I liked this book a lot more than I expected. While Spellbound, my first book by Ophelia Silk, was okay, this one was far better. It’s not without flaws, however. After a very promising first chapter, I felt like I was reading two stories at once for a while. In the first one, one of the MCs was just saved from an underground race track and it was all dark and escaping the bad guys, while in the other, it’s all flirting and instalust. I do not mind instalust at all but the timing felt unsettling. Soon though, the two arcs meshed in a more plausible way, and only once did I again wonder about what I was reading, later in the story.
Ellie has devoted her whole life to becoming a night horse trainer. She’s almost there, waiting for a spot in the NHRA to become available. A fling with a Nocturne centaur leaves her marked in a way she’d have to forgo her dream career. Nadine is used to being rejected because of who she is, and seeing Ellie so distraught by their passion marks moves her to promise to find a way to get them removed. Neither is prepared for the feelings that grow after what wasn’t even a one-night stand.
There’s a lot of miscommunication between the two MCs, yet I didn’t mind it much. They come from opposite worlds, and even though they seem to speak the same language, their life experiences are so wildly different it didn’t feel like it was entirely their fault.
Like its characters, this book is clumsy and not sure what it wants to be, and it should be annoying – it is, at times – but there’s something endearing about it. I like the characters, Silk writes well, and she took a risk with an unusual pairing: one of the MCs is a human with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (PoTS), the other a demigirl centaur cursed with dark magic. While I’m not one hundred percent convinced by the story, I like these two together and that was a long shot. In the end, I had a nice time reading this novel, and since my ratings reflect for a good part my enjoyment of a book, Passion Marked gets four stars from me.