It is Spring Break week here in the Pacific Northwest! Hopefully we will have some
sunny days for reading outside. If you are on the hunt for a fantastic read for Spring Break or anytime, I highly recommend checking out Marked and Claimed by Sarah Fine. If you are a long time follower, you know I am a huge fan of Ms. Fine, ever since her debut book, Sanctum. This past Winter, Sarah delivered her first adult books, and I couldn't be more pleased! If you love modern day mythological retellings, you must check out this series! Before I tell you more, I want to reintroduce you to Sarah Fine:
Sarah Fine was born on the West Coast, raised in the Midwest, and is now firmly entrenched on the East Coast, where she lives with her husband and two children. When she's not writing, she's working as a child psychologist. No, she is not psychoanalyzing you right now. SANCTUM was her first novel. She also writes with Walter Jury under the name S.E. Fine, and their YA sci-fi thriller, SCAN, released in 2014 along with the conclusion of the Shadowland Series: Chaos and Of Metal and Wishes. In 2015, Sarah released her adult series: Servants of Fate. Visit her website for details, also find Sarah on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Goodreads.
Now please welcome Sarah!
and Fated (out in September!) has been, more or less, a total amusement park experience for me as a writer. I gathered together a bunch of stuff I found interesting—catastrophic rises in ocean levels resulting in chaotic, futuristic canal cities? Check! Supernatural beings engaged in a struggle for human souls? Check! Romance? CHECK.—and tossed it all into these novels in a way that was simply fun for me. I let my imagination run wild.
But just as I loosely based my ecodisaster-stricken Boston on climate change projections, including that ocean levels will rise significantly by 2100, I also loosely based my supernatural beings in some well-known mythology.
The dude in the red loincloth there is Charon, the ferryman for the dead. And I thought, hey … let’s maybe modernize this a bit! So in my series, the Charon is the leader of the Ferrys, a family of people who, by virtue of an ancient treaty, are designated as the guides for dead souls. In mythology, dead souls have to pay Charon to ferry them across the River Styx, but in my series, the Ferrys are paid a commission for delivering dead souls to the afterlife. It’s a pretty lucrative business, and has made them the wealthiest family in Boston. They run a conglomerate called Psychopomps, Inc. (the original title of Marked! I’m sure you’re shocked that it was changed.), part money-laundering operation, part engine of corporate world domination.
Unfortunately, the Ferrys have to share the death commission with …
Well, this is a Ker. In mythology, they’re female death-spirits. And in Servants of Fate, the Kere (the plural is usually Keres, but this is just one of so. Many. Liberties. Taken.) are also death-spirits, and they Mark and determine the manner of death for each person fated to die. Except they’re not all female, and they don’t have wings or super-pointy noses. In fact, they look human … most of the time. They do really enjoy a nice, gruesome killing, though, and they dislike the idea that anyone would do something as inconvenient as inventing a vaccine that could prevent millions of untimely deaths (Galena, that lovely lady on the cover while Declan, the black sheep of the Ferry family, is given the hefty responsibility of keeping her alive so she can fulfill her destiny).
Then of course there is Moros, who in mythology is the personification of doom, and in my series he is … also the personification of doom. Only he has a taste for expensive suits (and perhaps a certain Ferry, but that will have to wait until Fated comes out in September). He’s the son of Nyx (night) and brother of the Fates, and of a few other not-so-friendly entities. Here’s the classic version of the Fates, but in my version, they have a slightly updated fashion sense and a somewhat complicated relationship with their brother.
I hope enthusiasts of Greek mythology will get a kick out of this series, but I think they might read parts of it and shake their heads. I stretched some aspects of this mythology to the breaking point and at certain times completely jumped the rails, as evidenced by the afterlife in this series, which has little to do with Hades. It was all in the name of a good story, though. I tried to offer my readers a fresh take on some ancient tales, to insert glints of the familiar along with a truckload of the strange and the new. I took Greek mythology as a foundation and built my own playground on top of it, and I hope you all will enjoy reading these books as much as I enjoyed writing them.
Thank you so much, Sarah. I am thrilled that you are here once again. Now Sarah never comes empty handed. Today, she is graciously offering a chance to win copies of both Marked and Claimed to one lucky U.S. resident.
To enter, read the Contest Policies and fill out the Rafflecopter. Good Luck!
