Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Ancillary's Mark by Danel A. Cohen

Title: The Ancillary's Mark
Author: Daniel A. Cohen
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Paperback, 244 pages
Date Published: November 4, 2010

Description (Taken from Goodreads):
The legend of the Ancillary flower has existed for centuries. Foretold to bring out the limitless potential of its bearer, the flower and the legend have been forgotten by many. Recently, strange events in a shrouded Tibetan town have sparked rumors among those who still believe.       

Jacob Deer is a quirky young man, bound for college, with an eccentric old librarian for a best friend, an obsession with sitting down in elevators, and a strange birthmark on his hand that's shaped mysteriously like the markings on the Ancillary's petals. When Jacob's mentor Mr. Maddock reveals to him his connection with the legendary Ancillary, it sets in motion a series of events that sends Jacob and friends across the world. Alongside an alluring young woman, a marine-reject, and a Tibetan kid obsessed with comic books, Jacob must face off against a vengeful maniac for the fate of the flower, the legend, and all mankind.

To start, Jacob Deer is possibly the most endearing character I have ever read. He’s full of quirks and eccentricities that make him weird to most, but he’s really just a young man who is trying to be happy. He doesn’t conform to everyday behavior, instead, he marches to the beat of his own drum; or better yet, he’s the drummer.

Daniel Cohen has created this fantastic journey for Jacob, the gorgeous Sophia, and bodyguard Diego. The three of them travel across the world to Tibet on belief alone (Diego doesn’t believe, but he’s raking in the big bucks by going). Their search for the Ancillary flower is both thrilling – Cohen changes perspective every few chapters, so I was on the edge of my seat, waiting to get back to these three, or Mr. Maddock (Sophia’s grandpa/librarian), or bad guy Marrow – and the search is hilarious. Cohen keeps the mood light the whole way through with Jacob’s insistent ‘humor in every situation’ nature and with Tibetan boy Clark (who worships Superman).

The setting becomes a character itself with Cohen’s vivid descriptions – I could almost feel the mud squishing underneath my feet and the power rustling through the air. Cohen takes his characters on quite the adventure and it was great to see the development. Some go from non-believers to believers, others crack open their shells so we can see their real selves, and then there’s Jacob, who never wavers despite all the trouble he encounters.

My only issues with the book are the overuse of ellipses and the somewhat corny ending. I get how the ending comes to fruition, but it kind of reminds me of the ending to Harry Potter. It’s sweet, but corny nonetheless. Aside from that, I loved everything about the book.

The Ancillary’s Mark
is a great book for anyone and everyone because it doesn’t rely on one factor to draw readers in. It’s interesting because of the story, but mostly because of the characters. For those of you seeking a good thrill, this is the one for you. I was captivated from the first sentence and surprised by every twist. If you have the chance, be sure to pick this one up.

Opening line: There was no conclusion, just a feeling of finality. ~ pg. 5

Favorite lines: The doctor told his mother that it was a painless death, but the doctor was a liar.
The pain never went away. ~ pg.  12
And this one:
Diego removed his fingers from the earth. “Souls come in different sizes?”
“Of course. Haven’t you felt yours growing?” ~ pg. 118

4.5 - Fantastic doesn't do it justice
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it. 
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~The Book Pixie said...

I had never heard of this one but it sounds like a really fun and exciting read with great characters! Thanks for posting this great review! I'll be adding this one to my wishlist. :D


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