Title: Carrier of the Mark
Author: Leigh Fallon
No. of Pages: 352
Genre: Speculative Fiction, YA
“Their love was meant to be.
When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she’s surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRÍs.
But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction.”
Thoughts: With success comes the danger of copycats. In books, as in life, if something works very well for one person, someone else is bound to try to imitate that same success. Unfortunately, the axiom “imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery” does not apply to books. No one wants to read the same essential story, no matter how many details are altered in some way. There have been so many rehashing of the Twilight series that one can quickly lose count of all those hoping to recreate the Stephenie Meyer success story. Some of these have been surprisingly well-written and successful in their own right. Unfortunately, Leigh Fallon’s Carrier of the Mark does not fall into this category.
In spite of the extreme similarities to the Twilight saga, there are two major things wrong with Carrier of the Mark. The first of these is the myth behind the story. Paranormal stories succeed because the myths around which these stories revolve are well-known and have withstood the test of time. Werewolves, zombies, witches, fae, and even the ubiquitous vampires are commonly known, even if the details behind the myths differ region to region or even person to person. In Carrier of the Mark, Ms. Fallon goes out on a limb and creates her own myth. While she should be applauded for her creativity, her myth is just plain confusing. There is no frame of reference or familiarity for the reader to understand just what Megan and the rest of her characters are facing. This is due, in large part, to the second fundamental issue with Carrier of the Mark – the writing.
Had Ms. Fallon been a stronger writer, the myth would simply make more sense. Key elements of the story would not remain unexplained throughout the majority of the novel, and the reader might actually care about Megan’s fate. Instead, the characters are insipid, flat, and essentially caricatures of other similar characters in other similar novels. The pacing of the novel is uneven at best. Megan goes from being an unknown new kid to drawing attention to falling in love with Adam within a few short pages, while the big climax is anything but suspenseful. Many questions remain unanswered, even some of the most basic ones that really should have had resolution. The result is a lackluster story in which the reader has no real affinity for or empathy with the main characters and spends a large majority of the novel just trying to figure out what the major conflict is.
To be fair, Ms. Fallon deserves credit for trying something new. Unfortunately, it did not live up to its potential. Instead, Carrier of the Mark is a hint that the Young Adult market has truly become supersaturated with Twilight-esque novels and that there is a clear need for something more original and better written.
Acknowledgements: Mine. All mine.