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Marked, the first book in Sarah Fine’s new Servants of Fate series, takes place in a post-apocalyptic Boston. The year is 2114, and global warming has destroyed the world as we know it. Much of the United States has become a desert, and Boston is now partially underwater. While the general population struggles to survive, the Ferrys, a family of reapers, are thriving. It could be argued that the Ferrys own Boston, having their hands in nearly every industry. They work hand in hand with the Ker, an inhuman, soulless, mostly cruel race who, under the direction of the Fates, mark people for death.

At the center of the action is Cacy Ferry, who shunned her family’s empire in favor of working as a paramedic. At the Chinatown station, she meets newcomer Eli, a refugee from Pittsburgh, and sparks fly. Eli’s sister, Galena, is Harvard’s newest infectious disease researcher. Galena’s research may just put a damper on the death business, making her a target of a rogue Ker.

I received a free copy of Marked through Amazon’s Kindle First program. None of the books offered in December particularly stood out to me, so I just picked this one at random. I didn’t look too much into the plot summary or the author, so I had no idea what I was getting into.

Marked starts out well enough, but quickly declines. It’s a dystopian future, although not especially well done. For a book that takes place a mere 100 years in the future, it’s difficult to imagine what could have happened to make the world so different. I could see civilization changing, but how did the climate change so much? Pennsylvania and Massachusetts aren’t that far apart, either. How are the landscapes so vastly different? This is just one example of the world building being slightly off.

I suppose it doesn’t matter much, because the dystopian landscape is of little importance. It becomes obvious just a few pages in that the relationship between Cacy and Eli is going to take center stage. The two are instantly attracted to each other, and it’s not long before they find themselves “in love.” The rest of the plot falls by the wayside in favor of sexual tension, and later, gratuitous sex scenes. This felt a little odd to me, because I don’t think that the romance aspect necessarily fit with the rest of the story.

It’s hard to say what to describe this book as, because all of its aspects are underdeveloped. As I mentioned before, there are major chunks of information missing that might make the setting more realistic. Despite them being “in love,” it’s difficult to tell whether there’s anything to the relationship between Eli and Cacy other than physical attraction. Even the plot dealing with Galena’s research leaves something to be desired. In the end, I kind of felt that any one of these plots on its own would be better than all of them combined.

For a book this short, I think there was just too much going on.

Final rating: ★

For my 2015 reading challenge, I’m checking off #7: a book with nonhuman characters.

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