Book Review – Marked by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

by Maryse on January 29, 2011 · 9 comments

in P.C. Cast

Marked: A House of Night Novel
I’ve had this paperback in my TBR pile for almost two years now, and have finally decided to give the series a try. I’ve read other YA series back when I was new to the genre, and loved them (Twilight, Vampire Diaries and then Vampire Academy), so I had high hopes for this one.

This book, however, did not sweep me off my feet. I was worried. I had heard so many good things about the series as a whole, but judging by this book, I didn’t know if I could make it through and entire “House of Night” reading marathon (which I LOVE to do – immerse myself in a world that is eight books deep – that’s HEAVEN to me).

It’s not that there was anything particularly wrong with the book. More like, it just felt too young for my tastes. The writing style irritated me. The main character’s thought process and introspection was often silly and annoying. My husband suggested to me that had I read it when I first started this blog (before I became so engaged in these much more “adult” urban fantasies), that perhaps I would have liked it more. I thought he might be right. Maybe I had simply moved on from YA to strictly adult? But that couldn’t be right considering my love for Vampire Academy.

But (yup…there’s a but). I’ll tell you what I realized. I’m already halfway through book# 3, and I’m hooked (actually got hooked a quarter into book# 2). I don’t know if I’ve simply gotten used to the writing style, or if I’ve finally connected to the characters (I have), or if it’s that the writing has gotten that much better (it has) and the series has found it’s rhythm, but I LOVE this series so far. In fact, I’m dying to get back to it. It took me days to get through book#1, but I’ve easily plowed through books 2 & 3 almost without stopping. They’re that engaging.

So  here’s what “Marked” is about. Zoey is a regular gorgeous teenager dating the high school hottie. From what I gather in this book, he’s a goof. Stereotypical jock that ends up wanting to party and make out (with everyone), so the two never really connect. In this world, vampyres co-exist peacefully with humans (although there are some that hate vampyres – Zoey’s über-religious step-father being one of them).

One morning, Zoey arrives at school, discovers a vampyre at her locker, and he “marks” her.

Then the vampyre spoke and his ceremonial words slicked across the space between us, dangerous and seductive, like blood mixed with melted chocolate.

“Zoey Montgomery! Night has chosen thee; they death will be thy birth. Night calls to thee; hearken to hear Her sweet voice. Your destiny awaits you at the House of Night.”

He lifted one long, white finger and pointed at me. As my forehead exploded in pain, Kayla opened her mouth and screamed.

A tattoo-like symbol shows up on her forehead. Genetically, some teenagers begin a change process that “turns” them. So far, nobody knows why, or how, but once the process begins, it cannot be stopped, and the fledgling vampyres must stay near their own to complete the change.

Zoey’s been ”changing”, and the vampyre that showed up at her locker just confirmed it. She’ll either become a vampyre, or her body will reject the change in the four years it takes, and she’ll die. Her life as she knows it, has ended. She must move from her home, and onto the vampyre campus (The House of Night), and school will begin anew, however it will be amongst vampyre students and teachers.

Her parents are appalled.

I walked into the family room to find him standing by the couch. My mother was crumpled near the end of it, clutching his hand. Her eyes were already red and watery. Great. She was going to play Hurt Hysterical Mother. It’s an act she does well.

John had begun to attempt to skewer me with his eyes, but my mark distracted him. His face twisted in disgust.

“Get thee behind me, Satan!” he quoted in what I like to think of as his sermon voice.

I sighed. “It’s not Satan. It’s just me.”

Her friends are appalled (well, ‘cept for her almost boyfriend Heath, he finds it kinda hot).

“Kayla, it’s just me. The same me that I was two seconds ago and two hours ago and two days ago.” I made a frustrated gesture toward my throbbing head. “This doesn’t change who I am!”

The only one who supports her and loves her unconditionally, is her Cherokee grandmother, and with that support, (and the support of the Vampyre Goddess, Nyx who appears to her in a dream), Zoey finds the strength to face a new world. She has a purpose, and she is determined to own it.

The Goddess stood up and walked gracefully toward me, her voice painting silver symbols of power in the air around us. When she reached me she wiped the tears from my cheeks before taking my face in her hands.

Zoey Redbird, Daughter of Night, I name you my eyes and ears in the world today, a world where good and evil are struggling to find balance.

“But I’m sixteen! I can’t even parallel-park! How am I supposed to know how to be your eyes and ears?”

She smiled serenely. You are old beyond your years, Zoeybird. Believe in yourself and you will find a way. But remember, darkness does not always equate evil, just as light does not always bring good.

