Saturday, October 15, 2011

October Reads: Review - Marked, by PC and Kristin Cast

This is our first edition of Read with PiF this month, and since it's late (as in super late), This will be the only post for this book. That being said, discussions for this book, if you'd like to join in, will be held at our Goodread's group. Of course, that by no means means you can't discuss this book below in the comments section. :)

Title: Marked
Author: P.C. and Kristin Cast
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pub. Date: May, 2007
Read an excerpt HERE

Marked, the first novel in the House of Night series by mother-daughter duo P.C. and Kristin Cast, was one of those books that I used to see talked about, but that took me forever to actually pick up. Once I did, I was hooked.

I wouldn't say it is one of the greatest YA series out there, but it is fantastic, if a little grating at times (Ok, that may just be the main character – ok, some of the characters, but still).

Our story starts out with our lead, Zoey, being, well, Marked. She'd been feeling a little under the weather on a normal day at her normal school when she spotted a vampyre standing by her locker. (Vampyres, in her world are bit more well known and out in the open than most – in fact they're kind of hard to miss), and when this Vamp spot's her, Zoey's life changes forever:
Zoey Montgomery! Night has chosen thee; thy death will be thy birth. Night calls to thee; harken to her sweet voice. Your destiny awaits you at the House of Night! {Marked, ebook p. 11/241}
With that, Zoey is given the blue outline of a crescent moon in the center of her forehead that symbolizes her new existence as a vanpyre fledgling. Now she must move to her new home at the House of Night, a school for fledglings like herself, not only to be with her new kind, but because her body would reject the change if she were to remain away from an adult vampyre for too long (Not that being around adult vampyres guarantees a successful change, but it makes her chances grater).

Soon enough, Zoey discovers she has a very special destiny before her at the House of Night. Granting Zoey with an affinity for all elements (something rather unheard of before), Nyx, the Goddess of Night whom all the vampyres worship, has chosen her specifically for a very great task, starting with confronting a fledgling who is misusing her Goddess-given gifts. Can Zoey find it within herself to step up and answer the Goddess' call?
Believe in yourself, Zoey Redbird. I have Marked you as my own. You will be my first true U-we-tsi a-ge-hu-tsa v-hna-i Sv-no-yi...Daughter of this age. You are special. Accept that about yourself, and you will begin to understand there is true power in your uniqueness. {Nyx, Marked, ebook p. 41/241}
There were many, many things I liked about reading Marked. The book is fast paced (the whole series is, really, which is why I managed to read the first six books of the series in less than a week – granted, I didn't get much sleep...). The plot-line reads well, and is creative. The imagery is fantastic.

Really, the only thing I had much of a problem with were some of the characters. Zoey, herself can be a bit whiny, woe-is-me, and very childish at times (often in situations of her own creating). She can also be very judgmental, which tends not to work in her favor when she's the one doing something “wrong”. It's not as noticeable in this first book, perhaps, but it does happen. She's not perfect, I get that, and I love that about her, but it can still be very irritating.

Aphrodite is another, in these early books. Her introduction to us, for one was pretty uncalled for. I know lots of people had issues with it, some even putting the book down right there. Perhaps her actions might be part of who she is, but a girl trying to force a blowjob (I kid you not, and in the middle of a school hallway to boot.) on a boy in the early chapters of the first book to a series is ridiculous. Actually, it's pretty much a ridiculous in any book, really.

They weren't the only characters I had issues with in this book, but they were the main ones.

What I did like is pretty much what I like in all books of this type. The idea that it's not what a person is that makes a person who they are, but what they do and how they act. I thought the authors portrayed that fairly nicely.

Something else I liked was the portrayal of non-mainstream religions. It's not too often you see them portrayed in a nice light. Sylvia Redbird (Zoey's grandmother) is a sort of Cherokee wise woman, so you get to see some of the traditions and tales she passed on to Zoey come into play at various points in the book. The vampyes of the House of Night partake in a sort of wiccan religion themselves, which actually gives a decent (if a little farfetched) glimpse into that and other nature based religions.

Of course, where matters of religion are concerned, there are always a “right” and a “wrong” (which, personally, I find ridiculous). There is a group of “religious right-wings” known as the People of Faith, and they oppose all things vampyres and religions not theirs in a not so very nice manner. I'm not saying these things don't happen, because they do. You can still find stories in the media of religious oppression, even in the United States, where our right to choose and practice our own religion is guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

That being said, I think it was perhaps a bit unfair the way this opposing religion was portrayed, if only because of the way they portrayed Zoey's family (And this is an ongoing issue throughout the series, so I won't go into to much detail). Sure, there would be situations, were this real, that a family might disown someone who “turned”, but I don't really see Zoey's mom as one of those who would willingly do that, she was just portrayed as too weak willed and malleable to think for herself, and naturally, she happened to be married to one of the big names among the People of Faith.

All in all, I enjoyed the book (and the subsequent novels in the series) and would recommend that if you're into paranormal/vampyre YA, you at least give them a shot. 4.4 Crazy Hearts is my rating.

Marked (House of Night, #1)


1 comment:

  1. I'm into paranormal YA, but there are so many series out there that people rave about, it's nigh on impossible to get to them all. I've thought about starting this series and I'll keep in mind what you've said about it being a quick, fun read. And I admit, I'm curious about this Aphrodite blowjob stuff (really? :-O).


We love to read them. :)

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