Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Book Review: Marked by Kim Richardson

Published: March 15, 2011
Publisher: self-published
Read from February 25 to March 2, 2019
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Kara Nightingale’s ordinary life is suddenly turned upside down when she dies and wakes up in a strange new world with a new career—as a rookie for the Guardian Angel Legion. Kara is pulled into the supernatural, where monkeys drive the elevators, oracles scurry above giant crystal balls, and where demons feed on the souls of mortals.
With the help of her Petty Officer and friend, David, Kara hurtles towards an adventure that will change her life forever…


It's time to review another book I read as part of the Gods and Mortals anthology. Spoiler alert: I disliked it just as I disliked every other book in the anthology.

Out of all the books in the anthology, this is probably the one that had the most ridiculous sounding premise from the start. It's the kind of thing that I can see working well as a comedy, particularly a parody or satire of some kind, but it read as if it was meant to be taken seriously, which was near impossible to do.

This book is set in Horizon, which is essentially a (strange) version of Heaven where monkeys operate the elevators. Because heaven isn't capable of elevators that run themselves and heavenly monkeys need jobs I guess?

Oh, and the angels have to put on these creepy "body suits" in order to visit earth because they don't have bodies of their own. Even though the angels not having physical bodies makes sense, the way the process of putting the suits on was described in the book was off putting for me.

There are two uses of offensive language that I want to point out. (Trigger warning for albleist language.) Kara describes someone as a "psycho" in chapter one and herself as a "spaz" in chapter three, neither of which were a good start to the book.

The bizarre elements like the monkey-operated elevators stuck out, but the actual plot itself was cliche and easily forgettable. All I remember about this book are the laughable parts. I don't remember being particularly engaged by the story itself or the characters.

Some choices made narration-wise were frustrating. Kara, the main character, talks out loud to herself way too much when we could have gotten the same information through her thoughts in the narration. David's speech also struck me as sounding child-like despite his age. There are a lot of cringe-worthy language choices throughout the novel, including one piece of dialogue that's, "HOLY CRRRAAAAPP!!!" And yes, that is how it's formatted in the book.

And my last complaint is a spoiler for the book:

Kara finds out her mother was an angel, which is supposed to explain a lot of strange behavior she saw from her mother over the years. But this is never explained in a way that makes sense. Kara is forbidden from going back to earth once she's an angel, yet she saw her mother regularly as a kid. (Presumably, her mother raised her and was there every day even if she sometimes disappeared randomly.) How exactly could her mother do that considering the rules?

And if angels don't have bodies, how exactly did the pregnancy work? Did no other angels realize that she was pregnant? If her body suit was pregnant, then what happened when she went back to Horizon?

That all seems like a huge, gaping plot hole.

There are these things called elemental children in the book, and if Kara's mom was an angel, then Kara must be an elemental child. She learns about these elemental children before learning her mom's an angel, but then, when she later discovers she's an elemental, she's shocked despite having had all the information necessary to link that together for ages. It's treated like a big reveal when it's already blatantly obvious to the reader (and should be to the characters themselves). It made me feel like I was being treated like an idiot.

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