Author: Inara Scott
Genre: YA, paranormal romance
Release Date: April 3, 2012
Summary: In her second semester at a boarding school for teenagers with special powers, Dancia Lewis faces danger from both inside and outside of Delcroix Academy.
All of her life, Dancia Lewis has wanted to use her powers for good. And now that she’s learned the truth about Delcroix Academy—and herself—she may just get the chance. But being part of Delcroix’s top secret Program isn’t anything like Dancia expected. She has to ask herself: what happens to the Talented kids who refuse to pledge their loyalty to the Program? And why did her friend Jack run away rather than join? Dancia’s adorable boyfriend Cam insists they need the help of every Talented student to defend Delcroix from dangerous enemies outside their gates. But Dancia has to wonder: what if Delcroix’s most frightening enemies come from within?
☆: 1/5 – Nope, not going to be reading that third book.
Review: Overall, though the first book was passable, this one just kind of disintegrated into a mess of paranormal love triangles and supernatural vendettas. The characters devolved, and there was the sense of the storyline being repeated with slightly different elements. I just couldn’t get into “The Marked”, even though I did valiantly struggle to the end.
While some authors can make love triangles work, unfortunately, I felt that Scott could not. If anything, I think what really bothered me the most was the fact that all the female characters identified through their relationships with men. Now, recently, there was a study done that said that women overwhelmingly define themselves through their relationships with other people and not necessarily by the sense of the actual self. What I saw here not only backed that study up, but really disappointed me in that all of the girls seemed sad and “powerless” without their boys in their lives. There was only one small moment without Cam or Jack where Dancia actually seemed happy and that was over pretty quickly. Otherwise? She was mourning for her lost friendship with Jack or worried that Cam would consider her a traitor for missing her best friend, who happens to be male, and who may or may not be a potential love rival.
What’s worse, one of the characters actually starts breaking down under the pressure of not being able to snag a boy – but implied that said pressure was caused on purpose to make her talent grow.
I can’t get past that. At first I thought I could take that into account with everything else (another band of supernaturally talented children challenging the Delacroix Program, etc), but the more I think about it, the more angry I get.
It’s hard enough being a girl in Western culture right now – I grew up in the 90s and it was easier, but not by much. But now we’ve got books like this having male teachers practically torturing the MC to make her talent “grow”, and then having the message (and I hope this was unintentional) that you’ll be sad if you see all of your friends getting boyfriends when you don’t. Yeah, okay, in real life, that happens. But it seemed like it was pushed to the extreme here, and I’m not okay with that. It had such a heterosexist slant at times I had to reread parts of it to be sure I was interpreting things correctly – there were no queer characters, and while YA is still growing in that area, this book feels like a throw back to the bad old days where we don’t talk about queer people at all. All the girls are getting a man, or they’re sad and weak or literally shapeshift to get one.
This is what makes girls self-injure. Books like this don’t help them feel stronger, it makes them hate themselves more. This is why we have the highest numbers in self-injury that we’ve had in the past 20 years. This is why girls starve and cut and burn themselves – because of messages, whether intentional or not, like this.
Overall, disappointed and disgusted. While I thought that the Big Reveal/Big Bad would make up for things at first, under further consideration in the face of everything I’ve talked about here, just didn’t. If the author can make the love triangle work and have it make sense, I’m fine with it. Here, all I saw was a girl considered as weak and then being exploited because she was considered weak. The plot was contrived.
I won’t be reading the third book, and I wish I could have the time back that was spent reading this one.