Author: Leigh Fallon
Genre: YA contemporary, PNR, UF
Publication Date: July 9, 2013 (HarperTeen – North America)
Source: Publisher-provided ARC
Summary: Megan knew she was destined to be with Adam from the first moment she saw him and now they are determined to be together. But Megan and Adam are Marked Ones, and a romance between two Marked Ones is strictly forbidden…and could cause worldwide devastation.
☆: 3.5/5 stars – a great follow-up to book one!
Review: I did enjoy the first book in this series, “Carrier of the Mark” quite a bit, so I was excited to hear there’d be more books coming out. So far it looks like it’s going to be a quartet, so that’s going to be interesting. While “Shadow of the Mark” won’t let fans of book one down, I feel like it could have been a lot better than it was. Maybe this is middle book syndrome coming in a bit, but I just was kind of irritated at some of the stuff I’ll be talking about in the main review. However, I do definitely want to read book three now. Like, yesterday. Damn you, cliffhanger hook ending!
What irritated me the most in this book: The kind-of-sort-of-sounded-like-author-couldn’t-decide love triangle. Or maybe you could call it a quadrangle? I’m not sure. I know that the whole thing with Rian has been building since book one, but then there’s the almost-glbt-but-not-really-guys thing between Megan and Aine. This irritated me, because it wasn’t “attraction to each other” but “to their elements”. Uh. Weren’t their elements also apart of them? So wouldn’t this count as a kind of glbt attraction thing? If we’re going to have a love triangle, Fallon, can’t we have one with another girl in it for Megan?
Then there’s Chloe. Oh lord. Where to start. While yes, she’s a creeper and kind of pushes her way into the lives of the Marked, her character needed to be developed way, way more – and since it looks like she’s going into book 3 with our heroes, hopefully that will come. There was also a lot of insta-love going on with her and Rian, which I wasn’t a fan of – especially since the workaround of “elements being attracted to each other” really wasn’t relevant here. Generally, I felt like all of the new characters needed some deeper character development, but what I got was adequate enough to go on.
As for the story itself, I’ll definitely have to hand it to Fallon – she knows how to keep the tension going in each chapter. Especially with the parts of the general arc leading up to the big reveal of Megan’s ultimate role in the fate of the Marked. We also get a deeper backstory into the Order, the Knights, the past failed alignments and more, which was desperately needed in book one. I’m so glad we got more worldbuilding here in book two with the backstory. I feel a lot more oriented in this world now, and I feel like I’m ready for book three in the sense of the world.
Fallon’s most-improved area: sensory language/imagery. I LOVED the scenes with our heroes and their elements interacting with each other, and I love that we got to see different places in Ireland, as well as outside of Ireland. All of the element manifestation scenes really stole the show, though, and I absolutely loved those parts the best.
Final verdict? While I still feel like this story still has a long way to go in terms of development of certain technical areas, it’s still a rather fun story and a great summer read. “The Shadow of the Marked” is out now from HarperTeen in North America, so be sure to check it out when you get the chance!