Marked: House of Night, #1 -- P.C. and Kristin Cast

Marked Zoey Montgomery is standing by her locker at school, half-listening to her best friend babble at her and generally minding her own business when a vampyre* appears:

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 Her sweet voice.  Your destiny awaits you at the House of Night!"

When she wakes up from her faint (because obviously she faints), she has the outline of a blue crescent moon tattooed on her forehead.  She now knows that she is a fledgling vampyre.  And she knows she doesn't have long -- if she doesn't get to the House of Night ASAP, her body will Reject The Change and She Will Die.

So, she runs away from her horrible bigot of a stepfather and downtrodden mother, straight to her loving grandmother's house and then to the House of Night.  Where there is danger and romance and magic and a very mean girl and lots of vampyre class.

Okay.  I read Betrayed, the second book in the series last fall, but apparently I never wrote about it.  I liked it well enough, and actually (to put it very bluntly), I liked it a whole lot more than I liked this one.  Part of the problem, I think, is that everything in Marked was rehashed in Betrayed, so for me, Marked seemed extremely repetitive.  So that was a Problem.

There are a lot of pop culture references thrown in there to (I would assume) hip-ify it, but some of them already seem dated and in some cases, feel extremely forced:

Aphrodite's laugh, followed by her perky, "Of course I'd be happy to show her around!  You know I'm always glad to help you, Neferet," was as fake and cold as Pamela Anderson's humongously huge boobs, but Neferet just nodded in response and then turned to face me.

Also, Zoey's Cherokee heritage is mentioned on what felt like every third page, which got old.  And she is, of course, one of those The One characters, so, you know, some people are jealous and she doesn't know why she's special or what she has to do or why and blah blah blah been there done that. 

Oh, and come on.  She has a bad home life, gets a special mark on her forehead and has to go to a special school?  Yeesh.  At least she gets a cat instead of an owl...

I did think there was decent foreshadowing about the events in Book Two, and there are a bazillion YAs out there who will not have the same issues with this book that I did.  After all, you know, there are vampYres in it.  So I'm sure it'll be popular with quite a lot of readers*** no matter what. 


*No, that's not a misspelling.  That's how they spell it in this series.  Yes, really.

**Um, EWWW.  Is that supposed to be an attractive description?  Because, just... ewww.

***As long as, like, they won't get freaked out by Zoey seeing Aphrodite trying to force oral sex on her ex-boyfriend in the middle of a school hallway (okay, in an alcove just off the hallway) on page fifty-something.  Oh, and the f-bomb gets dropped a few times.  And some people might not like the fact that the only Christian people in the book are super-horrible...