Author: P.C. Cast
Series: House of Night Series
Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin
Publish Date: May 1st, 2007
Genres: Fantasy, Supernatural
After a Vampire Tracker Marks her with a crescent moon on her forehead, 16-year-old Zoey Redbird enters the House of Night and learns that she is no average fledgling. She has been Marked as special by the vampyre Goddess Nyx and has affinities for all five elements: Air, Fire Water, Earth and Spirit. But she is not the only fledgling at the House of Night with special powers. When she discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school’s most elite club, is mis-using her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny – with a little help from her new vampyre friends (or Nerd Herd, as Aphrodite calls them)
DNF at 46%.
After years of spying this series at the bookstore and hearing constant references to it, I decided it was time to give it a try, even if everyone else had already read it a whopping five years ago. The large number of negative reviews should have been my first indication that this was not something I should have venture into. Maybe I’ll eventually learn from my mistakes…
The story begins when 16-year-old Zoey Redbird encounters a vampire who “marks” her (hence the very creative title). This crescent-shaped tattoo on her forehead indicates that she must take up residence at the local House of Night or face gradually worsening physical illnesses. The House of Night serves as a school for newly marked individuals, or fledglings, in preparation of their eventual transformation into a vampire. When Zoey arrives at the House of Night, she recognizes that her powers transcend those of an ordinary fledgling. As Zooey attempts to uncover the extent of these powers, she is forced to establish and act upon a new set of morals as she embraces her new life and stands up for her beliefs.
First of all (and most trivially), the spelling of “vampyres” irked me tremendously. Hence my use of “vampires” throughout this review. One can’t simply change the spelling of a word in an attempt to distinguish a fictional race from its more impressive counterparts from much more enjoyable works of literature. Whatever the author was hoping to accomplish with this mind-boggling rewriting of the English language backfired horribly. Would it be improper of me to say that I enjoyed the Twilight Series as a whole significantly more than I enjoyed the 46% of Marked that I managed to suffer through?
Perhaps part of my struggle was my dislike of the overall concept of Marked. I found it peculiar that one would commit themselves to live at the House of Night for the remainder of his/her life, undergoing vigorous education for the transformation into a vampire which he/she may or may not survive. Also, individuals are recruited by being “marked” and having a crescent shape appear on their foreheads. What happened to the concept of biting someone to turn them into a vampire, or are we throwing all vampire conventions out the window with our new, inventive spelling?
I felt no connection with any of the unsurprisingly shallow characters, particularly the protagonist, Zoey. As a teenage girl myself, I was expecting to get along with Zoey smashingly. It was really quite the opposite. Zoey portrayed a small fraction of spoiled, whiny, complaining teenagers that really have nothing to complain about when compared to the starving children in Africa. All in all, she had no redeeming qualities to counteract her (quite long) list of negative attributes. She also happened to be incredibly…naive…or perhaps stupid would be more suitable in this instance. In case you don’t believe me, I recorded several pages of evidence in my notebook. I’ll save you some agony and provide you with a brief, yet amazing revealing sample:
“She wasn’t thin like the freak girls who puked and starved themselves into what they thought was Paris Hilton chic. (‘That’s hot.’ Yeah, okay, whatever, Paris.)” (page 46)
“‘Cereal?’ I suddenly perked up. I seriously adore cereal, and have an I heart Cereal shirt somewhere to prove it.” (page 100)
“If I died, would it get me out of my geometry test tomorrow? One could only hope.” (page 1)
Unfortunately, it only gets worse from there. There didn’t seem to be any genuine relationships, or even the potential for one to develop. Falling just shy of the halfway mark, however, I read enough about entirely unromantic teenage sex to last me a lifetime. These scenes were more than painful, falling into a category in and of themselves. Honestly, who has oral sex in the middle of a commonly-travelled school corridor? But, what am I saying, it’s clearly a regular occurrence. Duh.
Out of pure curiosity, I flipped to the “Acknowledgements,” which kindly put one of the book’s largest flaws into words:
“…I also want to thank my fabulous daughter, Kristin, for making sure we sound like teenagers. I couldn’t have done it without you. (She made me write that.) -PC
“I want to thank my lovely “mam,” better known as PC, for being such an unbelievably talented author and so easy to work with. (Okay, she made me write that.) -Kristin
They appear to be very confused as to what a teenager actually sounds like. Firstly, we typically don’t whine. Secondly, we don’t go running to our parents (or even our grandmother) when something is wrong – we go running to a friend. Thirdly, every word that comes out of our mouths isn’t gossip and pop culture reference ridden. And fourthly, we are not sex-crazed , nor do the majority of us have such low morals.
The writing left more than a little to be desired. Perhaps someone should introduce the Casts to the concept of an editor to eliminate some of the glaring mistakes that I couldn’t overlook. While some sentences were grammatically correct, they sounded awkward and disjointed, potentially due to the dual authors. Others contained blatant mistakes that stood out like a sore thumb.
I can pretty easily sum up this book in two sentences: 1) It sucked. 2) I had the extreme urge to put this book through the shredder…multiple times…and then perhaps light the shreddings on fire.
Don’t read it – save yourself the aggravation and invest in a more satisfying supernatural novel (may I recommend Twilight?). In fact, don’t just save yourself, run as fast as possible in the opposite direction.