Thursday, 4 May 2017

Review: Mark of the Plague


Mark of the Plague
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

BOILS, BLOOD AND A BURNING FEVER - THE BLACK DEATH HAS RETURNED TO LONDON . . .

As the dreaded sickness spreads through the city, striking down rich and poor alike, an unknown man arrives with a miracle cure. But when an assassin threatens the life of the city's new saviour, young apothecary Christopher Rowe and his faithful friend Tom must risk their lives to untangle another dark conspiracy.

And when the plague strikes close to home, the stakes are raised higher than ever before . . .


I completely loved the first book, I'm not going to lie...I was actually a little surprised by how much I loved it as I hadn't been sure what to expect! But this series has such a fantastic blend of mystery, history and darkness and that continues in this sequel! 

The first thing I'm going to say, is that I'm a smidge disappointed at the lack of alchemy in this book...buuuuttt this is all plaguey instead so I get why it wasn't there. As you can probably tell, this book takes us to 1655 and the Black Plague is thriving. I enjoyed seeing the plague through the very authentic and believable eyes of Christopher. It was an interesting take, and I know the author does his research so it was interesting to pick out little tidbits I didn't know, or have some things I did know expanded on a little bit. I feel like the author captured the time, and the feelings of the people perfectly. 

We have the main mystery going on in the book, but there was a little side mystery involving Christopher's old master. I was pleased to see Sally again and we got a looottt of Sally! I loved her in this book, she was a badass. We also got to see a lot more of Tom too, which pleased me even more! I loved the prologue, it was so intriguing and amusing and got me excited to get stuck in. 

I continue to love the friendship and banter between Tom and Christopher and I'm kinda hoping Sally sticks around too as I liked the way the three of them worked together and the dynamic between the three of them. Christopher has no master, and with the Guild having left town because of the plague, he doesn't have his money either and so he can't really make or sell anything, which leaves him at a bit of a loose end. Plenty of time to work out what's going on with the dodgy guy! 

Sands creates a brilliant atmosphere that seeps off the page. You can feel the dread, tension and paranoia as you read. You're easily sucked in to the story and can picture everything clearly. Including the creepy plague doctors with their creepy masks. I've actually seen drawings of them which added to the effect. I loved how the author tormented us a little bit...like...the plague is there...it can take anyone at any time....will it take one of our favourite characters!? I nearly screamed at one point like nooooooo, but it was all good! 

While longer than the previous book, it's still brilliantly paced, and I whizzed through it in one sitting.  Not to mention the fantastically done mystery element. Sands has taken everything I loved and everything that worked in the first book and brought it to this one, but obviously adapted to this new story. I love the clues that are scattered throughout, and the codes to crack, and how you can work alongside the characters trying to crack them and put everything together and work it all. But there's always brilliant twists, and Sands keeps you guessing until the end! 

Mark of the Plague is a brilliant sequel, and it's richly, fascinatingly authentic to read. There's interesting historical notes at the end as usual, and a nice little section on the top ten codes in history! I'm hoping, and I'm excited for, a third book! 

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