Well, I’m back from a fantastic week-long beach vacation, over which I finished Marked, the first House of Night novel written by the mother-daughter writing duo P.C. and Kristin Cast. The book sets the stage for an alternate reality in which humans and vampyres coexist (and in which, apparently, some famous country stars are vampyres). Fledgling vampyres are humans whose vampyre DNA gets triggered during adolescence; they are Marked by a Tracker vampyre and must leave the life they know to be guided through the change by adult vampyres. However, not all fledgling vampyres are guaranteed to make it through the transformation and will die.
The book follows Zoey Redbird, a teenager experiencing some typical high school problems as well as some troubling family problems, who is Marked and transfers to the House of Night, a school for young vampyres. In a nutshell, at her new school Zoey clashes with Aphrodite and her powerful clique the Dark Daughters, crushes on the handsome budding actor Erik Night and fends off her obsessive human ex-boyfriend. Although her distinctive Mark initially sets her a part from the other newest fledglings, she ultimately finds a place for herself at the House of Night with a group of genuine and loyal friends.
In general, I really liked this book, although it didn’t suck me in like other series in the same genre have. Also, not gonna lie, my initial reaction to the whole vampyre school thing was that it sounded like a Harry Potter copycat. But I decided later that this is an unfair judgment – J. K. Rowling most certainly borrowed from other sources, and Harry Potter is so ingrained in our culture now that it would be hard not to think of it when reading another “school for [insert fantastical human/creature here].” And they’re obviously very different books. The House of Night sounds more like a typical American high school (you know, except for the part where they’re all going to be vampyres, and go to school at night – which was an awesome touch). The authors do an excellent job of incorporating pagan elements and rituals into their vampyre culture (I’m not describing them as “pagan” to mean something bad, that’s just the only word I can think of to sum it up). Although in my first post I wasn’t enamored with the first person narration, it definitely grew on me, although I’m still not entirely convinced that teenagers really sound like that. But it’s engaging and funny, and Zoey is a likeable, believable character. (Her favorite cereal is Count Chocula, which she realizes now is quite ironic – another nice, humorous detail the Casts include.)
So, if you’ve read The Vampire Diaries, Twilight or any similar books, I definitely recommend giving Marked a chance. I’m excited to have a new young adult paranormal series to, uh, sink my teeth into for the rest of the summer (cliché intended).