FOR AGES 16+
The House of Night series is set in a world very much like our own, except in 16-year-old Zoey Redbird's world, vampyres have always existed. In this first book in the series, Zoey enters the House of Night, a school where, after having undergone the Change, she will train to become an adult vampire--that is, if she makes it through the Change. Not all of those who are chosen do. It's tough to begin a new life, away from her parents and friends, and on top of that, Zoey finds she is no average fledgling. She has been Marked as special by the vampyre Goddess, Nyx. But she is not the only fledgling at the House of Night with special powers. When she discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school's most elite club, is misusing her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny--with a little help from her new vampyre friends.
Marked is an imaginative take on vampyres, weaving "old" pagan religious themes throughout and incorporating ancient history into its background. I liked the idea of a society where vampyrism is openly known and accepted, and I liked the School of Night where fledgling vampyres are taken for further training. I loved Zoey's learning to accept herself and step up as a leader at the school, and even the cursing seems realistic. What I didn't like was the obvious prejudice against traditional religion, and the "mini-sermons" we receive early on against drugs, drinking, and oral sex from Zoey's point of view. I liked Zoey's friends but felt that her acceptance into such a tight group so immediately didn't ring true, and I had to wonder at just why Erik, the hot young vampyre, was so attracted so quickly to Zoey. There are also some very lucky coincidences, such as Zoey's Native American grandmother having taught her purification rites which come in very handy. Thankfully these annoyances were overcome by the general storytelling and the excitement of the last half of the book.
Marked is the first in the series and I'll definitely be looking for the next two. I am captured by Zoey's world and want to see how her special spiritualism develops over time. This book also left enough unanswered questions that I'm drawn to find out more. With a caution that this book would probably be better for more mature readers with its incidents of sexual tension and cursing, I can say I'm intrigued enough to recommend this one.
Thanks for listening to my opinion!