Skip to content

The Mark Is a Fun Read With a Mythical Twist

March 25, 2010

The Mark by Jen Nadol
Published by Bloomsbury US Children’s Books January 19, 2010

As this story opens, Cassie Renfield is making a terrifying discovery about herself. Cassandra, who is aptly named for the Trojan princess whose gift of prophecy brought her nothing but grief, can see a luminous mark on a person who is about to die.

After seeing the mark on a loved one, and trying unsuccessfully to change her fate, Cassie tries to hide from her heart-wrenching “gift.” But a question continues to plague her. When she sees the mark on a person, does she have a responsibility to tell him what she knows? What if there is a chance his fate could be altered? Or maybe this news could give him time to take care of unfinished business? What should she do?

That summer, Cassie takes an introductory philosophy course and starts dating her insufferably annoying TA, Lucas. I was eager for that relationship to end. 😉  She looks to Lucas, and to the ideas of the great philosophers, for answers. Tentatively, she takes steps toward helping people escape their fate. However, in a twist that reminded me of W.W. Jacobs’s “The Monkey’s Paw,” her intervention has unintended consequences.

The Mark hits the ground running, throwing you right into the action in the first few paragraphs. However, it is not a fast paced novel. Most of it centers around Cassie’s emotional struggles and the philosophical questions she wrestles with. I found Cassie well drawn and likable. The book touched lightly on the ideas of some philosophers, and on perennial questions like the existence of fate and free will. While it doesn’t explore these ideas in depth, it’s a thought provoking read.

Toward the end of the book, Cassie stumbles upon some interesting revelations that twist things around, changing the nature of the story. I’m not sure how I felt about that. I’ll reserve judgment until I see how the various threads of this novel are handled in the sequel.

I read an uncorrected ARC, and there were several errors. For example, Cassie meets a psychiatrist whose business card states she has a PhD (a psychiatrist is an MD). I assume these mistakes were corrected in the final copy, which has a gorgeous new cover.

Overall, I thought this was a great read with an intelligent, engaging main character and several unexpected twists. I also enjoyed the mythological and literary allusions throughout the novel. I recommend it for YA fiction lovers, especially those who enjoy stories with a paranormal flavor.

I borrowed this ARC from Around the World Book Tours.

Read More Reviews: My Reading Room; Chick Loves Lit; Read Into This; Reading With Tequila


3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 27, 2010 12:52 am

    The plot sounds interesting. I am sure I will enjoy this, but I do hope the pace is not a bother for me. Great review! Thanks!

  2. March 28, 2010 6:24 pm

    Great review! I enjoyed The Mark as well. I didn't like Lucas either. I'm looking forward to the sequel to see where the author is going to take the story.

  3. April 1, 2010 6:10 pm

    Stephanie, what an amazing review! I just finished reading it (you sent it to me for the tour woohoo!) and agree with you about a lot of what you said. I also noticed that PhD thing about the psychiatrist, which bugged me lol. Lucas was also a pill, wasn't he?! I didn't know there was going to be a sequel! That's exciting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: