Sunday, December 28, 2008

The House of Night

Zoey Redbird is a teenager living in a world in which vampyres coexist with humans, although they stand apart. While most successful actors and musicians are actually vampires, and they are superhumanly beautiful and strong, Zoey is not thrilled when she is suddenly singled out at school and marked with the vampyre's mark of a crescent moon on her forehead. Her friends are completely freaked out, and her mother and stepfather, members of a conservative religious group who find vampyres to be abhorrent, are even more so.

Zoey does not get along with her stepfather, and she sneaks out of the house in order to avoid being waylaid - she knows that she must get to the House of Night - a sort of boarding school for fledgling vampires - quickly, or she may not survive the transformation. But first she must go to the one person she knows will accept her for who she is, fledgling vampyre, or no - her beloved grandmother, who is Native American and lives out in the country. Near her grandmother's house, Zoey has an accident, and a near-death experience that leaves her with the unwelcome knowledge that she has been chosen by the vampypre goddess Nyx for some nebulous reason.

All Zoey knows is that she has some sort of destiny, that she has been singled out when what she really wanted was to be able to fit, unnoticed, into her new life. But sadly, when she arrives at the House of Night, she causes a huge stir. And things there are not what she imagined - just like at her old school, there are petty politics and bullies - except for the fact that when the students are fledgling vampyres, the potential for real harm increases exponentially. Luckily there are true friends to be made at her new school, as well as some potential for romance. If she can survive her first year there, that is...

This was an interesting first book in a YA series, written by a mother/daughter team, and it raised many intriguing questions that have hooked me enough to want to continue to the following book, Betrayed, at some point. I liked Zoey, but I admit I was a bit baffled by how horrified she was about being chosen to be a vampyre. I mean, come on - if all the best and most famous and beautiful people are vampyres, why would she be so upset? Why would her friends be so horrified? Jealous, I'd believe. Combined with the fact that Zoey is in such a powerless situation at home, with her overbearing stepfather and the mother who appears to have abandoned her children to side with her new husband in every matter, I would have thought she'd jump at the chance to be strong and independent, no longer intimidated by anyone. Still, the characters were interesting, as well as the premise. I am curious to see where the next book will take Zoey in her new life at the House of Night.

Books in the House of Night series:

1. Marked
2. Betrayed
3. Chosen
4. Untamed

Marked (#1 in the House of Night series) by P.C Cast and Kristin Cast (St. Martin's Griffin, 2007)

Also reviewed at:
A Bookaholic's Review: "The different spin on the vampire world was fresh, and I’m always looking for something different from the norm."
Un-Mainstream Mom Reads: " I was rooting for Zoey from the very first page, and cannot wait to read the next book in the Casts' wonderful series."

11 comments:

  1. I'll be reading this soon since I just got it from the Blogger Christmas Exchange! Very excited.

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  2. I just love this series!! Betrayed is good, but Untamed is by far the best in the series!! I hope you continue on!

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  3. at the risk of sounding like a completely unintitiated dork - which i suppose i am - what is the difference between a vampIre and a vampYre?

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  4. I love this series, too. I liked the first one the best I think. I do have some problems with the plot a little further on and some of the characters started to wear on me. But I am still a huge fan of this series - like it MUCH better than the Twilight one.

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  5. Thanks so much for the mention!

    I've been thinking about it, and Zoey not being excited about being chosen could be because she is afraid her body will reject the change and she will die. Throughout the first and second books (as far as I've gotten) that seems to be one of her main worries. So that could be a reason why.

    I think vampyre vs vampire is about the same as magic vs magick or fairy vs faerie...same thing, different spelling :)

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  6. Suey - That's exciting - I hope you enjoy it!

    Stephanie - I'm glad to hear they get better and better - I love when that happens with a series. :-)

    Molly - Well...maybe they are trying to invoke a sense of antiquity by using the old-fashioned spelling? Or trying to set themselves apart from the run-of-the-mill vampire novels? Or just, as Mo mentions, different spelling choice?

    Cat - I never got past the 2nd one of the Twilight series - I guess I lost patience with it.

    Mo - that is a good point. Maybe if she'd dwelt a bit more on that fear, rather than the fear of not fitting in, it would have been more believable for me. At any rate, it's a small quibble!

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  7. I'd like to read this series eventually. I read the Morganville vampire series by Rachel Caine instead last time I thought about picking these up.

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  8. I've been wanting to read this for ages. My library doesn't have it, darn it!

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  9. Ladytink - I'll keep you posted on how it goes! I need to try #2 in the Morganville series, too, before I forget what happened in #1!

    Jennysbooks - Oh, I hate when that happens. I'm surprised to hear it, though - it's incredibly popular at my library, which is why I finally decided to read it. I hate to feel I'm missing out on something! :-)

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  10. I haven't read this series yet, but I will...rest assured. great review...and I love the snippets from everyone else's reviews...

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  11. Thanks, Serena! I'll be interested to hear what you think. I have #2 sitting here, but I haven't gotten to it yet!

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