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 copy provided by Scholastic Canada. This in no way affects my opinion or review*
Ancient Rome with magic? How could I resist? I adored Nielsen’s Ascendence trilogy, and I couldn’t help but be excited for Mark Of The Thief. Overall, I enjoyed MOTT, but it didn’t live up to my expectations. This isn’t necessarily the fault of the book, which was a perfectly decent read. I think that since the Ascendence trilogy was one of my favourite MG series’, I simply set my expectations too high.
Mark Of The Thief starts off with a bang. CRASH! Magic and mayhem and awesomeness everywhere.The beginning drew me straight into the story, and I couldn’t wait to see what happened next.
The main character, Nic, was a decent enough character. He felt very similar to Jaron, the protagonist of Nielsen’s Ascendence trilogy, but without much of the wit and sarcasm. This was the thing that disappointed me the most in Mark Of The Thief. The author’s sarcastic and funny characters were the element I had come to know her for the most, and I just don’t think MOTT delivered in that aspect. Maybe this will happen in future books?
The side character, Aurelia, was also a major part of the story. I can’t say much without spoilers, but I liked her a lot more than Nic. She was fierce and smart, and just all-around awesome. I am very much looking forward to seeing how she grows in future instalments!
As I mentioned previously, I was very excited to read about the Ancient Rome the author has created. If anything, the world-building was enticing. Magic isn’t a common power, but the wealthy are often born with it, and use their magic to scheme their way into power. I enjoyed this concept, and the descriptions of Rome felt realistic and true to the time period.
The overall reading experience was satisfying, even though my mind started to wander as the middle dragged on. The end really got my attention back, though. The plot twist didn’t take place during the climax, but rather during the very last chapter, which left me with even more unanswered questions. Although Mark Of The Thief didn’t live up to my expectations, I still believe that it’s worth a read. If you enjoyed the author’s Ascendence trilogy, then you may want to give this one a try.