Friday, January 14, 2011

Review: The Ancillary's Mark by Daniel A. Cohen

The Ancillary's Mark
by Daniel A. Cohen
Release Date: November 4, 2010
2010 Black Rose Writing
Softcover Edition: 245 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-935-60576-8
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Review Copy from Publisher

3.5 / 5 Stars

The legend of the Ancillary flower has existed for centuries.  Foretold to bring out the limitless potential of its bearer, the flower and the legend have been forgotten by many.  Recently, strange events in a shrouded Tibetan town have sparked rumors among those who still believe.

Jacob Deer is a quirky young man, bound for college, with an accentric old librarian for a best friend, an obsession with sitting down in elevators, and a strange birthmark on his hand that's shaped mysteriously like the markings on the Ancillary's petals.  When Jacob's mentor Mr. Maddock reveals to him his connection with the legendary Ancillary, it sets in motion a series of events that sends Jacob and his friends across the world.  Jacob must face off against a vengeful maniac for the fate of the flower, the legend, and all mankind.

My Thoughts
The Ancillary's Mark was an interesting book, with many twists and turns and definitely non-stop action.  I enjoy anything where there are old secrets to be found in libraries, old books that have to be read in order to discover and solve clues, and there was some of that to be found in this novel.  What I especially enjoyed, were the quirky and fun-loving characters.

Jacob and I would definitely have been friends and found a lot to discuss.  As soon as I read about the way he bookmarked his novels, I had to laugh out loud as I used to bookmark my books in a certain way when I was younger as well.  While Jacob bookmarked his books according to his emotions, I tended to do it according to how well I liked the book.  Jacob is a fun-loving character and totally quirky.  He prefers to sit in elevators and walk in the middle of the street so neither side would feel neglected.  I had to laugh out loud as I pictured people's faces at seeing someone sitting in an elevator and I wondered how I would react.  I know I definitely would not spend an hour going up and down as one man did discussing philosophy.  You know, I am almost tempted to try it the next time I am in an elevator!  What I especially liked about Jacob is although he is almost self-effacing, he takes control of situations and has many leadership skills which become more developped as the novel progresses. 

Clark is another character I absolutely adored and I love how he stuck to Jacob throughout everything.  The quirky and witty dialogue really comes out in this character and I really enjoyed how he mixes up the different slang and dialects in order to hide who he truly is and what he can really do.  It makes for some fun and interesting reading!  Sophia is a strong and independent characters, and while I didn't really like her in the beginning, she definitely grew on me, and demonstrated a lot of her own unique skills that complement Jacob.  And to see Jacob become confident as a man as he realizes how much he cares for Sophia and stand up for that love was an interesting process as well.

While the plot is full of twists and turns and non-stop action, I did find myself somewhat frustrated at times as I don't feel events were always fully explained and the reader was left to read a lot between the lines.  While I don't mind this, sometimes the gaps were a little too much and I would have liked a little more explanation about certain things, especially concerning the Ancillary flower.  Mr. Cohen's writing is exciting and suspenseful, but also abrupt, leaving too much to the reader to guess and make connections. 

The Ancillary's Mark was an enjoyable novel, with suspense, action, mystery, and romance.  I really enjoyed the ending as it was not was I expected; the running theme of this novel, exploring one's potential and developing that potential without supernatural help, ran through to the end and I was satisfied with the ending.    Basically, everyone has the potential to be someone great as long as he has the courage to develop it and use it, something I found inspiring and insightful.  If you enjoy a good fantasy novel, you will definitely enjoy The Ancillary's Mark.


  1. I've never heard of this book before but it definitely sounds interesting and Jacob seems like a character that I would enjoy reading about. I'll have to see if I can find a copy of this book. Thanks for the great review!