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The Marked Son (Keepers of Life Series #1)

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  • Posted August 9, 2011

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    Review of The Marked Son

    The Marked Son is an action-packed story focused around 17 year old Dylan and the "ghost", Kera, who inhabits his dreams. Dylan struggles, coping with a mother who will not stay in the same place long and goes through men like crazy and, eventually, ends up dumped into the lap of relatives he never knew existed.

    Then things get crazy.

    What I loved about this book was how much fun it was to finally be seeing things through the eyes of a male - and not just any male, a strong, decisive male who wasn't wanting to shy away from things and was out to figure things out. I enjoyed the humor contained in the brief interactions he had with friends and I loved the passion Dylan exhibited when faced with some insurmountable odds.

    The Marked Son is fast-paced and filled with all sorts of fights and a nicely-paced story, however there were some things that seemed to be a bit glossed over and made for a bit of clunky going, especially as the end drew near. I had a hard time accepting that Dylan was so capable right off the bad of channeling his powers, that he and Kera developed an "all-or-nothing" relationship that fast, and I was really confused as to what exactly went on in Kera's world. So I guess mostly my issues were on the world and magic building in the book.

    There didn't seem to be any clear-cut explanation of the powers Dylan (and the others in Kera's world) possessed. Nor was there really an explanation of how the world worked, what people used their powers for, etc. Just that there was a big, bad guy and he was going to take over. I understood that he was bad, but I didn't really understand why. That's what made me struggle with this story.

    I'm sure I'll check out the next one when it's released, because it was interesting - just had issues with what I've mentioned. I did appreciate that the book was given a solid ending without a major cliffhanger as trilogy books are wont to have these days.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 4, 2013

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    I want to thank Entangled Publishing for providing me with a cop

    I want to thank Entangled Publishing for providing me with a copy of this book to read and give an honest review. I will be participating in the blog tour for the second book and have also read that one, so I needed this one first! Receiving this book for free has in no way influenced my opinion or review.

    Blurb from Goodreads:
    Seventeen-year-old Dylan Kennedy always knew something was different about him, but until his mother abandoned him in the middle of Oregon with grandparents he’s never met, he had no idea what.
    When Dylan sees a girl in white in the woods behind his grandparents’ farm, he knows he’s seen her before... in his dreams. He’s felt her fear. Heard her insistence that only he can save her world from an evil lord who uses magic and fear to feed his greed for power.
    Unable to shake the unearthly pull to Kera, Dylan takes her hand. Either he’s completely insane or he’s about to have the adventure of his life, because where they’re going is full of creatures he’s only read about in horror stories. Worse, the human blood in his veins has Dylan marked for death...

    So, when I first read the blurb for this book (many moons ago), I was very intrigued. But I kind of forgot about it. Then the email from Entangled came asking if I wanted to be part of the blog tour for the second book. Well, this one jumped right back out at me, I mean look at that cover, and I wanted it ASAP. And I'm so glad I dove right in, because I could not put this one down!

    Let's start with Dylan. When the book first started, I was a little skeptical. It didn't really grab my attention right away. But I knew the premise and really wanted to see what it was about. And then I got past the first two chapters and POW I was sucked right in. Dylan is totally awesome. He's snarky and funny. He's good looking and makes me want to just reach through the page and grab him! I loved how Berkley described him throughout the book. He comes off as a bit insecure at first, but then you start to understand that he has spent his life moving around and not being able to really connect with anyone. He's only connected with the girl in his dreams, and she's a dream after all, right? And he completely determined and passionate about everything he does, despite his unusual upbringing.
    Kera, well, she is just awesome. I loved her and everything about her. She's smart and curious and knows exactly what she wants. And she's not afraid to go after it. I love how she tries her hardest to protect Dylan. Everything she does is to preserve him, even if it means she gets hurt in the process.
    And Dylan's friends, OMGosh, they are the perfect compliment to Dylan. Considering he has never had any friends, these guys kind of latch on to him and never question who he is or what he needs to do. As a matter of fact, they accept him for what he is, without worrying about all the "strangeness" that goes on while they are with him. There were so many great characters in this book, I can't name them all or tell you about each one of them. You have to pick up this book and get to know them for yourself!

