P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
Published 2007 306 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
Enter the dark, magical world of the House of Night, a world very much like our own, except here vampyres have always existed. Sixteen-year-old Zoey Redbird has just 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 that, Zoey is no average fledgling. She has been chosen as special by the vampyre Goddess Nyx. Zoey discovers she has amazing powers, but along with her powers come bloodlust 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 school’s most elite group, is misusing 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.
Marked is the first novel in the House of Night series written by established romance author P.C. Cast in collaboration with her teenaged daughter, Kristin Cast. Ever since Stephenie Meyer took the Young Adult genre by storm with Twilight, her tale of teenaged vampire romance, there has been no stopping vampires in the YA genre. With the glut of vampire fiction in the current YA market it takes something special to standout from the crowd. Marked seems to have that something special and ticks all the right boxes as it gets the House of Night series off to a strong start.
Aimed at older teenaged (16+) readers Marked is a good mixture of sexy romance, fantasy, horror and mystery - giving its coming-of-age theme an edge of dark intrigue. The story starts with Zoey getting Marked (it’s a bit like winning the supernatural lottery only without a cash prize) up until then she had been a normal human teenager but once Marked her normal life becomes a thing of the past as she is now destined to change into a vampyre, or die.
Marked has an interesting vampire mythology. In the world of the House of Night books, vampirism is triggered in some individuals around the time of puberty. Adult vampyres can sense when somebody has been chosen and they send out a tracker to mark them accordingly. Once Marked a symbol of the crescent moon appears on forehead of the chosen person. They have to go the House of Night which acts as a school for fledgling vampyres. At the time of entering the school they are not actually vampyres and if their body doesn’t accept the change they will die before they can become one. Not human but humane, is the way that one of Zoey’s new vampyre teachers describes being a vampyre.
The vampyre mythology is slowly revealed in Marked and perhaps raises as many questions as it answers – leaving plenty of mysterious unknowns for readers to look forward to discovering further on in the series.
Narrated in first person by Zoey, readers can share her frustrations with her family, which has not been much of a family for Zoey since her mother married the “Step-Loser” (as Zoey unaffectionately calls her step father). Readers can also share her trepidation, hopes and fears as she starts not only a new school without warning but also starts a whole new life.
Mostly Zoey narrates the story with good humour and an inner sarcastic voice. Her good intensions combined with her hope that she has finally found a place where she can belong, a place that nobody can take away from her, make her an endearing and engaging character - even if she does say, “whatever, but still.” at lot!
Marked is a fascinating read and a good start to the House of Night vampire fantasy series. My one criticism of this novel would be the length and frequency of some of the religious rituals in the story, they slow down an otherwise fast-paced read, but they are relevant to the direction that Zoey’s character is taking so I really can’t complain too much. A hugely enjoyable book, Marked should appeal to fans of Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy and Claudia Gray’s Evernight novels. Recommended reading.
LoveVampires Review Rating: