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Division of the Marked (The Marked Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 362 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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Orson Scott Card once said that books, fiction books, were divided into four different groups: those that focused on character, those that focused on a new world, those that focused on an event, and those that focused on an idea. This was a character book.
Every good character book needs some kind of tension for their characters, and this book provides them. Indeed two main tensions. Well, no, three:
1) First of all there is the 'wow, I have suddenly become a whole different person than I thought I was going to be growing up. I am suddenly 'marked', have magical powers, and have to become one of two different groups, very antagonistic, living miles apart.
2) I suddenly have a very deep relationship with several new people, including a sexual interest, and our relationships get torn about by the above mentioned two groups.
3) Someone is killing a bunch of people. Our kind of people. Needs to be stopped.
The author handles each of these tensions pretty well. The very annoying ten year gap in the story is a cheat: designed to keep the reader's mind on the 'how we felt about each other when we got broken up', and pass lightly over the (relatively important) new idea that 'we are part of two separate groups the hate each other' without having to actually explain why these two groups hate each other… or what most of them do most of the time anyway.
But the ten year gap works for that. If the author, or the reader, doesn't want to do the hard work of living through (or writing through or reading through) that ten year gap while the tension rises even while the nostalgic 'remember who we were then' fails to fade… then one needs a ten year gap.
But my problem with this book is I happen to like books that actually explain the world, and where the world makes sense. And this book, and this world, do not. Two groups which can fight extremely well due to the above mentioned magical powers: cool. These two groups in a world where no fighting goes on? Weird.
So, anyway, I want to see in the ten year gap, and I want to learn about the world. Oh, and I hate this whole 'sacrifice' thing. Go on a quest and do great things, cool. Condemn to non-existence your potential family? Not at all cool.
Synopsis (from the author): For all of written history, on the day of Da Un Marcu, fifty boys and girls across the three kingdoms are marked. They become a class apart from society. Taken to join their brothers and sisters, the Chisanta, they enter a culture of knowledge-keepers, martial artists, and possessors of strange and wonderful abilities.
When Yarrow discovers himself marked, he is lost and lonely; until he meets Bray, a spirited and curious girl with whom he feels uncommonly connected. As the two of them become familiar with their new lives, unaccountable events unsettle the peace. A mysterious murder leaves the Chisanta in confusion. Odder still, one of the fifty children never arrives. In the years that follow, more and more children of the Chisanta go missing.
Ten years later, the devastating truth comes to light. The death of a young marked girl is uncovered. Yarrow and Bray—separated for a decade and grown apart—are thrust back together to investigate the crime. Can they overcome their differences to save the fate of their kind and the peace of the nation?
What I liked: March McCarron grabbed my attention right from the start with the introduction of Yarrow as one of the marked. Bray soon joined Yarrow and they began their lives as members of Chisanta. The twists and turns of Bray and Yarrow’s paths – and those of their new found friends among the Chisanta. I enjoyed the divergence of their paths, the distrust between the two factions of the Chisanta – Bray is Chiona and Yarrow is Cosanta – and how their paths once again converged. Great plot, great pace, and memorable characters makes this one of my recent favorites!
What I didn’t like: For me, there wasn’t much to dislike about the book. About the only criticism I would have is the conflict between Yarrow and Bray when they reunited was predictable and its resolution just as predictable. It didn’t detract from the story, though.
Overall impression: Division of the Marked was a compelling, interesting read for me. I would highly recommend it to any readers of fantasy or simply anyone who enjoys an excellent novel I can’t wait to read the next book!
My rating: 5 Stars