Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Book Review: The Marian by Taylor Hohulin

Fifteen-year-old Ethan Denby doesn’t know how he got on the Marian. He just woke up one day inside the body of its captain.

The Marian is unlike any ship Ethan has ever seen. It crawls on long, metal legs over dunes of salt in search of water, despite laws granting exclusive harvesting rights to a corrupt organization known as HydroSystems Worldwide.

HydroSystems is closing in, tensions are mounting aboard the Marian, and on top of all that, Ethan is beginning to think the dreams he's been having aren't completely harmless. If he doesn’t get home soon, Ethan could die inside someone else’s body in this wasteland of a world. The only way back seems to be through the Cloud, but how can he convince the crew to take him there when it means confronting a dangerous cult and venturing into a place where the very fabric of reality has worn thin?

Blogger's note: Minor spoilers for the book

I am not usually a fan of black and white covers, but in this case it works, especially with the font choice and the contrast to the second book (which has a younger version of Ethan and red text).

Overall there is a great deal to like in the Marian, especially if you are a fan of pirate stories. There is descriptive and unique content, colorful characters, and a mystery involving a place called 'the Cloud', which I found to be the funnest part of the book by far. Ethan is a reactionary hero (in other words, everything he does is usually in reaction to something happening) but that fits given that he is only fifteen years old and completely out of his league. Percy is one of the more interesting characters, as it is not fully clear if he will turn out to be a hero or a villain. 

The Marian does drag a bit towards the second half and could have used a few scenes trimmed, but that's a minor issue. It does end on a cliffhanger, which normally is an annoying trend in books and can turn off the reader. However it ends at a good part and there is enough unique ideas that I would fully recommend picking up the second. This is a good time to get into the series as well, as the final book is also scheduled to be released at the end of November. 

FINAL GRADE: 4 out of 5. A unique story, plot and characters helps to forget the occasional pacing issue. 

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