Marked – The Soulseer Chronicles #1 – Sue Tingey
Release date: May 7th, 2015
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Age Group: (Young) Adult
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
With no family and very few friends, Lucky’s psychic ability has always made her an outcast. The only person she can rely on is Kayla, the ghost girl who has been with her since she was born.
But Kayla is not all that she appears.
And when Lucky is visited by a demonic assassin with a message for her friend, she finds herself dragged into the Underlands – and the political fight for the daemon king’s throne.
Lucky, trapped in the daemon world, is determined to find her way home… until she finds herself caught between the charms of the Guardian Jamie, the charismatic Daemon of Death Jinx – and the lure of finding out who she really is.
I have been excited about this book since last year’s World Science Fiction Convention, or Loncon3. There, I got a little booklet with the first chapter of the book and I read it that very evening, hooked from the start. I had to wait almost a year to get to read the rest of the book. It was just as great as that first chapter promised.
‘Marked’ starts out as a tale about a young woman who can see ghosts. She leads an isolated life because of that and even her best friend is a ghost who has been by her side since she was young. Don’t be fooled though, there is so much more to the book than you’d think at first.
Lucky, the main character is visited by a demonic assassin who wants her to pass along a message to her best friend, Kayla. Kayla starts acting weird, not wanting to explain and to make matters even more complicated, a young guy called Jamie turns up at her doorstep, begging for her help. Lucky soon suspects something is terribly wrong and that the others are keeping things from her. When the whole truth finally surfaces Lucky’s world is turned upside down and she finds herself whisked away to a parallel world that’s both incredibly beautiful and different, but also quite frightening. At the Daemon King’s court she’s forced to watch his bloodthirsty games while trying to stay alive herself.
‘Marked’ was a fascinating and entertaining read. When Lucky was transported to the parallel Daemon world, I was reminded of how I felt watching Alice in Wonderland for the first time. This magical place full of new, wonderful and scary things, where nothing is as we’re used to. It is a journey of discovery for Lucky and for us.
I loved the characters in this book. Lucky is a strong female protagonist with a will of her own, braving everything admirable. I liked how she reacted to the whole situation quite how I imagine I would react, with wonder but also fear and reluctance.
Her bodyguards are 4 refreshingly different antagonists: the handsome and honourable Jamie, the seductive and cheeky Jinx and the two loyal demons Mr Kerfuffle and Mr Shenanigans. They each coloured the story in their own way, giving it some lightness, some romance, some fierce loyalty and some crackling sexual tension.
Parallel worlds in the Fantasy genre always ask for some well written worldbuilding. I absolutely love parallel worlds and was curious to find out about this one. Sue Tingey chose to make her world very different from ours in almost every aspect. Not only have the inhabitants, or Daemons, a different appearance, they also have different standards and habits. Creatures like Lucky’s Drakon, Pyrites, populate this Daemon world, dragons who can be as big as a house and fly you around or shrink to the size of a cat and sleep next to your pillow. I almost wish they were real, so I can have one! The world itself is also different in appearance, with the fairly standard multiple moons/suns, but also unusual colours and sights. Needless to say I was enthralled.
A strong and interesting debut that isn’t easily labelled within the genre, ‘Marked’ will please a diverse group of readers. Tingey succeeded in avoiding all the clichés that are usually interwoven with plots like these, and managed to keep a level of realism with her characters. I’m eagerly looking forward to the next book in the series (and secretely hoping there’s a lot more of Jinx in there 😉 )