Sunday, July 12, 2009

Review - House of Night series by PC Cast and Kristin Cast

From the Casts' website:
"After she is Marked, 16-year-old Zoey Redbird enters the House of Night and learns that she is no average fledgling. She has been Marked as special by the vampyre Goddess Nyx...Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny— with a little help from her vampyre friends."

The Cast mother-daughter duo work together to create this interesting vampire lore spin in a young adult format. I know the House of Night series is considered to be teenie bopper lit; however, its contribution to the diversity of the vampire stereotype can not be ignored. Vampires, or vampyres as the Casts call them, are "marked" at the age of 16. A devote follower of the Goddess Nyx visits the chosen teenagers and touches their foreheads, imprinting the outline of a blue crescent moon tattoo. Once the tattoo appears, the teen must journey to the House of Night boarding school post haste, or death will quickly ensue.

Zoey Redbird, shortly after being marked, escapes from her family home and makes her way eventually to the school, but not before having a vivid vision of the Goddess Nyx. All vampyres young and old pay homage to Nyx through ceremonies and complete devotion. Nyx tells Zoey that she is to be her eyes and ears and specially marks her. Everytime Zoey completes a particularly harrowing task, aka saving her friends/her life, she is blessed with more ancient tattooing courtesy of the goddess. Casts' vampyres worship the night as well as the earth bound elements. Zoey is the first vampyre to possess an affinity for all five elements: air, fire, earth, water, and spirit.

Neferet, the high priestess and headmistress, has the ability to read minds; therefore, the students dare not step out of line during their school years. If the fledgling survives, yes some of their bodies revolt against the change, the tattoo on their forehead will fill in and extra tattooing around the moon will determine what their calling profession-wise will be. Zoey is the only fledgling to already have a filled in crescent moon. For all these reasons, Zoey is considered the next super vamp, and as a result garners a lot of attention both friend, foe, and lover in nature. Suprises are consistently around every page, a completely new type of vampyre shows up later in the series and Neferet is definitely not what she seems.

The House of Night series is a mixture of JK Rowling's Harry Potter, Stephanie Meyers' Twilight, and a good dose of Wiccan ideology, all portrayed through the dialogue and normal teenage angst of the present day. The relationship drama can get a tad old and petty; but the action and ordeals propel the plot forward. The element summonings/ceremonies are a little too numerous and tedious, but overall feed well into the original Cast ideal of vampyres.

All of the five novels in this series are serious page-turners: Marked(2007), Betrayed(2007), Chosen(2008), Untamed(2008), and Hunted(2009). On October 27th of this year, the sixth book: Tempted will be in stores. If you are in the mood for a young adult series with an addictive plot and charming characters, start on the House of Night series. You will not be disappointed.

Rating: 4/5



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