002 – Marked by P.C. and Kristin Cast

Marked cover Enter the dark magical world of House of Night, a world very much like our own, except here vampyres have always existed. 16-year-old Zoey Redbird has been Marked as a fledgling vampyre and joins the House of Night,a school where she will train to become an adult vampyre. That is, if she makes it through the change-and not all those who are marked do. It sucks to begin a new life, especially away from her friends, and on top of the, Zoey is no average fledgling. She has been chosen by the vampyre goddess Nyx. Zoey discovers that she has amazing powers, but along with her powers comes blood lust, and an unfortunate ability to imprint her human ex boyfriend. To add to her stress, 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 schools most elite group, is miss 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.


Characters: We’re gonna preface this review by saying this – we don’t particularly like Zoey. It’s not that we hate her, it’s just that Zoey is not the type of heroine we can relate to. She’s a bit too perky and ditzy, to put it kindly; downright stupid, to be more harsh. Some of this could be blamed on the writing style, which is insufferably “teen-y”, and smacks of an adult trying to sound authentically young (after all, what sixteen-year-old refers to herself as a kid?) But she isn’t your typical pretentious, disaffected vampire story heroine, and while her lack of sense and desire to conform can be a bit frustrating at times, it is also a nice break from the sullen antisocial teens who usually inhabit these kinds of books. And though initially a bit of a follower, she does develop enough spunk, attitude, and wit to make her faults more tolerable.

The supporting cast consists of her new House of Night vampyre friends – Stevie Rae, the cute okie and Zoey’s new best friend; Damien, the brains of the group; the Twins, Erin and Shaunee, the attitude; Eric, primary love interest; Heath, Zoey’s dopey kinda-ex-boyfriend; Aphrodite, obligatory head bitch; and Nephret, Zoey’s mentor. The supporting cast here is fun and varied, with unique personalities and traits that make them instantly likable (or unlikable, in Aphrodite’s case). Well, except for Eric. He suffers from Vampire Romance Personality Disorder, meaning, of course, that he has few distinguishable characteristics, aside from “hot” and “suave”, with a dash of “stalker” for good measure. There are little stabs at giving him more substance, but they don’t add much. The relationship between Zoey and Eric suffers from a variation of the disorder, Vampire Romance Insta-Love, as they share little interaction over the short period of time in which this particular story takes place, but somehow develop an instant attraction, despite meeting in the midst of a blow job. Classy.

World: As mentioned in the summary above, Zoey Redbird’s world isn’t much different from ours, except that ‘vampyres’ have always existed as an acknowledged part of society. This world’s vampyres are actually fairly interesting and unique, mixing traditional vampires aspects with the spirituality of wicca to create an almost religious set of vampyres. Instead of having to be bitten and killed to turn, young humans are Marked as vampyre fledgelings with a crescent moon tattoo-like outline on their foreheads. They are then taken to a local branch of the House of Night, a school where they learn to deal with their new lives, and train to become full-fledged vampyres (Vampire Hogwarts!).

The world is intriguing and mystical and well-developed, and a nice break from the norm, with its spiritual and witchy aspects. The integration of a religious aspect into vampyrism, as well as a school for studying it, gives it more depth and realism, like it is a conceivable part of this world that the Casts have created. And while there are throwaway facts – like the acknowledgment that many (named) celebrity actors and singers are actually vampyres – that add a bit of camp to an otherwise straightforward world, it’s never really enough to break the book’s spell and totally bring you out of it.

The Plot: Because Marked is the first book in a series, most of it is primarily occupied with introducing Zoey (and us) to the world that we’ll be inhabiting for the remainder of the series. As such, it’s a bit short on over-arcing plot, and focuses more on introducing the cast, and setting up Zoey’s powers and place in the House of Night. The events that conclude the book feel a bit rushed and added in for the sake of an action-packed conclusion, but for a first book, it’s forgivable, and doesn’t really impact the books overall readability. For now, it’s enough to learn about these characters and Zoey’s powers.

All in all, the House of Night series is looking to be one of the few worthwhile entries in the overcrowded YA vampire romance genre. We definitely say:

Two stars


2 Responses

  1. Gwen Lightburn

    April 11, 2011 7:05 am, Reply

    How can you get through a review of these (one or all) without discussing the AWFUL attempt at teen talk? “Poopie”?! The most Mormon of Mormons would have a hard time letting that one slip. Yeah, so Zoey has a problem saying “shit,” but not “blowjob” and “head”? WEIRD.

    I’m being supremely honest when I say that the word “poopie” has nearly frustrated me to the point that I want to destroy the books and write scathing letters to the Casts.

  2. Brooke Carlton

    October 27, 2012 12:41 am, Reply

    The teen talk ruins these books, and its SO unfortunate. The brown pop shit is ridiculous. No one talks like that. You might say that ONCE, or when asked what type of drink you’d like, but you don’t say brown pop every single time you reference a soft drink, even to yourself. Bull-poopie, in the middle of a life or death battle?? No. And the constant pop culture references, done in stupid ways…its a shame, because the actual storyline is great. I wish a different author had been handled the outline.

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