Thursday, September 29, 2011

Review: The Marked Son by Shea Berkley

Title: The Marked Son (Keepers of Life, #1)
Author: Shea Berkley
Pages: 334
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Release Date: August 2, 2011
Seventeen-year-old Dylan Kennedy always knew something was different about him, but until his mother abandoned him in the middle of Oregon with grandparents he's never met, he had no idea what.
When Dylan sees a girl in white in the woods behind his grandparents' farm, he knows he's seen her his dreams. He's felt her fear. Heard her insistence that only he can save her world from an evil lord who uses magic and fear to feed his greed for power.

Unable to shake the unearthly pull to Kera, Dylan takes her hand. Either he's completely insane or he's about to have the adventure of his life, because where they're going is full of creatures he's only read about in horror stories. Worse, the human blood in his veins has Dylan marked for death...

My Thoughts: Whoa. That was awesome.

I didn't realize how much I would end up loving The Marked Son. Before I read this book, I read some reviews and opinions seemed kind of mixed. It's amazing how different people's reading experiences can be when reading the same book. I found The Marked Son to be such a thrilling read! I was captivated from the very beginning. I thought the main and supporting characters were very likable and had great relationships. I loved the writing, and the story was unique and filled with magic, romance, action, and some surprising twists that I never saw coming. The Marked Son just really did it for me!

For years Dylan Kennedy has had dreams about the same beautiful girl. He tries not to think much about it, but that all changes when he actually sees the girl in the woods where his grandparents live. Dylan decides he has to find her, and when he does, she opens his eyes to a whole other world, a magical one. One that may explain why his mother ended up abandoning him and why he has always felt ignored and forgotten by people. But that magical dimension is dangerous and after becoming marked for death, Dylan has to decide whether to stay in the human world and forget everything he just learned or fight to protect both worlds and the girl from his dreams.

The world the girl is from is called Teag, and it's filled with fantasy and mystical beings. Most of the people from Teag are firsts. They are Keepers of Life, and they have the ability to use magic to control nature. Some are more powerful than others. There was a time when they could cross the barrier to the human world, so there are even half-bloods, people with human and first blood, in Teag. Firsts can be very selfish, and when it comes to love, they can become obsessive and end up hurting people. As one of the characters stated: "Love is our curse." There are also creatures like the tiny pux, who are a type of sĂ­dhe that are a real nuisance and can be frightening when in a large group; and the ones created by magic like the bug-like millispits, who are extremely scary because their only purpose is to kill. I thought the world of Teag was completely fascinating, and I hope to learn more about it in the next book.

As for the characters, Dylan was so great. Even though he didn't have the best life growing up, he managed to become a person who is caring, determined, and passionate. I loved that the book was from his point-of-view because I enjoy reading from the male POV, and I think the author did a wonderful job on making his voice believable. I really loved his character. Kera, the girl from Dylan's dreams, was a great character as well. We got to know her through the parts that are from her perspective, and she was pretty kick-ass. I loved how protective she was of her people and Dylan. The only thing I wanted to know more about were the dreams Dylan and Kera shared throughout the years. We get a glimpse of the dreams in the beginning and the dreams were mentioned a little throughout the book. I really rooted for Dylan and Kera, and I believe they truly love each other. But it all started with the dreams. And I would have liked more insight about those dreams just so that I could get a better understanding of their connection. Either way, I loved their relationship, and I cannot wait to know more about both Kera and Dylan in the sequel.

There were other great characters in this book: Dylan's grandparents, Bodog, Leo, Jason, Pop, Lucinda (she made me laugh!). I even liked the bad guy Navar because he actually made me feel really nervous and worried for the other characters. Not many villains can get that reaction out of me. This guy didn't hold back. However, I have a feeling there might be others who are capable of more evil and damage than Navar, so it should quite interesting finding out what Dylan and the others are going to have to go through.

The Marked Son was a fast-paced and consuming novel. With the way it ended, I'm already excited to read the rest of the trilogy (the second book is The Fallen Prince and the third is The Bastard King) to come back to the world and the characters the author has created. I pretty much loved everything about it, and it's one of my favorite YA fantasy/paranormal novels this year! A really awesome debut!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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