Marked by Kristin Cast, P.C. Cast
Published by St. Martin's Press on May 1st 2007
Series: House of Night #1
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Vampires, Young Adult
Length: 306 pages Source: Borders
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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).
I am not usually a person who flat-out hates a book… but this would be an exception. I have grown up living and breathing the vampire represented in Anne Rice and Bram Stoker… and the moment Neferet gets miffed because – Goddess forbid! – Zoey uttered Stoker’s name, I was annoyed. For all intensive purposes, this is a story about immature, over dramatic witches. And yes, I meant witches.
As far as the description of vampire goes… the Casts decided to go with “drinks blood sometimes” and “worshippers of Night” (literally) and “burns in sunlight” as their descriptors. There is the complaint that Stoker villianizes vampires (oh, sorry, vampyres) but it’s the strength and mystique that is missing. For a little while, I had hoped that it could be found in the adults…but no. Even the High Priestess gets giddy and excited over the fledglings. Zoey has a kitty cat familiar and casts circles and spells and has an affinity over the element. Oh fantasy readers… am I the only one that aligns those gifts and traits with a typical witch… not a vampire?
Now lets talk about Zoey. Zoey has, like, the worst life evar. Srsly. Her mom like totally hates her and her “step-loser” is like a total brainwashed follower of the People of Faith, who are like, complete assholes. Oh, welcome to the way this book is written. Okay, I’m being a little overdramatic, but the protagonist’s background is the same as any whiny teenager I could follow on Tumblr (no offense intended… everything seems worse when it’s happening until you experience some more “real” life… you know what I mean?). The book starts with gossip about that cute guy at the football match. When she gets to the House of Night, it’s about the Hags from Hell and omg they are so evil. No substance. It’s even very dramatic when she’s saving the day at the end. Zoey’s family? She has an open-minded grandmother; a non-supportive, brainwashed-by-new-husband mother; goody-two-shoes siblings; and a step-father who is prejudiced. That prejudice really bothers me, actually, because over and over again the Casts bring up the “People of Faith” (oooh, that is screaming Charlaine Harris) and they talk about it like its the only religion and all religious people are blind, hateful, and controlling… which isn’t a fair assessment at all. At least Harris uses a little comparison in her novels… there are different sects, and yes, some people may be like that, but the world isn’t black and white.
Anyway. Zoey. She’s an absolute Mary Sue. It’s one thing to have powers. That’s cool. It’s another thing to be the strongest of everyone in your class. That’s… okay, well, I’ll keep reading. It’s ANOTHER things to be the most powerful person in your school. In the world? In history? Come on. But wait! There’s more! She also has a special mission in the school that is her mission only, a super important mission. And if THAT wasn’t enough, the hottest guy in the school is falling for her, the strongest vampire in the school is her mentor, and she seems to be on the top of her classes. … … … I’ve got no words. Lots of annoyed thoughts. Talk about excess!
I think the only way I’d read the second book of this series was if someone bought me the book, and paid me to review it. It made me mad.
I’m sure there are lots of people out there who would like it. Occasional readers, perhaps. Twilight fans? Middle school girls. That’s about all I can give it.
I think that while it was nice that PC wrote a book with her daughter (nay, a series)… she’s a better writer on her own. I read Divine by Mistake by her last year, and while I was ultimately disappointed with that book as well, it was a much better story, and a much better character.
Maybe the Casts just aren’t for me.