The Griever’s Mark (A Painful Game of Tug-O-War) | Book Review


By: Katherine Hurley

#1 in The Griever’s Mark series |333 Pages | Pub. 2014

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The Griever’s Mark At a Glance

  • Overall Rating: ★★★ 1/2
  • Dude:  And you thought your dog was loyal
  • Heroine: Girl needs therapy
  • Brutality: I feel as though I’ll never be cheerful again
  • Worldbuilding:  Like swiss cheese – good, but holey

Pairs Well With


  • 3/4 oz Absinthe
  • 1 oz Gin
  • 1 oz Bourbon

Beware. Spoilers are coming…

Jess’s Reactions 

I never want more worldbuilding from a book, but I actually think I could have used some here. I feel like I was pushed into the deep end of the pool right off the bat. However, I love the idea of drifting. Most teleportation type skills are just that. Popping in and out. Astari’s description of drifting really made me want that skill.

Speaking of Astarti, this girl is tough. To have been chained since seven and still have the energy to fight back. I bow down to you.

Sure, she doesn’t really think things through and is the definition of impulsive, but I liked her. She has sass and doesn’t let anyone boss her around. The girl has had an impossible life.

I only like Logan and Astarti. Every other person in the entire book is a complete waste of space. Her dad sold her before she was born, Belos just keeps a bunch of slaves that he whips and locks in dark places, Aron blames a twelve year old for his father’s death, and Bran just sits around and conceals information. And whoever whipped Logan, I want to hunt down and leash and beat. Ok that’s aggressive, but you get the idea.

I am done with every other person. The atrocities are far too many.

Logan, I love you. This man is dedicated and pretty and funny when he wants to be. He doesn’t pity her or act like she can’t take care of herself. He wants to protect her, but not lock her away.

“You are the most stubborn, unreasonable man I have ever known.”

Logan immediately becomes Astarti’s protector and advocate. He doesn’t share the prejudice that the rest of the Earthmaker’s have against drifters and I just adore his progressive attitude. The entire prejudice between races is just ridiculous. Why can’t we all just get along!

Anyway, I really got into this more towards the end. I will definitely read book two, just so I can find out about Logan’s dad and see him freed!

Teagan’s Reactions

This book didn’t really do it for me. The worldbuilding just did not add up, I didn’t love any of the characters, and it was brutal without giving me any hope. There wasn’t anything necessarily wrong with it but nothing engaged me enough to want to give the rest of the series a try.

Not a single society in this book appealed to me as the world was full of racism, prejudice, slavery and unnecessary use of child soldiers. Yeah, I recognize that not every book can have a world like Hogwarts that has us all wishing we’d get our letters, but c’mon I need at least one redeeming factor to feel connected to a book. The censorship and exile of all those dare to be “different” or have unique thoughts made me rage. The societies are basically Trump’s utopia and I’m not here for it.

I agree with Jess that Astarti has some badass tendencies and I feel for her because she’s had a rough life… But she needs some therapy. She has major self-confidence issues she needs to work out and she openly admits to willingly being treated like a stray dog. I need her to have some serious character growth and learn to prioritize herself and her mental health before I can join her fanclub.

Logan was loyal but overall he just felt like a really meh puppy to me. I don’t need men to be all alpha male badass all the time but I felt like Logan was TOO nice and a doormat, albeit a cute and romantic one. Of course, I’m not a monster and my heart broke into 2 million pieces when he basically turned all Collar Dorian from Queen of Shadows.

And now we get to my favorite part of this review. My rage induced rant. *Drumroll please….*

Astarti’s dad is a King who stole his throne in order to save his people. Sounds like a great dude right? NOPE. Because the price of that throne was his firstborn child which he bartered off to an evil monster without telling his wife and therefore mother of the child first. And if that wasn’t bad enough, he doesn’t tell the mom until the big bad monster is knocking on their door, giving her a critical headstart off…five minutes! Enough to lead to her (supposed) death and infant’s enslavery. But it’s okay, because he just *loved* his wife and couldn’t bring himself to tell her and hurt her.

And then this asshat pulls a Demi Lovato “I’m sorry not sorry” on Astarti and refuses to apologize for his betrayal and her abysmal life, because his kingdom means more to him than his own daughter. This dude needs to drop the Demi act and go full blown Justin Beiber “is it too late now to say sorry” immediately.

My *favorite* part of this Father of the Year Act is that we finally learn why Astari has a “Griever’s Mark” or tattoo indicating her parents wanted her dead. Because dear old dad gave it to her as a gift of his “love.” Cuz I mean what kid doesn’t have “death mark” on the top of all their wish lists as a kid?

Let us know what you thought of The Griever’s Mark in the comments! 

Drink Up - Teagan & Jess

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3 thoughts on “The Griever’s Mark (A Painful Game of Tug-O-War) | Book Review

  1. This book was totally lackluster for me. Kept me intrigued enough to keep reading, but not really invested. Not the worst thing I’ve read, but still probably Etch A Sketch worthy — at least for me!

    Liked by 1 person

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