2 Stars. Spoiler Free Review. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts are my own.
There’s nothing more frustrating than being extremely excited to read a book that has a unique description, only to be let down by the writing style. In the case of The Mark of Noba, that’s exactly what I experienced.
When I first heard about this book, I was thrilled to read it. Mystery meets fantasy meets alternate worlds — what could go wrong? The second I read the description of the book, I signed up in hopes of having an amazing adventure and following Sterling and Tetra into their unique worlds. When I received my ebook, I immediately dove in, eager to devour the world of Noba and why Sterling didn’t know he was from there, but it was hard to do so.
To be fair, I’m a bit of a stickler of grammar and spelling mistakes, so that was one of the first things I noticed about this book. Words were missing in some sentences, and in others, words that didn’t belong were inserted or their suffixes were lost, leaving the sentences difficult to read. This happens in every book, and I understand that because no author is perfect, but it left me frustrated. Every time that I came across a mistake, I was jarred from the plot, something that I wasn’t really sure I was following in the first place. That, of course, wasn’t the overall deterrent from continuing to bask in Sterling’s adventures. What was, however, was the way the author set up the book’s POV.
Now I love a good POV switcher. Usually when I read these kinds of novels, my first thought is ‘who’s going to die?’ because there’s no way we get to see these intricate minds both make it to the end. In The Mark of Noba, however, it was jarring. The first few chapters start out solely in Sterling’s point of view, telling the tale of a teenage boy with a stressful family life, friends who don’t always understand him, and a crush that doesn’t really see him the same way. That was all well and good. The frustrating part comes when Tetra is introduced to the story. Once Tetra becomes someone that Sterling isn’t wondering about, but rather a person in his life, her point of view becomes a main focus of the writing behind the storyline, and that’s where it gets confusing. The way that the point of view was jumping back and forth left me confused sometimes, because I would set the book down, pick it back up, and spend twenty minutes trying to figure out who I was reading about based on context clues. By the time I got to a third of the way through the book, I still didn’t know exactly why the POV was switching multiple times per chapter, or what the goal behind it was.
In addition to that, the plot moved so slowly that it didn’t hold my attention. Usually when I start a book, I can’t put it down. I spend hours reading it, trying to delve into the characters’ past and the world that they live in so I can soak up everything about the novel, but this one left me wanting. I’d get a few percent further into the book and felt like no time was passing, that nothing interesting was happening, and that left me wondering why I tried to keep reading. As a good friend once told me, life’s too short to read books you’re not enjoying, so I decided after getting a third of the way through The Mark of Noba that this one’s just not for me. Maybe on a rainy day I’ll pick it up again and give it another go, but as of right now, I don’t think I’ll be finishing this book for a long time.
I greatly appreciate the author’s willingness to give me the opportunity to read their book, and if you like books with multiple POVs, this might be a great one for you! Sadly it wasn’t for me, but who knows. Maybe in the future that will change.