    The plot line of this book is great. At first, you really don't know that it's going to be a fantasy, and then BOOM, you are sucked into a world you didn't even know existed. And you are sucked into the magic and creatures who are totally beyond anything you would ever know or understand. And it's fast past and has you turning every single page wondering what will happen next. This is the third fae series that I have read and I have to say that it is by far my favorite so far.

    One of my favorite things about this book is Shea's use of humor. Just when you think it will only be action and drama, the characters get snarky with each other. I just loved it. It broke the seriousness of the book in such a great way. Just when I thought my heart would jump from my chest, I started laughing. I just loved it.

    Shea's writing flows well and really helps describe the world so well. I love the characters and the different creatures that are introduced and explained. Shea creates a realistic world. Shea pulls you through her book without stopping. 

    I did have two small issues with this book. The first was how readily Dylan's friends and family accept the fae world and it's creatures/inhabitants. They didn't even question it but just said it was cool and moved on. I found this to be a bit unrealistic. I almost felt there needed to be some kind of conflict between Dylan and his new friends to make it seem like they questioned the motives just a bit. My second is that Kera's portions of the book are told in third person. I kind of found this odd since Dylan's was first person. I would have liked to see things from her perspective instead of outside her perspective.

    All in all this was a really enjoyable book. Actually, I was not expecting to like it quite as much as I did. But I did and I was totally anxious to move on to the second book and see what happens to the characters. One thing I'm glad for, Berkley didn't leave us with a complete cliffhanger at the end!

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  • Posted November 28, 2012

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    Seventeen year old Dylan Kennedy has always felt like there was

    Seventeen year old Dylan Kennedy has always felt like there was something different about him, though he couldn't quite put his finger on it. He's always been kind of a loner and has never had many friends. Dylan's mom has never been there for him, having gotten pregnant at 16 years old, and has moved from man to man and place to place ever since. She has never shown Dylan love or nurtured him at all, and he has grown up coming to expect that, always feeling abandoned, rejected, unloved, and many times having to be the adult instead of his mom. The only thing that has had meaning, is the dreams that he has had forever, dreams about a girl, dreams that have a pull on him and seem more real sometimes that reality itself does.

    When his mother finally returns home to Oregon and then takes off again, leaving Dylan there with his grandparents, whom he has never met and up until now didn't even know he existed, things become clearer and more confusing all at the same time. Not only does Dylan think he sees the girl he has dreamed about all these years in the woods, really strange things begin to happen to him, and strange things also begin to happen on the farm and surrounding farms. The pull to this girl is so strong he cannot stay away from her. With the help of his two new friends Jason and Leo, Dylan is determined to find this girl and find out the truth about what is going on. What he finds is more than he bargained for, and he finally begins to understand why he has never felt like he belongs.....another whole world is opened up to him, one filled with magic, danger, an evil lord, mystical creatures, and Kera, the girl he loves. The only problem is that in this world, and now in this world, Dylan finds himself marked for death because of who and what he is. Not only has Dylan become a target, but his grandparents and others he has come to care about do to. As the wall between the two realms tears open and the danger becomes more intense, Dylan must decide upon a course of action. Can he defeat the evil that threatens him, the girl he loves, and so many others like him, and if he accepts the challenge, what will be the cost and who will survive the battle?

    I really enjoyed The Marked Son. I love fantasy, especially when romance is involved. I really loved Dylan. He is super hot, has the bad boy vibe going on, he's quiet, but under the surface lies a whole lot of passion and anger, and when that gets stirred up, especially with the abilities he finds that he has, things get really intense. There is nothing that he won't do for Kera, the girl he loves, and he is pretty badass when he does what he does. I liked Kera also. She is from Teag, the other realm, a realm that kind of steps back in time to another era. Kera is very outspoken and headstrong, something unusual for women in her time. When she sees Dylan, she can't believe she has found the boy from her dreams. She is determined to save him and her persecuted friends, even if it means she has to make a huge personal sacrifice in the process. Then there is Lord Navar, the evil dude you love to hate. Jason and Leo, Dylan's friends, are also fun, as are the characters from Teag. Dylan's grandparents are really great to. The story is fast-paced, filled with fantasy, adventure, and of course, romance. Shea Berkley has done a wonderful job creating a magical fantasy world with mystical beings, danger, and plenty of excitement. If you love fantasy and paranormal romance, with the added plus of the story being told from mainly a male point of view, then you should definitely check out The Marked Son.

