This young adult dystopian novel is as unpredictable and surprising as it is great.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT
The Mark plays off in the year 264 PC. The world as we know it doesn’t exist anymore. All animals except for a few insects are extinct. Plants are now endangered. The sun scorches everything it touches. And a huge division exists between the rich and the poor. Ettie does her best to dodge her fate by becoming invisible to the system.
MY FAVORITE CHARACTERS
Ettie is the main character. She cares about one person only, which is Kitty. Ettie and Kitty are roommates in the orphanage where they grew up in. The conditions in the orphanage are horrible. Both girls work for a cruel handler who makes them risk their freedom by stealing for him. They agree that stealing is better than rummaging through the trash to find their next meal.
Ettie also loves books. Before the destruction, people used e-readers to read, so they threw away real books. (Let’s not ever make that happen, okay?) So, after the apocalypse, people used the books that they found to make fire. Ettie is on a mission to save books. She then takes them to Reader.
Reader is a collector of books. He is also as blind as a bat. In exchange for the books Ettie brought him, he taught her to read. She uses stories like The Hobbit and Alice in Wonderland to distract her from reality.
The Mark sucks us right into a world full of Market Nags, Locusts (police officers), and sun worshipers. The poor from the Slums live off stealing from the rich. The only food available in the slums is overripe mango and banana. Only the rich have a variety of foods available to them. The flies are the stuff of nightmares. They grew very big and would bite everybody. Also, the birds got psychic. This book kept my imagination humming.
So, the author is South African. I am South African too, in case you didn’t know. I did see the resemblance, and unfortunately, I found this future to be quite believable. The rich people with the light skins who ruled over the others. Also, the way that the people of the slums must carry a pass, but the rich can move around any way they like. That all actually happened during South Africa’s apartheid years.
WHAT I THOUGHT:
To be honest, It surprised me when I found out that The Mark is a young adult novel. I enjoyed it so much that I would recommend it to my adult friends in a heartbeat. I always say that the book is better than the movie, but I truly hope that this story ends up as a Hollywood blockbuster. And that this will turn into a series of many more books. (Just putting it out there, Edyth Bulbring:)