The Marked Son by Shea Berkley
Publication date: 2 August 2011 by Entangled Publishing
ISBN 10/13: 1937044017 | 9781937044015
Category: Young Adult Fantasy
Keywords: Fantasy, fae, romance
Format: Paperback, eBook, Kindle (eBook sent for review from Entangled Publishing)
|Click here to find more 3-star reviews on RNSL|
Seventeen year old Dylan has never fit in. He has a hard time making friends and it doesn’t help that his emotional wreck of a mother uproots them whenever one of her relationships doesn’t work out. After one such breakdown, she brings him to her childhood home and abandons him with his grandparents. There, Dylan’s recurring dreams of a beautiful girl in white return. She’s haunted his dreams since he was a child, always appearing when he needs her the most. Then one night, he sees a ghostly figure in the forest and finds out that not only is his dream girl real but she’s from another world parallel to his own. Together, they embark on a mission to save both his world and hers.
I actually passed on this book when I first saw it. With his gray hoodie and pensive stare, the cover model reminded me of Eminem. No offense to Eminem but a paranormal YA novel featuring someone who looks like him did not pique my interest. However, when the publisher reached out to RNSL and asked us to review the book, I decided to give it another chance.
I liked this book a lot more than I thought I would. While far from perfect, it had a good mix of adventure, fantasy and romance. Dylan’s had a really hard upbringing. His mother is very selfish and seems a little mentally unstable and I am almost relieved when she leaves, even though it’s heartbreaking. He’s learned to fend for himself emotionally. Dylan’s grandparents are great - caring and understanding in the face of having to suddenly care of a teenage boy. I didn’t like Dylan much at first. He’s often sullen and moody. While I feel for him, he uses his crappy childhood as a crutch, blaming all of his own bad behavior on it. As the story goes on, Dylan makes some friends though and opens himself up to his grandparents. Once he gets rid of the chip on his shoulder, he’s much more likable and I really liked the relationship he ends up having with his grandparents later on.
Kera, our heroine, is a rebellious teen from the fairy like kingdom of Teag, which has been overrun by the oppressive Navar. She is brave but not always smart. She keeps sneaking out and often trusts the wrong people. I was annoyed with many of the adult characters in Kera’s world because it seemed like they were more interested in saving themselves than protecting her or standing up for what’s right. Instead, they leave it up to a teenage girl and her friends.
Kera and Dylan’s romance is sweet and intense. They start professing their love almost immediately after meeting. I understand that they’ve been in each other’s dreams for years but I wish I knew more about how this dream connection started and what they talked about during the dreams. Instead we’re supposed to believe that they both feel this all consuming love after meeting in person just once. Yes, I know this happens in romances all the time but sometimes you just need a little more to make it believable. I also found it a little unbelievable that Dylan’s friends would so easily accept his new powers and would be ready to risk their lives for the cause so quickly.
While I enjoyed this book I felt that there was something missing. I am not sure what it was. At the end of the book I was still unclear about some things. Who exactly are the First and what do the Keepers of Light do? Are Kera and her people fairies or do they have a name for their kind? This book clearly left room for a sequel and I am guessing that many of these questions will be answered in the next book.
Overall I didn’t love this book but I am glad that I read it. There were a lot of unique characters and the beginnings or a very rich fantasy world. I can see this appealing to many people. Fans of fantasy and those who like love stories about soul mates will probably like this book. Don’t let Eminem on the cover deter you from giving it a shot. :)