Publisher: Hyperion Children's Books
Publication Date: April 3rd, 2012
In her second semester at a boarding school for teenagers with special powers, Dancia Lewis faces danger from both inside and outside of Delcroix Academy.
All of her life, Dancia Lewis has wanted to use her powers for good. And now that she’s learned the truth about Delcroix Academy—and herself—she may just get the chance. But being part of Delcroix’s top secret Program isn’t anything like Dancia expected. She has to ask herself: what happens to the Talented kids who refuse to pledge their loyalty to the Program? And why did her friend Jack run away rather than join? Dancia’s adorable boyfriend Cam insists they need the help of every Talented student to defend Delcroix from dangerous enemies outside their gates. But Dancia has to wonder: what if Delcroix’s most frightening enemies come from within?
(Courtesy of Goodreads)
It's no surprise to me that I really enjoyed this book. Back in 2010, I read The Talents (then named The Candidates), book one of the Delcroix Academy series, and I thought it was a very solid start to what I was expecting to be a great series. I'm happy to report that book two, The Marked, has not only measured up to my expectations quite nicely, but exceeded them. Everything I liked about book one- the characters, the setting, the mystery and intrigue- carries over to book two, but I felt like Inara added a lot more dimension and excitement this time. The characters were very human, despite their very powerful, superhuman talents. They made mistakes, had feelings, and didn't always do things for the right reasons. I liked almost everyone, and I thought the development was great- not just for the main characters, but also for the supporting ones. I really felt for the protagonist, Dancia... She was sort of thrown into this life, much sooner than she was supposed to have been, and then asked to give up her best friend, lie to her other friends, and put her full trust in people who she really didn't know much about because they said she had to. In return, she would get the guy (and what a guy Cam is!), and learn how to control and hone her gift. It's no wonder that she spent much of the book battling a nagging inner voice telling her that something wasn't right... As far as the story is concerned, like The Talents, it was a tad on the predictable side, but I didn't feel like it took anything away from my enjoyment. There were a few things that I didn't see coming, and there was one situation that rather pissed me off, but since the door isn't completely closed on remedying it, I will reserve judgement until book number three (which I will DEFINITELY be reading). I thought the book was really well paced, and the action was pretty kick-ass. The fight scenes were great, and I really enjoyed getting a glimpse of what some of the other students could do. Inara Scott has a brilliant imagination when it comes to some of the "talents" she graced her characters with. I'm glad there was a more sinister sub-plot in this book because what are superpowers good for if they are only used for betterment? The excitement lies in the people who use them for no good, and the good guys trying to stop them! I can't imagine how this series is going to play out, but I can't wait until it does! Book three has not been announced yet, but since I am eagerly awaiting it, I will make sure it is my Waiting On Wednesday as soon as it is!
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Grade Level Recommendation: Both this book, and its predecessor are pretty clean. There are a couple of make-out scenes (kissing only), but nothing even remotely graphic. The violence is no different from the type you see in superhero comic books. This series is appropriate for grades 5 and up (ages 10+).