What a rich, complex world this author has created! The many races/species/types of aliens are hard to sort out and keep straight at first, but once you start grouping characters together and sorting out who goes with who, the variety works really well. They each have their own physical traits, which the author goes into great detail to help you picture – hair color, ear length, teeth, ridged foreheads, wings, etc. They each have distinct emotional/mental traits that are characteristic of their races too. I personally found the lists in the back of the book very helpful to remember who belonged where, and this is a great idea for a YA book where kids might get confused (or maybe kids are better at that sort of thing than I am).
The story itself is very character-driven with a seemingly simple plot – the marked kids have to escape the Graelith and Tyrnott enemies before they’re identified, flee their homes, and journey to a hidden training camp for people marked like them. The plot has plenty of action and tension as the marked ones are chased all over the city and into the wilderness of the forest, and the reader gets to see a lot of this world along the journey. The author does a great job of creating a fantastical world with different creatures and monsters, and there’s something new to discover on almost every page so that you never get bored, despite their lengthy journey.
I also really appreciated that you see viewpoints of practically every single character in the story. Not just the kids, but also their parents, allies, and even their enemies. It makes for very complex and interesting storytelling, and it works really well to flesh out the bigger world around these kids. I also liked that you never get a complete answer about what is REALLY going on – this is book 1 in a series, after all. Just what is Lady Anyamae’s intended destiny for these marked ones? Who is the Miyran heir? Why were Eros, Kenrya, Prizene, Tip (my personal favorite), and Azetan chosen to group together?
This is also one of the cleanest books I’ve read, editing-wise. The chapters are super short, which kind of bugged me but probably works well for young readers. Overall, I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes alien-filled fantasy/adventure stories. It’s a good read for all ages.
See it on Amazon!