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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Marked by Elisabeth Naughton


THERON - Dark haired, duty bound and deceptively deadly. He's the leader of the Argonauts, an elite group of guardians that defends the immortal realm from threats of the Underworld.

From the moment he walked into the club, Casey knew this guy was different. Men like that just didn't exist in real life--silky shoulder-length hair, chest impossibly broad, and a predatory manner that just screamed dark and dangerous. He was looking for something. Her.

She was the one. She had the mark. Casey had to die so his kind could live, and it was Theron's duty to bring her in. But even as a 200-year-old descendant of Hercules, he wasn't strong enough to resist the pull in her fathomless eyes, to tear himself away from the heat of her body.

As war with the Underworld nears, someone will have to make the ultimate sacrifice.

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An intriguing take on Greek mythology and how some figures from it might still be playing a part in modern times. While at first glance they don't seem to have much impact on the normal, human world, it's shown by the end of the book that the things that affect them can and will affect the human world as well. The story is full of reminders that many things aren't what the appear to be at first, that actions have consequences, and that there's always a price to pay, especially where gods are involved. Nothing comes easily for the characters, and despite all they go through, by the time the book is over they've really only just begun.



Casey is, on the whole, a very grounded and believable character. She characterizes herself as a wanderer who's still looking for her place in the world, but what we see of her from the beginning is a young woman who's bearing up to some heavy responsibilities and doing what she has to do to make ends meet and fulfill her obligations. She also seems to have a pretty good sense of who she is and what is important to her, whether she believes she does or not, for never once does she let anyone, Theron included (or maybe especially Theron) steamroll over her, but stands up for herself and refuses to let them treat her like a child, demanding explanations and then deciding for herself whether or not to go along with what they want. True, sometimes she decides to play along simply because she realizes she can't hope to win against the other person or persons, but knowing how and when to pick their battles is a part of what makes a character a strong individual I think. And though she may go along with things for the time being at certain times, eventually she demands explanations and isn't afraid to call anyone out on it if she feels they're being selfish or stupid.

Theron might be a mighty warrior, descendant of Heracles and all that, but in many ways he comes off as more than a bit of a shmuck. He certainly is not without his own brand of hubris in thinking that he always knows what's best because he's the leader of the Argonauts, but he still has enough decency to admit it when he's been mistaken and done wrong. Though as often happens with alpha male sorts, he's more than a bit prone to having severe knee jerk reactions and going to extremes in trying to atone for his wrongs, or simply throwing a major pity party for himself, it's a bit hard to tell between the two really. Beneath all the bluster and posturing and whatnot though, he proves to be a truly decent and honorable man who has the courage to stand up for and do what he feels is right, even if it means going against what duty tells him he should do.

Together, Casey and Theron, and those around them, are faced with a number of difficult decisions, some of which they have to make without having all the information that they should have. Sure, they all make some mistakes along the way, but that's to be expected, and in the end the decisions they make work out to be at least mostly for the good. Or at least it seems like it's going to work out that way since a great many issues are far from resolved at the end of this book. Which mostly just whets the appetite to read more in this series, and certainly I'll be looking forward to see how it all plays out in the later books. A definite "Would recommend" book, and a promising start to what will hopefully be an interesting series.

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