Published: May 7th 2015 by Jo Fletcher Books
Format: ARC, 346 pages
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With no family and very few friends, Lucky’s psychic ability has always made her an outcast. The only person she can rely on is Kayla, the ghost girl who has been with her since she was born.
But Kayla is not all that she appears.
And when Lucky is visited by a demonic assassin with a message for her friend, she finds herself dragged into the Underlands – and the political fight for the daemon king’s throne.
Lucky, trapped in the daemon world, is determined to find her way home… until she finds herself caught between the charms of the Guardian Jamie, the charismatic Daemon of Death Jinx – and the lure of finding out who she really is.
I feel oddly duped by Marked. I was expecting a paranormal-urban fantasy with some detective/crime vibes, and what I got was a paranormal romance that reminded me of the Merry Gentry books by Laurell K. Hamilton.
When we meet Lucinda “Lucky” de Salle, she’s an awesome paranormal investigator who is called to her old highschool to deal with two troublesome spirits. She seems great – independent, thoughtful, intelligent. That lasts all of ONE chapter, and then she meets a demon, then a man, and then another man and before long, Lucky has transformed into the kind of protagonist I despise.
Lucky, tricked by the very hot Jamie into leaving her life as a paranormal investigator, winds up at the centre of the daemonic courts with five guards. But none of them feel that she needs to know anything, so she just bumbled around making a fool of herself for the entire book. She’s Marked by two of them, and spends too long trying to figure out what it means (the phrase sex-toy gets thrown around a lot). Her chambers consist of a huge wardrobe of lovely evening gowns, a bed that can accommodate her and her five guards at once, and a bathroom that can hold all six of them as well. And still she doesn’t GET it – poor little virgin girl (Marked has an unhealthy obsession with virginity) – and is shocked when she realises that her best friend Kayla’s guards get undressed when they go to sleep.
(Honey, they aren’t just getting undressed. Can you say menage-a-cinq?)
As annoying as it was that no one told her anything, ever, I think Lucky behaved irrationally. She responds to “be quiet, it’s for your own good” by engaging in a shouting match. She responds to “don’t draw attention to yourself” by attracting the attention of the entire daemonic court. She only needs five minutes in the Underworlds to decide that their entire way of life is wrong, and then happily calls them out on it, endangering both herself and those around her. Perhaps the author was trying to explore morality and ethical behaviour as human constructs, but all it did was make Lucky look silly. You do not go into the daemonic court and tell them that everything they’re doing is wrong. You just don’t. She’s a dangerous combination of mind-numbingly naïve and annoyingly self-righteous. She trusts the wrong people, again and again, and then is surprised when they trick or betray her. She makes very few decisions, and many of them are quickly overridden by her companions.
I suspect that Lucky is brave and perhaps even intelligent, but the plot and the way the author chose to tell this story destroys her. It’s incomprehensible that Lucky could be so clueless about everything and that she wouldn’t ask demand more answers from her companions. She’s also willfully ignorant (repeatedly ignoring Jamie’s warnings that he’s a daemon despite his gorgeous white wings) and doesn’t use any logic towards understanding her situation.
To top it off, the writing was clumsy, the plot elements were transparent, and everything was predictable. Marked is a mess, a poorly executed amalgamation of different ideas that doesn’t achieve coherence. I lost patience with the book about halfway through and the only thing that kept me going was that I – much like Lucky – kept hoping that everything would make sense on the next chapter, or the next, or the next.
I did enjoy the court-intrigue aspect of Marked and was disappointed that it was shoved into the background so the novel could focus on Jamie-Lucky-Jinx and their upcoming threesome.
If you like the Merry Gentry series, and other paranormal romances like it, you might find Marked interesting. I wish the blurb had been a bit clearer – I don’t usually read this sub-genre of novels and typically don’t like them.
That cover really sucked me in …