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'Marked (House of Night #1):' Book Review

Just Another Teen Vampire Going to School

By Selena LundyPublished 6 years ago 4 min read

In a world where vampyres and humans co-exist, high school student Zoey is struggling with home life and boy problems. The only way that could get worse is if she gets Marked as a vampyre fledgling, which, to her dismay, she does. Caught between terror at becoming something her friends and family are scared of and excitement at becoming her own person, Zoey enters into the House of Night, an insinuation that schools fledglings.

Specially chosen by the Goddess Nyx herself, Zoey realizes that she’s not like the others. The Mark that labels her as a vampyre is far more developed than it should be after so recently being selected, and the abilities she’s been gifted are powerful and rare. And she’s not the only one who has them. Popular It Girl of the House of Night has them too but uses them only to her advantage. With the aid of her new friends at House of Night, Zoey must figure out if she’s ready to take on the power and destiny that the Goddess Nyx has bestowed upon her.

Now to the review. I purchased a handful of these books years ago, back when vampire books were all the rage. I had looked forward to them, despite putting them on the back burner for so long. The idea wasn’t new, but each author has his or her own way of creating a vampire world that’s always a little different. I was more than willing to give the Casts’ the benefit of the doubt. The cover alone was dark and mystical and had an easy time pulling me in.

And the cover, to be honest, was the best part of the read. There are so many problems that hit me while I read this first installment, but most of them simply reside in the writing of it all. P.C. Cast is an award-winning romance novelist? Both she and her daughter have gone to school for writing? I’m sensing a problem here. This was not written with the skill I had expected it to have. I couldn’t read much more than a page at a time without rolling my eyes or scuffing at how ridiculous the dialogue and inner monologue are. These two women have clearly forgotten what it was like to be a teenager and worked too hard to make up for it.

That’s where the problem lies. I felt like they’re trying to push on the fact that Zoey is a sixteen-year-old girl trying to make sure that we as readers don’t forget it. Believe me, it's hard not to. Between the ill-fitted pop culture references every five seconds, hormonal banter, and annoying interjections trying to be witty and snarky, it was like talking to a middle-aged aunt who tries way too hard to sound hip. I don’t need to know that Zoey hates Sarah Jessica Parker or that Ashton Kutcher likes older women. References are fine when relevant and spread throughout sparingly. After a few chapters, I was drowning. It was as if I were reading a teenager’s diary. Word choice for a book like this doesn’t have to be formal but put a little effort into it. I swear to Nyx if I read “poopie” or “hee hee” one more time, I will set my house on fire. Last I checked, Zoey is sixteen, not six. She’s overly judgmental and presumptuous to gays and skinny girls and any other group of individuals that differ from her, but she’s still sixteen.

More than once I questioned if either one of the authors knew what parenthesis should be used for. They’re used for important explanations or tidbits of afterthought for the reader, not for the narrator to talk about boobs or Paris Hilton or other stupid and random comments that bring little to no meaning to the rest of the storyline. I could forgive one or two of them, but just like the references, it happens again and again. Not only did they take me out of a story that was already having a hard time keeping my interest, but they also made me want to throw the book across the room. Soon, I skipped them altogether.

I took the time to skim some of the reviews for Marked on Goodreads and found that many compared it to Twilight (as if it’s the only teenage vampire book series out there). Some thought this was better. Some thought this was worse. I agree with the latter. Meyer’s Twilight might not be my favorite book, but I really didn’t hate it like so many others did. Sure, the vegetarian vampires sparkled, and Bella Swan was about as exciting as white noise, but there have been books praised with worse traits. I enjoyed the books despite their faults. They created their own world that worked in their own way. And there’s one more thing: Meyer can write. She’s not perfect by all means, but she can hold her own despite what anyone who hates Twilight says. I can read Twilight, and for the most part, not cringe at every sentence as I did with this book.

Between the silly rules of how this world worked, the dialogue that was so forced it was painful, and the gut-wrenching romance/sexual tension, all glued together by amateur writing that brought forth next to no palpable plot, I can’t believe I finished reading without banging my head into a wall. And I still have four more waiting for me.

My advice? If you want to read a series that includes teenage vampires at an institution, curse words and sex references, read Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. At least you can read the books and enjoy them, all while keeping your dignity intact.

Rating: 1/5

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Selena Lundy

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    Selena LundyWritten by Selena Lundy

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