The Marked Son (Keepers of Life #1) by Shea Berkley
Published by Entangled on August 2, 2011
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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...
I had to read this book because the guy on the cover was calling to me. I mean, come on. Just look at the perfectly subtle, bow-shaped pout of those lips. Could you resist such pillows of perfection? The rest of that bad boy face isn’t bad, either. Now that we have established that I’m shallow, let’s take a deeper look at this book.
Dylan is our hunk on the cover. An outcast since birth, he’s been haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl in white since he can remember. These dreams have been the only constant thing in Dylan’s life. He has grown up with only his flighty mother for family, skipping town every time another one of her relationships goes sour. With no real friends or stable life to cling to, Dylan and his mother find themselves leaving town once again, heading to Dylan’s grandparent’s house. Grandparent’s that Dylan has never met. The unexpected meeting between Dylan and his maternal grandparent’s proves to be the first of many life changing events to occur. Dylan has always known something was different about him, but chalked it up to his nomadic lifestyle and lack of familial stability. Things start happening while at his grandparent’s house that mentally test his sanity, and Dylan is sure that what’s different about him has been calling him to this place all along.
Dylan’s grandparent’s sheep farm is in the middle of podunksville and is surrounded by a thick, and beckoning forest. The girl in white that he knows and loves from his dreams is making real-life appearances, and this is where the story starts to get good. If you love fantasy novels and parallel worlds, than this book is for your. I’m usually not a fan of reading about fairies and Lord of the Rings like fable, but this book hooked me. I loved reading from a guy’s POV, and enjoyed when I read from Kera’s POV alternately in this book. Kera is our girl in white and heroine of the story. Kera’s clever and defiant personality made me fall for her, and I wish I could have seen more unfold between her and Dylan in this novel. I now have something to look forward to in the following books. An array of interesting farm folk and mystical creatures invade Dylan’s life, and he can’t help but feel it filling the hole his mother and absentee father have left in his heart. Supernatural powers and battles in an alternate realm give this story a fantastical feel and keep things interesting. It had a dash of Princess Bride for my liking, and a lot of edge of your seat moments. Shea Berkley unfolds a tale filled with magical realism and boyish charm. I will definitely be recommending this to my fantasy loving friends.