Marked for Life (Jana Berzelius) - Emelie Schepp
Content Warning: Rape, Graphic Violence,

I received a free copy to review on Netgalley.

Premise is interesting and that's all I knew going into Marked for Life.

The Good:
+Solid on paper, I’m sure better in the original Swedish.


The Bad & The Other:
-Do not like how the rapist thread was just dropped. It served its purpose, shocking and disgusting, and the victims received no treatment, justice, or follow up. They were used as tools by both the story and the rapist.

-The cliffhanger ending. Didn't see any mention of sequel until I googled it afterward. Don't think I'll continue.

-I believe translation played a major role in every other issue: stilted characters that sounded the same with repetition.

It started off...okay. It felt a different than other novels in this genre due to translation.

It's stilted and unnatural with repetition. Some of it I think is using proper English instead of the relaxed mish-mash of everyday speech. One example that stood out was Henrik’s “The Boss! Oh yeah!” in the car, which left me wondering who talked/acted like that. They read like robots with better human programming than Jana. Out of context it doesn't sound so bad, but while reading it was cringe worthy.

Location 575: (when water gets into his sock) "Oh great! Really great!"

Location 820: "'My spontaneous reaction...'"

Location 1189: "'That's not the only thing she has lied about. I must get a hold of Henrik right away!'" [Why not lose the last sentence and have him actually rush off?]

Location 1642: "He was becoming increasingly irritated. They were still getting nowhere with the investigation and that was extremely frustrating."

Location 2630: "He was hanging his head as if he had done something wrong and was ashamed."

Location 3474: "...she clenched her teeth and put all her force behind the blow. The muscles in her back tensed, in her shoulders too, and she hit as hard as she could."


**mutters stupid no-page Kindle...**

Also, the conversations were hard to follow for most of the book as characters sounded alike. If Mia wasn't being crude and broke, if Hendrik wasn't a stereotypical whining husband, if The Boss wasn't using exclamation point order, and if Jana wasn’t a being a robot, there’s no difference in their speech. Everyday talk, especially about the case, didn’t warm up (or maybe I adapted to it) until much later in the book.

The split perspectives of the girl and the investigates was done well and I really enjoyed it. The girl’s POV brought the needed emotion and exhilaration. The case has it all but once Jana’s first realization, some parts become predictable.

Marked for Life didn’t start making solid improvements until the last 80% for me. It was hard to feel anything most of the time. Once Jana’s façade started cracking and villain POV’s starting showing up, the story became interesting. Yet every time I put it down, it was easy to leave it there.

Then it ended and I was left wondering, WTF? Turned to Google and found it was a trilogy and originally published in Swedish in 2013.

Bottomline: In dire need of editing. It’s hard to judge because on paper it all sounds good, but the execution with its current version leaves a lot to be desired.

Recommendable: If you can accept/look past the issues with translation. Reading the original Swedish would be the best option though. If it's updated, I'd be willing to read it again and am sure it'd be recommendable for general fans of the genre then.

Note: Around 42-45%, there's a passage about Janna. But afterwards, it immediately repeats that previous passage’s first half. Then it flips to Mia, then it repeats the second half of Jana’s passage.