Sunday, August 21, 2011
The Marked Son (Keepers of Life #1) by Shea Berkley
Seventeen-year-old Dylan Kennedy always knew something was different about him, but until his mother abandoned him in the middle of Oregon with grandparents he's never met, he had no idea what.
When Dylan sees a girl in white in the woods behind his grandparents' farm, he knows he's seen her before...in his dreams. He's felt her fear. Heard her insistence that only he can save her world from an evil lord who uses magic and fear to feed his greed for power.
Unable to shake the unearthly pull to Kera, Dylan takes her hand. Either he's completely insane or he's about to have the adventure of his life, because where they're going is full of creatures he's only read about in horror stories. Worse, the human blood in his veins has Dylan marked for death...
Keep at it. It starts out typical enough but it's worth in the end. A two things kept me glued to it: moments of it had a high fantasy feel and there's a very entertaining mix of characters. As usual, I read this without with the synopsis, so I had no idea if what it had in store for me would run along the lines of werewolf or vampire or what not. Apparently the same can be said for Dylan who had absolutely, no inkling of his history or that he was even special. does this read typical YA PNR hero? Well if it does there were a bunch of things that sets him apart: a free spirit (almost neglectful) mother and his dreams of a girl. It's in that last thing, where get a tad complicated and unreal. Because his dream girl, isn't just a dream girl: Kera lives in a different world.
All the characters are different, but I have to say it was the secondary characters that I liked the most. While it's Dylans story, I have to say I didn't like him that much. He simply started out as unlikeable. I know that his history and upbringing should make me want to give him a hug, but he simple was rude... and sullen (at least for the first quarter of the book.) Despite that I couldnt help but cheer him once he figured out what he wanted and what he wanted to do about it.
And what he wanted was Kera. Now between Dylan's and her's, it's her part of the story that drew me in. Her world is a world I did not understand at first. What were they exactly; what was she? People people or different people? Once worked out though, I wondered why she could not see what was planned for her. I did like that she wanted change. I also liked that she had a secret of her own. Things were never simple there with secrets heaped on secrets. Add the fact that there was a power hungry (possible lunatic) who'd come sniffing around (I mean, she really didn't see that coming?)
Other than these two, who were sometimes remarkable other times predictable, the other people in the story were simply darling. I positively loved each page Leo and Jason were in. Honestly the way they came to be friends was a bit contrived and convenient but I liked that they they were the comic relief, in what would have been too much of a star corssed lovers sob story. Leo with his surprising theoretical scientific knowledge, and Jason and his wrestler tough guy schtick were just too funny. And then there's Bodog.. again, fun!
Beyond the characters, the story too wasn't as simple as I'd initially pegged it. While it started out rough and was bogged down by some boring parts, the good parts were simply good! Once it really started, there was a high-fantasy, boy-on-a-quest feel to it. The great thing is, it wasn't just the boy's story. Like most high fantasies, there's help along the way, here it's Dylan and Kera meeting Bodog, Jason and Leo. Heck, even his grandparent played a role in it. Where his grandfather was old wisened warrior; his grandmother was healers/nurturer and complete with pie!
It got predicatble at times, especially on Kera's side. That she did not see what was inteded coming just boggle the mind! That there was a baddy of lunatic proprotions also didn't impress me much. On Dylan's side, things did get a bit contrived too. consider his friendship with Leo and Jason which sprang from ghost hunting to a die to death kind of loyalty in mere day; it just seemed a bit of a stretch. That his mother was basent wasn't a bad thing. Yes, parental absence = bad, but in this book it's neceassary integral even so that he could discover his specialness. The mom BTW, was written to be hated, and that's even after light had been shed on the why's of her actions.
Now, I know The Marked Son is the first in what could be a series/trilogy(?), but that it ended the way it did, leaves me satisifed. It ended with things most things tied and most questions addressed, almost an HEA. But there's still things to tackle and I'm quite curious about finding those things out.