Book #42: The Marked Son by Shea Berkley

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Seventeen-year-old Dylan Kennedy always knew something was different about him, but until his mother abandoned him in the middle of Oregon with grandparents he’s never met, he had no idea what. When Dylan sees a girl in white in the woods behind his grandparents’ farm, he knows he’s seen her before…in his dreams. He’s felt her fear. Heard her insistence that only he can save her world from an evil lord who uses magic and fear to feed his greed for power. Unable to shake the unearthly pull to Kera, Dylan takes her hand. Either he’s completely insane or he’s about to have the adventure of his life, because where they’re going is full of creatures he’s only read about in horror stories. Worse, the human blood in his veins has Dylan marked for death…

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review. I was not compensated in any way.

I want to say that this book made me very excited. There is so much in this book that puts it in the “awesome” category, but I found myself being bored. It wasn’t the male main character. I love having different point of views and to be honest, Dylan was pretty cool. What I found to be an issue is the two different point of views and that it took the bulk of the book for the two main characters just to meet.

Okay, let’s start with what I disliked and then go to the stuff I did like.

For one, the point of views can get a bit confusing or annoying (depending). The chapters are separated into two separate viewpoints. First person for our hero, Dylan, and third person for the love interest, Kera. This wouldn’t be a complete issue except that I didn’t get a grasp of Kera’s world. Lucky for Dylan, I was able to visualize his world pretty well. It’s like our own reality. Kera’s however is magical and I’m not sure if the time period comparison is more Medieval or Victorian. That lack of imagery made it hard for me.

I’m not saying that it’s the case for other readers, but for me I had problems with the visualization.

Second, it took about half the book for Dylan and Kera to truly meet. The backstory is that Dylan has dreamt of Kera since early childhood and after he’s left at his grandparents’ house, he comes across a “ghost”. I won’t go into details because this whole bit is the first half of the book. Suffice to say that even though they are dream buddies, they never met until the “ghost” stuff. Though the ghost angle was interesting, I feel like it took a while. Meanwhile, Kera’s chapters are filled with some action that give you a little info about the world.

And here comes to the final con in my opinion: Insta-love. Sure, Dylan and Kera basically knew each other in dreamland and it does take a while for them to meet, but it’s insta-love. Dylan fell for her the moment he saw her and became obsessed the moment they actually talked. Now, there is a brief idea as to why that is, but the whole act felt disjointed to me.

The Pros? The main plotline. I mean, how can you not like alternate worlds, magic, and an evil man trying to become king and commit mass genocide? Basically, there are two worlds: Ours and Teag. Teag is a magical world filled with people who are magically inclined to the life forces of nature. The people are called Firsts. In a simple sense, they are Fae. Every creature that you meet in the first book has a Fae equivalent in mythology.

I like that. I like that Berkley used the Fae world and made it her own. Sure, I’m confused about it and couldn’t visualize it very well, but the fact that she used it and went with it is awesome. I may not have been able to see the world, but I was able to see the magic. The magic was well written and did grab my attention. I could see Dylan surfing the earth. I just couldn’t see Teag.

In all, the beginning wasn’t strong, but wasn’t boring. The middle lagged a bit. However, the ending of the book was fast paced and had quite a bit of action. I still won’t say this book was for me, but I can see it being a good trilogy for others.

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