Title: The Marked Girl (#1, The Marked Girl)
Author: Lindsey Klingele
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (Los Angeles)…
When Cedric, crowned prince of Caelum, and his fellow royal friends (including his betrothed, Kat) find themselves stranded in modern-day L.A. via a magical portal and an evil traitor named Malquin, all they want to do is get home to Caelum—soon. Then they meet Liv, a filmmaker foster girl who just wants to get out of the system and on with her life. As she and Cedric bond, they’ll discover that she’s more connected to his world than they ever could’ve imagined…and that finding home is no easy task…
I first heard about “The Marked Girl” from my friend’s YouTube video where she not only talked about the book, but also her cool experience filming the book trailer! So, I watched the trailer and then what made me decide to read it was the fact that it’s set in my hometown Los Angeles, and also because it’s an urban-fantasy/sci-fi kind of book and I’ve been wanting to read more of those.
The story opens with Liv and her friends filming for a class assignment, and that’s also where we meet Cedric and his companions who are all from this medieval realm/parallel universe that is connected to modern day Los Angeles, called Caelum. The world-building is one of my favorite parts of this book because it was interesting, believable, and just seemed different from anything I’ve read so far. I thought it was pretty cool how Lindsey linked the act of using portals between the two worlds with earthquakes, and just thinking about how many we have here in California makes you wonder just how many were because of portals, and how many were from natural causes – if there are any “natural” earthquakes in Liv’s LA. One of the major similarities between Caelum and LA were the fact that both worlds have magic, except the magic in LA is “old magic” and as a defense mechanism, our world concealed it to the point where most people believe magic doesn’t exist.
Liv was a fairly likable and funny character in the first part of the book. I liked her passion for film-making, her sarcasm, and her fierce love and protectiveness over her siblings. I really wanted to like her budding ‘forbidden’ romance with Cedric, too, but every time she fawned over him it just felt like something was lacking. Like she would lose the interesting part of her character because it would be replaced with this bland, annoying, love-sick version of herself that I didn’t find as endearing. Near the end when something awful happens and she has to go on a rescue mission I was so glad to see her stand her ground and have this take-charge attitude. Joe gets an honorable mention because I loved how dedicated he was to his job and always made sure Liv was being cared for and was basically her father figure.
Unfortunately, the other characters in the book were not very memorable and I really couldn’t find it in me to care for them at all. Yes, this includes the male love interest, Cedric, sadly. Throughout the story I couldn’t help but notice how most of the time that Cedric and his group was in LA, he has this “confused” look on his face, or he looked lost. It was understandable; I didn’t expect him to easily adapt to this foreign and mysterious world that was so different from his own, but if I kept noticing the word “confused” or some other variation of it while reading, I feel that that took away from the story and experience. I did, however, like how Cedric started off as this reluctant leader type of character, but then after going on this journey he slowly realized how many people were depending on him and that he had to step up and be a leader like his father, the king in his realm. This sense of responsibility, of course, interferes with his growing feelings for Liv and he is forced to decide between his heart and his duty. One of my favorite troupes, I’m not gonna lie. Haha Oh, and I forgot to mention the “love-triangle” in the story, but that’s because, like I said, the other characters felt really one-dimensional and completely boring and unremarkable.
The writing was simple and easy to follow, but there were times when I felt certain scenes were oversimplified. Particularly, there were at least two conversations that I felt could have been longer and further elaborated on, but they were just glossed over and summarized in a sentence or two. There were also a few glaring inconsistencies and unbelievable events that I couldn’t help but notice and that irked me a bit. Let’s just say it involves a police car.
“The Marked Girl” is a fast-paced, fairly entertaining mix of urban-fantasy and sci-fi, medieval and modern, that is worth the read. A quick read, somewhat funny, and at times gripping, I was amused enough with this story to look forward to its conclusion in the sequel, “The Broken World” which is set to be released Aug. 29, 2017.