Release Date: Oct. 4, 2011
Age Group: Young Adult
Buy: Fountain Bookstore / Amazon
When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she's surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends and is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRÍs.But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction.
Knowing the publishing story of Carrier of the Mark- virtually handpicked from the HarperCollins teen writing site inkpop.com the way an actor gets discovered while walking the dog- I fully expected to be wowed by this. Unfortunately, I was not.
My first and biggest problem is that so much of Megan’s story felt familiar-too familiar. I understand that there are many repetitive tropes in YA (especially paranormal YA) but... this had one too many similarities that I couldn't ignore. It reminded me very strongly of a certain ridiculously huge YA series about a clumsy new girl brunette and a sparkly old teenager with copper hair. You know what series I'm talking about. One or two things in common with this certain series wouldn't have been a problem for me—honestly, I can think of many novels that bear similarities to this certain series. However, Carrier of the Mark is the story of a girl moving to a new place (that is greener than her old home) with her single father; she catches the eye of the Hottest Boy In School Who Doesn't Date Anyone So Don't Even Try; she immediately becomes obsessed with said Hottest Boy and his Weirdly Quirky And Possibly Magical Sister Whose Name Starts With An A; she gets rescued by Hottest Boy twice- once under Decidedly Supernatural Circumstances in front of her classmates and once while walking alone at night; she and Hottest Boy begin to date after the 2nd rescuing incident; there are all these rumors about Hottest Boy's family because of the weird incidents that happen around him but it turns out he has a Paranormal Secret that she learns about from his surrogate father. I could keep going, but I think you get the picture.
Even with all these very obvious plot points smacking in the face, I still would have been able to look the other way if the writing were a bit stronger. Fallon's style is very simple; often too simple. With the amount of rich, delicious, complex YA writing out in the market today, much of this sounds amateur and falls flat. There are glimmers of what Fallon is capable of achieving, phrases here and there throughout the novel, and that kept me reading to the end. However, one cannot simply state how the characters feel without showing it, and therefore, I wasn't terribly impressed. The biggest peeve to me was her use of what I call Info-Dump or Extreme Exposition. Rather than let certain aspects of the plot reveal themselves organically or perhaps even wait for the next book in the series to explain something, a character will flat out tell Megan a ton of information all at once. I don't like this in any form of media, but in a book, an entire chapter or more of nothing but one character spouting exposition really messes with the pacing. I wonder who along the way enabled this, because I feel the blame shouldn’t lie entirely on Fallon.
In short, I’m pretty disappointed with Carrier of the Mark. I was really looking forward to reading it, and it misses the mark (pun intended). Here’s hoping Leigh Fallon can find that potential that I know she possesses.