Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon
October 4, 2011; HarperTeen
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
From the moment she sets foot at her new school in Ireland, Megan is inexplicably drawn to the darkly handsome Adam DeRis. But Megan soon discovers that her feelings for Adam are tied to a supernatural fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that unites them could be their ultimate destruction. (courtesy of Goodreads)
Carrier of the Mark is two books in my mind: pre-paranormal and post-paranormal. The beginning of the book was weak, but it grew stronger and far more enjoyable as it went on.
Think Twilight in Ireland. Given my affinity for Twilight, I am pretty generous with books that share themes and character profiles with Twilight. But Carrier of the Mark is so blatantly similar to Twilight that even I was rolling my eyes. You have the new girl with a single dad (mom is dead here though) who meets a handsome, mysterious guy. The guy is intrigued by her but also cold and rude. His siblings also treat her strangely. There's even a scene in biology class. Then everything turns and it's INSTA-LOVE!
The book becomes much more interesting once the paranormal element was introduced. I had no idea what the paranormal twist was from the summary of the book. It was something I haven't read in any other book. Very interesting. There were many Celtic (or Gaelic, I'm not sure) influences.
I liked that Megan wasn't just a weak human who fell in love with a paranormal creature. Unlike Bella, Megan is equally powerful to Adam. I enjoyed reading how all the different abilities interacted with each other.
One Twilight similarity that remains throughout the book is the family element. Adam is very close to his siblings Aine and Rian. Aine is sweet and Alice-like perky. Rian is darker and more cautious. They also have a father figure in Fionn who they care for deeply. The strong set of family characters is a feature that never gets old for me. The different characters was one of the strongest parts of the book. I particularly found Fionn's story tragically compelling. Outside of the DeRis family, Megan's friend Caitlin is a fabulous side-kick character. She has a stronger personality than most best friend characters.
The plot moves very quickly. It's split into the danger element and the romantic conflict. While I'm not an insta-love fan, I couldn't help but be carried away by Adam and worried over the obstacle preventing their everlasting happiness. The plot goes from build-up to major dangerous action very quickly. Too quickly perhaps, but it definitely kept me reading.
Carrier of the Mark borrows too heavily from standard paranormal themes, but it has enough individuality to fascinate the paranormal love. It's a good first novel and I'm curious to see where the series goes.