I kicked off last year with the Sookie series of books. This year, it looks like it’s the turn of the House of Night series. Jointly authored by PC Cast and her daughter Kristin Cast, this is another popular vampire series. The heroine of this series is Zoey Redbird with strong powers and a good heart.
The first book is Marked: 16-year old Zoey Redbird is a normal teenager in Oklahoma, when one fine day she is marked by a Vampire Tracker with a crescent moon on her forehead. This mark signifies that she has been chosen by the vampyre goddess Nyx to become a vampyre (yup, that’s how it is spelled in these books).
She then enters the House of Night (a kind of boarding school for fledgling vampires). However, she soon realizes that she has been gifted with extra special powers by Nyx. She then has to battle the bad Aphrodite, another fledgling who is misusing her powers to bully others in the school. Of course, Zoey successfully settles down in school, makes friends, and displaces Aphrodite as the leader of the Dark Daughters (a kind of school association).
The second book is Betrayed: As the title of this book suggests, this book deals with a betrayal that Zoey faces from someone she trusts. It also paves the way for the 3rd book in the series where she ends up betraying someone. In this book, the plot starts to build, there are mysterious killings and someone from the House of Night is involved. Zoey becomes sucked into the mystery, and in the end of the book she has to face a heart-breaking tragedy, which plays itself out more fully in the next book.
The third book is Chosen: Chosen starts off almost immediately after the events in Betrayed. Zoey is heart-broken mourning the death of a close friend, when hello! it turns out the friend may not be dead at all, just different (in a zombie kind of way). It is upto Zoey and her now-friend Aphrodite to figure out what exactly is going wrong.
In this book, Zoey also has a very complicated love life. She is torn between 3 guys and ends up doing a lot of unethical stuff (loads of cheating and lying). She is also not being very open with her friends and this is adding to her personal stress.
My thoughts on this series
This was pleasant, slightly brain-dead series, and a cool breath of fresh air after the earnestness of David Copperfield. I think I like this interspersing of my heavier reads with some light paranormal romance :).
As regards the merit of the series itself…well, the writing is uneven, particularly so in the first book. In fact, I”ll go so far as to say it is badly written. The language level, the maturity level of the protagonists were well below my expectations, and well below quality YA (young adult) writing standards.
There is this weird dichotomy in the books. They are obviously addressed towards school-going girls (maybe 15-16), but the vocabulary is well below their level, but the sexuality in these books is well above what I would imagine should be in a YA book. There are a lot of sex scenes in these books (one, between a teacher and a student even), and I don’t think young girls should be reading these….but ok, that’s my prudish side speaking here 🙂 .
The plotting in the books is good, I like the scene setting, the somewhat different take on vampires, as well as the mystery. The main characters are pretty much cardboard cut-outs in Marked, but in the later books, they all show signs of developing. I particularly like the relationship between Zoey and Aphrodite.
In my opinion, this is a fun series for adults, not for teenagers. If you liked the Sookie series of books or the Buffy TV series, you will definitely enjoy this series as well. I know I did! Or, at least books 2 and 3, the first book is boring. Definitely, this series is looking promising for me 🙂 .
The rest of the books are in the following order:
Considering the number of books in this genre I seem to be reading, I am thinking of creating a new tag for paranormal romance/thriller. You think that’s a valid genre? How are you guys classifying such books?