Author: Lindsey Klingele
Genre: Young Adult, Portal Fantasy
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (Los Angeles)…Review by Nara
When Cedric, crowned prince of Caelum, and his fellow royal friends (including his betrothed, Kat) find themselves stranded in modern-day L.A. via a magical portal and an evil traitor named Malquin, all they want to do is get home to Caelum—soon. Then they meet Liv, a filmmaker foster girl who just wants to get out of the system and on with her life. As she and Cedric bond, they’ll discover that she’s more connected to his world than they ever could’ve imagined…and that finding home is no easy task…
I must admit, I'm not the biggest fan of portal fantasies overall, but I was hoping The Marked Girl was good enough that it could overcome my genre bias. I think it was relatively good, but didn't quite hit the mark in several aspects, making for an average but likeable read overall.
I feel like the overarching plot was pretty generic, but Klingele did also pull out a few interesting twists that I wasn't expecting. The pacing was also well done, making for an easy read. Probably the worst aspect of the plot was the romance. It felt like it didn't develop much before the two characters were declaring their love for each other, and I felt quite detached from the "problems" they were facing.
The characters overall were also fairly poorly developed; I really only had a very superficial understanding of their motivations. I feel like I actually didn't understand our two main omniscient point of view characters any more than I did the other characters, which you certainly wouldn't expect when you can literally see inside their heads. The villain was also generic as heck, and it was difficult to understand his motivations other than that he's generically "evil" and just "wants to see the world burn" sort of thing.
The writing was oddly clunky at times; it didn't really warn you when you were going from a flashback to present time and so it was quite jarring when suddenly you're dropped into a different scene. There was one line in the book that made me laugh out loud though, which was a surprise because that doesn't happen too often (it was the line about fascism if you've read the book).
I will probably be reading the sequel, but it isn't particularly high on my TBR. More like one of those books you'll eventually pick up if you see it on the shelves in your local library.