Mardan’s Mark

And the last of the book club is here! (Because I reviewed Glass Girl long ago.)

Blurb: Abducted by pirates and taken behind enemy lines across the Great Gulf, Princess Srilani is determined to save her sisters and younger brother, the crown prince, from captivity.

She convinces their caretaker, Aldan, and his brother slaves to share the perilous journey home. This ragtag group of unlikely heroes sets out on a quest — pursued by cutthroat pirates, merciless priests, and marauding soldiers — to return the heir to his kingdom before war breaks out.

I really enjoyed Mardan’s Mark (Mardan’s Mark #1) by Kathrese McKee. What’s funny is I got so sucked into the story that I didn’t notice the similarities with By Darkness Hid until I was nearly done with the book. It’s a great example of two stories with similar premises yet totally different execution. And I loved how it wrapped up – with one part complete so you get that sense of satisfaction, even though there’s more story to go. (Which I am very much looking forward to reading.)

There are quite a few characters in the group and I loved them all, though Aldan had a slight lead over anyone else. The only confusion I had (and this was my fault because I have this aversion to flipping back in an ebook for some reason) was I wasn’t sure which characters were killed during the beginning kidnapping which made me misunderstand something later in the story.

For a fantasy, I didn’t miss the magical component and didn’t even notice its absence until it was pointed out to me. Having a very spiritual element probably contributed to that. I also really liked the unique world-building and it contained the perfect level of YA romance along with the adventure. (Although speaking of, with a kingdom so dependent on El, I found their stringent purity-of-lineage rules rather extreme. If they really have to go that far, why not do like the Old Testament –  making the suspected person drink bitter water or some such and let El  judge?)

Do you expect magic in fantasy?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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