Title: Marked (The Birthright #2)
Author: Amy Saunders
Publisher: Amy Saunders, 2016
Genre: YA Science Fiction
**I received this book free from the Publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**
I was drawn to the first book in the series, Inborn, mainly because of the cover. It was so pretty on NetGalley, and you guys know how I feel about science fiction and fantasy. I gave the first book three stars because it was a little confusing, but the writing was good. It ended on a cliffhanger…and I really kind of forgot about it in the meantime.
That is, until NetGalley offered the second book, Marked. I should have known better, but I couldn’t really remember the premise (it wasn’t super memorable), but I remembered that pretty cover. So I requested the second book. Once I started reading it, it all started coming back to me, and I had high hopes that this one would be better and clarify a lot of questions I had left over from the first book. (I reviewed the first book before I was blogging, but if you’re interested in that review, just go to my Goodreads Review for it).
Alas, all it led to were more questions and more confusion.
Here’s the beautiful cover, so you can see what drew me to it…then you may not blame me for requesting it…
Well, let me explain the premise of the books, and you’ll see for yourself:
So, Rosamund Brandt is an alien. There’s a lot of them on Earth, and humans don’t know about them. In Inborn, we learn that there is a killer on the loose, and an organization called Earth Patrol (yeah, that’s their name…I know) are like the police of alien matters. They are investigating the murders, but Rosamund actually found one of the dead girls on their property, and she was wrapped up in some kind of web. Hence, the nickname Spider Killer. Well, I’ll cut to the chase…turns out good ol’ dad is the killer: he is immortal and has energy stealing powers, and he needs to kill his daughter to take her emerging powers because he fed on a bad energy source and now he’s dying. Her “uncle” helps and they strip him of his killing power in the first book, but he escapes from them via a portal, one of the few powers he has left. It’s a power he shares with his daughter.
Fast forward to several months later and Rosamund, Xavier (her powerless brother), and her intergalactically famous healer mom are moving constantly, trying to stay away from daddy. He tracks them down during a parent-conference meeting at school since Rosamund’s grades are dropping. (My grades would suffer too if my dad tried to suck my life force dry, too). He insists he will stay in his family’s life, and though they are angry, they must allow it to “keep up appearances” that they are only separated. (Why? If someone tried to kill my whole frailty, despite being a member, I wouldn’t hesitate getting a restraining order. Doesn’t need to say “alien” in the report, just the fact that he tried to kill them all…but we must keep up “appearances?”)
But this isn’t Roz’s (I’m going with the nickname; Rosamund takes too long) biggest problem: she now has a brand on her skin that she hides from everyone and her powers are changing. She also has spells where she blanks out and is somewhere else. Oh, and then there’s that pesky levitating going on…
Xavier is distant; apparently his feelings are hurt because it’s “all about Roz” (“Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!”) and he’s resentful. He starts acting weird and distant, and Roz doesn’t tell him anything about what’s going on. The only person she trusts is her boyfriend Bryce, a human and member of Earth Patrol, but he’s insisting they stay away for her own safety. Apparently her powers are drawing others’ attention, and with dad’s recent killing spree, there’s confusion about whether he is the only threat. Maybe the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree? Meanwhile Roz meets Ryder, another alien that wants to be friends with her. She tries to keep her distance, but he kind of latches on and won’t let go. There’s also a mysterious stranger named Trent who happens to come in the nick of time whenever Roz’s life is threatened…and he’s sexy and not related to her, unlike her last crush, who turned out to be her uncle. (You see how this can get confusing fast?)
I won’t give away the whole story in case someone is working on this book, but the story focuses on Rosamund’s growing powers and her suspicion of everyone around her: who is being truthful and who isn’t? Can she trust anyone with what’s going on with her? And why did her father tell her she needs to be careful, because she is “going to need allies” in the coming days? There’s a storm brewing, and Rosamund is right in the middle of it all.
Is It Classroom-Appropriate?
Yes, but the plot is too unfocused. There are so many characters, and there’s stuff about her mother’s past that is coming to the surface…you would have to bring the first book in, and there’s still more questions at the end of this book. There another book coming out, and maybe if everything were to come full circle and get explained, you could use all three in a science fiction unit…but there’s also the problem of too much going on in such a short book. It feels rushed. Just confusing. But the writing is good. If Saunders could just either make the books longer or keep some material out, then I think she could make a really good series.
There is no Lexile score because it is an indie book. But I would say (because the complexity of the plot) that the older, the better. Well, maybe not even age should be considered, because the book is pretty clean. I would say it’s all about reader level. I would suggest an advanced reader. So the book could be read by a 12 year old, but that 12 year old should read at a high school level so that they could follow the plot.
★★★☆☆ again for book two. I did fall asleep a couple times…I had to reread passages to understand what was going on. The sad part is the writer has talent. Saunders is super-talented. But maybe this material just isn’t for her. I will probably request the next book, because I can’t stand not knowing what is going on. I even read the very short novella called Bequest to see if that would shed some light on the story…but it just made it worse. I just want to know what is going on…is that too much to ask?
Thank you again to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for allowing me a copy to read in exchange for my honest opinion.
***Here’s the cover of the first book, Inborn, just so you can experience the cover love with me***