A few weeks back, The Traveling Reader held a book giveaway contest which led me to get to know readers and bloggers from different parts of the world. Some were old friends – Karina, Memory, Isabeau, Simonette, and few previous officemates – yet most were new acquaintances. Among the new gems I found was Felicia of A Novel Paradise. This book fanatic and blogger from Singapore won 2 books from The Book Depository, one of which she’ll be reviewing for us today.
Title: Carrier of the Mark
Author: Leigh Fallon
Publisher: Harper Teen (October 4th, 2011)
When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she’s surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRís.
But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction.
Firstly, the writing. I’m neither an expert on literature or a writer myself, but the author’s style just didn’t appeal to me at all. The prose felt very forced and direct…like everything was spelt clearly and you just had to take it at face value, you know? I know a book doesn’t need to have flowery language or extra-complicated sentences in order to be likeable, and too much thinking can get tiring as well. But because the writing was so plain and one-dimensional, I felt like I wasn’t involved in the story, but rather an outsider flipping through the pages and knowing A said this, B replied, C happened, then D followed. The dialogue between characters was so stiff I found myself wondering if people really did have conversations like this in real life.
Also, I’m not a fan of exclamation marks in dialogue.
Secondly, the romance was really, really fast! I know this is supposed to be a romance novel and they were helplessly drawn to each other, but that also meant I couldn’t understand WHY Adam (the love interest) loved Megan so much. I mean, he can’t think of anything but her and even sends a crow and his sister to stalk her-when they hadn’t even exchanged more than a few words! Megan thinks it’s sweet and protective of Adam, but to me, it’s just plain creepy. I do not need a crow spying on me in the shower, and that is exactly what happens in the book. Everything happened so fast, they’d barely met and suddenly he was confessing his undying love to her? The author kind of skimmed over the development of the relationship, so we hardly get an insight as to how they got to know each other. Instead, we suddenly see both of them kissing and Megan believing Adam was The One after a few weeks. The quickness of their whirlwind romance was a little startling, making them seem like two hormone-crazed teenagers rushing into love rather than sensible young adults starting a new relationship. Other readers might appreciate this as a realistic portrayal of young love, but personally I thought it went way too intense, way too fast.
Perhaps I’m being too cynical here, and who knows, maybe someone else might find Adam more swoon-worthy than stalkerish. Who doesn’t love a hot stud in a book? I guess sometimes hotness becomes such a cliche, it actually makes the romance seem superficial and unbelievable instead of enhancing it.
Thirdly, I was really uncomfortable with how this book closely resembled another series starting with a T and ending with a T. (In case you haven’t guessed, this series involves one girl who moves to Forks, and a family of vegetarian vampires with supernatural abilities.) I couldn’t help noticing the likeliness despite my attempts to avoid making any comparisons between both books. YA books always tend to overlap, whether is it in plot or character-wise, because there’s bound to be some similarities when you’re dealing with the same issues. Usually, I don’t find it a huge problem…but for Carrier of the Mark, the signs were so obvious it was pretty hard to miss. Although the book did have some original ideas that should be expanded on, I’d like to see more originality in both its plot and characters.
It was hard to relate to Megan emotionally, I guess. The whole “I’m dangerous and I should totally stay away from you but I have the hots for you so I’ll just kiss you and hope it all works out” thing? It gets old. Fast. If you know someone isn’t good for you, why play with fire? Megan’s lovesick behaviour at the start seemed a little silly to me, especially when Adam was obviously staying away from her, FOR HER OWN GOOD. When you don’t feel a connection with the MC, that’s when things go downhill.
You can probably tell from my little tirade that I couldn’t bring myself to truly like this novel (oh well). I would suggest that you check it out from the library first if you’re interested, but for a more comprehensive point of view, you might like to check out more reviews over at its Goodreads page.
EDIT: This review also appears on A Novel Paradise.
I’m very sorry that Felicia did not find the book engaging. But I totally enjoyed her review. I agreed to some of her points except that I probably enjoyed the book more than she did. And in case you’re wondering, I bought myself a copy of the book, too. It was Paypal’s fault. LOL
But on to the introduction. Felicia was kind enough to answer the following questions just for you, dear readers:
I’m a major bookworm, and my obsession with books is bordering on crazy haha. Everytime I finish a book, I’d have so much to say about it, but none of my friends really understood how I felt. I think they probably thought I was nuts, the way I rambled on and on about imaginary worlds and characters! So I started blogging to share all my feelings about the books I’ve read, and thankfully since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to befriend other like-minded readers. I also wanted to remember how I felt about certain books, especially if they left such a deep impression on me that I had to write a review.
Generally, I read anything as long as it’s Young-Adult (YA) and contains at least a little romance. More specifically, I love genres like adventure, contemporary, dystopian (there are SO many awesome 2011 dystopian releases, and loads more coming up in 2012), historical, fantasy and paranormal. But that doesn’t mean I’d say no to a book from the horror genre, if the content sounds good!
Oh man, must I really pick one?! Well, I think my all-time favourite author would be Sarah Dessen. I like how real her characters are, and how easy it is to connect with them emotionally. Her writing is raw without being overdone and poetic without being flamboyant; nothing too dramatic and not at all shallow. To me, her books are like must-haves if you’re a fan of YA contemporary.
Rather short intro, isn’t it? I know you’re dying to get to know more about Felicia so let’s give her some love on her blog: A Novel Paradise.
The “ribbons” and “questions” were taken from Felicia’s blog’s theme and were edited for the purposes of this post. Images © A Novel Paradise. All rights reserved.