Thursday, October 13, 2011

Carrier of the Mark

Their love was meant to be.

When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she's surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRĂ­s.
But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction.

So, most of you know why I was so eager to read this.  For one thing, this is the first book published from inkpop, a site for young writers, a site I incidentally happen to be on. And for another, Leigh is awesome.  So I've been awaiting the release date for months.  When I heard I'd won an ARC in a sweepstakes, I was extremely happy, although, ironically, the ARC did not arrive until a couple days after the publishing date.
Carrier of the Mark was a quick read, and while it was by no means perfect, it was enchanting and unique and a lovely debut.

First, something I must address: the setting. Ireland! It's Ireland! I love Ireland, and I loved reading about it.  Leigh really brought it to life, both with descriptions of the surroundings and just the little words and phrases the characters would use that you wouldn't hear in America.  I loved that. The setting was perfect.
Setting aside, for the most part, Leigh's writing was very solid.  It was a fairly simple writing style, and it worked. The focus of this book was the plot and the characters, not the writing.  Also, I loved some of the scenes where they were using their magic--she had a great way of describing them.
However, I did have one major nitpick.  Dialogue info-dumping.  There were many times throughout the book when characters would suddenly launch into very long-winded explanations that left me very confused and that I had to read over several times to understand, or they would just begin these long stories about themselves.  While I understand dialogue is a convenient way to get these stories across, it just doesn't work. People really do not talk like that, and it was a bit hard to follow.
But despite my nitpick, I liked Leigh's writing. It worked for the story.

Carrier of the Mark has a pretty wide cast of characters. I'm going to try not to focus on all of them individually, so we'll see how I do.
Megan, our MC, was a pretty good protagonist.   Possibly the thing I loved most about her was that she is that normal girl that so many paranormal romances try to make their MC out to be, despite all the powers and magic.  Unlike a lot of the "normal girls" in PR, Megan actually seemed genuinely normal with the way she acted and reacted, and even just the way she thought.  However, that can also be a bit of a negative, because sometimes her thoughts about Adam made me roll my eyes a little bit.  But lusty/in love teenage girls tend to get gushy.
Adam, our love interest . . . I liked Adam. I didn't love him, but I liked him. There were some times that I really liked him, some times that he was just okay with me.  Nothing about him really bothered me, except for his appearance--I don't get why he had to be gorgeous.  It's not like part of being a Marked One is being extremely physically attractive.  I just wish there weren't so many gorgeous boys in YA today, because it sets a girl's standards extremely high and just lets her down in the end.
But aside from his appearance, I did like our love interest.  He was cute and sweet and sometimes even awkward, which was a nice change.
Other characters:
Fionn--Liked him, though his dialogue often seemed unrealistic to me and he liked launching into narratives. Still, he was a good father figure.
Aine--Liked her; she was funny and friendly and just generally a likable character. I did pronounce her name as "Ain" throughout the book, though, because my mind just wouldn't process the spelling and the actual pronunciation.
Rian--Really liked him. Felt bad for him, because he kinda got the short end of the stick, with his element and all.
Caitlyn--Sometimes I really liked her, sometimes she irked me with her gushing and girl-talk. But it's like with Megan; that's realistic as far as teenage girls go, it's just not always fun to read.

That's all I'm going to cover because I don't want to go on and on.  Overall, I liked the cast of Carrier of the Mark.

On the one hand, Leigh has an incredible imagination.  This world, these legends and groups and magics she thought up are all so intricate and unique.  I seriously respect her for creating something like this; I know I definitely couldn't.
On the other hand, though, while the basis of the plot itself was very unique, the plot devices were not as unique.  A lot of things that happened rang familiar to me, just some typical plot devices that are a bit too overused.
My main problem with the plot, though, would be the speed of things.  At some parts things happen so quickly, and at others they take a long time to finally occur.  When we finally reach the big drama at the end, it lasts about 10 pages.
Although, despite its brevity, I did really like the drama that occurred at the end.  I've seen a lot of people compare this to Twilight, but the big difference here is Megan. Megan doesn't just sit around and get rescued.  Megan does something. Megan becomes badass when she has to.
Last thing to mention: the romance.  
A lot of people had trouble with the romance. How very fast it moved.  But to make my reading experience more enjoyable, I decided my own version of it.  I decided that for those first few days/weeks when they're all kissy-lovey, it's their elements attracting.  The real feelings slowly build over the months until, when they say that they love each other, they really mean it.  When you go with that explanation, it's not so bad, is it?

All in all, while it wasn't perfect, the plot was unique and never lost my interest.

The YA world needs more classic magic.  The setting of this story combined with the idea of it all makes for something really enchanting.  While it may not be for everyone, Carrier of the Mark is a lovely debut novel by a lovely author.  And if the reviews and summary don't convince you to buy it, look at the gorgeous cover.  You know you want to.


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