The Mark of Noba
By GL Tomas
IN THE DEBUT NOVEL OF GL THOMAS, otherwise known as the mighty Twinjas, space adventure and time travel collides on the Earth-like “Geo,” a modern-day high school setting where people are classified by Types. However, a ruthless Naga has come to Geo with the intent to eradicate the last of the Nobans…an unsuspecting boy named Sterling Wayfairer.
Sterling is a likeable high school boy. His world isn’t very big outside of attending classes, parties, and athletic events, but he always means well. However, little does he know that the nightmares he is plagued with are actually suppressed memories of a world far different from Geo. His time traveling partner, a kick-ass Noban girl named Tetra, arrives to open up his world and enlist his help to track down a dangerous space-traveling serpent known as the Naga, whose single-handed intention is to annihilate entire races.
Tetra is a true gem, and the story really came to life with her viewpoint. She is blunt, thoughtful, and loyal to her friends. Particularly entertaining was the part where she straight up tells Kip how bad his kissing is, which was very refreshing outside of the typical YA fiction where kisses with boys is always fireworks and rainbows. From my recollection, high school had some pretty awkward kisses and dating sequences, and I was very glad that The Mark of Noba fully embraces all of high school’s growing pains to make it more realistic.
Tetra’s viewpoint as an alien to Geo also makes for some interesting social commentary in terms of gender identification and how Puritan societies view sex. For example, Tetra calls into question the usage of “slut” for someone who is promiscuous, and what that means about how their society views sex as a whole. The bond between Tetra and Sterling was very precious, and I appreciated that there was no insta-love here but a fully developed relationship.
The writing flows and makes a for a quick pace. The only distracting part was why names of places were italicized, such as “Geo,” “Seaside,” “Megalopolis,” ect. I typically don’t enjoy books where the plot is largely centered around high school, but in the case of The Mark of Noba, the mystery of the Naga, Noba, and what that promised made me excited to read more. I have a feeling we have only seen the tip of the iceberg in relation to what the next book, City of Falling Stars, has in store!
Recommended for fans of: Rick Riordan, Zoraida Córdova, and Susan EeUpcoming Book Review: Reawakened by Colleen Houck