I'm reviewing The Inquisitor's Mark today, the follow up to Dianne Salerni's awesome The Eighth Day. I've been looking forward to this book forever, and I'm thrilled to say: it EXCEEDS all expectations.
Warning: This will be a VERY spoiler-free review, because I don't want to ruin the first or second book!
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Hardcover, 352 pages
Expected publication: January 27th 2015 by HarperCollins
Format read: E-ARC via Edelweiss
So when Finn Ambrose, a mysterious stranger, contacts Jax claiming to be his uncle, Jax’s defenses go up—especially when Finn tells Jax that he’s holding Jax’s best friend, Billy, hostage. To rescue Billy and keep Riley and Evangeline out of the fray, Jax sneaks off to New York City on his own. But once there, he discovers a surprising truth: Finn is his uncle and Jax is closely related to the Dulacs—a notoriously corrupt and dangerous Transitioner clan who have been dying to get their hands on Riley and Evangeline. And family or not, these people will stop at nothing to get what they want.
And after reading The Inquisitor's Mark, the only coherent thought I have running through my head is this: Guys, you need to buy this series. Buy copies for yourself, and then buy some copies for friends. Because this is clearly the type of series that will only get better and better, and you'll definitely want to be along for the ride.
Salerni brings us back into Jax's world, not too long after the events of the first book. Jax, Riley and Evangeline have gone into hiding after the events in Mexico, with the help of the Crandalls. However, even as our heroes try to protect Evagenline, they're also putting themselves directly in the line of fire in order to find Adelina, Evangeline's sister. The two sisters are the only two Emrys heirs left, and are absolutely needed to keep the Grunsday spell alive.
However, things are never easy in Jax's world, as we quickly learn when the Ambros and Dulac families appear in the fray. After Jax is claimed by a surprising family, The Inquisitor's Mark expands into a complex, fascinating story about family loyalty, and how power (or the pursuit of power) can make people resort to some pretty scary behavior.
Salerni skillfully builds upon the world that she created in The Eighth Day, slowly unveiling even more of Jax and his family's history. While I thought I had already developed a firm grasp of Jax and the key players in his world, Salerni constantly surprised me in The Inquisitor's Mark with her plot revelations and character developments. I was especially intrigued by the idea of evolving power, something I hope that she'll get even more in-depth with in the third book.
Readers will also likely especially appreciate Salerni's decision to alternate between Jax and Dorian's points of view throughout the novel; both characters have the type of internal struggles with right and wrong, the decision to trust others and trying to determine their own fates, which readers both young and old will be able to understand. They play well off of one another, and help drive the book to its inevitable conclusion.
While The Inquisitor's Mark ends on a very satisfying note, there's no doubt that Salerni will continue to build upon her delightful cast of characters for the third book, and (hopefully!) books to come. I'm looking forward to see how all of them grow, and I know you will too.
It's the type of book where readers have the privilege of continuing to grow alongside Salerni's characters, learning how they adapt to changes, new information - including some pretty wild ones out of left field - and the general challenges that come with being a part of a destiny that's great than themselves.
I highly encourage everyone to buy both The Eighth Day and The Inquisitor's Mark for the book lover in their lives. They deserve to meet Jax, Dorian and the rest of the crew - and you'll absolutely thank me later.
About the author:
DIANNE K. SALERNI is a fifth grade teacher by day and a writer by night. She's the author of YA historical novels, We Hear the Dead (Sourcebooks) and The Caged Graves (Clarion/HMH), and a forthcoming MG fantasy series, The Eighth Day (HarperCollins 2014).
In her spare time, Dianne is prone to hanging around creepy cemeteries and climbing 2000 year-old pyramids in the name of book research.