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  • Posted November 18, 2012

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    When it came to The Marked Son, the first novel in the Keepers o

    When it came to The Marked Son, the first novel in the Keepers of Life series, by author Shea Berkley, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I went into the novel with my eyes shut, but lately on Goodreads and on the net I have been finding a lot of reviews that have raised hype for the story. I was excited to begin reading and from the quick pace the prologue at the start of the novel I was prepared for about two things:

    Romance and a mind-blowing fantasy world.

    The story revolves around both Dylan Kennedy and the mysterious Kera. The two characters’ fates intertwine when it’s revealed that Dylan and Kera have been having dreams about each other since they were children. Dylan has grown up in our world, Kera has grown up in an alternate dimension where things are basically World of Warcraft. But in that alternate world, Kera’s people are ruled by a tyrant lord who uses his strong magic and his wicked ways to cure his lust for power. So when Dylan’s deadbeat mother drops him off in the middle of nowhere with grandparents he didn’t know he had, the last thing he expected was to see Kera in a spectral form in the woods.

    Quickly, Dylan learns that his mother might have been right when she said that there was something different about Dylan; Something so different that he might not be fully human and something so different that he might belong in Kera’s world after all. Plus he and Kera are falling in love, but hey, who didn’t secretly see that coming?

    The first thing I think that got to my emotions with the Marked Son is the relationship between Dylan and his mother. Dylan seems to act (and think) like a teenage boy, but his mother seems to regret his existence and blames him for having the same DNA as whoever his father is. With the brief few chapters we get to see her in, she doesn’t seem to care all that much for Dylan and while he constantly states in the novel that she doesn’t matter much to him, I liked to think that secretly he wished she cared for him and that just broke my heart.

    Relationships aside, I’ve gotta admit that at the start of the novel, I was looking forward to getting to see more of Dylan’s perspective on Kera. Considering how the novel switches between Dylan’s POV and Kera’s POV (point of view), I was excited to see just what Dylan would think of Kera’s world especially since Kera’s world is (like I said before) World of Warcraft. That’s just freaking awesome. When Dylan does finally encounter Kera’s world and comes to terms with the fact that he is only half human, the story is nothing but fast paced with killer action scenes straight out of Underworld.

    I’ve gotta admit though that my favorite character within the whole novel was Kera, she held a total aura of badassery. In her world, women aren’t supposed to be soldiers, but Kera still fights like one even when she’s supposed to marry the tyrant Lord and still holds feelings for Dylan. The romance between Dylan and Kera was pretty cute, I think, because Dylan constantly comes off as this total love ‘em and leave ‘em type character, but becomes instantly hung up on Kera. Which, you know, makes him go a bit insane whenever she’s in danger, I found that awesome.

    All in all, a pretty fun read. I’d recommend The Marked Son to fans of fantasy, readers who want a supernatural story with action, and those of us who just want some good old exciting romance.

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  • Posted November 7, 2012

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    Review originally posted in Librarian Mouse Dylan doesn't have

    Review originally posted in Librarian Mouse

    Dylan doesn't have an easy life... In fact, his life could be categorized as a roller-coaster of emotions, disappointments and distrust. The main reason for this is because his mom is the kind of woman that falls very easily and quickly in love only to pack their things up and leave town when she breaks up with the guy of the town.
    She doesn't think about Dylan at all and it has been this way for the last 17 years.

    That's why when she leaves him in the middle of nowhere with grandparents that didn't know he even existed he is not that surprised. Hurt yes, but not surprised.
    The only good thing in his life? Since Dylan was a kid he always dreamt with the same girl. In fact they had seen each other grow up and had developed a friendship, and even if he knew deep inside that those dreams were not real they were also one of the things he treasured the most.

    But everything changes when, behind his grandparent's house, he sees her. There, standing and practically inviting him into the woods. And after thinking about it he decides to go and help her, because he knows she is in trouble.
    And thanks to that decision he finally understands why he always felt like he never belonged: he is only half human and his other half comes from a different dimension. And this land, Teag, lacks a king and a ruthless man named Navar won't stop until he controls everyone and everything.

    That's why Kera has called fon Dylan, because he has a destiny to fulfill and a new life to discover with her.

