Marked is the first book in the House of Night (HoN) series by mother and daughter, PC and Kristin Cast.
Sixteen year old Zoey just wants to have a normal high school experience, maybe minus the always drunk almost ex boyfriend. Zoey thought that Heath was the worst of her worries when she turned up to school sick that day but then she gets Marked by a Tracker. In Tulsa, if you get Marked, it means you’re a vampyre.
The realisation of becoming a vampyre not only means Zoey’s whole life is about the change but she also has to leave her friends at school to live at the House of Night, a school for vampyres. The one rule to this school is shocking though… either pass at becoming a vampyre or you die!
What I thought
The HoN series has a completely original take on a species that is so popular in fiction these days. These vampyres are in a league of their own. They will draw you in and make you want to be one! As soon as some of the vampyres were described, I knew that this was going to be an interesting book. Not only are vampyres extremely beautiful, with long hair (mostly) but they also have strange markings like tattoos, making them distinctly different from humans. The markings are an extremely important part of being a vampyre but to humans, it is just something that makes them more like freaks. Being marked is only one of the differences that vampyres have in this series. There are no fangs, so no being bitten to be turned, garlic is only used as a yummy food and they still keep some very human characteristics.
The HoN was another aspect that was completely new to me. The HoN is pretty much a boarding school for vampyres in training, where they must take lessons like Fencing, Vampyre Sociology and Equestrian Studies, all things which help to make the change into a fully fledged vampyre. Some of the lessons did seem quite strange to me like Drama but then it was explained that vampyres have a tendency to be very artistic.
The story is written in the first person from Zoey’s point of view, making it easy to connect with her quickly. I began to feel sorry for Zoey quite early on in the book because of how she describes her life (before being marked). Being in a family where her mother ignores her, her step dad hates and having siblings that she doesn’t get along with made me want something much better for Zoey. I was glad to see that there was one family member that was there for her no matter what though. What makes Zoey a character that I could relate to is the way in which she and the story is written. Zoey, along with the other teenagers in the book are very realistic, both in the way that they act and speak. After being torn from the life that she was accustomed to, I was glad to see Zoey make friends easily and these characters added a lot of humour to the story.
There is a fair amount of bad language, references to sex and drugs throughout the book so this is a series that isn’t suitable for young teens (There is a warning on the back of the book). There was never a point where I felt like this was overdone though and these references only made me like the characters more. Some especially, were just like a few people that I knew when I was a teenager. These books are written by a mother and daughter duo and it works extremely well. There are places where it is clear that Kristin (the daughter) had a good amount of input due to the language used. This was something that helped to make the teenagers as realistic as possible. The writing is very seamless throughout and the only way to tell who wrote which parts are to pay more attention to the teenagers.
As Marked is the first book in the HoN series, there is a lot of explanations and descriptions of what is happening but this was something that I really enjoyed. I loved learning about the history of this race of vampyres and the mythical background, including everything to do with the High Priestesses and Vampyre Gods. What makes this series stand out from others is the fact that vampyres have been mixed with magic. It was a little bit like The Craft but with vampyres for me, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
The timescale for this book is only a couple of weeks and there is a lot packed in but not too much. The way that the story was written made each event realistic and not rushed in any way. It really did feel like I was living Zoey’s life for her first few weeks at the HoN. Following Zoey’s journey to finding who she is and her place at the HoN, there are enough twists and turns to keep the story exciting which left me wanting to find out more about what was really going on.
Marked is a fantastic first book in the series which gives small hints at bigger things to come. I cant wait to learn more about all of the characters and to follow Zoey as she trains to become a vampyre.