Five Corners: The Marked Ones
Growing up in a sleepy village untouched by distant wars and political conflicts, it was easy for Thia, Mina and Kiara to forget such horrors existed in the Five Corners. That is until the dead child is found; a child that bears the same strange birthmark that all three sisters possess. A Mark their mother had always told them was unique to the girls.
Kiara’s suspicions grow as their Inn is soon overrun with outsiders from all walks of life. Strangers, soldiers and Elders who all seem to know more about what is happening than the girls do.
After Mina barely survives an attack in the forest, the sisters are faced with a shattering secret their mother has kept from them for years. As danger closes in around them, the sisters are forced from their home and must put their trust in the hands of strangers. With more questions than answers, Kiara finds herself separated from everyone she loves and reliant on an Outlander who has spent too much time in army. She doesn’t trust Caedmon but she needs him if she has any hope of being reunited with her sisters and learning what the Mark might mean.
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Kiara stared at the small body laid out in the family's tiny kitchen. She didn't know the child but that didn't stop her heart from jerking in her chest as she looked at the perfect little girl lying in the wooden box. She was dressed in what were obviously her best clothes; her dark hair had been carefully combed and braided. She was only six years old.
Kiara felt her own mother watching her closely. She forced her gaze away from the small lifeless form. Brijit murmured softly to the parents and then moved to Kiara's side.
"Come away from here, Kiara," her mother said firmly.
But Kiara couldn't stop herself from looking back at the child, noting how someone had twined a pretty scarf around her neck, concealing the ugly slashes that she knew were hidden beneath the colorful material. The result of a blade taken to vulnerable flesh. This poor girl had had no chance against her assailant.
Brijit tugged on her arm insistently. "There is nothing more for us to do here," she whispered in a hushed undertone. "Let’s go and give the family some peace."
Kiara felt a sudden wave of shame wash over her. She suddenly wondered what she was doing here?
Don’t try to deny it, she told herself vehemently, you know why you’re here.
She had seen the Mark on the child's shoulder. She resisted the urge to rub her own shoulder where an identical Mark was hidden beneath her tunic. It was something she’d believed she only shared with her sisters. But this child proved different.
And there was no question that this child had been assassinated.
Fast-paced, exciting, with lots of mystery and mostly innocent romance, this book was an easy, entertaining read. The story flows smoothly and the plot starts simply enough, but as the tale progresses and the prophecy begins to unfold, alliances become suspect and even sacred, long-held relationships can no longer be trusted.
Three young women, each bearing an odd mark, are whisked away when their sleepy hamlet is threatened. One of the girls, Mina, is viciously attacked and barely hangs on to life. Mina is taken to a foreign city, while her sisters journey there via a different route for safety reasons. Their travels are wrought with danger and when they become separated it seems as though they will surely succumb to the biting cold and grievous injuries.
I was easily carried away and became immersed in the book so that I read it almost straight through. The three foster sisters are each likeable in their own ways, though Kiara seems overly confrontational and angry more often than not, especially during the first half of the book. Still, their bond to each other is strong.
For me, the slowly unwinding mystery and the evolving depth of the ancient prophecy are the aspects I personally enjoyed the most. Imaginative and at times harrowing, this is the beginning of a planned series. I am looking forward to more adventures with these characters in future books.
This book was provided to me from the author without cost in exchange for my honest review.
Reviewed by Laurie-J
Cathi Shaw lives in Summerland, BC with her husband and three children. She is often found wandering around her home, muttering in a seemingly incoherent manner, particularly when her characters have embarked on new adventure. In addition to writing fiction, she teaches rhetoric and professional writing in the Department of Communications at Okanagan College and is the co-author of the textbook Writing Today.
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