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Thursday, October 29, 2015

What I’m Reading: Marked

I am actually working on three reviews for some January 2016 genre titles that are due to Booklist today, but before I finish those up I wanted to tell you that the newest issue digital issue of Booklist came out and it includes my STARRED review of a debut fantasy novel that is a great adult-YA crossover.

So below is my draft review which includes links to the published review AND a few extras.

Marked by Sue Tingey

Nov. 2015. 352p. Quercus, hardcover, $26.99  (9781623659202); Quercus, e-book, $12.99  (9781623659226)
First published November 1, 2015 (Booklist).


In this compelling, debut, urban fantasy, readers are introduced to Lucky, a young woman who can see ghosts, a gift that has made her an outcast her entire life; in fact, her only friend is a ghost named Kayla. Lucky leads a quiet, solitary life debunking fake psychics until the day her life is turned upside down when she is called back to her former school to investigate the appearance of an evil daemon, a daemon that it appears has come from a parallel world to use Lucky as a pawn in their political drama. Reluctantly Lucky travels to the “Underlands” where she is confronted with new truths about her friend, her family history, and her special place in the daemon world. Readers will eagerly follow the plucky and headstrong Lucky and her new champions including two handsome daemons vying for her affection and a loyal pet Drakon, Lucky must become her “true self” under trying circumstances, while fighting for what is she believes is right in a brutal, foreign land. This is a brisk paranormal tale, with outstanding world-building, a large cast of well drawn characters, and an intricate plot, filled with intrigue and adventure. Marked reads like a PG-13 version of the Sookie Stackhouse series  combined with some of the sinister and thought-provoking undertones of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. This series opener will find wide appeal in libraries, hungry for more quality urban fantasy.

YA Appeal: This is an excellent option for YA fans of paranormal, urban fantasy. The coming of age theme is very strong and while there is a romance element, it is tame. Teen readers will see a lot of themselves in Lucky.

Three Words That Describe This Book: compelling, coming of age, paranormal

Readalikes: When I was reading Marked, I kept thinking how similar it was to Harry Potter in that you watch Lucky enter a world she didn’t know existed, a world where not only was she not considered weird and a nuisance, but also a world where she is the lost key to saving everyone. While the story isn’t like Harry Potter at all, this feeling and set up was EXACTLY like it.

For the same reasons, and for a more decidedly mature adult read, The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harness has a similar feel. I listened to all three: A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and The Book of Life.

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