In "The Marked Son", author Shea Berkley not only holds you until the last page, but packs enough action, romance, suspense, angst, humor, and discovery into her novel that, whatever your genre preference, you're sure to find a happy medium here. Dylan, our protagonist, is, honestly, the strongest character I've seen in a long time. His search to find his way from charity case to powerful, otherworldly half-breed AND unite with the girl of his (literal) dreams is natural and intense. Throughout the book, we see him go from rebellious teen to abandoned little boy, love-struck youth to fledgling `forest spirit' and warrior, and never do you feel that these facets are contrived, as with some characters. Kera, as his Love, is also interesting and brave, loyal and tragic, but while I typically gravitate towards the female protagonist, here I was firmly grabbed by our male lead. and couldn't let go.
Some of the best aspects of this book are that all of the secondary characters (and I do mean All) are real enough to truly care for. The story is original in that it never truly falls into the tried-and-true fairytale theme of most Fae fiction. Yes, there is magic, some bro bonding, and the forbidden damsel, but these are definitely secondary to the true plot: "Son" is, foremost, a human drama. Yet the action and shifting perspectives keep the reader entertained and thoughtful enough that you can definitely expect to stay up well into the night finishing it. The only real issues I had with this tale, in spite of its extended length, were: the feeling that there was almost too much action going on at all times; that I didn't connect as well to Kera, which was unfortunate; AND that there were quite a few unanswered questions as the story progressed. For example, who were his Grandmother and Pop really? And, especially, how and why did he and Kera come to each other in their dreams years before anything in our story ever began? As this is meant to have a sequel, we can only hope that much might be resolved in Book 2 of the 'Keepers of Life' series. Either way, I give "The Marked Son" a solid "must read" rating of 4.5 out of 5 Stars, and will be on the lookout for the next `keeper'.
Seventeen-year-old Dylan Kennedy always knew something was different about him, but until his mother abandoned him in the middle of Oregon with grandparents he’s never met, he had no idea what.
When Dylan sees a girl in white in the woods behind his grandparents’ farm, he knows he’s seen her before…in his dreams. He’s felt her fear. Heard her insistence that only he can save her world from an evil lord who uses magic and fear to feed his greed for power.
Unable to shake the unearthly pull to Kera, Dylan takes her hand. Either he’s completely insane or he’s about to have the adventure of his life, because where they’re going is full of creatures he’s only read about in horror stories. Worse, the human blood in his veins has Dylan marked for death…