Mardan's Mark (Mardan's Mark #1)
by Kathrese McKee (Goodreads Author)Death is not their deepest fear.
Abducted by pirates and taken behind enemy lines across the Great Gulf, Princess Srilani is determined to save her sisters and younger brother, the crown prince, from captivity.
She convinces their caretaker, Aldan, and his brother slaves to share the perilous journey home. This ragtag group of unlikely heroes sets out on a quest — pursued by cutthroat pirates, merciless priests, and marauding soldiers — to return the heir to his kingdom before war breaks out.
In this epic adventure fantasy, Srilani and Aldan risk everything to save a prince and a nation, discovering along the way that death is not their deepest fear.
Mardan’s Mark is the award-winning first book in the Mardan’s Mark series.
My Review: 7.5/10
This book was great. It was recommended to me by the author's assistant based on other books I'd enjoyed (namely, Patrick Carr's novels) and I'm so glad!
This is an epic fantasy story with strong religious themes modeled after Christianity.
I liked that obstacles were met with almost immediately. Enemies were not built up as larger than life, looming like an oppressive evil presence hunting them to the ends of the earth, like some other books. This was good for keeping my stress levels down without killing off the suspense; their goals were larger than individual threats and I felt like that was more realistic.
Bearing in mind that this is fantasy, the way Christianity and God were portrayed didn't bother me. I didn't feel like anything was too off the mark. And I feel like some of the situations in the book are good for discussion.
The relationships were obvious from the get go, but I'm okay with that. And some of the surprise plot points were clear from the beginning as well, but that's alright too. I don't need to be taken by surprise to enjoy a story.
The things I didn't like were minor. I didn't think the royal children were as wise as they were built up to be. For example, choosing fake names from the get-go was a great idea. They should have kept up that pretense for the entire novel, if you ask me. They should have guarded their secrets, their identities, their skills a lot more carefully. I felt like they were way too trusting, almost begging to confide in others. And some of their problems were resolved too easily for me to find it entirely believeable.
On the whole, though, this was a great read. I highly recommend it, especially to those who like epic adventure stories about a lost heir fighting to reclaim their throne and unite warring kingdoms.