Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Marked Son (Keepers of Life #1)

The Marked Son
By: Shea Berkley
ISBN:  9781937044015
Published August 2, 2011 by Entangled Publishing
Available Format:  Paperback, ebook

My Rating:  ★★★★★

All his life, Dylan Kennedy has been an outcast, forgettable.  With no father and a fraction of a mother, he’s learned to live life the only way he knows how, expecting nothing but disappointment.  When his mom suddenly dumps him on his grandparents and runs, it’s just more of the same for poor Dylan.  But, on his grandparents’ sheep farm, something starts to change.  Dylan sees a ghost that he has dreamed of his whole life, a young woman in white roaming the nearby forest.  Pretty soon, Dylan learns there is much more to his troubled past than he even knew, and he is thrust into a war in a world he never even knew existed. 

I really, really loved this book.  I love how the author switches between Kera and Dylan’s POV, though I was a little distracted that Dylan spoke in present tense while Kera’s part was past.  But, this story was fantastic!  Berkley did an awesome job weaving little details in and bringing the lives and worlds of both these young people to life.  The characters were so well rounded and the scenery was so rich; I felt I was right there in the middle of it all. It transported me like a really great book should!

This was also a fairly unique plot—no vampires and werewolves.  There were lots of magical and mysterious creatures, and each and every one had their own distinct characteristics.  I love how the author uses the pure vs. half-blood as the major conflict and how completely despicable Navar is throughout the story.  My favorite character is a tie between Jason and Bodog—both strong with big hearts underneath.  I was very pleased with the way Dylan matured during the story as he learned more and more about himself.  He grew to accept who he was, and that is a big lesson for the target audience. 

There is the slight love triangle, and it was completely unrealistic how quickly the two main characters fall in love.  BUT, it really makes sense in this story because they have “known” each other their whole lives and they were really destined to be together.  I am also impressed that Kera is a pretty strong heroine even though Dylan is really the focus of this book.  She is forced into things she does not want, but she does fight for herself and works very hard to get Dylan to be a part of her world.  Sometimes accepting the hand you are dealt is harder than trying to fight back, and I respected Kera for how well she handled the challenges she faced. 

I’ll say it again—I loved this book!  I cannot wait for this story to continue…