“True Born” is one of my new favorites- a really fantastic YA fantasy. Lucinda (aka Lucy and Lu) and her twin sister Margot have always been a little different. They were connected at birth and separated, leaving scars on one that resemble a lock and on the other, a key. Lucy and Margot also have some abilities. The plague has wiped out a lot of the population and on your 18th birthday, you are told whether you are a Laster, a Splicer, or a True Born (if not already apparent). Lasters will die from the plague, while Splicers can be saved through expensive genetic treatments (if you can afford them). True Borns are seen as the lowest type of people with “throwback” genes- a reverse evolution. They are immune to the plague but carry animal characteristics that they can turn on and off (e.g. fur, fins, claws).
Lucy and Margot live in Dominion, where their father is the most prestigious man and holds the highest position among the Upper Circle. As such, they are treated as display items for their parents and held to the highest standards- which isn’t always easy. They are about to turn 18 and will find out if they are Lasters or Splicers- but something keeps going wrong with the tests, and they must redo them several times. Their father would never associate with True Borns, which is why it shocks the girls when their father hires some as back-up protection for their usual Mercs (mercenaries hired by the rich to protect them). However, they quickly come in handy when Margot disappears and Lucy perceives her pain.
Lucy must turn to the True Borns to help save her sister. At the same time, many questions arise about what they are and what that will mean for their future. The book moves really quickly- maybe too quickly at first, as it is hard to follow this alternate world; we pick up the pieces to how this world has evolved and the types of people living in it slowly throughout the book. There is a lot of mystery shrouding the sisters, even after the world and its people have been built for the reader. It will keep you guessing throughout- and as this is part of a series, the ending does not bring much closure (I can’t wait for the next one!).
There is a pretty quick romance/insta-connection between Lucy and someone else (not the person I thought from the beginning of the book), but it really grew on me and I loved it by about halfway through. Lucy and Margot are well built characters, and even though we spend most of our time with and learn the most about Lucy, Margot is pretty fleshed out too- I am hoping to get to learn more about her in the next book.
My only complaint is that the book feels way too short! I would love to have more- and I can’t wait to read the second book! This is a really fantastic series and I am definitely going to be among the first in line to see it continue. I also wish there had been more world-building, as there seems to be so much different about this world than ours, but I assume more will come as we continue the series/the sisters learn more. As a heads up (and this might be a spoiler), there is quite a lot of violence (there’s a war continuing between Lasters and Splicers/essentially between the classes), and some personal violation (eggs harvested without consent) that is good to know if this may bother a reader- it’s not easy to read.