Monday, June 18, 2018

All About Middle Grade Review: Mark of the Thief

Mark of the Thief (Mark of the Thief, 1) by Jennifer A. Nielsen, February 24, 2015. 352 pages. Published by Scholastic. Source: Publisher. 
When Nic, a slave in the mines outside of Rome, is forced to enter a sealed cavern containing the lost treasures of Julius Caesar, he finds much more than gold and gemstones: He discovers an ancient bulla, an amulet that belonged to the great Caesar and is filled with a magic once reserved for the Gods -- magic some Romans would kill for.

Now, with the deadly power of the bulla pulsing through his veins, Nic is determined to become free. But instead, he finds himself at the center of a ruthless conspiracy to overthrow the emperor and spark the Praetor War, a battle to destroy Rome from within. Traitors and spies lurk at every turn, each more desperate than the next to use Nic's newfound powers for their own dark purposes.

In a quest to stop the rebellion, save Rome, and secure his own freedom, Nic must harness the magic within himself and defeat the empire's most powerful and savage leaders. 
First Sentence
In Rome, nothing mattered more than the gods, and nothing mattered less than its slaves.

Ah, yet another book that I meant to read...when it first came out (years ago). Somehow, it ended up on the bottom of one the "already read" stacks in my room. Which would explain why I couldn't find it till I was weeding through my books. 

  • I'll admit it, I was a little nervous about reading Mark of the Thief because of how much I enjoyed reading the Ascendence trilogy. While I enjoyed this one, it was not as captivating as the previous trilogy that I read by her. Though still good in its own right. Let's see why.
  • I found Nic to be quite an interesting and strong character. While most people would find him somewhat weak, considering his strong will. Even though he was a slave working the mines, he kept sight of his worth as a human; sure he had to make concessions in order to survive, but throughout the book, there were so many times where could have just given up completely yet didn't. There were, for me at least, many reasons to have enjoyed reading about Nic's story even if at times it paralleled, in some aspects, that of the main character from her previous series. Because even though there were similarities, things were also quite different from one series to the next.
  • As a reader who enjoys history, it was very refreshing to have the story take place in Ancient Rome rather than another book set in Greece. Yes, I really enjoyed the setting and how well she used it witin the plot, so, I'll spare you my ramblings about that. While it took me a couple chapters to really get into the story, I was again impressed with Jennifer Nielsen's ability to weave such a fascinating tale. One that blended history with a touch of magic. 
Final Verdict: Mark of the Thief- It was definitely a good book, one I probably would have enjoyed (or ranked higher) had I read it in a shorte amount of time. It was a solid start to the series and one taht I'm looking forward to continuing when time permits.  

A copy of this book was received from the publisher for review consideration. All thoughts are my own.

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