Carrier of the Mark (Carrier 1) by Leigh Fallon
Published by Harper Collins
2.5 out of 5 stars
Damn you Ruth Warburton! You entice me into believing all witch based YA books would be as good as A witch in Winter! I foolishly moved straight onto another magic/witchcraft novel – Carrier of the Mark (COTM). BIG MISTAKE.
COTM follows guileless, foolish, idiotic, Megan as she moves with her father from the US to Ireland. Megan meets Adam and is irresistibly pulled to him, her scar (from the car crash that killed her mother) itches and tingles when he’s around. Then she hears stories that Adams family are involved in witchcraft, and of course she’s linked to it. She’s a Carrier of the Mark and she’s linked to Adam and his family……..
Ok. Here goes. Megan. The reader is torn between wanting to shake Megan and wanting to slap her. Any modern day teen has a zombie apocalypse plan, knows what to do when faced with a vampire and DEFINATLEY knows if you hear rumours of witch craft and you SEE witchy things going on, then it’s WITCHCRAFT. But not Megan, she’s completely oblivious to it, despite all the magic smacking her in the face. When she does find out this earth shattering news? She reacts as blandly as rice pudding. There is no substance to her character at all, she’s wet, has no personality and, well as I said, just needs a good slap. When she discovers her father dating, she reacts logically and calmly, not as a 17 year old who’d lost her mother would. I could go on, but I’m getting mad thinking about her!
That leads me onto my next COTM rant. A rant about YA in general. What kind of message are we sending to young girls about free will, the freedom to choose our own path, about being our own person not just part of a pair? A crap one. Megan is drawn to Adam by magic, she cannot resist and doesn’t want to – and yet this is written as a good thing. A girl that is so obsessed with a boy that she rambles on about him and his love and his soul for pages. This premise is not alone in YA but I do question the examples its setting.
As you can tell I didn’t like Megan or any of the characters really, they were all shallow, shells really – her father on hearing that she was studying (a lie) actually says ‘oh don’t overdo it will you’?!?! What father would actually say that? The only character that is halfway decent is fian (sp?) the guardian, don’t get over excited he’s no shining star, but he’s at least likeable.
The writing is the second part that really lets the book down, the same phrases are written over and over again, Megan and Adam are told that they are ‘puke-worthy’ over and over again, in various different ways. There is so little thought put into the descriptions too – the book is set in Ireland yet there’s not one scene set in the beautiful countryside (or at least there are none described there). Instead we have to listen to Megan harp on about how her pulse quickens when Adams near, or how its torture to be apart. We are even subjected to her realisation that they can get through anything TOGETHER (inset ‘puke’ moment).
I have ripped the book apart so far, however there is one saving grace for COTM, the storyline – it’s pretty original, the bad guys are pretty tough and scary enough to be believable and there is the element of distrust for those outside the core characters. The second half of the book is definitely better than the first, although it could have ended a few chapters earlier – its part of a series, we don’t need all the loose ends neatly tied up. The plot is let down by Fallon’s writing though, I can’t help feeling that in the hands of a more accomplished writer the story and characters would have come alive.
Edit: I forgot to rant about one more thing. The blatant science abuse. Not only do the anchient monks understand genetics WAYYYYYYY before Mendel and his peas (I mean hundreds and hundreds of years earlier) but they also understood how to look for a neutral gene AND how to manipulate the genetic lines. I cannot stress how angry this abuse of scientific history made me. We are not talking a blonde & a blonde = blonde (which it doesn’t but I’m keeping it simple) we’re talking about a hidden, unrecognisable gene being manipulated to ensure the mark is produced.