Posted by: Sarah | May 20, 2011

Review of Marked by Bitten Twice

The lovely cover of Marked

Marked is a novel that I believe is related to the previously reviewed A Blood Moon, but features different characters.  This novel focuses on shapeshifters instead of vampires and demons, with feline and canine varieties.  There are shapeshifters which are monstrous werewolf types (as in, similar to wolves somewhat, but definitely other), some that sound like they turn into actual wolves, but these are not the main stars of the book for the most part.  The main characters mostly come from the feline shapeshifter faction, including ones who turn into cape lions, a variety of lion thought extinct, as well as panthers, cheetahs, and jaguarondi (which I will assume is usually shortened to jaguar).  There are also psychic and magical powers in this book, but not quite as overwhelmingly strong as in the previous work.  We are introduced to a new paranormal organization, the Knights of the Templar (also referred to as Templars in this book).  The main characters are involved in this organization in one way or another.

Xan is the King of the Cats, the main male character, and a member of the Knights of the Templar Council.  He is turns into a cape lion.  Catherine is the administrative assistant to another council member (they both happen to be human), and the two of them fall in love at first sight.  Literally first sight.  There’s no written build up to any of the romantic relationships in this novel, of which there are 4-5, if you count the prologue where-in the former King of the Cats and Xan’s father, Xor, has a relationship with Ova, Xan and his sisters’ biological mother.  There may also be a relationship between Xor and Sharizar, the Queen of the Cats (her title seems less important, although I’m not sure why).  Ari and Ova (Xan’s sisters) also have romantic relationships of their own.  Even if the romantic relationships are just there, I do really like the characters who are paired up for the most part.  I can understand why they would pick each other (except for why Catherine would be Xan’s pick, really) and agree with them.  I have a feeling that Catherine is more important than we are told in this book and it makes me wonder if she’ll appear in others.  I kept waiting for even just cameo appearances from the characters in A Blood Moon, especially Lina or Alexander, but they never showed up, so maybe a future book will pull these two groups of people together for a plot-line of larger scope.  The relationship between Xan and Catherine seems to be the main focus of the book, so that would make this book closer to the paranormal romance genre, but most of the book’s body is more similar to urban fantasy because of the action.  The overarching conflict is most likely linked to Catherine herself, although it is never explained why.  There are a lot of things that are left unexplained, and some unresolved.

I enjoyed reading the book and I liked the characters even if I don’t always understand their motives or what’s going on.  I feel like the major plot-line is relatively simple, but the branching pathways the other conflicts and storylines took fleshed it out some.  I would have liked more world building, as well as more plot development along some of those branches.

So to summarize: Pros:

1.  Characters I like.  Xan’s female relatives are all strong women – Ari, Ova Sr. (mother), Ova Jr. (daughter), and Sharizar are all powerful in their own ways, personality wise, physically wise, mental capacity wise, etc..  Donna, Catherine’s friend, also seems like a strong woman.  I also like Lucca, even if he and Xan do not always see eye to eye.  I also like that people have pretty strong personalities that come through in the writing.

2.  Interesting world I like.

3.  Bitten Twice’s descriptive prose.  I like the way she describes things, especially in the prologue of this book.  Her descriptions of the setting (when present) are very imaginable.  She uses lots of adjectives that combine to make a lovely picture.  I just wish she wrote more descriptive passages; some chapters in the book are much more dialogue and action, and need a little more description to balance them out.

Cons:

1.  As I started to go into before, I’d like more descriptive prose.  I’d also like more world building and more development into the whys of things.  I get a little confused as the lines between the different types of paranormals as well.  The lines between Lucca’s wolves and the werewolves who were working for the demon were not really revealed to the reader.

2.  The ending seems cut off.  We don’t know the motives as to why any of the attacks happened.  We don’t know for sure what the bad guys wanted, if the good guys actually found it, or if the bad guys won’t try again at a later date.

3.  There’s some really weird sex scenes in the beginning of the book.  I still don’t know if Ova Sr.  was one of the cats or one of the people, because there were mentions of tails, and being turned (as if she could be turned into a cat shapeshifter), and yet she’s referred to as of the people or human.  Also, doesn’t “Ova” mean “egg?”  If it does, that’s some symbolism and foreshadowing right there in the name.  There was also a time when Xor spoke about one of his “marked females” (aka mates) being left with the humans (referring to Ova Sr. and the group of people she lived with), so I was still confused.  I almost decided not to finish the book because I was weirded out by the sex scene there because it seemed pretty close to bestiality.  I’m glad I finished it, but it was a close call.

I think my cons can be converged into a single complaint:  the book needs more in the way of editing and revising.  There are still errors in grammar, punctuation, and some places with awkward word choice or phrasing, but this book is an improvement from the first.  The cons I listed above are mainly storyline things that may have been better fleshed out while in doing more work in the revising process.  This book is also self published as far as I know, so that’s a lot of work for one person, or a very small group of people to do.  The format of the book is very nice though, with a table of contents that actually sends you to the chapter you click!

You can find out more information about Bitten Twice and her works at the following websites:  Bitten Twice’s World, as well as Bitten Twice’s profiles and pages on Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, and Goodreads.

The lovely author, Bitten Twice

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Responses

  1. Good Morning Sarah and thank you so much for hosting today’s stop.

    I must make a couple points just for clarity. “Marked” is in no way related to or a follow-on to the Macedo Ink series or “A Blood Moon” and thus no future book is planned to pull the two worlds together at all.

    Marked is the first in its own series. I can understand some of your confusion.

    You distinguish between published and self-published. This book went to a professional editing firm as did the last. As you are aware, errors sometimes get left behind even in those put out by the big six publishing houses, not that it is condoned just that sometimes it happens. I thank you for acknowledging the time and effort that gets put into producing any novel.

    Thank you for such a thorough review. I always love reading your reviews.

    I’ll be stopping back in for more questions. Please ask away.

  2. Sorry Sarah if there were confusion in regards to the fact that this was a DIFFERENT sereis than the previous one. That was sent out to all reviewers in the original request email. Sorry if it was misunderstood.

    Thank you for reviewing the book.

  3. Also, with self publising please don’t assume it’s a small group that makes it possible. Many people make the wrong assumptions about self publishing. Many of us have retired editors (several in fact) to edit the book, then people to format as well. Myself and most of my authors are self publsihed and after looking at what publishers do we ensure twice as many read throughs and edits.
    I just wanted to clear that up because many of us don’t want the stigma of people saying self published as if we just write a book and print it.

    Sorry it’s a misconception that many people make and wanted to clear up:)

    • I probably do have several misconceptions about self publishing – I apologize for that. I think of it as probably having less red tape than going through the big publishing houses, and I have read blog posts by some authors where they speak about self publishing some items without anyone else’s help. I could have done more research on it. Also, I do know several authors published by big houses that have horrible errors (continuity, grammatical, research, and spelling) all throughout their novels – I’m guessing it’s partially because people are always pushing for more, more, more.

      As for the two books being different series, thank you and thank you Bitten Twice for clearing that up. I must have missed the email in which you said they weren’t the same series. I like the characters in both series so much it would be really interesting if there ever were plans to create a crossover novel :).


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