want to have a set of antlers that only some people can see? Besides, he’s rich, extremely handsome, an all-around awesome guy, and will never fall sick with the Plague!

Is there anything in True Born you would change now if you could and what would it be?
Not a thing. I’m really proud of this book. And I’ll be even prouder of Books 2 and 3!

When can we expect more of the True Born Trilogy?
I’m busy writing Books 2 and 3 now. Book 2 already has a release date: April 2017. Exciting!

Is the rest of the True Born Trilogy already written/planned out?
I’ve actually had Books 2 and 3 planned for ages – ever since I finished book one. These story arcs have taken a few twists and turns over the past year or so, but they have stayed pretty consistent. I don’t ever want to get too attached to the story lines, though – it’s important to let things go if it’s not working!

Where can readers follow you?
Website/Blog: www.le-sterling.com
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LESterling22/
Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/LESterling
Twitter: @le_sterling

MY REVIEW

Title: True Born
Series: True Born Trilogy
Author: L.E. Sterling
Genre: YA, Sci-fi, Fantasy
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Expected Release Date: 3rd May 2016

BLURB from Goodreads
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.
 


INITIAL THOUGHTS
I am looking forward to this one as it sounds like a mixture of dystopian\post apocalyptic/shifter genres all thrown in together. 

THOUGHTS WHILST READING THE BOOK
This is a newer part of my "Review" where I look back at what my comments were on Goodreads whilst reading the book. As with the rest of review I will try my best to avoid spoilers. I guess you could call these comments my "teasers" for the book as you are reading to see if you think the same as I did. 
At 31% Does Lukas Fox know exactly how precious and rare his daughters are? Who was Clive working for and what did they want? What's the truth behind Nolan Storm and his band of security members.
Then at 91% when I hated having to put the book down but had to!) A party to impress a business man rather than for the two girls. Do the parents actually truly know what the girls are. Can Storm and his team save the girls??
You can checkout my reaction at the very end in my Final Thoughts at the end of my review.

MY REVIEW
I downloaded an e-copy of this book from Netgalley, courtesy of an invitation widget from Entangled Teen in exchange for my own, honest opinion. So thank you again to them. I find the cover quite simplistic, yet really eye catching. The blue-grey "washed out" colours of the cover with the imposing white antlers at it's centre. I adore a byline and the one on this book, "Sometimes it's not who you are. It's what you are. . . " really fits the theme of this book very well. Would this cover make me pick up this book from a book store shelf? Yes, I think it's an attractive, attention grabbing cover.
The main characters are twin sisters, Lucinda and Margot Fox. Lucinda and Margot were born still joined together by their big toes. When the girls were separated they were both so unconsolable they had to be kept side by side, it was the only thing that would stop them from crying! They also both carry an unusual birthmark, Lucinda has what looks like a lock and Margot has a key. I think this information will become more and more relevant and make more sense as the trilogy progresses. The other perhaps more bizarre thing about the twins is that they can feel each others pain and emotions. The twins parents Lukas and Antonia Fox are part of the more privileged people that live in the upper class of Dominion City. Lukas is a Chief Diplomat of Nor. Dominion City is the largest, most influential City too. A plague has devastated the less well off, depriving them of food and their lives. If you are rich enough you can go into a clinic and be spliced. Splicing takes out the damaged DNA and ties in new undamaged DNA. 
Every child is tested, the procedure is called "protocols" and on their 18th birthday usually at a "reveal party" they are told what they are...be it a Laster, a Splicer or the more rare and considered strange, True born. The problem is the twins have gone through these "protocols" numerous times and those at the special clinic don't ever seem to come any closer to deciding what the girls are at all. Strangely to say the Fox family are part of the Upper Class, the reveal party they are planning for their daughters is a rather quiet, smaller, sedate type of party, than the lavishly large affairs some of their friends are having or planning. The girls do not complain, they do as they always have and accept their parents wishes and strive to continue to be good daughters putting the family name and reputation first as always.
Of course where there is a richer, ruling class there has to be the poor that are forced to exist as best they can. Also there usually is a group set on rebelling, and restructuring society.
The one thing everyone in this book wants is a cure for the plague. . . and naturally the girls are tied into this struggle. When Lukas and Antonia go away abroad on some secret business deal, Lukas employs a rather different, more radical type of security to watch over his girls whilst he is away. This security detail consist of Nolan Storm, the guy with the mystical antlers that only people with a certain talent can see, like Lucinds), Jared Price (the new potential #bookboyfriend on the scene) whom Lucinda seems to both irritate and intrigue him at the same time. The others in this group consist of Penny (Mohawk), Malcolm Torch) Kira and their medical person Dr Dorian Raine. It's Dr Dorian Raine who is tasked in finding out what the girls really are . . .what it is about them that has men willing to kidnap, or do some sort of business deal to be in possession of them. Storm, Jared, Torch and the other try their level best to protect the girls whilst still giving them freedom for the choices they need to make for themselves.
The poor that live in the parts of Dominion City that no longer has power, who have to scavenge for food etc fall prey to the wiles of The Watchers and their leader Father Wes who preachers and incites the people to fight against the upper class. These people really have nothing to lose, they cannot afford to go to a clinic to be spliced if they need it.
There is so much going on in this book, giving you a lot of clues to come up with possible outcomes ad keeps you on the edge of your seat too. The book has the dystopian elements of the battles between those that have and those that do not have. The strange plague I'd say is the post apocalyptic element and finally the shifter element are those who are categorized as True Born. The other elements I would say True Born has are of course a little romance, lots of action, mystery and a few comedy moments hear and there. One such comedy moment I found funny was when Jared is right up in Lucinda's face and she sneezes on him! 
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.
Would I want to read the next book in this trilogy? Oh yes! definitely. . . when and where do I sign up? Would I want to read other titles by this author? Yes after reading and adoring True Born I will certainly keep L.E. Sterling on my Authors to follow list.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Being totally honest my very first thoughts upon finishing this book were "Oh wow, brilliant, so different to other "dystopian"/" Shifter" books out at the moment! I want more please sign me up now!" So what else can I say? Brilliant read!




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