Tuesday, November 17, 2015

hon Marked (HoN #1) by P.C. and Kristen Cast | Rating: ★★★★☆

Believe in yourself and you will find a way. But remember darkness does not always equate to evil just like light does not always bring good.

Looking back on my high school years, my mid and late teens, Marked was the start of something special to me. It still is, in a way, which is why I've decided to reread the series. House of Night became a series I all but worshiped and there was just something so unique about it. Hell, I remember when I was 17 years old there was a huge snowstorm the night of one of the books first print dates and I nearly got myself in a car accident to get my copy.

Oh, yes, I was that obsessed. I was hooked from the first few chapters of Marked and didn’t put down my copy all that often. I was babysitting the night I started the series–I remember this so clearly–and my best friend was getting annoyed with me trying to fix dinner and babysit and read in shifts. But I couldn’t put Marked down.

And all right, my taste has changed a lot in recent years. I didn’t like as much of it now in my reread as I did all those years ago but I still hold a certain fondness for House of Night and the way it shaped my reading habits. Maybe it isn’t the greatest story ever told nor is it the best writing, but there’s something about it that just makes me nostalgic and I’m still attached to the likes of Zoey Redbird.

House of Night is kind of a mix of Gossip Girl and Vampire Academy and True Blood, all rolled up into one. I think this is what makes it so popular and unpopular. It makes it fun.

But back to the plot.

Zoey Redbird’s life is about to be changed in unimaginable ways. In a world not unlike True Blood, vampires (or in this case: vampyres) are out and proud. Humans know they are real. Both live differently yet side by side in society. There isn’t anything unusual or mythical about their existence–this isn’t to say there’s not a stigma surrounding them, because there is, but they are known.

On what started out as a nearly ordinary day her life goes downhill and changes. First she wonders if she is simply falling ill. And while chatting with her best friend after school, she is marked as a fledgling and is set on the path of either death or joining a school specifically for those who have been marked.

Before Zoey knows it, her life is turned upside down. Friends and classmates are terrified of her when they realize she has been marked. Her mother lacks compassion and this is mostly due to her idiotic and overly religious step-father. I feel for Zoey in these moments, where she is feeling alone and scared and… ugh.

At least she has her grandmother. Zoey’s relationship with her is one of the brightest spots of her life and I think it’s sweet and stabilizes her mood and gets her safely to her new school and life. And thankfully unlike Zoey’s mother, her grandmother knows what’s best and will go to the end of the earth to protect her.

There’s something so heartwarming in that moment.

And as an introduction to the series and this world, Marked is a solid effort.

It gives us just enough of a taste of what to expect and is both sexy and mysterious. Nyx’s interest in Zoey, the fact that Zoey’s marks are filled in, etc etc. There’s so much potential and so much fire in this series that it’s impossible to put down.

And because its writing is simple and realistic to that of a teenagers mind, it’s easy for readers to get drawn in even if they aren’t big on reading. Marked is the perfect introduction to a series for young adults and the perfect story for new readers to enjoy.

Marked is a story about teenage angst, friendship, changes, love and magic. There’s so much darkness to it and it makes the novel a real treat. I love Zoey in spite of her “I’m not like other girls” attitude and the minor moments of slut shaming. I could have done without that but for the most part she is smart and brave and entertaining.

Two things in the House of Night that I love the most? Friendship and sarcasm.

And Erik and Heath.

Ah, yes; the most important parts of life. I love Zoey’s bond with her new roommate, Stevie Rae–both girls are incredibly different but somehow their hearts are the same. I especially love their scenes and those moments when Zoey meets Stevie’s friends, who of course become hers. You’re going to fall in love with this so-called Nerd Herd.

I will always love the twins: Erin and Shaunee, who are absolutely not twins but absolutely are if you get what I mean. They are both humorous and stylish and there’s just something warm about them.

And then there’s Damien who is just as much fun.

I also think that Aphrodite is a heinous bitch but a lovable heinous bitch. Our first sight of her is totally trying to give a blowjob to someone which is kind of hilarious and I don’t approve of the judgement when it comes to that but I still think it’s a memorable intro. She is the popular bitch of the story, we’re told.

I mean, she’s such a stereotype in this one but there’s something under the surface that anyone can see if they read between the lines. She wasn’t my favorite in Marked but if I remember correctly, her growth is a blast throughout the remainder of the series.

Ahh, I just enjoyed this one so much even in its flaws. I’m always going to hold a certain amount of fondness for this series. Once you get passed its flaws and weaknesses and stop taking it seriously you’ll be hooked!

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