Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Mark by Edyth Bulbring and a Linky

Most of my regular readers know that I'm a volunteer reader at the Blind Institute here in South Africa. All of the reading I do is in a sound room and most is related to school. I just finished reading the book depicted below for Grade 10, which you can find on Amazon, but with a different cover design.


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The Mark

The Mark by [Bulbring, Edyth]

About the Book:

Title: The Mark | Author: Edyth Bulbring | Pages: 237 | Genre: Dystopian | Recommended Age: Young Adult | Trigger Warning: Extreme Violence

Book Description:

In the future, the world has flipped. Ravaged by the Conflagration, the State of Mangeria is a harsh place where the sun beats down, people’s lives are run by a heartless elite and law is brutally enforced. A mark at the base of the spine controls each person’s destiny. The Machine decides what work you will do and who your life partner will be. Juliet Seven – “Ettie” – will soon turn 15 and her life as a drudge will begin, her fate-mate mate will be chosen. Like everyone else, her future is marked by the numbers on her spine. But Ettie decides to challenge her destiny. And in so doing, she fulfills the prophecy that was spoken of before she even existed.

Purchase on Amazon

My Review:

The Mark is a dystopian novel that takes place after the world has burned and the sun beats down mercilessly. It is hell on earth in more ways than one. The elite few have all the privileges and use their power to dominate everyone else. There are horrific human right's violations in every chapter. One of them is to discard people once they lose their usefulness.

A girl named Juliet, who goes by Ettie, is raised as an orphan and trained to do menial labor as a drudge. She has learned that to survive, you have to be a nobody and trust no one. She blends in so well, that people assume she lacks intelligence and has no feelings. She also pretends not to know how to read, since kids like her aren't taught that skill.

The story is told through her eyes and her thoughts are dripping with sarcasm. Ettie uses concepts from classic books and fairy tales to describe her world. She calls her handler, Xavier, a tricksy hobbit and the doctors in lab coats Frankenstein 1 and Frankenstein 2. She also uses lines from nursery rhymes, which point to happier times and which are in stark contrast to her harsh reality. It's her love of stories that helps her connect with one of the children of the elites.

Ettie, like everyone else, has a number on her back to keep her under the control of the elites. For years she has been trying to find a way to remove the mark, but without success. The Machine tracks her mark and determines what work she will do and who she will marry, but she doesn't like being controlled by the Machine or by a vague prophecy. She has a purpose to fulfill; a prophecy that is whispered by a scattering of rebels. No one believes that the prophecy is about her, except for the hadeda ibis birds. These are large ugly birds whose eyes have been cruelly removed to trigger their ability to foretell the future. Whenever Ettie is near, they screech at her warnings about her future.

This is a well-written story. There are twists and turns that will keep you guessing. The use of sarcasm is the right choice of humor for this hell on earth. If you're looking for a happily-ever-after, then this book isn't for you. It also doesn't have a complete ending. It's written for young adults, but because of the brutality, it should come with an age restriction of 16 and up.

About the Author:
Edyth Bulbring

Edyth Bulbring

Edyth Bulbring is an award-winning writer of Young Adult novels. She was born in Boksburg and grew up in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. She worked as a journalist for fifteen years and was political correspondent at the Sunday Times of South Africa covering the first democratic elections. She likes dogs, trees and junk shops.


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