When it comes to my preferred literature to read for pleasure, I tend to find myself scouring the teen or young adult section. I tend to enjoy the characters more, they always seem more realistic to me, while proper adult fiction tends to try to make them clever metaphors for something I don’t quite understand. A character that doesn’t speak representing the unspoken words between lovers or the blind and kind man who can see no colour but sees people clearer than most. Well I always talk, far to much, and all the words that come to my mind get spoken and I am blinder than most and see nothing of a person til it is too late. No, I much prefer teenage girls and boys trying to find a voice that I can relate to in a world I can’t relate to.
A character that doesn’t speak representing the unspoken words between lovers or the blind and kind man who can see no colour but sees people clearer than most. Well, I always talk, far too much, and all the words that come to my mind get spoken and I am blinder than most and see nothing of a person til it is too late. No, I much prefer teenage girls and boys trying to find a voice that I can relate to in a world I can’t relate to. The fantasy of a world far from mine but the struggles are the same – love, relationships, work, motivation, emotions and desires. Same dramas but a life far more interesting than mine. Also while the older generation would criticise the younger for not reading enough, you still find writers who can make great series of books in the young adult section – so they must be reading a little at least!
The House of Night series, starting with the Marked, seems to be a given in all libraries young adult sections. So you would think that it had to be good, you know, if everybody is reading it, it has to be worth something? Turns out, the reason it’s in every library…maybe because it is never checked out…
House of Night Series
Overall – 3/5
Plot/Premise – 5/5
Description/Scene Building – 4/5
Character Creation -2/5
Character Development – 1/5
Set up for Further Sequel – 5/5
I found myself reading this with two very different feelings. Hating and loving it all at the same time, here’s why.
The idea and the starting plot are brilliant. So it should be a brilliant book, all good selling and well-loved books need a decent plot in the same way it needs letters and a title and my god this has a plot. I love the idea of the vampires in this book, not the traditional Bram Stokers vampire but with enough of the traditional ideas that we aren’t looking at sparkly emos…Also giving some extra credit to the authors (before I then go and criticise them) the descriptions of scenes, buildings and use of the five senses were particularly good. A mistake writers often make is the underuse of the sense of smell but in this series, the descriptions often include the smell of the trees, lavender, the blood in some cases, therefore, many brownie points there. Now please allow me to rip those hard earned points away.
Bloody hell, I hate these character.
Too often through the book, I found myself hoping some horrible tragedy would fall upon the female protagonist. Another group of plucky teenagers would come along and pick up the plot and I could go back to enjoying the book. I researched the series once I was onto the second book, ever hopeful that my desire for an untimely death would come true, alas, Zoey Redbird is always the main character supported by her band of horribly written, stereotypical sidekicks. Miss Redbird must be without a question the worst choice for a main character ever. She is horribly egotistical, she holds everybody to a very strict set of rules yet the rules for her are more like guidelines than rules. The book is written in such a way that the story is set in modern times so you would think Miss Redbird is a 21st century girl with 21st century ideas, morals and beliefs, yet, for a reason I cannot fathom, Miss Redbirds opinion is damn near medieval (For everybody else you understand, for her it’s more like feel free to be sexually suggestive with every other male in the book, or at least all the ones you know aren’t gay).
Seriously, her need for male attention at points verges on being a psychological problem, yet she treats the males openly interested in her like they are second thoughts. If these problems were just in the first book and Miss Redbirds development showed signs she was becoming better, it wouldn’t have been so bad. Yet as the story line progressed her self-adoration increased and she began showing signs of major sexism, though I will admit I was torn about that last part of her. At least it wasn’t traditional sexism, males restricting females, but in fact, Miss Redbird encouraged by the dodgy lore (More on that later) takes her sex to mean superiority over men. Any good feminist will tell you, and I like to think of myself as one of those, that for true success and peace on this planet neither sex can be superior. It really isn’t appropriate to be teaching teenagers than a superior gender is okay, regardless of if its male, female or any other gender.
Last annoyance of mine was the mythology and the lore used to prop up this series. The main religion in the book followed by the Vampires is based around the Goddess Nyx. Now I have no issue with novels including religion. Religion has been a huge part of our real history and our future. I do though have a problem with writers taking a real religion and distorting it to fit their books, so the use of the Goddess Nyx makes me highly uncomfortable. Nyx is the Goddess of the night, as in the book, but the original Nyx as depicted in Ancient Greek Mythology, she was born of Chaos at the beginning of time, older than all other Gods and Goddesses and was the mother to Sleep, Death, Doom and Dreams (And quite a number of others). While she was rarely worshipped to directly, her statues would still hold prominent places in others temples to be prayed to, for example, her statue in the Temple of Artemis, the Goddess of the Hunt and Moon. She lived in the Underworld, in the depths of Tartarus and was feared by all, including Zeus, God of Heaven. So yes, I take offence at P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast adopting Nyx into their novel and then belittling her.
In conclusion, the idea of Vampires and the plot outline are good, very entertaining. Also, there were some highly artistic descriptions that would put you right in the middle of the action, brilliant. Characters, character development and appropriation of religion – less good. RANT OVER!
**This review and its opinions belong to Ella-May Wallace under the pen name of T.Blades or Tinyblades. The book and/or series this piece is reviewing belongs entirely to St. Martin’s Press, Atom/Little Brown, P.C Cast and Kristin Cast. Ella-May Wallace receives no monetary value for this review.**