Sunday, December 4, 2016

Marked - Elisabeth Naughton (Eternal Guardians #1)

Marked (Eternal Guardians, #1)Marked was the Unapologetic Romance Readers book for November.  No, we are not good at reading things in a timely manner.  Thank you for noticing.  It's a paranormal romance with a focus on Greek-based mythology, but set in a modern world.  The main characters are Theron, head of the Argonauts from the mystical realm of Argolea, who work to protect humanity (Or Argolea.  Or something.  There seems to be some disagreement over what they actually do.) and Casey (short for Acacia, of course) a young woman who works the used bookstore her grandmother formerly owned and waitresses at a strip club to help ends meet.  The book starts with Theron barging into the club, sweeping another woman out of it, and then promptly being almost killed by demons, who scatter when Casey shows up despite her being someone they are supposed to kill. (?)  Casey rescues Theron, helps nurse him back to health (which happens very quickly because he is not human) and they almost have steamy sex before he notices a mark on her and jets off to figure out what's going on.

This book didn't have many highlights for me.  What I did like about it were the almost-sex scenes, which were very, very steamy.  The actual sex scenes suddenly went from steamy to "I'm going to die in three days so we must gently make love now!" very quickly and sort of made me want to gag.  But what really drove me up the wall here was the lack of internal logic in this book.  "But it's a paranormal book!" you might say.  And to that I still say, as I always do, "Yes, but it must play by its own rules."  I don't think Naughton did a very good job of that here.  At the climax of the book, she ultimately seems to go, "Screw the rules, I'm the author!" and the very thing that was supposed to have massive consequences for the entire length of the book didn't have any.  Also on this point, she uses the style of speech for all the characters, who all sound like foul-mouthed teenagers (I have nothing against foul language but really, I found myself rolling my eyes at it here), even the princess who has supposedly been sequestered away from the rest of society, which makes the whole "Oh, the Argoleans learned it from humans!!!" argument a bit weak.  The big romantic conflict is also ultimately resolved with no effort at all other than one character being stubborn, and really wasn't a conflict to begin with since none of the characters actually intended to go through with any of the things that would have made it a conflict to begin with.  Sigh.

She also cherry-picked mythological elements, which drove me crazy, because if you're going to do mythology, at least try to make it all work together or put some story behind it rather than just taking what you like and throwing out the rest with no explanation.  And what exactly was the point of this prophecy/separation of powers deal, anyway?  It didn't actually seem to serve a purpose?

Overall, I was not a big fan of this.  Naughton has a way of writing some steamy scenes but I don't think they could carry the book through all of its other weak moments.  I liked some of the other Argonauts and wouldn't mind seeing more about them...but I'm not quite sure I'm ready to go through another book of this to do so.

2 stars out of 5.

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