Here is my review:
Claimed (Servants of Fate #2) by Sarah Fine
Galena Margolis, a brilliant scientist with a tragic past, is determined to fulfill her destiny and develop the vaccine that could save millions. Yet when Galena’s test subjects meet with foul play, it’s clear that someone is still determined to stop her, and that Galena herself is a target. As the Ferry empire forges a plan to keep her safe, Declan Ferry, the politics-hating black sheep of the family, steps forward to protect her—but the emotional cost may be more than either of them is willing to pay.
As unknown enemies close in, it becomes terrifyingly clear that they threaten to destroy not only Galena’s lifesaving work but also the very fabric of fate. As Galena and Declan race to uncover the traitor, they also forge a special bond that could save both Galena and those she’s sworn to help. Torn apart by the past and hunted by those she trusted, can Galena find room amidst her fears for a passion that could make her stronger than ever? And even if she and Declan can find their way together, will it be enough to keep the future from coming apart at the seams?Kindle Edition, 341 pages
Four and a half stars: Another brilliant installment!
Galena plugs ahead with her research that will change the foundation of the world. With her vaccine, Galena could wipe out diseases that plague the human race, and severely cut down on the death rate. The problem with curing humanity's diseases is that many of the Ferrys and the Keres, those entrusted with marking and ferrying the souls to the afterlife, could stand to lose millions of dollars. Thus, Galena's life is constantly in danger. After another assassination attempt, Galena's brother, Eli, and the clan of the Ferrys decide to take steps to protect Galena. Those steps involve the handsome Declan Ferry. Can Declan truly protect Galena?
What I Liked:
- Once again, Ms Fine plunged me quickly back into her dark and dangerous post apocalyptic world. I appreciated that the world building solidified this time out and, I got a fast, furious, exciting and romantic tale. Ms Fine delivers again.
- With Marked, I had some issues with the world building. I was thrown into post apocalyptic United States, but I didn't really understand what had happened. This time, the state of the world was explained, and I appreciated getting my feet on firm ground.
- The plot thickens in this installment as the Keres and Ferrys battle for the control of the souls. Galena continues to be a target, and it seems there is another rogue Kere on the loose. I liked the danger, treachery and suspense in the book. Of course, there were some big reveals and a couple of exciting twists right at the end that made me even more eager for the next installment.
- At the heart of the story, there is a romance. This romance is different, unexpected but beautiful when it fully flowers. It is romance that starts when two people are thrown together for an alliance and protection. There is no history other than an acquaintance and a subtle attraction. What follows, is a friendship that forms when the two learn to trust one another. Then something more happens. It isn't an easy road as one of the participants is suffering from severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I loved watching the hesitant steps as she worked through those memories. It was beautiful and lovely once it unfurled. Ms. Fine continues to write romance that is hot and fantastic.
- I am intrigued with Ms Fine's refashioning of Fate and the Ferrys and so forth. I am loving her vision, and I can't wait to see what happens with the impending war. Ms Fine takes some well known mythological concepts and puts her own modern spin on them and the end result is a fantastic story. I need book three now!
And The Not So Much:
- This book ends on a cliffhanger as the fate of the world seems to be hanging in the balance. Two powerful people look like they are going to have to make an unexpected alliance, and I can't wait to see what happens. I need the next book now!
- I was disappointed that Eli and Cacy didn't have larger roles in this book. I got rather attached to the two of them in Marked. Eli is present, but his time with Cacy is minimal, and Cacy is only in a couple of scenes. I was looking forward to revisiting them.
- I also wanted more of Moros, but he is absent for most of the book. He was such an enigmatic character in the first book. However, I think that the next book he will be front and center, and I am eager to get to know him and hopefully Aislan better.
- While I loved the romance, I felt like it overshadowed the story line. I wanted more about the battle of the world and Fate, but it didn't come into the picture until the final pages. Again, the third book is setting up to deliver all I am hoping for, so I just need to be patient.
Claimed is a solid and satisfying sequel to Marked. Ms Fine once again delivers a heart pounding adventure along with a scorching romance. If you are on the hunt for an exciting mythological adventure in a post apocalyptic world, I urge you to pick up this series. Ms. Fine has fast become one of my go to authors, and she has yet to disappoint me.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
Don't miss the first book in this awesome, must read series: