ARC Review: True North by Elizabeth Burgess

True North by Elizabeth Burgess Book Review blog header

Published: June 27th, 2017 | Series: The Complex #13 | Length: 106 pages | Genre: Adult sci-fi | Source: I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. | Possible Triggers: kidnapping

Amazon (available w/ KU) | Goodreads

Summary from Goodreads:

The Complex Book Series.
A Lone Planet. One Complex.
Unlimited Chaos.

Aldous Ravenwood and his mother, Lake, pride themselves on their abilities. Great healers and practitioners of magick when aligned with the Oceans and Stars, Mages consider themselves the most intellectually gifted Meta race, and the leaders of the Mage Imperial Family are among the strongest. Yet Aldous’ son, Rath, has an ailment no Mage can treat. Other races of Metas on their home planet, Famiil, have also failed to cure him, and time is running out.

Their last hope is the Complex, an experimental society with strict rules but access to the medicine Rath needs. The only problem? The Crown Prince’s disease is communicable and he wouldn’t be allowed inside. Lake devises a plan to instead smuggle the little boy into the Complex. She enlists the help of a Human, Gideon, much to the dismay of her son given the long-standing feud between Mages and Humans.

True Mathieu came to the Complex with hopes to heal from her past. War took her husband and it hurt too badly to stay on the planet where they’d shared their lives. As a physician and research scientist, True believes the cure for her grief is found in service to others. After a chance meeting with Aldous, True volunteers to find a cure for Rath. The problem multiplies when other residents of the Complex become sick.

True must race against time and the mysteriousness of the illness before death spreads through the Complex. As she and Aldous grow closer, she also finds herself nearer to the truth of how Rath fell ill to begin with. In this thrilling tale, old alliances are tested and new ones are on trial as hearts are softened and secrets are exposed.

I had never heard of this series before Elizabeth Burgess contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing this title, True North. While The Complex is technically a series, each book can be read as a stand-alone and is written by a different author. I’ve read Burgess’ writing in the past and enjoyed it quite a bit and True North sounded fascinating, so I was excited to dive into it. Aside from the usual problems I have with novellas (everything moves so fast!), this was a good read that I’d recommend if you like sci-fi and don’t mind a few sex scenes.

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What I enjoyed most about True North was reading about different species and how they interact with each other. The main characters in this novella are Mages and Humans. Mages have magical powers and naturally live infinitely (although they can be killed) and have a history of war and conflict with Humans. However, on the Complex, they have to try and co-exist peacefully. While one of the main characters, Lake, is fine with Humans, her son Aldous holds a lot of prejudiced views against Humans and doesn’t want anything to do with them. But over the course of this short novella, readers get to see him become more accepting of Humans and learn that they aren’t all brutal, ruthless people like those that killed his father. Although I wish we had gotten to see this a bit more in-depth, I understand that for a novella, that’s hard to do and I’m pleased with how readers are able to see Aldous learn to accept and even like Humans. I really enjoyed seeing these two groups of people overcome their differences and learn to accept one another.

There are two romantic relationships we get to see in True North and I really enjoyed both of them. I don’t want to say too much because I want to avoid spoiling anything, but both romances are intriguing and often heart-warming. There are a few pretty explicit sex scenes, which generally I was okay with but one of them was kind of awkward to read. To be fair, though, I really usually only read YA and so I’m not really used to reading explicit sex scenes which may explain why I felt that way. Regardless, I was rooting for both couples because they certainly face their fair share of obstacles.

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In the end, I ended up liking True North just about as much as I expected to. It didn’t blow my mind away, but it didn’t disappoint either. Elizabeth Burgess was able to make me feel connected to the characters in only about 100 pages which is pretty impressive if you ask me. I definitely want to look into some of the other books in the series because the world is really intriguing and I’d like to read more about it. If you’re interested in reading sci-fi and looking for a quick read, True North is a great option. 

Thank you to the author for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Please keep in mind all quotes are from an ARC and may differ from the final version.

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4 thoughts on “ARC Review: True North by Elizabeth Burgess

  1. I’ve seen this series: it’s a bunch of authors that contribute in the same “Kindle World,” right? I have one from Carlton and another from another author: I guess they don’t have to be read in order?


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