Gwen & Kate's Library

Two sisters' reviews of Young Adult and Middle Grade books, inspired by their lovely library.

Gwen’s Thoughts on The Mark of the Thief by Jennifer A. Nielsen

I read this book purely because of the Ancient Roman setting and the author Jennifer A. Nielsen, who also wrote the False Prince Trilogy. Apparently these two criteria were not enough to overwhelm the middle grade feel of this book, along with the slow pace and weak characters (compared to Nielsen’s other works).

17453187

Series: The Mark of the Thief, Book 1

Genres: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction, Mythology, Fantasy

Format: Audiobook, Narrated by MacLeod Andrews

Rating: 3 stars

Description:

When Nic, a slave in the mines outside of Rome, is forced to enter a sealed cavern containing the lost treasures of Julius Caesar, he finds much more than gold and gemstones: He discovers an ancient bulla, an amulet that belonged to the great Caesar and is filled with a magic once reserved for the Gods — magic some Romans would kill for.

Now, with the deadly power of the bulla pulsing through his veins, Nic is determined to become free. But instead, he finds himself at the center of a ruthless conspiracy to overthrow the emperor and spark the Praetor War, a battle to destroy Rome from within. Traitors and spies lurk at every turn, each more desperate than the next to use Nic’s newfound powers for their own dark purposes.

In a quest to stop the rebellion, save Rome, and secure his own freedom, Nic must harness the magic within himself and defeat the empire’s most powerful and savage leaders.

Review:

I read this book purely because of the Ancient Roman setting and the author Jennifer A. Nielsen, who also wrote the False Prince Trilogy. Apparently these two criteria were not enough to overwhelm the middle grade feel of this book, along with the slow pace and weak characters (compared to Nielsen’s other works).

I love love love Ancient Roman (and Greek) history. I just finished taking Latin III at school, and plan to teach myself Latin IV over the summer. I also took an online high school honors course called The Glory of Ancient Rome, which taught the history of Rome from its legendary origins to the fall of the empire. When I saw this book took place during Emperor Tacitus’s reign from 275-276 AD, during the Roman Empire, I immediately added it to my to-read list, purchased a copy for Kate’s birthday, and requested the audiobook on ListenUp! Vermont.

Unfortunately, I should have paid more attention to the middle grade genre before committing to this book. It is written in very simple prose, and the characters are much flatter and less interesting than those in Nielsen’s The False Prince Trilogy. I was personally disappointed and will not be continuing this series, but do think this could be a very enjoyable book for a reader more in the age range than I am. Kate was pleased with this book, and I’m sure fans of the Percy Jackson series and Rick Riordan’s other books would leap at this new, similar, ancient historical middle grade book.

(This book counts for the School YA Bingo Challenge for the category “Book Based off a Myth.”) 

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One comment on “Gwen’s Thoughts on The Mark of the Thief by Jennifer A. Nielsen

  1. Pingback: School YA Bingo Challenge FINALE!! | Gwen & Kate's Library

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This entry was posted on June 9, 2015 by in Author: Gwen, Middle Grade, Review, School YA Bingo Challenge and tagged , , .
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