Mark of the Thief, by Jennifer A. Nielsen | mini review

Hey there! I got a lot of schoolwork done today, which was good, so I’ve had time to write this. It’s been over two months though, since sheltering in place began which seems really crazy. One of my friends birthdays was yesterday, though, and we did a surprise drive by birthday parade. It was really fun, and I did get to chat with some of my friends, even though it was from far apart. Anyways, I finished reading this book about a day ago, so here is my review of Mark of the Thief, by Jacqueline Woodson.

Mark of the Thief

Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen

Release Date: February 24, 2015 

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Genre: Upper middle grade, historical fantasy

Series? First in trilogy


When Nic, a slave in the mines outside of Rome, is forced to enter a sealed cavern containing the lost treasures of Julius Caesar, he finds much more than gold and gemstones: He discovers an ancient bulla, an amulet that belonged to the great Caesar and is filled with a magic once reserved for the Gods — magic some Romans would kill for.

Now, with the deadly power of the bulla pulsing through his veins, Nic is determined to become free. But instead, he finds himself at the center of a ruthless conspiracy to overthrow the emperor and spark the Praetor War, a battle to destroy Rome from within. Traitors and spies lurk at every turn, each more desperate than the next to use Nic’s newfound powers for their own dark purposes.

In a quest to stop the rebellion, save Rome, and secure his own freedom, Nic must harness the magic within himself and defeat the empire’s most powerful and savage leaders.

I was honestly a bit confused when I first started reading this book. I had to read it in larger chunks, and even had to reread a few chapters to understand what was going on. The writing wasn’t bad, and the plot was interesting, it just moved so quickly in some parts I had trouble keeping up.

A faced moving plot isn’t necessarily a bad thing though. Here, however, the plot combined with the writing left me feeling like I was sliding off the end of a treadmill at parts.

I did enjoy how the characters were written, and how I got to know them. There was a lot of detail with Nic, Aurelia, even Sal, and I appreciated that.

One aspect that I didn’t enjoy as much was the overuse of doublecrosses and betrayals. Really. I’m not saying that every character in a book should be one hundred percent honest, and although some of the betrayals in the book had good explanations, others just felt randomly thrown in there.

Another aspect that I did like was the historical aspect, and how the book took place in the Roman empire. I don’t know much about that period in history, but I’ve wanted to know more. I thought that the author wove the fantasy and history together very neatly in a way that made the book much more entertaining.

My rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Why? This is a good book, and although I didn’t love it, there were still parts that I liked, and I thought that on a whole, it can be very enjoyable, depending on the person.

Recommendable: Yes

To who? If you like historical fantasies, you’ll probably like it. Also, if you’re interested in the Roman empire, that is where it takes place!

Have you read Mark of the Thief? Do you want to? Chat with me in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “Mark of the Thief, by Jennifer A. Nielsen | mini review

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