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Mark of the Thief

Mark of the Thief is a YA historical fantasy adventure novel by Jennifer A. Nielsen.

A slave in the mines of ancient Rome, Nic dreams of freedom for himself and his sister.

Yet, instead, he faces certain death as he is forced to enter the recently located cavern allegedly containing the hidden treasures of Julius Caesar.

Amidst the jewels and gold is an artifact, a bulla, which has extraordinary magical power – something that some Romans would kill for.

Managing to survive the dangerous cavern, Nic is now armed with this bulla and his determination is freedom – however, his possession of this powerful object places him in a conspiracy to overthrow the emperor.

To save Rome, Nic must learn how to use his new powers and figure out who he can trust…

The beginning of Mark of the Thief reminded me of a Roman version of Aladdin. Felt a little familiar, though adding in a griffin to protect the treasure was a bit more fantastical.

I loved Nielsen’s Ascendance Trilogy, but for whatever sad reason Mark of the Thief did not connect with me. Whereas I always felt in a state of suspense in the Ascendance Trilogy and very invested in the main character, I did not feel the same way with Mark of the Thief.

There’s a lot of action, a lot of running around from place to place and a period of time in a gladiator arena that certainly sparks of excitement – but I just never really felt strongly about any of it.

I wish I could say something different, but Mark of the Thief was, oddly enough, a little boring for me. Nic wasn’t developed enough to be all that likable, nor were the secondary characters, in my opinion.

Hopefully you will have a different experience! I am sure Mark of the Thief will be enjoyed by many!!

For me, I do not think I will read book two.


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