inspirethoughts

Book Critique: Marked (House of Night #1)

For review of all books in this series: Go here.

Stars: 3 / 5

Recommendation: Another series set in a world where humans and vampyres co-exist; with romance, mystery, learning to live a new life; and above all about trust, friendship and belonging; everything melded together in the plot.

Marked is the first book in the House of Night young adult vampire-theme based fantasy fiction series co-authored by P. C. Cast and her daughter Kristin Cast, first published in May of 2007. This first book introduces us to Zoey Montgomery; how she is Marked; and her transformation into Zoey Redbird, a fledgling vampyre.

The stories in the series revolve around 16-year old Zoey Redbird who is a fledgling vampyre attending the House of Night boarding school in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She is marked by a vampyre tracker forcing her to leave her home and family and move into the boarding school. But learning to be a vampyre is not easy, specially when one is Marked as special by the vampyre Goddess Nyx. Also all doesn’t seem to be what it looks like in the boarding school as well. What follows are a series of adventures in each book; uncovering hidden mysteries; finding true love; and above all embrace the destiny and live through it shining bright. The stories are told in first person narration.

Zoey Redbird is Marked and she moves to House of Night to live with other fledgling vampyres, and learn to become a vampyre in four years there. However, her Mark is very unique and she becomes the center of many stares and target of jealousy and attention at the same time. All she was trying to do was to fit in that new school and have a few select friends that she can comfortably travel the path of Change. But her Goddess Nyx has other plans for her and so also her nemesis; and things become out of control very soon, very fast for Zoey.

For a long time I have been thinking of reading this series, but I had read mixed reviews about the books. So naturally they went into my "Books to read" list. However at an outdoor social distancing book sale a month ago I found the five of the books in the series on sale, at a very very low cost. I thought why not and picked up the books, and here is the review of the first book in the series.

Zoey Redbird is definitely a strong character with all of the teenage angst that a teenager has. She works her issues out, finds solutions, makes new friends whom she can trust with her life, has a tad bit of romance in the process. She is certainly portrayed with a very strong bone. Yet her going into her mind and getting stuck in her introspections constantly got under my skin, I wish the authors could have reduced that.

Zoey is such free-spirited and has a beautiful heart. I also wish the authors reduced some of the teenage slang. Erik Night is a confusing character for me yet. He is also strong and has a keen mind. However, it still begs to stand if he is Zoey's true destiny or not. And of course like any other teenage flicks that I have read so far, authors had to give more than one boy for the girl to choose from. 

The constant bickering and the back & forth teenage talk between Zoey and her four friends is so comical, took me back to my teenage years. Along with that authors Cast give us all the teenage emotions - the fear of surviving the Change; the thrill of adventure in going on the journey to become a vampyre; dealing with jealousy from other mates; love triangle issues; fear of failures; learning to trust; and above all finding a steady ground in the chaos they are thrown in.

The authors use "vampyre" instead of traditional word "vampire". I wonder why they did so on that. In this world the authors created, all the famous personalities that we know of now are considered vampyres. We see a lot of repeat paraphrasing as well.

How coincidental that I am reading this book, and the main character had a horse named Bunny…and TCM airs another psychological thriller film titled "Bunny Lake is Missing". Neither Bunny is same, but I just felt that it seems so clairvoyant. :P

The authors end the book in a sort of cliff-hanger. And of course knowing that this is a series, all those inconsequential details and sub-plots would definitely have come handy for the authors, I am sure. So far the series opened up very nice and intrigued me enough. Now I have to see if I would feel the same with the rest of the books I have. 

Another series set in a world where humans and vampyres co-exist; with romance, mystery, learning to live a new life; and above all about trust, friendship and belonging; everything melded together in the plot. There are a few flaws, but the book isn't completely unfortunate. You might like it better than me. 

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot Reveals:

a. A Junk DNA strand triggered by hormonal changes in humans, starts the whole Change into a vampyre. 

b. Zoey is Marked as the Daughter of Night by Goddess Nyx, even before she becomes . At the end of the book, she takes over the head of Dark Daughters & Sons group, and becomes High Priestess in training role. Aphrodite is knocked down from those positions.

c. Media, Literature and Cooking stuff mentioned - 1995 film French Kiss; Zoey likes to read Bram Stoker's Dracula, Gossip Girls and Bubble Series books; Erik does a monologue from Othello; Zoey likes Enya's songs; She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron; Quote from Romeo and Juliet; Taming of the Shrew; A Night to Remember by Walter Lord; 

d. New species of undead vampyres are being created - Elizabeth & Elliot are so far the ones. 

2. Sub-Plots:

a. Zoey's birth family - Mom Linda Heffer, step-father John Heffer, Elder of the People of Faith; older sister; younger brother Kevin; Grandma Sylvia Redbird; 

b. Zoey's friends and teachers from her school in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma before she was Marked: Kayla, her best friend & her boyfriend Jared; Heath, her almost - boyfriend & football team quarterback; Mrs. Day, Chess Club head; Mr. Shaddox, History teacher; Kathy Richter; Dustin & Drew, Heath's friends & football players; 

c. People of Faith members - Dr. Asher, family shrink; Damien's father is a minister at the Dallas branch; 

3. House Of Night Residents:

a. The fledgling vampyres have to go through four years of Change process that are divided into four classes - third formers, fourth formers, fifth formers, sixth formers.

b. Staff - Neferet, High Priestess & Zoey's mentor; Professor Nolan; Professor Doner; Professor Vento; Professor Penthesilea; Professor "Dragon" Lankhord; Professor Gramy; Professor Lenobia; Professor Loren Blake, Vamp Poet Laureate; 

c. Adult vampyres - Anastasia, Dragon's wife; 

d. Fledgling vampyres - Thor; Erik Night; Elliot; Amanda; Aphrodite; Enyo; Deino' Pemphredo; 

e. Dark Daughters & Dark Sons - A group of elite fledgling vampyres.

f. Zoey's friends here: Stevie Rae Johnson, her roommate; Erin Bates; Damien Maslin; Shaunee Cole; Erin and Shaunee are roommates; Their elements are - Shaunee is Fire, Stevie Rae is Earth, Erin is Water; Damien is Air and Zoey is Spirit. 

g. Animals in residence - Skylar, Neferet's cat; Beezlebub, Erin & Shaunee's cat; Cameron "Cammy", Damien's cat; Persephone, horse; Nala, Zoey's cat; 

4. Grammatical / Character / Plot / Geographical / Historical / Mythological Errors:

a. On Pg. 28, Line 1, it should be "…I going to deal…"

b. On Pg. 41, authors mention that Zoey passed out for the third time that day. However she had only passed out once prior to that time.

c. On Pg. 75, Line 11 from bottom, it should be "…It's one of the…"

d. On Pg. 75, Line 4 from bottom, it should be "…

e. On Pg. 129, Line 11, it should be "…was just a pretty…"

f. On Pg. 157, Line 15, it should be "…need you to hold…"

g. On Pg. 171, Line 5, there is a missing closing quote after the word "moonlight:.

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