The Shadow Mark by Mason Thomas is the second book of his in a series called Lords of Davenia. Though, calling it a series is a bit generous since it doesn’t follow the same characters despite taking place in the same kingdom (Davenia) – I’m assuming it’s also taking place in the same time period as well.
Anyway, this book follows Auraq Greystone who is an ex-soldier as he stumbles into some dark mystery when he meets Kane, the bearer of a mysterious mark on his arm. In their journeys, they constantly evade assassins and other dangers until they finally make it to the capital for the final unraveling of the mystery. And, at some point, they end up falling in love with each other.
Overall, this book was incredibly cliche, predictable, but…still pretty decent. I enjoyed it well enough, though it was, admittedly, not as good as the first one. The romance aspect was on the verge of unbelievable with some fairly sweet moments thrown in. While I do like more subtle, slow-burn romance, this may have been pushing it just a little.
As for the characters, I did like Auraq well enough and I think there’s a possibility of him being on the asexual/aromantic spectrum, though it’s not obvious and might just be me reading into things more than anything else. Auraq is a very self-assured character and I truly enjoyed reading the story through his eyes. As for Kane…he’s the love interest. That’s pretty much it. He’s the one that needs to be protected because of the magical mark on his arm and ends up being in a relationship with the main character. Unfortunately, not a lot of substance was provided.
And then, there’s Thomas’ writing style. He sticks pretty closely to Auraq in third-person limited, but good God, could you get anymore cliche?! I swear, he uses every single cliche in storytelling in the history of ever. From someone missing the table when they set a goblet down because they’re so shocked to the villain interacting with someone “offscreen” while taunting the main character. It would’ve been annoying if Thomas’ writing didn’t have a certain…charisma.
So, if you don’t mind a by-the-numbers leaning book, I’d certainly encourage you to give The Shadow Mark a go. At the very least, I am more than willing to read Thomas’ future books.
Check out the YouTube version of this review here! Warning: video contains spoilers.
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