August 3, 2012

Book #83 - Marked (House of Night #1)

Marked (House of Night #1), P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
306 pages
urban fantasy
Started 7/21/12
Finished 7/25/12

I know, I know - I'm a little late to the House of Night party. Marked has been out for a good five years now, and the HoN series is now nine books long. I've had it on my to-read list for quite some time, but since i've heard a lot of mixed things about the series, I didn't pull the trigger until now. I borrowed Marked as an audio book from the library.

Zoey's life changes forever the day she is marked by a tracker. A moon-shaped tattoo appears in the middle of her forehead, telling everyone that, some day, she will either turn into a vampyre or die. In the meantime, she must transfer to the House of Night to learn about how to live her new life. It's actually not a problem for Zoey since her home life kinda sucked anyway. However, before she gets there, she has an encounter with Nyx, the Greek Goddess of the night, and Nyx bestows upon Zoey some extra special powers along with a unique mark. Once she arrives at the House of Night, she makes friends, and enemies, quickly as she starts to navigate the unfamiliar and fascinating world of vampyres.

Now, I've read a lot of vampire books. They're all a little different in the world building - specifically in how one becomes a vampire. In some (Black Dagger Brotherhood), you must be born a vampire or have vampire blood in your family. In others (Twilight), you must be bitten. I gotta say - this is the first time I've ever heard of turning into a vamp because someone pointed at you. Apparently, the trackers get a list of names, they show up at the kids' doorstep (or, school, in Zoey's case), point at you, and BAM. You're marked as a future vamp and you have a tattoo to prove it. It was sort of... lame, actually. It takes the mystique out of something that's supposed to be mystical.

Once Zoey gets to the House of Night, though, things improved. The world around the vampyre school was well done by the Casts. I mostly liked the characters as well, although the "twins" really worked on my last nerve after awhile. The pacing was pretty good, and I liked the big showdown with the mean girl and her gang at the end.

My hope for future HoN installments is the Zoey herself grows and matures. The world is good, most of the characters are good. I think the Casts are capable of creating a good amount of build-up and drama. But, Zoey is almost 17, so she needs to act that way. Most girls I know that age do not still use the words "poopy" and "boobie" in regular conversation. If the language gets cleaned up a bit, I think this series has great potential.

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