Title: The Mark of Noba
Author: G. L. Tomas
Review: The opening chapter of the mark of Noba was good. We are introduced to our protagonist Sterling who snuck out after curfew to hang out with friends, after being dropped off he tried to sneak back in but is caught by his mother. We also learn that some kids from the local area have gone missing which sparked my interest immediately. Sterling strikes me as an ordinary teenage boy at first but I have a feeling there is more to him than meets the eyes and I was really excited to see what would happen next. Sterling the next day is deep in thought thinking about his friends and the students that went missing when he noticed a strange yet pretty girl who he feels he knows from somewhere but has no recollection of meeting her before. Very soon after seeing the mysterious Sterling is called to the principal’s office where he is told his mother has had another psychotic breakdown to her schizophrenia and is released from school. To top off his day Sterling has a very strange and scary dream about a burning forest and people fighting, despite his carefree, I don’t care attitude Sterling is very freaked out by the dream. At this moment in time I feel sorry for Sterling because of his home life.
Sterling sees the mysterious girl again during his class’ fitness test where shocking she excels in most areas and Sterling is once again pulled by a familiar feeling towards the girl and it confuses him further but he is also extremely curious and wants to know more about her. The first conversation they have doesn’t quite go to plan, Sterling has her name on the tip of his tongue but then he is waking up in his bedroom it is almost like the encounter never happened but Sterling doesn’t remember the meeting while we know it did happen. Things take an even stranger turn when Sterling seems to be the only person to remember this girl and they gym class, it is as if everyone has had their memories altered of that day. Sterling also seems to be losing a lot of time jumping from one place and time to another with no recollection of what has happened in between, he also starts unconsciously drawing strange symbols and is beginning to get really freaked out by all these weird events. As Sterling continues to fade in and out of daily life he finds himself in even more trouble after an incident at the school swimming pool. As these events becomes even more confusing and dramatic I find myself turning the pages faster and faster to find out the cause of these mysterious things.
Sterling begins to feel like he is going mad; the dreams combined with the mysterious popping up everywhere including his bedroom make Sterling feel frustrated and lost, like he is missing something. As we reach the 1/4 point in the novel we learn that Sterling and the mysterious girl named Tetraphrimapadame have the same birthmark which is called the Mark of Noba. This mark draws them together explaining why Sterling is constantly seeking her out, we also learn that the vivid dreams Sterling has been having aren’t dream they are his memories from the world he lived before; Noba. The perspective of the novel then changes between Tetra and Sterling as she helps him uncover who he really is. Tetra’s explanation of what she and Sterling are and why they are on Geo is a bit confusing and hard to follow but you get the jist of the conversation. Tetra also comes up with a plan to pose as a foreign exchange student staying the Sterling’s family in order to be close to him and develop their bond further. I liked the fact that an interstellar species called Naga are responsible for the missing children as they are commonly called face-stealers. I really enjoyed the sci-fi, fantasy element being added to the mystery element of this book. The initial reactions for the two at living in the same room was hilarious especially as Tetra doesn’t understand a lot of the everyday customs on Geo. I also found her perspective on simple things like dinner with the family to be funny in the most inappropriate of ways but funny nonetheless.
As both Sterling and Tetra learn to get along and avoid drawing attention to themselves, Sterling finds it near impossible to look past Tetra’s attractive body and the tinge of desire he feels for her but their bond still confuses him and he is having trouble wrapping his head around it. The book so far has a real contemporary feel to it while being at its core a sci-fi, mystery novel. Sterling finds himself increasingly attracted to Tetra making it difficult as he is also attracted to Waverly and to add more drama to the mix Kip want to date Tetra. As we approach the half way point in the novel we see a lot more of a relationship building between Tetra and Sterling especially after Tetra gives Sterling the memories of them meeting before when he was younger and we see some development in Sterling’s abilities and a lot of teen angst but there hasn’t been much development in the Naga part of the plot apart from Tetra stating once that she left the world in order to take care of some business. I really like where the relationship is going between Sterling and Tetra minus the complicated external factors but I would have liked to have seen more action by this point in the novel. After the half way mark we briefly get to see a Naga while Tetra tries to subdue it but as quickly as it started it was over. Tetra in a shocking scene agrees to be Kip’s girlfriend which she isn’t totally happy about but she knows Sterling likes Waverly which seemed quite sad to me as both Sterling and Tetra seems to like each other but don’t talk or do anything about it. After this interaction with the Naga Sterling seems to be coming around to the idea of helping Tetra defeat the Naga and he seems to want to embrace is Noban side a bit more.
