Review: Marked (Servants of Fate #1) – Sarah Fine

marked sarah fineIn a broken landscape carved by environmental collapse, Boston paramedic Cacia Ferry risks life and limb on the front lines of a fragile and dangerous city. What most don’t know—including her sexy new partner, Eli Margolis—is that while Cacy works to save lives, she has another job ferrying the dead to the Afterlife. Once humans are “Marked” by Fate, the powerful Ferrys are called to escort the vulnerable souls to either eternal bliss or unending fire and pain.

Unaware of Cacy’s other life, Eli finds himself as mesmerized by his fierce and beautiful partner as he is mistrustful of the influential Ferry clan led by the Charon—who happens to be Cacy’s father. Cacy, in turn, can no longer deny her intense attraction to the mysterious ex-Ranger with a haunted past. But just as their relationship heats up, an apparent hit takes the Charon before his time. Shaken to the core, Cacy pursues the rogue element who has seized the reins of Fate, only to discover that Eli has a devastating secret of his own. Not knowing whom to trust, what will Cacy have to sacrifice to protect Eli—and to make sure humanity’s future is secure?

Rating: 4/5

An admirable urban fantasy offering from Sarah Fine, previously known for her young adult work.

Cacy, a paramedic, belongs to the prestigious and powerful Ferry family, who, unbeknownst to the public at large, are also responsible for transporting the souls of the recently deceased to the afterlife. Eli, her new paramedic partner, has just moved to Boston so that his genius younger sister can take up a position researching immunity and virology at Harvard.

The romance plays a large role in the book – after all, this is one of the staples of urban fantasy/paranormal romance. While there is some insta-lust, they spend a lot of time getting to know each other’s character while simultaneously extracting themselves from tricky, dangerous and/or life threatening situations. It’s an enjoyable slow burn.

I also admired our two MCs – Cacy is good at her job, strong, smart, loyal and unfortunately for her, impulsive – she goes to the ends of the earth to save those she cares about, even at her own expense, and even if it means trusting or bargaining with the proverbial devil.

Eli is pretty refreshing compared to many UF male leads – sure, he’s attractive, can defend himself and gets protective, but he’s a pretty upstanding guy without the misogynistic he-man tendencies. He’s also very wary of jeopardizing his job and new opportunity in the city for what might very well turn out to be a short-lived fling. I liked that Cacy’s relatives weren’t all “Touch my sister and die, bitch.” After ascertaining that Eli is a decent dude, they leave the two of them alone.

While enjoyable, Marked was not without its flaws, namely:

1. If I had a shot for every time the words ‘her spicy scent’ were used, I would have a hangover from hell this morning.

2. While urban fantasy as a genre obviously relies on imaginative elements and supernatural creations, the worldbuilding still needs to be plausible – and I’m not entirely convinced in the strength of the whole ‘Galena will be the downfall/savior of humanity’ angle, upon which the entire plot is hinged. But hopefully this will be made clearer in the forthcoming book.

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