Source: ARC from Netgalley
Published by: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books
Released: 11th September 2014
Buy it from: Hive
In a nutshell: Unmarked is…
A mixture of the best parts of Point Horror with a 21st Century reboot. (I have no idea why, as they aren’t particularly similar, but Unmarked really reminded me of The Forbidden Game series!)
The second book in Kami Garcia’s Legion series picks up where Unbreakable left off. The Legion have unwittingly released Andras, a powerful demon, into our world. Teen evil-fighter Kennedy Waters joins her friends to track him down and right their mistake. But why hasn’t Kennedy been Marked as one of The Legion?
With The Legion, I had faced malevolent spirits and destroyed paranormal entities. Now I was alone, and I wasn’t even brave enough to face what was waiting for me on the other side of my own door.
This is full-on, unashamed, teentastic paranormal fiction. And I actually like that. I like that Kami Garcia looks straight at all the teen cliches and refuses to apologise or disguise her well written, fast paced supernatural thriller. She even sets the opening of this sequel in a school for troubled teens!
I haven’t read the first part of the series, but Unmarked works just fine as a standalone. There’s enough explanation between action scenes to make sense of the backstory, without it providing an unnecessary drag on the new plot as it unfolds.
Kennedy is a pretty likeable protagonist. She walks the line between terrified child and over-precocious Buffy superhero perfectly and she also balances well with the rest of The Legion. While there is some typing of the Legion members that’s shorthand for the role they play in the group, it doesn’t feel gimmicky or forced. Pleasingly, the rest of The Legion play large and complex roles in the plot, rather than functioning as mere window dresssing and back up for Kennedy.
However, there were a few flaws in this book for me. I should say these are definitely subjective and may be due to the fact that at the age of 34, I am probably too old and cynical to be this book’s target market…
Ok, so I get that Kennedy is interested in fellow Legion member Jared. That they’re a couple and she really likes him. And I know it’s important to the plot. But there were times when it felt like I’d barely turn a page before another internal monologue of Kennedy’s feelings for Jared began again. Yes, I am heartless and cynical, but I felt that this came at the cost of other relationships in the story that could have been more fully explored.
I also have to say that I figured out the plot twist way before it happened. Which was a surprise considering I hadn’t read the first book. To me, it seemed to add a layer of unnecessary melodramatic complication. But as I’m not privy to the full story arc, I’m open to the possibility that I could have got this completely wrong, judging as I am on incomplete information.
Teens looking for a paranormal story fix with suspense, terror and a hefty dose of hormones all in one place. It would also make an amazing movie series!