Thursday, December 24, 2009

Book Review: The Mark by Jen Nadol

*Note that this is a review of the ARC edition, some of the plot/quotes/etc are subject to change

Cassandra Renfield has always seen the mark—a glow around certain people reminiscent of candlelight. But the one time she mentioned it, it was dismissed as a trick of the light. Until the day she watches a man awash in the mark die. After searching her memories, Cassie realizes she can see a person’s imminent death. Not how or where, only when: today.

Armed with a vague understanding of the light, Cassie begins to explore her “gift,” seeking those marked for death and probing the line between decision and destiny. Though she’s careful to hide her secret—even from her new philosophy-obsessed boyfriend—with each impending death comes the temptation to test fate. But so many questions remain. How does the mark work? Why is she the only one who sees it? And finally, the most important of all: If you know today is someone’s last, should you tell them?

When I first read the synopsis of The Mark, I knew I was going to enjoy it. I love all things supernatural, and the plot sounded completely unique. Of course, I've read plenty of supernatural stories, so finding one that sounded new was extremely exciting.

Cassie's left on her own after her grandmother passes away. Of course, the situation is even worse because Cassie saw the mark around her grandmother, and was unable to do anything to stop it. Cassie's then sent to live with her career-drive aunt, Drea, who only returns home to sleep. While most people would become even more withdrawn without any meaningful human interaction, Cassie believes that it may have been her grandmother's way of ensuring that Cassie is able to care for herself.

After lounging for a week, Cassie decides to apply for a job at a coffee shop in town. It's here that she meets Lucas, a student at the local college. I really liked Cassie, which may be why I wanted her to end her relationship with Lucas after he found out about her ability. Once he finally starteed to believe her, he pushed her to meddle with fate (he called it her "duty"), and this had dire consequences. He seemed to become obsessed with her ability, telling her to call him if she see's the mark, and encourages her to spend time in the crowded areas. He even uses her situation as a hypothetical question for the philosophy class that he's TAing (Cassie is enrolled in the course as an audit student). I felt like the relationship became less about Cassie and Lucas, and more about Cassie's power.

The thing that I most enjoyed about this book was how it dealt with the idea of fate, death, and the afterlife. This was the rare type of book that used those ideas without making me feel like those ideas were being forced upon me. I do wish, however, that it had been longer. The length of the book didn't detract from the story, and it didn't feel rushed, but I wanted to know more about Cassie's history. So, now I'll just have to hope for a sequel.

I'll definitely be looking forward to more from Nadol.

The Mark
By Jen Nadol
Published by Bloomsbury USA
240 Pages
Release Date: January 19, 2010
Rating: A-

You can check out the author's site here:


Amanda said...

I can't wait until this book comes out! I've wanted to read it since I first saw it at ALA this summer. One month left!

Kelsey said...

Great review. Books about fate and the afterlife are very interesting. The Everafter was also really good. I'll have to keep an eye out for The Mark :)

in which a girl reads said...

Awesome review!

This is definitely one of those books I'm eagerly anticipating! Can't wait to read it :)

Cecelia said...

This one has such a lovely cover - I'm tempted to go off and order it just for that...

But you wrote a convincing review, too! I'm definitely checking this one out.

Natalie said...

Definitely sounds interesting! I'm glad you enjoyed it, and I can't wait to read it for myself! Thanks for the review!

Emma said...

Great review! I'm looking forward to reading this one. Happy Holidays!

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