Summary: Nic is a slave in Rome, but all of that changes when he finds an ancient amulet. Endowed with sudden magical powers, Nic does what no slave ever should. He starts to think of himself as free.
I love Jennifer Nielsen's books. I loved her last series, it is by far one of my favourites. So when I saw she had a new one coming out I wanted it right away. I was a little disappointed though when I found out it would be set in Rome. (I'm not too keen on Roman history. Or mythology. I love Greek more. And in all fairness, the last times I tried books set in Rome they were so heavy on details of how life was back then I had no idea what the plot was about. It felt as if I were reading a very dry history textbook.)
I didn't read Mark of the Thief the day it came out like planned but waited for a while. Mostly because I wanted to be in the mood for Rome and magic so I'd be able to give the book a fair chance.
That said, my view of Rome hasn't changed, but Jennifer Nielsen has shown me she has a wonderful gift for writing and earned her way up to one of my top favorite Authors.
I will start with things I didn't like so much about the book, so I can just have those out of the way.
1. It was set in Rome. Complete with Gladiator fights, slaves being thought of as less than dirt, and Roman generals out to crush everyone in their path.
2. I wasn't crazy about the main girl through most of the book...then when I thought I'd like her she did something which made me be not so sure about her again. BUT I believe she was written to be that way. She was very independent and out for her own gain. And I don't think the reader was meant to be all that sure about her and her intentions. I know Nic had his moments of doubt as well.
That said I am excited to see what Jennifer Nielsen has planned for her in the next two books.
Now, what I liked.
1. Nic. Because who can't help but love Nic? He was a little unsure of himself, he mostly just wanted to keep his sister alive and safe, and he was just sweet overall. He even tries to save a man who has done nothing but make his life miserable. (Plus, he's an amazing big brother.)
2. I never knew who I could trust and who was about to stab me in the back. Nic felt the same way, so we sometimes slinked together with shifty eyes on everyone.
3. There was a Griffin. A GRIFFIN. I love Griffins. Especially when they aren't shown as completely good creatures but keep more to the actual myth were you could never be sure if they loved you or were about to eat you for dinner.
Overall the things I liked outweighed the things I wasn't crazy about. So I still recommend the book, and I am looking forward to the next one.