The Mark of the Noba by G.L. Tomas
Sterling Wayfairer is just trying to make it through the last year of high school. He’s dealing with his mother’s mental illness, nightmares, and best friends that are cooler than him. He seems to be making it until a mysterious girl collides with his life and he learns things about the weird mark on his arm, the nightmares that feel more real than dream-like, and his birthright. Once Tetra reveals everything, Sterling must accept the truth and his powers to save his friends, family, and world.
Romance Score: Between You’re Trying and Good Effort
Once Tetra and Sterling meet, their relationship becomes hard to read. It’s not friendship, it’s not romance, but something deeper – but you don’t necessarily feel that depth. Tetra also falls into a relationship with Sterling’s friend, Kip, and that felt like it didn’t fit with her earlier characterization while still being pretty hot. And Sterling’s awkwardness around his crush is adorable!
Feminist Score: Between You’re Trying and Good Effort
Tetra is kick-ass and she doesn’t mess around. I loved that she was willing to wait years to accomplish her mission and did what she had to for survival. But, she didn’t have much space and I felt like her interest in Kip was more of convenience than owning her interest in sexy times. I also disliked the storyline for Sterling’s mother (without giving away too much).
Diversity Score: Good Effort
A SFF book with a person of color as a main character!!! Very exciting! I thought there was a good mix of diversity – with mental illness, skin color, and economic class pretty well represented. Two issues, though: That the mental illness can just “go away” once things are adjusted and the odd use of “type 1/2/3” for skin color description. I think this was to help show this isn’t Earth as we know it, but I think it would have been stronger without that device. I also noticed when the foreign name was “too hard” and Sterling decided to shorten it; I think this could feel like a microaggression for readers that have this happen in their daily lives because people don’t care to take the time to learn.
Awesome Factor: Good Effort
There’s a lot here that can become something amazing. The world needs a little more development to make it truly stand out and the characters are still learning about themselves, but I think the multiple worlds and the adventure can play out in other books to tell a great story.
Kip – I loved his ballsy confidence even if he’s a little annoying. He’s a genuine friend and does what he can to draw Sterling out.
Fun Author Fact
This is actually written by a set of twins! Guinevere and Libertad run the Twinja Book review blog and they are awesome!
Is this worth a book hangover?
I think this will depend on your preference and what you like. It’s a fun adventure and you can get through it pretty quickly, but the story seems like it’ll really get going in future books.
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Post Author: Jess
Jess received this book for free through NetGalley, but that didn’t affect her opinions!
Jess loves SFF – old and new school – and is learning to appreciate the more lovey-dovey YA under the careful tutelage of Anisha’s recommendations.