I struggled to put this book down. Like a cyberpunk blend of Divergent, Hunger Games, with a blend of Ender’s Game, this was a wild ride from start to finish.

About the Book

Sienna has spent her entire life inside the DEZ, a glorified orphanage for unwanted Marked kids. Finally, she’s only months away from graduation. For over a year she’s worked hard to prepare for life outside the DEZ, but being the arena’s champion isn’t always an easy task…even for the notorious Blaze. Fighting in the Underground isn’t about the thrill or the glory, though Sienna has achieved both, it’s about the money—and a way out.

When an explosion rocks the city of Cytos, the Marked kids find themselves at the center of a brewing war. Desperation brings Sienna into the arena one last time, only her opponent, the Wraith, won’t be so easy to defeat. And for Sienna, failure is not an option.

Jayla is a Watcher. She’s been tasked with keeping her city safe from an enemy the citizens don’t even know exists. For over 150 years, the Watchers have kept them safe, but a darkness has awoken, and even the shadows have gone quiet in fear.

When Jayla fails to stop the explosion at the Genetics Lab, she and her team vow to find those responsible. Soon they discover the Marked kids are at the center of it all. To figure out what’s going on, Jayla will have to step back into the arena and become something she thought she’d tried to forget. She must become the Wraith, even if only for a night, to acquire an ally and a way into the DEZ. But can she do it without losing herself again?

Peace has always been the goal, and they’ve succeeded for a long time, but at what cost? How long can a deadly secret be hidden from the world? This isn’t a fight for glory and riches…this is a battle of survival.

My Thoughts

The end of this book ripped my heart out, and then stitched it back in like a back alley heart transplant I didn’t ask for. But I mean that in the best possible way. Sometimes I feel like YA books have gotten so much harsher than they were in my day, but then I remember some of the things I read as a teen – and no, they haven’t. This is right up there with some of the greats, and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next one! Adulting is hard sometimes. I miss the days when I could just hole up in my room and do nothing but read as much as I wanted on holidays/weekends/etc. Okay, wasn’t quite that simple, but way less responsibility. We didn’t know how good we had it!

This book features two trios of main characters. Quite an ensemble cast, and I loved all of them in their own unique ways. As per usual, the “sidekicks” were my favorite. I know people love the main characters. Intellectually, I know that’s a thing. But I am always convinced that people write books in a way that I’m supposed to love the sidekicks more, right? Like it sure seems like it. But I guess that could just be my special. But the two pairs of “sidekicks” were my heart.

Like fantasy, sci-fi is a genre I frequently forget I enjoy. I always think, eh, when I see the description. And then I read the book, and it’s the best thing I’ve read in forever! Perhaps an exaggeration, but it kept me enthralled, and I’m over here trying to figure out what comes next and freaking out about the massive cliffhanger we were left with.

I was left a little confused by the different “races” or “species.” Throughout the book, I couldn’t quite figure out the difference between “Carbons” and humans and “genetics” and “Purs.” I did a little research and realized there was a series set 150 years before this when the war that was mentioned from this one had happened. So maybe it was more explained in that one. It didn’t really matter, per se, it was just something that I felt like I was missing. It felt like they were all humanoids with different flavors. Basically, like elves vs humans and such in LOTR or something. But I was left a little uncertain.

I am so grateful to the author and Love Books Tours for including me on this tour, and I can’t wait to read the next one. And when I find some extra time, I will definitely check out the first series as well.

Who’s It For?

If you loved Divergent, Ender’s Game, Hunger Games or any of the wonderfully dystopian worlds created in the past few decades, you will love this book. I could also name some lesser known ones, but I feel like that would just be a flex of my YA breadth – or my age, one of the two. It tackles some rough subjects and is violent, so it is recommended for teens 13 and up, but I’d recommend paying attention and making sure your teen is mature enough. If they’re sensitive, it might be a little much for them.

Content Warnings: Murder, Violence, War, Child Abuse, Torture, Adult Situations, Adult Language

Question of the Day

Do you have any friends that are more like family (sometimes even moreso than “real” family)?

About the Author

AJ is a Canadian author of YA SciFi, Dystopian, and Fantasy. She spends her days working for a media company where she gets paid to watch movies and tv shows (amazing, I know), along side her faithful co-authors Moto and Yondu, with copious amounts of tea to keep her functioning. Recently represented by Holloway Literary, AJ is currently out on submission with her first YA Fantasy series, hopefully coming out soon!

Amazon US: https://a.co/d/8Mjz1um
Amazon UK: https://amzn.eu/d/bkRM8lT
Bookshop UK: https://uk.bookshop.org/p/books/evermarked-amy-eversley/6473148?ean=9781912775811
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54105386-evermarked
Author Website: www.ajeversley.com