    Personal opinion:
    From the very beginning I didn't know what to expect with this book. To be honest I'm not very fond of situations where a mom is not very "mother material". But to give him credit, neither is Dylan, so we are in the same page here.
    And after reading a little bit we get to understand why Dylan's mom leaves him there.

    Gladly for me things developed in a very cool, interesting and intriguing way. First we have Dylan who, thanks to the way he was raised, doesn't usually trust in other people and doesn't want to open up his heart to anybody. And to see this guy development throughout the book was amazing. It was like seeing a normal day reaching a glorious sunset, if you know what I mean.
    Dylan soon discovers powers hidden within him and creatures and people that, alongside Kera, become not only friends but also family to him.

    And then we have Kera, the girl of his dreams with whom he falls in love. And the feeling is mutual because they are meant to be together. Their love felt always natural, like the way the water follows the riverbed.
    Besides, want to know something else? This girl is protective and she may not have Dylan's abilities but she does know how to take care of someone else.

    As for the plot all I can say is that Shea Berkley has a natural style of writing and I like it. From the way she captures Dylan's thoughts to the great world building she does... everything was great. Even Navar had a deepness that was enjoyable and was the perfect enemy for Dylan.
    And the ending? It doesn't have a cliffhanger for which I'm grateful. The book finished in a nice way letting the right amount of questions with no answer to keep me waiting for the second installment.
    Trust me here, I'm already waiting!

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  • Posted January 20, 2012

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    A Contemporary That Turns Fantasy - So Good!

    The Marked Son is a story that instantly takes ahold of the reader because the main character, Dylan, is just so enigmatic and alluring. His 17 years have been rough – with a mom that’s constantly chasing the next fling – and he’s as jaded as they come, but there’s just something about him that will pull readers in. Maybe it’s his unconcealed anger towards his mom or his ease in giving up, but I wanted things to work out for him from the beginning.

    Shea Berkley captures teen angst perfectly, then flips it upside down, throws in some serious abandonment issues, and adds a healthy dose of fantasy to the mix. The tidbits about Dylan’s past and minute details hint at what’s really happening, as do the chapters from an alternate, female POV, but the big reveal is something else.

    The mix of contemporary with fantasy is done flawlessly and seemingly effortlessly. The story progresses from a simple, angsty teen story, to so much more. Dylan’s dreams and the foreshadowing escalate the tension and suspense, until the readers get that BANG moment along with Dylan. And once it happens, things go from uncomplicated to insane. And I loved it.

    The Marked Son is a captivating contemporary that turns into a surprising and unique fantasy. Dylan will find his way into the hearts of readers, as will his grandparents, the mysterious girl Kera, and the new friends Dylan makes along the way. If you’re a fan of contemporary and fantasy, and love a mix of the two, The Marked Son is the perfect book for you.

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  • Posted October 25, 2011

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    I Also Recommend:

    The Marked Son- Excellent

    Originally reviewed at The Book Faery Reviews

    The Marked Son is the story of Dylan and Kera. Both from two different worlds but magnetized to each other by unseen forces and destiny. Dylan is your average recluse teenager, coping with a life that is less than stable. His mother constantly moves them around the country, running from ex lovers without any real direction or reason. Dylan has been adjusting as best he can to his neglectful mother and the constant moving when his mother unexpectedly dumps him into the laps off his grandparents, whom he has never met before, and abandons him there.

    Here in a farmhouse near the woods, he discovers that the woods are full of magic, a girl in white whom he has dreamt about since he was really young is actually very real. Kera, a girl from another dimension is seeking help for her home of Teag, a land across a barrier wall that separates the two worlds. When he follows her into this world, he discovers bloodthirsty creatures and a cold ruthless ruler named Navar who is bent on wiping out any half-blood beings, like Dylan. Only him and Kera can save this world which nothing is what it seems and the would-be ruler Navar has set his sights on killing them both.

