Review – The Song of the Marked

The Song of the Marked book cover


The Song of the Marked


Shadows and Crowns #1


S. M. Gaither




An ancient evil is stirring. The old gods are growing restless. Can she stop the coming storm?
A Devastating Sickness
For decades, the Kethran Empire has been plagued by a strange illness that leaches the very life and soul from its victims.
The Girl Who Survived
Casia is one of the Fade-Marked—one of the few people who caught this sickness and lived. Why she lived is a mystery even to her and the outcast crew of mercenaries she calls her family. It also makes her an intriguing target for the young, enigmatic king-emperor, who claims he wants to work alongside her to find a cure.
Unfortunately, working alongside him also means working with the handsome but infuriating captain of one of the most prestigious branches of the Kethran Army.
A Soldier With No Past
This infuriating Captain Elander also has secrets: A past that Cas can’t seem to uncover, a powerful but strange brand of magic, and a deep distrust of the very monarch that he’s sworn to serve. She feels oddly drawn to him in spite of these things…
But can she really trust him?
The Fate of an Empire
As the bodies pile up and strange monsters begin to wreak havoc throughout the realms, Cas and Elander will have to work together to protect their world whether they trust one another or not. Because one thing is clear: Something ancient and evil is stirring in the shadows of Kethra.
And the empire will not survive its full unleashing.
But how can they save a world where nothing and no one is what they seem to be— including Cas herself?


4.5stars rating

Sooooooooooo… yep, I’m going to say it… I love this book! A great start of a new series set in the same world as the Serpents and Kings trilogy. Giving this a 4,5*


Good. At the start, I had some issues trying to place where we were in the grand scheme of things (from what I remember from the other series), but it wasn’t much later that I got all the info I needed to switch off my brain and fully immerse myself into the story. All scenes and environments were clear and well described.

Character development:

Very good. There is a good depth to all the characters. We know a lot of their collective past and how tight Casia and her group are. We walk alongside Casia through her ups and downs, her discovery of her magic and her search for answers.
Elander… who wouldn’t swoon for tall, dark and brooding 😀 But no, kidding aside, the characters (even the support cast) feel very real and alive. They learn, they experience and express emotions, they grow, … They are just really well written.

Pacing & Flow:

Good. There is a lot of info and a lot of action going on, still, the author managed to balance the two perfectly without it being too slow or feel rushed.
It gripped my interest and my attention, especially from about the 35% point.
For being a well fleshed out book, it read super easy (and fast).

The book itself:

The book itself was well written with no (noticeable) errors. There is sex described in the book (if that is important to you).

Final Thoughts:

I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy of this book and all in all, a great book, I really enjoyed the story and the way it evolved. I look forward to learning how the characters are going to move past their current difficulties and issues.