Review: Marking Time by April White
Immortal Descendants #1
Genre: YA Paranormal, Time Travel
Seventeen-year-old tagger Saira Elian can handle anything... a mother who mysteriously disappears, a stranger who stalks her around London, and even the noble English Grandmother who kicked Saira and her mother out of the family. But when an old graffiti tag in a tube station transports Saira to the 19th Century and she comes face-to-face with Jack the Ripper, she realizes she needs help after all.Saira meets Archer, a charming student who helps her blend in as much as a tall, modern American teen can in Victorian England. He reveals the existence of the Immortals: Time, Nature, Fate, War and Death, and explains to Saira that it is possible to move betweencenturies – if you are a Descendant of Time.Saira finds unexpected friendships at a boarding school for Immortal Descendants and a complicated love with a young man from the past. But time is running out for her mother, and Saira must embrace her new identity as she hides from Archer a devastating secret about his future that may cost him his life.
At the beginning, all I could think of was motion. It was like an explosion in your face when you opened to the first chapter and you read that the heroine was on the run. And when you thought that that was it and she stopped running, she went and ran again. The strange thing was it felt like you were running with her. It was all motion.
Then I learned that she was a vandal – a tagger and I thought: Here we go. A play on the rebel angle where she’s all angry at the world and make that rebelliousness cool while we’re at it. I was wrong. It wasn’t a lame attempt to make her all anti-establishment. April White somehow made that delicate balance to make the MC tough and vulnerable enough to know that she’s still human and real.
I loved how sensible Saira was. She was intelligent and smart and it showed through her actions. A little rebellious but it was tempered by her circumstances. All her actions and reactions were what I want to see in many of the YA heroines. She’s funny and could handle situations. She didn’t need no man to make her complete. She was independent and would exhaust all available resources, and herself, before admitting that she needed assistance. This fierce independence, her refusal to be close with other people, was also a part of her character development that spanned the entire story. She made peace with it, overcome if you must, and did it with aplomb and grace.
Marking Time took a little while to get used to – not in a bad way since the kind of writing done in this book is rare to find in most YA. I was basically as clueless as Saira was and I took the journey with her to discover the world of the Immortals’ Descendants. A little info-dumping here but the classes, especially the lecture of Mr. Shaw, were interesting. I just rolled with what was happening.
It was at that moment during one of her interactions with Mr. Shaw, around that time she was asking about how to kill a Vampire, that I knew that I love this book.
The romance part was done right. It was handled magnificently. There was a time when I was in fear of another instalove pair but I underestimated Saira. I should have known. I think she’s the first MC I’ve met that didn’t swoon the instance the gorgeous boy said I love you. And that gorgeous boy was restrained too that although he loved her for a long time, he knew that he should be her friend first and that she should get to know him first just like he did when he was falling in love with her in the past which was yet to happen. He was someone who "treated [her] like a lady without acting like [she] was helpless".
No angst-filled monotony which was definitely a huge plus. Despite Saira’s circumstances and her age, she was mature about her situation. She wasn’t perfect by any means. She was flawed, she made mistakes and she struggled but she learned from her mistakes – really learned and that contributed to her development as a character.
Secondary characters like Mr. Shaw, Bishop Cleary and Ringo were also well-written. I read the sneak peek of the sequel and I am glad that we get to see Ringo again.
While everything was peachy-kin at the end, as well as it was, the book barely skimmed the world of the Immortal Descendants. They’re not sure that Bishop Wilder is really dead, they have the Families to deal with, now that mixed-bloods are walking around again and the prophecy is not fulfilled yet.
I look forward to reading Tempting Fate… which is out today, June 30!