    I enjoyed reading this story, the point of view starts by bouncing back and forth between the main characters Dylan and Kera. It was a bit confusing at first, things took a while to be explained in the first half of the book, leaving me feeling a bit clueless and lost with all the world building on each side of the wall and vague backgrounds. The second half of the book more than made up for it. The point of view was laced together tight at this point and the story smoothed out to give you answers to the many questions that have built up to this point. The town of Teag seems stuck in a sort of medieval time where men have more power and woman are betrothed to men. They also have to wear big beautiful dresses and behave a certain way. It seemed to clash with the modern world that Dylan lived in. I do love his Grandparents, probably two of the most colorful characters in the story. His grandmother especially seems to know a lot more of what is going on than she lets on. His human friends Jason and Leo are great additions to the story but I would have liked to get into their heads a little more. Overall the ending was amazing and kept me on the edge of my seat. It left me wanting more and I definitely want to see where these characters will be going, see what kind of trouble they can get into in the future. I highly recommend it and will be reading more by this author.

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  • Posted October 4, 2011

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    Darcus @ Starcrossed

    I was drawn into this book from the very first chapter. It was a different type of book than any that I have read recently. Magic, romance, action. I loved it.

    The Marked Son has a way of holding your attention very well. There's so much that happens in this book both in a real world setting as well as in a magical parallel world. The author did an amazing job at weaving these two worlds and the stories of both of the main characters together.

    The characters themselves are amazing and relateable and very easy to like (and some to dislike). We're introduced to Dylan, the main male character, right off the bat, as it's mainly his story to tell. You can't help feeling an emotional attachment to him and he tells a tale that, sadly, is a real life predicament that a lot of teens today have to go through. Among all of the magic and the mystery, there's a real depth to him in his emotional realness. I fell in love with Dylan and his attitude immediately.

    Overall, I enjoyed this book very much. There was a great story to tell and I cannot wait until the next installment in the Keepers of Life series comes out.

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  • Posted August 8, 2011

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    Great book!

    I love when dreams come true. A character riddled by images, dreams, a girl who he can't get out of his head. And then, she's real. Alive. This plot line grabbed me from the beginning cause of the great dreams and life he lead.

    The main character Dylan, did not grow up easy. He has been lied to, move a lot, and his mom is not a good mother. It is sort of disturbing but also good, that Dylan can handle himself at such a young age with great maturity. He is not like the other teens his age and knows that. He struggles with who he is. The author Ms. Berkley did a wonderful job of giving a good description of Dylan's back round. I like how an author can provide as vivid back round with out losing touch with the main story line. She didn't give too much away or too little. The back round info was just enough to know and feel the character.

    The story line of the book is good. Ms. Berkley presented to reader with mysterious dreams leading on into a world of fantasy. The point of view switches with smooth and transitional. If you know me, you know how picky I am with pov switches. Ms. Berkley writing is very good when it comes to describing the world of Fey in her head. The reader gets a good picture of the different world as well as the characters feelings.

    I pretty much liked everything about this book. Questions that popped up in my head about "The First" were answered as well as more about the new world I step into. The creatures, rules, and prejudices made for a great story. If you like fantasy, different worlds, half-breeds, read this book. I know that you will enjoy this book as much as I have!

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  • Posted July 27, 2011

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    Fantastic debut

    Dylan hasn't had an easy life. His mother falls in love too easily. Whenever she is finished with the guy of the day, she picks up and moves the two of them to a new town to start over. Because of this, he's bitter and not very trusting of her. The last straw comes when she takes him to Oregon and leaves him with her parents - grandparents he has never met. Not long after his mother leaves, Dylan sees a girl in white standing in the woods. A girl that looks vaguely familiar. Is he seeing ghosts, or is he completely losing it? When Dylan follows the girl deep into the forest one night, he soon finds himself in another dimension. Kera, the girl, is the same girl Dylan has seen in his dreams since he was a boy. Something has brought him to her. They are obviously meant to be together.

    The world Kera lives in is not a happy place. Kera is set to be married off to an evil man, and it is up to Dylan to save her. The problem is, Dylan is human and doesn't belong in her world. He could lose Kera, or even worse, his life.

    Shea Berkley is a wonderful writer. For her first novel she delivers an engaging story that balances the action and the romance very well. I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up this book, but I quickly fell into this novel and enjoyed the time spent reading it. The characters are all well-rounded and I felt the narrative was pretty well-balanced despite the fact that it shifts between points of view. There is plenty of action for the male readers, enough romance for the girls and lots of magic and mystery to keep the pages turning. This is the first in a series and I am looking forward to the next entry.

    (Review based on an Advanced Readers Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley)

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