A MelanieM Review: Marked Yours (Sentries #1) by Elizabeth Noble

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

When one society fell, assaulted by natural disaster, in its place rose another, molded into something entirely different. Protectorates were divided by beliefs and distance. Slavery was accepted and threats both natural and supernatural were commonplace.

This became a world where sentries were needed. Trained almost from infanthood, these tough men and women lived in a society within a society. They were warriors and protectors, ferreting out evil and defending the citizens of New Colorado Protectorate from inhuman terrors and, on occasion, human ones.

Todd Ruger was born into life as a sentry. Raised by a hard father into a hard life, Todd becomes the consummate sentry, tough, dangerous, and good at what he does. When he wasn’t quite into his teen years, he was bonded to a special young slave named Nick. For years their only interaction was through letters. Friendship turned to a sort of courtship between them. Todd lived for the day Nick became of age and Todd’s ownership would take effect. That was the day Nick would leave the village with Todd. They’d begin a life together. They’d make a difference.

Raised as a slave, Nick never wanted to be special, but nature had other ideas for him. He grew up in a village with other slave children and was taught to be useful to his future master because he a gift … or curse. The tutors responsible for his upbringing didn’t understand what Nick could do, what he was; they were afraid of him. If sentries hadn’t bought him, it was likely he’d never have lived to see the age of five. All that changes the day Nick leaves the village with Todd. He’s cared for and shown a new, better life with a man who loves him honestly and wholly.

But after being together barely a day, Nick is brutally attacked and injured. Though he recovers without incident, Todd’s heart fills with revenge. The guardian in him turns into a dangerous, driven assassin, a wolf on the hunt.

Todd’s obsession with tracking down the men who hurt Nick and making them pay could very well get them both killed. Can they survive and build the life together they’ve both dreamed of for years?

NOTE: This is the third edition of Marked Yours. The first and second editions were released by another publishing house. This story has been revised and re-edited with the end result being a better, stronger story

I am a fan of this author’s stories so I was eager to see what Marked Yours (Sentries #1) by Elizabeth Noble contained as far as characters and worldbuilding from this author I admire so.  And while I did enjoy many elements, I also found myself questions that many more, more than I would have normally expected to find in one of her novels.  Some I will chalk up to my distaste for slavery stories.  I read this one because of the author and you never know exactly what take each writer will have on a master/slave relationship and world building.  So I was curious as to what I would find here, which was a mixed bag at best.

The characters here were very well defined and layered within the restrictions of the world they lived in and the relationship as it developed.  I think my issue here is honestly with the world building, less with the characters.  Perhaps.

They exist within a state with depends upon, recognizes a Master/slaves economy.  Treatment of those slaves vary from master to master, but those slaves are still considered a product, not a being.  A tool as it were and are raised as such from childhood.  They are bought and sold as commodities.  Now, and here I have a problem.  Nick has special abilities which are recognized early.  He was given special training as a child slave which makes him an incredibly valuable tool/slave.  In this society and economy, it should follow that his price and value should rise as well.  Also for all that training, he’s curiously inept.  It’s like making a knife incredibly sharp and then leaving it in a draw for 15 years.  In this case a sentient one.  Why all that training and then not showing him why or how to use it?  It makes no sense, even as a slave.  Here let’s make you great with weapons but you can’t ever use them. SMH.  So no, that’s not working here for me.

I got the writing and letters.  Cute but again.  Slave/master and not realistic.  Especially given the Sentinel society, Todd Ruger’s father’s attitude towards slaves, and Nick’s own status.    Plus whatever anti slavery feelings that develop are never acted on, just voiced here.  Again, this is just the only story in this series I read so maybe that changes in other books.  But the acceptance of the  extreme inequality in their relationship here, that they will be “ok” as long as they are in private …well no.  That if anything happens to Todd , well Nick will just be “willed” to a nice person….not freed mind you, willed away.  For me, that is never a solution that works, here or in any story that I could recommend.

Also in a semi spoilery sort of way.  The only  anti slavery country is treated in a less than favorable light..  So wth.  We are supposed to go all in for the slavery government because these two are happy?  Ah no.  There’s just a ton of mixed messages here, most of which just don’t work for me no matter the romance or characterizations.

So, for the characterizations, Marked Yours (Sentries #1) by Elizabeth Noble gets a 3 star rating, for everything else?  A 2.  Honestly not a story or series for me.  Whether you wish to read it, I will leave it up to you.

Cover Art is really a disconnect from the story which has wagons, horses…seems right out of a western, as well as slaves.  That cover could be science fiction.  Are we looking at 2 different stories here?

Sales Links:  AmazonJMS Books LLC

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, Revised and re-edited 3rd edition, 218 pages
Published October 12th 2019 by JMS Books LLC (first published May 23rd 2011)
Edition Language English
Series Sentries #1
Characters Todd Ruger, Nick Ruger
setting New Colorado
West Caldera
New Colorado City, New Colorado

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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