Publisher: Ink Smith Publishing
Release Date: January 30th 2014
Source: Received from author in exchange for an honest review
Buy it from: Amazon US - Amazon UK
Growing up in a sleepy village untouched by distant wars and political conflicts, it was easy for Thia, Mina and Kiara to forget such horrors existed in the Five Corners. That is until the dead child is found; a child that bears the same strange birthmark that all three sisters possess. A Mark their mother had always told them was unique to the girls. Kiara's suspicions grow as their Inn is soon overrun with outsiders from all walks of life. Strangers, soldiers and Elders who all seem to know more about what is happening than the girls do. After Mina barely survives an attack in the forest, the sisters are faced with a shattering secret their mother has kept from them for years. As danger closes in around them, the sisters are forced from their home and must put their trust in the hands of strangers. With more questions than answers, Kiara finds herself separated from everyone she loves and reliant on an Outlander who has spent too much time in army. She doesn't trust Caedmon but she needs him if she has any hope of being reunited with her sisters and learning what the Mark might mean.
There’s a wonderful mixture of action, adventure, mystery, and a hint of romance in this exciting first instalment of the Five Corners series.
For starters, I’m extremely thankful that Cathi had a page at the start of the book that included the proper pronunciation of the names and words included in the story. Without that page, I really would have struggled to pronounce half of them! If more authors had a page like that at the start, I’d be a very happy reader.
The Marked Ones follows the story of three sisters; Mina, Thia, and Kiara. They aren’t biological sisters, but they were raised together by their foster mother, Brijit. They’re all very different girls when it comes to looks and personality, but they all have something in common: the Mark.
The Mark appears on children in the Five Corners for no apparent reason, and children with the Mark have started to show up dead. Throughout the story, the three girls strive to learn more about the Mark and what it means, and also discover that they’re not as alone as they once thought.
The story begins when Weylon, an Outlander, and his two sons; Teague and Caedmon, show up at the Inn that Brijit runs with her daughters. Kiara and Caedmon take an instant dislike to each other, whilst Teague and Thia are shocked to see that the other is real after seeing one another in their dreams.
The group are forced together after an attack leaves Mina in grave danger. With Teague and Caedmon also having the Mark, they are sent on a journey to Seremela, the home of the Elders, to be kept safe.
The unique qualities to each of the girls are part of what made the story so exciting to read. As we follow each of them, we’re getting a different story and a different personality, and it keeps us hooked from chapter to chapter.
I enjoyed the group being broken apart during their travels, it meant that we got to see each of the sisters in a different situation, and it also meant we got to see a little more of the Five Corners. I loved all of the characters, which is quite a rare thing! There’s usually one who I don’t enjoy reading about, or one who I prefer to the others, but in this story they are all as equally wonderful.
The relationship development between Kiara and Caedmon is beautifully done. They’re both just as stubborn as each other and it means that neither of them is willing to admit their true feelings, which is frustrating, but great to read. Towards the end of the story, I really wanted to bang their heads together!
I’m completely intrigued by Teague and Thia’s story. I hope we get to find out more about their previous dream meetings later on in the series. They have a lot of history together, and I want to read about it. I really liked the interactions between the two of them, and I found myself anticipating their scenes together.
Mina is a really sweet character, and I get the feeling she’ll be the calm amongst the storm in the future of the series. She seems to be the sister that is more likely to keep the peace and not lose her head in any tense situations. I was really happy with the reveal of Meldiron and I can’t wait to read more of what it means for Mina.
This is a tricky story to work out, and it’s difficult to figure out who the actual enemy is. I’m sure this is something we’ll learn further on in the series, but for now, it’s a case of not knowing who to trust. As readers, we’re put in the same sense of paranoia as the characters over who they can really rely on.
The ending was fast-paced and exciting to read. I hope that the next instalment in the series will show more of a reaction to the events that happened at the end of the story, because it all happened so fast!
Overall, this is a great start to what I think will be a fantastic series. I’m looking forward to reading what lies ahead for the characters, and what it really means to have the Mark.
Cathi Shaw lives in Summerland, BC with her husband and three children. She is often found wandering around her home, muttering in a seemingly incoherent manner, particularly when her characters have embarked on new adventure. In addition to writing fiction, she teaches rhetoric and professional writing in the Department of Communications at Okanagan College and is the co-author of the textbook Writing Today.