After Tetra begins dating Kip things between her and Sterling become very tense. The relationship between Tetra and Kip is also difficult as Tetra doesn’t understand Geo’s customs and has absolutely no idea what a teenage relationship entails. When Kip mentions wanting Tetra she has absolutely no clue what he is on about, it makes her seem very naive which doesn’t really fit in with the character profile the author painted for Tetra. During a party at Waverly Sterling experiences a fit of sorts filled with serious pain because of Tetra becoming slightly intimate with Kip but neither has confessed or expressed feeling of any kind for the other which is becoming extremely frustrating for me, personally as a reader but it doesn’t distract from the overall storyline. During this incident I also have reason to believe that the rampaging Naga may be targeting Sterling. Sterling tries to help Tetra understand some of Geo’s teenage customs like prom but is again confronted with his feelings for her especially when she begins to talk about her and Kip moving their relationship to a more intimate level. At this point I feel sorry for Sterling because of Tetra’s blunt personality and her inability to see how he feels for her. Tetra and Sterling’s relationship is strained even more when he learns she has been alter the Wayfairer’s memories because they aren’t his biologically parents which completely shatters everything in his life and hurts him greatly. Both feel hurt and torn this is apparent when Tetra talks to Kip and despite Kip being a nice character I absolutely hate him for coming between Tetra and Sterling who are obviously meant to be together in every sense of the word.
After we reach the 3/4 mark in the novel Tetra has moved from Sterling’s house to Kip’s to allow Sterling time to process the information about his parents regardless of the fact that the one thing Sterlings needs right now is her. And while she continues to say they are just friends both feel the familiar pull of something more, something more between them. Then once again things take a dramatic turn with Sterling being bitten by the Naga, its poison coursing through his veins quickly killing him, Tetra who tries to save him dies in the process to prevent her death Sterling ride times to back before the bite saving them both. He also makes things right between him and Tetra and I can certainly see a proper relationship developing between these two fairly soon. Tetra then reveals her biggest secret she has been keeping from Sterling, she believes that the Naga is Waverly and the incident during the football games solidifies this, Sterling is kind of broken by this especially since Tetra will most likely have to kill her to destroy the Naga if it is even possible. Tetra also ended her relationship with Kip opening up the way for her and Sterling to be together but this is again complicated by the fact Sterling has asked his chemistry partner Holly to prom. At the prom Tetra and Sterling are trying to keep an eye on Waverly/Naga while fulfilling the promises they made to other people. It is also the time where Sterling is comtemplating telling Tetra how he feels about her and doing what feels right for once.
During the prom scene, Tetra and Sterling are separated after Waverly and Kip get into an argument, while they are apart Tetra and Kip are crowned prom king and queen. It is during the mandatory dance that the Naga true identity is revealed to be Kip and now Tetra is faced with an impossible situation hand over Sterling or die. Tetra being stubborn chooses to lock Sterling in the gym with Waverly who immediately begin trying to free themselves while Tetra heads back to the dance to fac the Naga head on, but there are tons of civilians at the dance who the Naga is threatening. Tetra and Sterling work together to prevent the Naga from leaving its human form as it is only in this form they can hurt it, but without her helstone Tetra can’t kill it but they have a single shot at slowing it down. Sterling distracts the Naga long enough fo Tetra to kill it and free all the souls it had taken over the course of its life including Kip and the other children from Geo, it was a great action scene laced with uncopious amounts of sadness and grief. After the Naga is defeated both Sterling and Tetra know they can’t stay on Geo must leave, for Sterling this a major thing as Tetra must erase both of their existences from Geo making s though neither of them existed.
This book was sent to me for review consideration by The Book Nymph
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