About the Book

Title: Marked (House of Night #1)
Betrayed (House of Night #2)
Chosen (House of Night #3)
Untamed (House of Night #4)
Hunted (House of Night #5)
Tempted (House of Night #6)
Published: 2007
Series: House of Night
Swoonworthy Scale: 6

BFF Charm: Yayish?
Talky Talk: Good Goddess
Bonus Factor: Boarding School, Tattoos, Kickass Gram
Relationship Status: I Feel About This Series The Same Way I Feel About Fruit Loops

The Deal:

Okay, so vampires are real, (only in this series they’re vampyres) but you can’t get turned into one by being bitten. It’s in your DNA. Yep, you heard me. You’re standing at your locker in school one day, and suddenly this guy appears and calls out your name, as he did with our heroine, Zoey Redbird, and bam, you are ‘marked’. (Seriously, a crescent moon is suddenly tattooed to your forehead.) You then have a couple of days to get yourself to the nearest House of Night– vampyre finishing school– or you might just die (because fledglings–newly marked vampyres– need to be around adult vamps).

Okay, still with me? So our Zoey escapes–barely– from her crazy evil step-dad, who’s a member of “the People of Faith” (a crazy religious organization made up of your run-of-the-mill paedophiles and wife beaters) who HATE the vampyres, even though the vampyres in this series are mainly concerned with the arts– they’re all models and movie stars and poet laureates. Where was I? Oh yes, Zoey escapes to her grandmother’s ranch, where she has her first vision, and the goddess Nyx speaks to her and tells her she’s basically super-duper special.

Zoey’s grandmother (who is as kick-ass as they come– a Native American lavender farmer) gets her to The House of Night in nearby Tulsa, Oklahoma, where Zoey makes friends and frienemies with other fledglings, and is taken under the wing of the resident priestess, Neferet. That’s great and all, but there is one little problem with this whole situation: not all fledglings survive the change.

Oh, and then there’s the boys. Lots of boys. Only how does a fledgling choose just one when there’s so many willing to pledge themselves– in some form or another– to you?

And there’s also the little thing called ‘plot’ that involves nefarious plans, fallen immortals and crazy half-bird/half immortal being things.

BFF Charm: Yayish?

BFF charm with a :-| face

I really liked Zoey at first, but sometimes she gets on my nerves. I mean it’s hard to be a priestess in training, and to be privy to secrets not even your bff Stevie Rae (in all her ridiculous Okie glory) would believe if you told her, and 16-year old hormones are hard enough to deal with BEFORE you add blood lust and blood bonds and attractions to several fledglings and, ahem, full-grown vamps. So I try to cut Zoey some slack. But sometimes I just want to shake her.

I also tire of the whole religious thing, but I’ll get into that more later…

There’s a whole cast of fleshed-out– if not a bit stereotypical– supporting characters: the aforementioned Okie Stevie Rae, Damien , the super-smart gay boy, the Twins– who aren’t really related, but act like it– and Aphrodite, the Queen Bee on campus with whom the goddess Nyx has gifted visions.

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

These books are chocked full of hotsy-totsy moments for Zoey. I mean, there’s that whole business with her and the older vampyre poet laureate cough HOT. Then there’s Erik. Oh Erik. I’m still on your team. Oh, and I can’t forget Heath, Zoey’s old boyfriend (who is 100% human– blood lust ensues) even though, personally, I don’t really like him. Um, and one more, oh yes, Stark. sighs Yeah, I think that’s it. So there’s a lot of swoony action in this series. (Me personally, I’m kind of a one-boy-at-a-time type of girl, so I can’t help but have my own opinions of who she should or should not choose, but Zoey doesn’t see things so clearly. At least the girl keeps her options open.)

Talky Talk: Good Goddess

I find these books to go down like a fruit punch juice box. They taste pretty good, even if they are filled with sugar, and I’m finished before I know it.

Now here’s my own personal quibble, and I must give the disclaimer that it is just MY opinion, and my hangup. I’m not a real big fan of organized religion. Faith and spirituality are good, religion– not so much. So although I got some sick enjoyment out of their descriptions of the People of Faith, and I was also glad they didn’t knock Christianity altogether, because there are some rockin’ nuns introduced later on, the vampyre’s goddess worship bugs me. I mean, in theory, I LOVE the whole ‘calling the elements’ and pro-woman goddess thing, but religion is religion, and I find some of this story stuck in the traditional trappings of the very thing I DON’T like about organized religion– you know, we all are lost, and we mess up SO MANY TIMES , and we are constantly SEEKING a god (or goddess) who gives us info sporadically, when he/she feels like it, not necessarily when we NEED it, but it’s okay, because no matter how many times we mess up, we are still special to our deity. (Insert picture of sick here.)

Also, if one more person says “Oh goddess”…

Bonus Factor: Boarding School

Regal old boarding school building with turrets and ivy on the stone walls

Y’all know how much I love boarding schools, so for something completely different, I’ll give you the pros and cons about House of Night:

Cons: No junk food. (Because vampyres in this series can also eat food, and the adult vamps are serious about nutrition AND about looking your best.) Boo.

Pros: Classes at night. Sunlight doesn’t kill the vamps in this series, just makes them uncomfortable– well, maybe SOME of them, but I’ll let you read it to find out– but they ARE in the House of Night, so they sleep during the day.

And the classes seem really cool. Again, I think vampyres hate math. So yay.

Bonus Factor: Tattoos

So in a risky move, the Casts have literally marked their vampyres. It starts at the beginning of the change, and as the fledglings grow their tattoos are filled in and added to according to their gifts and callings.

(On a side note, last night I dreamed I kind of accidentally got this chest piece of an archer that covered my whole torso, and then I was like, ‘oh, no! I can never wear a scoop-necked dress again!’ I was SOOO relieved when I woke up.)

Bonus Factor: Kickass Gram

Jenifer Lewis as Ruby, a sassy Black grandmother on Black-ish

I love a good Gram, and was lucky enough to have one. Zoey’s Gram is right up there with the best of them. This series has a lot of strong, positive female characters, but none are better than Grandma Redbird. In fact, she’s sometimes the only sane voice in the series.

Relationship Status: I Feel About This Series The Same Way I Feel About Fruit Loops

This series kind of gives me a sugar high and leaves me in a bit of a diabetic coma. I don’t LOVE it, but it’s hard to turn down when it’s sitting in front of me, and I tend to read the whole book in a sitting, whether or not it will give me a tummy ache.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). The House of Night series is available now.

Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.