Two worlds collide in author Lindsey Klingele's debut novel, The Marked Girl. One world is modern day Los Angeles, the other a magical fantasy world filled with monsters and enhanced beings.
"It's magic, then?"
"No, it's wi-fi."
I usually don't read the whole fantasy characters meet the modern world books. An example of this is A Book of Spirit and Thieves. That book is a spin off of the Falling Kingdoms series (which I love). In that story a girl from modern day Canada somehow makes her way into a portal that takes her to Mythica (the setting of Falling Kingdoms.) I bought that book as soon as I saw it-- and it's been just sitting on my bookshelf for almost a year now. I'm just not that interested in that type of book. (I'm sure I'll be shaking my head later when I actually do read A Book of Spirits and Thieves and love it.) What originally drew me to this book was not the plot nor the cover. It was actually the book trailer that made me want to read it. Not that the trailer was particularly good-- no book trailers ever are- but the publishers did a very smart thing when making the trailer.
They had very prominent people in the book community (Polandbananasbooks aka Christine Riccio, Jessethereader and Katytastic) acting in it. I don't usually watch book trailers (because they're always really bad and they also affect how I see the characters), but of course I had to watch this book trailer- my favorite book tuber was in it! It did end up sounding kind of interesting to me, so I added it to my amazon cart and preordered it.
After reading this book all I can say about my emotions on it is that I feel neutral. I didn't like it nor did I dislike it. There was nothing that particularly impressed me while reading the book. A lot of the aspects in the book were not very original, and many of the 'plot twists' were things that I easily predicted. Then again, I am a seasoned reader as well as a very skeptical reader. I tend to easily pick up hints and make some very good guesses at what's to come. That's why when I am surprised about something in a story, it makes a rather large impact on me.
Liv, the main character, is a (basically) regular teenage girl who's life changes drastically when she runs into a small group of some very strange people. Liv was a normal protagonist. Nothing particularly special, I didn't find her super annoying (luckily), but I didn't really like her all that much either. Like a lot of the book, I felt neutral about her. She didn't have any outstanding qualities that really stood out, she was just kind of there.
Cedric is a prince from another dimension who will do anything to get back to his kingdom. Maybe one of the issues about this was that I saw the trailer and now all I could visualize as the characters were the people in the trailer. Jessethereader was Cedric, which might explain why I wasn't overly attracted to this character. He wasn't the dark, warrior prince in my mind, he was a rather competitive, sometimes silly book tuber. I enjoyed some of Cedric's lines, some were rather amusing, but overall, like Liv (and the book), I feel pretty neutral about him.
Kat is Cedric's betrothed, like Cedric, she is a warrior and extremely loyal to her country. It's odd, I was expecting to see a lot more of her in the story, but we actually barely get to know her character at all. I liked Kat fine, but like the rest of the story, she wasn't anything new. I've read plenty of books with characters like Kat, and nothing about her made her stand out from the rest of them.
Merek is Cedric's cousin. He's the typical jerk with a backstory as to why that is. I have to say, I didn't dislike Merek as a character. I could see his angle and where he was coming from, which actually made me almost like him. I did feel a little bad for him because of how he is treated, though he kind deserves some of it because, like I said, he's a jerk.
The plot, as mentioned before, was rather predictable. And the relationships, mainly the romance made my eyes roll a little. While it was not instalove (which I absolutely hate), it was almost instalove. There was something about it that did not feel like it was really a relationship, possibly because of how quickly the relationship developed. Perhaps I'm being too skeptical on this because I've never actually experienced such a quick attraction, actually, I've never been in a romantic relationship but ignore that. This review is not about my nonexistent love life. My point is, I'm a very skeptical person and this relationship just seemed to develop too quickly. I've read some books where the main characters fall for each other in a number of days and I did believe the relationship, but the way those books were written made me fall for the relationship as well, which made it more believable. There was just something that gelt a little off about this relationship to me. Another issue I had with this story is that things would just instantly happen, which no warning or indication of what was happening. One sentence everything would be normal and the next someone would be being dragged across the room. It just didn't seem to work and felt a little odd.
The choices some characters made felt a little unrealistic as well. For example, Liv follows a stranger who she saw once into a dark tunnel. WHO DOES THAT? I guess someone with no sense of self preservation. Both Liv and Cedric seem to trust each other almost immediately, which is fairly unbelievable seeing as Cedric could be betrayed by anyone and all Liv knows about Cedric is that he's good at fighting and owns a sword.
"What is kale?"
"It's best that you don't know."
Overall, I wasn't particularly impressed by this book. I'd give it a 6/10 stars. I may read the next book, depending on the books that come out around the time it does and my mood when it comes out. I'm not waiting on the edge of my seat for it, though.
Here's the synopsis:
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (Los Angeles)…
When Cedric, crowned prince of Caelum, and his fellow royal friends (including his betrothed, Kat) find themselves stranded in modern-day L.A. via a magical portal and an evil traitor named Malquin, all they want to do is get home to Caelum—soon. Then they meet Liv, a filmmaker foster girl who just wants to get out of the system and on with her life. As she and Cedric bond, they’ll discover that she’s more connected to his world than they ever could’ve imagined…and that finding home is no easy task…