Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Book Review - Marked

I downloaded this book, as something to read while I was on my trip to the UK. I wanted something light, but entertaining for my trip across the pond. A friend of mine mentioned the House of Night series, written by P.C. Cast, so I thought I would give it a try. The first book in the series is called Marked. Set in Oklahoma, the story told in the first person, by the main character Zowie Redbird.

The story starts with her hanging out with her best friend at high school, when a vampire tracker marks her. Once marked, your destination is to go through “the change” which will result in you becoming a full fledged vampire, or if the change is unsuccessful, in death. The only way to go through the change successfully is to go to a special boarding school for fledgling vampires called The House of Night. Even then, some fledglings still die.
As soon as Zowie is marked, she becomes an outcast to her family and friends. Upon telling her family, her mother and very religious step-father try to stop her going to the House of Night and blame her for being marked. Zowie runs away, to seek the advice of the one person she knows will not reject her, her grandmother Redbird, her maternal grandmother of Cherokee heritage. While running away to her grandmother’s Zowie passes out and has a vision of the Goddess Nyx, the patroness of the Vampires, who tells her she has been specially blessed by her. Zowie then wakes up to find herself at The House of Night, which her grandmother has safely brought her to.
In her new life at the Vampire boarding school, Zowie is assigned a mentor, the High Priestess Neferet, and must learn to adjust to her new life as a young vampire in training. She is placed in the girls dormitory with her new roommate Stevie Rae, and begins to make new friends. Classes are all held at night, and she is introduced to subjects such as vampire sociology, literature, fencing, horseback riding etc. She loves the new classes and friends, but her new life is not without conflict. Her mentor Neferet instructs her to join The Dark Daughters, an elite student group of vampire priestesses in training, run by the popluar and seemingly perfect Aphrodite. Aphrodite and her gang of followers, are typically snobby, and turn out to hate humans, and act generally badly. Add to that, her human ex-boyfriend is becoming obsessed with her, and she is falling for Aphrodite's former boyfriend, the handsome and talented Eric.

The plot in the book moves along fairly smoothly, and keeps the reader's attention. I found it to be a pretty typical vampire teen book, but still reasonably entertaining. The characters are generally believable, and the writing was clear and descriptive. My one complaint about this book is that the main character comes across as a bit of a Mary Sue. She is pretty, smart, and the most gifted vampire to attend the House of Night in generations, plus guys keep falling for her. I don't know about you, but I find it hard to like a character who's too perfect.
Except for this one flaw, I enjoyed the book overall, enough to give the second book in the series a try. I give this book 4 out of 5 parasols.
If you read this book/series, what did you think? I'd love to know. :)

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  1. I thought the exact same about the first book, and likewise, a friend put me on to the series! I read the second and the third, and then attempted the fourth, but gave up because... well to be quite honest, they just get worse and worse. Whilst the plot is developed further, the characters just start to fall apart and don't really co-opperate as well nor as much. Characters like Heath are thrown in just when there is nothing else to write about. Oh, and Zoe becomes even more of a Mary Sue, yet complains an awful lot as well.
    Overall, after the first book, The House of Night series just didn't sit well with me. I have another friend who thinks more or less along the same lines. Just my two cents :)

  2. @x-akurie Someone else told me almost the same thing yesterday. The same friend who recommended it to begin with said she's finding she can't get past the fourth book. I'm tempted to give it a whirl to see if I think the same thing. Thanks for the feedback, I'm glad to know I'm not alone.

    And I apologize for the spelling error. It's Zoey, I Spelt it Zowie (facepalm).

  3. I've read some of the books, and I liked them. They're decent for being such an easy, vampiric read.

    She was a bit too perfect, though, and rude. I mean, you don't need to be putting your eyeliner on while saying that you only wear a LITTLE TINY BIT while everyone else looks like an idiotic raccoon. Or making fun of a girl for giving a guy head mostly just because you don't like her (and you want the guy).

    Her friends were cool, though. Stevie was the least cool, but I didn't like her accent or fashion sense. She was just too middle-of-nowhere small town girl for me.

  4. I got to the fifth book - mostly because Mr. Steve-O bought me the series until that point (second hand, mind you). I really did like that the Native American imagery was used and found that whole thing to be fascinating.

    That said: didn't like how the MC kept trying to convince the readers that she wasn't "a ho" when she most clearly was (if not before, then she's become one at this point in her life).
    Didn't like MC's perfection, couldn't stand her repetitious mention of "brown pop" (yeah, I don't know why, it just irked me).
    MC just came off as really shallow and judgmental, while judging everyone else to be just the same. Don't know if the authors wanted it to be as coincidental as all that, my guess is no. Found the frequent reference to Okie stuff to be...off putting.

    So while I found the drama of Stevie Rae and her squad to be kinda neat, along with the NA mythology (made up, or not) I won't be continuing with the series.

  5. @Ashlee I agree about the eyeliner bit. Why does the main character think it's important to note that she only wears a bit of eyeliner? And she is pretty shallow.

    @Jill the brown pop thing is annoying - we get it, you like cola. And by the end of the book she is turning into a bit of a ho. I'm reading the second book and she is definitely getting on the train to hoville.

  6. I must admit I like the books but you do make valid criticisms. My main issue is Heath the human boyfriend even all the way to book 8 he's still around and


    that is even after he dies in book 7. Zoey's soul shatters and goes to the afterlife with him when he dies and he moves on, she brings herself together and comes back to Earth and then Nyx resurrects Heath in this Vessel Neferet creates and the was where book 8 ended.
    Oh and in book 8 Zoey's bitch of a mum Linda finally ditches her loser husband and visits Grandma to make things right then gets killed by Neferet for the purpose of making the aforementioned vessel.