Author: P.C. and Kristin Cast
Publisher: Atom (an imprint of Little Brown Book Group)
Having been “marked”, Zoey finds herself isolated from her friends; cut off from her parents. With nowhere left to go, Zoey ventures to the House of Night, her only option now that her very life depends on it.
I do not own the content taken from this novel. All rights belong P.C. and Kristin Cast to and Atom.
Excerpt taken from Page 1:
“JUST WHEN I THOUGHT MY DAY COULDN’T GET ANY WORSE I saw the dead guy standing next to my locker. Kayla was talking nonstop in her usual K-babble, and she didn’t even notice him. At first. Actually, now that I think about it, no one else noticed him until he spoke, which is, tragically, more evidence of my freakish inability to fit in.
‘No, but Zoey, I swear to God Heath didn’t get that drunk after the game. You really shouldn’t be so hard on him.’
‘Yeah,’ I said absently. ‘Sure.’ Then I coughed. Again. I felt like crap. I must be coming down with what Mr Wise, my more-than-slightly-insane AP biology teacher, called the Teenage Plague.
If I died, would it get me out of my geometry test tomorrow? One could only hope so.”
On a scale of Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight to Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality 2(:Armed and Fabulous *shudders*), the narration in Marked is an Alec Baldwin in Rise of the Guardians.
For the most part, the narration is average but there are times when I find it an awkward read. Zoey’s continued use of the word “poopie” throughout the novel marks her out as an immature narrator rather than the sixteen year old we’re supposed to connect with. Her tone oscillates between incredibly childish to displaying some attitude. Examples of this are provided in character (below). The narration, for the most part, lacks dramatisation and the detail comes in blocks. It’s not filtered in slowly. Instead, we’re bombarded with detail of her surroundings and far too often, she spoonfeeds the reader when she could let us piece it together ourselves.
Major issue with Damien and the way that he’s talked about. Stevie Rae tells Zoey that the other gay guys at the House of Night are too “weird and girly” for him but yet, he jokes with the twins about split ends. More than anything, it’s contradictory. I’m on the fence about Zoey. On the one hand, her voice is clear and she’s funny but then she comes out with lines like these:
“’Poopie’s not vulgar,’ I said defensively.”
“The whole place had the sawdusty, horsey smell that mixed with leather to form something that was pleasant, even though you know that part of the ‘pleasant’ scent was poopie – horse poopie.”
These are just two instances. I also find Erik’s character a bit stalkerish and I find it unnerving the way he starts calling her Z (what a weird nickname for a guy to give a girl!) even though he barely knows her at this point. They haven’t even had a proper conversation. I like Neferet’s character, Stevie Rae is endearing and most of the other characters are non-issues. There’s no clear standout for me the way there is in Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy. Character is the bread and butter of any book and here, it’s just that. Bread and butter. The sandwich is basic; there’s no filling no jam, cheese, ham, chicken… (ok, you get the picture and I need to go eat, so I’ll leave it there).
The plot centres around Zoey and her journey from the girl who doesn’t quite fit in, to a school where she becomes a vampire fledgling. There isn’t enough in the way of plot to whet your appetite and keep you turning the pages. The obstacles are more juvenile which is a pity giving how the story starts out so strong with such a captivating opening. Zoey’s humorous remarks undercut the suspense and tension in many of the scenes and while she can be hit-and-miss, the end result is always the same: the tension disappears. The introduction of actual blood at Zoey’s first Dark Daughters’ meeting and her reaction to it afterwards is great but most of the other events in the lead-up to the ending aren’t big enough to be considered anything more than (high) school dramas. The ending too is anti-climatic and resembles an after-school fight more so then a life-threatening conjuring of evil spirits.
I’m fairly happy with the setting and the environment the book is set in. There’s a lot of description but the description comes in large blocks of verbalisation rather than slicing the information into the scenes and dramatising some of it. I like how the authors explain, through dramatisation, in Neferet’s class (there’s a first for everything!) how women are superior to men in vampiric culture. This is further reinforced in the meetings of the Dark Daughters (and the Dark Sons).
I admire the authors’ new approach to vampirism but at the same time, the ritual of being “marked” brings with it a number of questions that I feel aren’t answered in the text. How do the vampires know about a potential fledgling? How do they know who to mark? Taking everything into account, I still have to mark the book down based on the narrative voice – which is much stronger in similar titles such as Rachel Hawkins’ Hex Hall and Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy. Also, the ending is somewhat unsatisfying and undeniably anti-climatic. It culminates in what ultimately feels like a schoolground squabble rather than a potentially life-threatening situation. When it’s compared with Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series, we see that it’s far too linear, not nearly as complex as it could be and lacks the edge-of-your-seat ending that a novel like this really needs.
Save your time and try one of the books below.
Books You May Also Like:
The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
Evernight by Claudia Gray
The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith
Night World by L.J. Smith
Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Cirque Du Freak by Darren Shan
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer