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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

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Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon
Fantasy, 352 pages
October 4th 2011 by HarperTeen

Their love was meant to be.

When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she's surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRís.

But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction.

I feel bad about what I'm about to do.  Honestly. I'm not one of those people who just writes snarky, mean-spirited reviews, just for the sheer black-hearted, puppy-kicking glee of it.  As tempting as that sometimes it, I just am not that reviewer (generally).  I like puppies.  And Leigh Fallon seems like a really nice person, and  I had high hopes for this book.  And everything I'm about to say makes me feel like a bully, but no.  Just - no.

I knew almost immediately that I was not going to like this book.  You may be asking yourself, then, why the hell I kept reading.  Generally, I would not.  But there were a few reasons in this case:
1. When it's a book I requested, and it's for an event like this, then I absolutely will make myself finish.
2. I was curious enough and it was a quick enough read that I was willing to give it a chance - and then at a certain point, when you get so far, you just can't back down.
But mostly 3. I kept noticing these little things (that added up to one very big thing) that were driving me out of my mind, so I had to finish it just to see how many I would come across.  (The little things are spoilery and rant-like, and OHMYGOD I could go on about them forever, but instead they comprise a chart at the bottom.  Read at your own discretion)

Beyond the one-very-big-thing-comprised-of-little-things, I never connected with the writing in this.  The characters speak like they're in an after-school special.  It was strange: by turns formulaic, other times robotic, and often just not natural.  They were caricatures rather than characters, and they crossed the line into cheesy one too many times for my liking.  It was all these stupid, seemingly insignificant things (for example: people don't generally say each other's names a lot in conversations.  If someone were to speak to you like this: "Hey, Mary. What are you doing later today, Mary?  I was thinking, Mary, that maybe we could go to the mall - what do you think, Mary?" you would be like, WHY THE F*CK DO YOU KEEP SAYING MY NAME?!  It's weird. It's uncomfortable.  And it makes it seem like the characters aren't well acquainted, like they aren't comfortable enough with each other to just talk.

Sort of in-line with that, the characters have a tendency toward woodenness.  Megan's dad is ridiculous, as cardboard and saccharine as they come.  There's never any tension or discover with any of the characters because they are all basically what they enter the story as, and what you are expecting them to be.  Rian is the only one who changes(ish), but the rest pretty much leave the story as they entered it.

And I think this is emblematic of the problems with the book as a whole: there isn't enough depth and tension. There's an immaturity to the writing that deprives the story of tension, of struggle, of that key element that makes you sit on the edge of your seat.  Instead, everything is obvious and the reader is hit over the head with it.  But worse, everything comes so easy.  Megan accepts what she is too easily, she transitions into the deRis family too easily, she and Adam fall in love too easily, become comfortable with each other and the situation to easily - everything just happens and it's not really built on any kind of foundation other than "I say so".  The monk and the bird and the rumors and the OBVIOUSNESS of it all, and the suddenness and the easy acceptance - the way is cleared time and time again for things to just happen and as a result all chances at the delicious tension readers crave is killed.  There's never very much of a struggle on Megan's part to understand* or accept this whole new way of thinking about the world and herself.  It's frustrating.

The only thing I can really say in its favor is that it did actually start to pick up at one point.  The only thing is...that was 200 pages in. And for a review, I'll stick with it, but for pleasure, you are NEVER going to get 200+ pages out of me before I can call it enjoyable. That book will be put down (like a rabid dog).

*And on the note of "understanding", I do have to make a mention of the times when understanding does not come easily to Megan.  There are times - huge swathes of the story - when Megan's intellect and powers of comprehension seemingly revert to that of a 4 year old.  Every time one of the deRis' begin to tell her of the history of the Marked and all that jazz, she peppers them with "why"s and "what about"s and "I don't understand"s and "but"s - and it's all a sneaky little set-up for Fallon to do massive amounts of info-dumping in the guise of dialogue.  I mean, paragraph upon paragraph, page upon page of convoluted, over-sharing info-dumps, with set-ups you can see coming a mile away.  All for the sake of trying to explain what is a fairly strained mythology and backstory.  It just - no.
Just no.

And now:
The Little Things: aka The Carrier of the Twilight Mark by Leighmeyer Stephallon; 
or, The Tale of an Epic Rip-Off
(unless Misty is just hyper-aware of these things...)

Click to embiggen


  1. Haha! I love this review! This is also why I kinda tend to avoid Paranormal... This has a pretty cover, but that's about the only part of it that interested me...

    Sorry you didn't like it! :P

  2. Omg! HAHA!!! That has to be The best freaking thing I've read all day! "puppy kicking fun of it.... I like puppies!" "That book will be put down like a rabid dog" LMFAO!

    How WEIRD with the dialog... I'm going to have to find someone to borrow this from- just so I can read the dialog! I think I'm going to stay away from this one dude! Good looking out! <3

  3. Because of your comment on Goodreads about this, I felt compelled to buy it and read it. About a quarter of the way in now - and it really is just as bad as you said. *Sigh* WHY do I do this to myself?

  4. Read your chart... I really can't stand copycat books. It irks me. This book hasn't appealed to me, so I'm glad I haven't made an attempt to get a copy. Something about it just screamed mediocre to me. Glad I was right. I did feel like I should try it as homage to my Leprechaun lovin side of the family, but... The English side won out. =)

    Very honest review. I appreciate it because it confirmed my predictions.

  5. oh yeah... I can't stand stupid girl characters in books either. Ugh. People (and characters) need to think for themselves, darn it! Your review brought back memories of The Juliet Spell. Such a train wreck.

  6. I honestly skimmed most of your review because I ordered this book, and I desperately want to like it! LOL I'm hoping that by not fully reading your review I won't be biased.

    I think Leigh is amazing, too, but now I'm worried.

  7. I wanted to read this book, but seeing your review and seeing how close it is to Twilight (I didn't like Twilight very much)
    I am thinking if I do read it, I'll get it from the library.

    Great honest review.

  8. I was waiting for that list of things ever since you mentioned it on goodreads. I started reading it to my husband and he said "ok, ok, I see the pattern!" ha!

    The premise sounded so promising, but I am honestly tired of paranormal YA all sounding like the same story!

  9. Oh, Zoe... Zoe, Zoe - you PAID MONEY for this? :|

    (PS that's why I'm really glad I got a review copy, because I TOTALLY WOULD have bought it on sheer cover appeal and setting - and the fact that it's paperback only, so cheap - and I am so glad I did not.

    Hannah: good call. I try never to read any reviews right before I intend to read something. I don't ever want to be biased (though I guess we always are, in some way).

    Cat - this could be a REALLY GOOD drinking game...

  10. I received this for review and didn't like it very much either. It's ridiculous how close it is to Twilight and I agree about the dialog.

  11. Ha! This is great. I was split down the middle with this one. I really wanted to like it and I liked the Irish accents and setting.

    But a lot of the problems you had with it, I did too. I mentioned that Carrier of the Mark was way too much like Twilight too. I swear, I said out loud "if she trips" (insert fist shake) and then she tripped...

    Really wished I liked this one more because like you said, Leigh is a really nice person. Thanks for the honest review.

  12. Oh men..I'm a bit disappointed but I like the setting Ireland and the rip off OMG! seems like everyone is comparing things to twilight but yeah I get you more originality I guess thanks for sharing your thoughts I like your review ^_^


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