Saturday, November 5, 2011

Carrier of the Mark Book Review

 Author: Leigh Fallon. Release date: 2011. Publisher:  Harperteen. ISBN: 9780062027870.
Annotation:  Seventeen-year-old Megan Rosenberg has just moved with her dad to the small town of Kinsale, Ireland. Megan knows that life in Kinsale is going to be different from what she’s used to in the United States, but she has no idea how much it will change when she meets the handsome and mysterious Adam DeRís and learns of an ancient secret he is keeping, a secret that involves her.
Personal thoughts:  I hadn’t heard a great deal about this novel, but was intrigued when I read the description. I am thrilled that I picked it up, because I found it a very enjoyable, breezy read. Megan is a very likable character, as is her father and her new friends. At first I found Adam to be a bit moody, but eventually ended up liking him and his family as well. I really enjoyed the Irish setting and language that the author included. I’m looking forward to the second installment in this new series.  
Plot summary: Life hasn’t been easy for seventeen-year-old Megan Rosenberg: her mother was fatally injured in a car accident when Megan was six, and now Megan and her father are constantly moving from place-to-place, trying to find a life where they fit in. Their newest destination has taken them across the ocean to the small town of Kinsale, Ireland. Megan is hopeful when she begins school at Saint Basil, especially after she quickly befriends Caitlin and Jennifer. Almost immediately, however, Megan also meets Adam DeRís, a handsome and mysterious student from a family rumored to be involved in witchcraft. Adam seems to be drawn to Megan despite his general aloofness, leaving her intrigued but confused. Before long, Adam finally confesses what has him so smitten: Megan is a Carrier of the Mark, a descendent of the ancient goddess Danu, and one of four elements that take human form each generation. Adam himself is another of the elements, his twin sister Aíne and their older brother Rían represent the other two. Not since the ancient times have the four elements been so close in age and proximity, and the DeRíses guardian, Fionn, informs Megan that they must take part in an alignment ceremony to bring peace and harmony to the globe. Megan is overwhelmed but excited at the prospect of her power, especially as her relationship with Adam continues to blossom. But after a visit with the Order of Dublin, part of the governing group responsible for ensuring the safety of the elements, reveals a troubling piece of the puzzle, will Megan and Adam be forced to give up their love for their duties at Carriers of the Mark?
Review:  This well-crafted and enjoyable debut novel from Irish author, Leigh Fallon, begins an interesting and promising series for young adults. The story behind the publishing of this novel could be a book in its own right: Fallon initially posted her manuscript on Inkpop, a website for aspiring writers, and was positively received enough by readers to warrant attention from HarperTeen. The manuscript was quickly picked up the publisher, and Fallon is now on her way to becoming a successful young adult author. This success story adds to the charm of Carrier of the Mark: it is clear that Fallon, a former resident of Kinsale, Ireland herself, put definite heart and soul into her story. The characters are likable, well-thought out and complex. The “Carrier of the Mark” lore is interesting and unique, and the plot creative. Overall, this is a very easily enjoyed novel in an original setting. The second installment in this series is set to be released in early 2013.
Genre: Fantasy
Reading level: Grade 7+
Similar titles: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin, Soul Screamer series by Rachel Vincent.    
Themes:  Ireland, druidism, mythology, ancient prophecies, elements, relationships, death, loss.
Awards/Reviews:  Positive reviews from Booklist, VOYA, and Publishers Weekly.    
Series Information: First installment in Carriers series.
Discussion questions: 
-  What do you know about druids? Research this group and compare the history to the plot of the novel. 
-  Do you think that Megan was being selfish for not wanting to evoke her element? Why or why not?
-  Do you think Adam will eventually be able to uncover the mystery of the Druid Scrolls?
- Who was your favorite character in the novel? Why?
-    If you could be any of the four elements, which would you choose? Why?

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