Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Review THE MARK by Jen Nadol

The Mark by Jen Nadol

January 19th 2010 by Bloomsbury

Hardcover, 228 pages

Placement in Pile:
Bottom of the Barrel (seriously)

Cassandra Renfield has always seen the mark—a glow around certain people reminiscent of candlelight. But the one time she mentioned it, it was dismissed as a trick of the light. Until the day she watches a man awash in the mark die. After searching her memories, Cassie realizes she can see a person’s imminent death. Not how or where, only when: today.

Armed with a vague understanding of the light, Cassie begins to explore her “gift,” seeking those marked for death and probing the line between decision and destiny. Though she’s careful to hide her secret—even from her new philosophy-obsessed boyfriend—with each impending death comes the temptation to test fate. But so many questions remain. How does the mark work? Why is she the only one who sees it? And finally, the most important of all: If you know today is someone’s last, should you tell them?

Maybe I indicated this book's placement as a little low in the pile. But since I eagerly awaited its debut, and practically strong-armed my local library to order it as soon as it came out, well, it's no wonder I was disappointed enough to give it the lowest ranking My Pile of Books hands out.

To put it frankly, The Mark isn't worth the reading time.
Harsh much? Yeah, I know. But there is a certain expectation I hold for the publishing industry. First, it's my hope that there is an actual point to the story, or that the characters will be sympathetic enough to warrant my continued reading, or that the plot line will actually be engaging. One can hope, right?

In The Mark, Jen Nadol's protagonist, Cassie, lets the reader know first page that she can see an uncanny, glowing mark around a person who will die that very day.
Alright, the first chapter gripped me. So I plunged into the rest of the book.
Over the next five or so chapters the story-telling bounced all over the place in different flashback scenes. Confusing much? For sure.
Then when the book picked up in real story-line time, I found the main character jumping into lies and a thoughtless, emotionless relationship. So when the author tried to push an 'emotional' scene, well, for me it was flat and as lifeless as the writing of the book.
Am I the biggest jerk in the world for disliking this book? Maybe. My advice to you: go out and read it for yourself, and prove me wrong.

OH, and since I didn't like this book, I'll be posting another book review tomorrow, so check back.


Aubrey (AKA Stacey) said...

Thanks Erin for your honest opinion. I received this one from the publisher and have been meaning to get to it. If/when I do I'll let you know what I think!

I have read many mixed reviews on this one though. Certainly one of those books that seem to be a love/hate thing.

I'm excited to see another review from you tomorrow!

Aubrey (AKA Stacey) said...

Oh and although I like the cover, don't you think it's conspicuously like the cover for Just One Wish by Janette Rallison, just through a Purple filter and turned on the side?

Kristin Rae said...

I've been reading similar reviews for this on blogs - so I don't think it's odd that you didn't enjoy it. The cover sure looks neat though!

Guinevere said...

Wow, I was intrigued by the idea behind this book (maybe why it sold?) but now after reading this, maybe I'll skip it. Or at least wait until I'm in a "I really want to read a crappy book right now" mood. Ha ha. Thanks for the honest review Erin!
(and yes Aubrey, I agree the cover looks like Just One Wish)

Elle Strauss said...

thanks for your honest review. It is disheartening to hear that a book with so many flaws and broken writing 101 rules could get agented and sold, when there are so many worthy books that get missed.

I look forward to you next review.

Ali said...

Great review, sorry you didn't enjoy it as much as you thought you would though.

By the way, you have an award over at my blog! :)

Randi said...

this is just a btw but I like the new look on the blog!!!

Ali said...

So, sorry, I completely forgot the link to your award! Silly me! :D

Marcia said...

The premise and first chapter sound compelling. I'd be interested now to pick it up and see if I also think it's this bad -- and try to figure out why it got agented and published anyway. It makes you wonder if edgy premise and the right timing to jump on the paranormal bandwagon really carried the day.