This book runs us through the typical teenage gamut. Just because they’re vampyre fledglings, it doesn’t mean the school doesn’t have the typical cliques, hotties, and mean girls (aka “Hags from Hell”). And when the most popular High Priestess teacher (Neferet) takes a personal interest in Zoey and decides to mentor her, the main mean-girl wigs out!! Oh and of course, the highschool hottie/absolute sweetie, Erik Night, also takes an interest in Zoey, which just makes matters worse. Watch out Zoey, she’s coming for you!

You’re the outsider; the one who is not wanted. And remember this too. Erik Night and I have a bond that you’ll never understand. He’s not my ex anything. You didn’t stay to see the end of our little game in the hall. He was then and he is now exactly what I want him to be. Mine.”

Meh…no worries, she’ll get by with a little help from her friends ;)

So I’ll leave it at that. The book does actually get much better towards the end, and once you start book#2, you won’t wanna stop. That review will be next.

3 stars!

I’m giving away my copy of “Marked” – Let’s do the same thing as the last time?

Leave a comment (no mailing address needed yet - I will get it from the winner via email), and by Monday January 31st 2011 at 9pm EST, I will get one of those randomizer thingies to choose the winner. U.S. residents only please (although all are free to comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this series, or other YA series).

Interested in the series? Here is the P.C. Cast – House Of Night Series Reading Order

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenn January 31, 2011 at 8:50 AM

I love this series. I have read the series of few times. Marked was the slowest one of the books. They start to pick up after you get thru Marked. I love them all. Each time I finish one I have to hurry up and pick up the next one. They are addicting. One of favorite favorite YA series is the Vampire Academy.

Thanks for the give away.

Lisa K January 31, 2011 at 10:02 AM

Same thing, I had face booked you earlier in the month saying I was struggling to get through Marked, however, about a little more than half through, I finally started to get into it. So much so, that I will pick up the next one and see what happens. I was glad that this series that has been so talked about did not lead to bitter disappointment on my end and that I will give it a shot. I am buying these books for my 12 yr old niece who is now ready for Hunted, she kept telling me how good they were.

Maryse January 31, 2011 at 5:29 PM

Yup…book 1, while nice enough because it introduces us to the rest of the series, was to easy to put it down. I’m so glad I had past readers who encouraged me to continue, cause now – this is CANDY!!! Yummy!

Maryse February 1, 2011 at 7:46 PM

Hey Jenn! The Randomizer selected you as the winner. The book is on it’s way :)

Maryse February 1, 2011 at 7:48 PM

So Lisa!? Are you still reading the series. I’m on book#5 (almost done). I’d say the series just gets more and more interesting, and exciting, and emotionally exhausting. My “mood” for this book, I’d say is annoyed with a certain somebody ;) LOL! Can’t wait to see how you end up feeling about it.

Sarah February 3, 2011 at 9:33 PM

I’m only on hunted but i just can not put these books down! i get in trouble at school for reading while the teacher is talking! i love these books! so if you haven’t read these books READ THEM! :P

Zowie June 10, 2012 at 5:49 PM

I just finnished destined and im freaking out!! i NEED hidden to come out asap :D This is the best series ever!! I got a detention once because i was always reading these books and never doing work :P I LOVE THE HOUSE OF NIGHT SERIES!!!! <3 my favorite character is Zoey, not just because we have the same name (diff spelling oh well :P sounds the same) but because shes a strong person and believes in herself and her friends alot :D i wish this series would NEVER end. :)

Zowie June 10, 2012 at 5:50 PM

Oh and if anyone knows about anything to do with these books turning into movies, lemme know :)

Jenn Cooksey (@Jenn_Cooksey) June 25, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Hi Maryse!
I felt the EXACT same way about this book and series…

As an author, it came highly recommended to me by a dear friend when I began writing Shark Bait and the rest of the novels in the Grab Your Pole series and was trying to figure out what I could get away with and still have the series considered YA. While my stories are not paranormal, my friend felt it would be an accurate gauge.

I, too, didn’t connect with the characters until somewhere in the second book, and I’m not entirely certain why, but, there it is. In fact, I skipped the first few chapters and being told repeatedly to “just keep going,” I still heavily procrastinated in finishing Marked. Once I did, though, I devoured all four books (the series wasn’t as far in as it was when you started reading) and I found myself chomping at the bit for the fifth book, the sixth, and so on. Although now, I will admit, my voracious appetite for them has trailed off after reading Awakened. That might be due to being caught up in my own publishing frenzy and all the endless hours of work that entails, or it could be that I wasn’t thrilled with the direction it seemed the series was going, but I’m hoping to have some time this summer to catch up on the two newer releases, Destined and Hidden.

Anyhow, I just wanted to comment and let you know how spot on I felt you were about this book. ;-)

Take care,
Jenn Cooksey – Author

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