Marked: A House of Night Novel by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Title:  Marked:  A House of Night Novel

Authors:  P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Paperback:  306 pages

PublisherSt. Martin’s Press

Date Published:  2007

ISBN:  9780312360269

Miscellaneous:  This is the first book in the House of Night series.

I am known by many names… Changing Woman, Gaea, A’akuluujjusi, Kuan Yin, Grandmother Spider, and even Dawn…

As she spoke each name her face was transformed so that I was dizzied by her power.  She must have understood, because she paused and flashed her beautiful smile at me again, and her face settled back into the woman I had first seen.

But you, Zoeybird, my Daughter, may call me by the name by which your world knows me today, Nyx.

“Nyx,” my voice was barely above a whisper.  “The vampyre Goddess?”

… yes, in your world [my]children are called vampyre.  Accept the name, U-we-tsi a-ge-hu-tsa; in it you will find your destiny.

I could feel my Mark burning on my forehead, and all of a sudden I wanted to cry.  “I – I don’t understand.  Find my destiny?  I just want to find a way to deal with my new life – to make this all okay.  Goddess, I just want to fit in someplace.  I don’t think I’m up to finding my destiny.”

Believe in yourself, Zoey Redbird.  I have Marked you as my own.  You will be my first tru  U-we-tsi   a-ge-hu-tsa   v-hna-i   Sv-no-yi … Daughter of Night… in this age…. Within you is combined the magic blood of ancient Wise Women and Elders, as well as insight into and understanding of the modern world.

… “But I’m sixteen!  I can’t even parallel-park!  How am I supposed to know how to be your eyes and ears?”

Marked:  A House of Night Novel by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast, pages 39-40

Marked by P. C. Cast and Kristen Cast was a definite divergence from my typical reading, but I enjoyed it very much.  It’s a Young Adult (though, was edging very close to mostly adult, IMHO) book about a 16 year-old named Zoey who is marked by a Vampyre Tracker and has to leave her world and her old life behind and attend the private vampyre school, House of Night (for which the book series is named).  All young Zoey wants is a place to fit in and belong, but it’s clear from her abnormal Mark that “fitting in” isn’t going to happen.

The book is typical of YA hero books.  Zoey is the good-vamp and immediately knows that Aphrodite is her nemesis.  Zoeylacks the confidence, but overcomes that with the help of her friends who believe in her and encourage her.  She has those few trusted adults to turn to who also encourage her (and of course, none of them are her parents).  She’s surprised by the deep well of abilities and talents, and she sees and feels things others don’t.  And when the time comes to stand up and save the day, she does… over the whimpering and cowering body of Aphrodite, who, afterwards, draws the proverbial line in the sand and tells Zoey “it’s not over.”

But don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the book is like everything else out there, simply that it follows a form.  The writing, owing probably to the way the two authors divvy up the responsibilities, is unique (a trait that is heavily stressed and embraced at the school, btw) and seems almost conversational.  It is narrated by Zoey, who says little asides to herself while telling the story, and we see the world of the fledgling vampyre through her unique perspective.

Whereas Twilight was a fun, reminiscense of high-school romance and first loves, squeeky clean and was more about temptation and timing, Marked is a bit more sullied.  Within the first few free minutes Zoey has in the school, she accidentally walks up on a guy standing in front of a kneeling girl, face in his crotch area and her hair blocking Zoey’s view.  It is an event that sets the tone of the book, as well as the relationship she has with the two later on (after she discovers their identities).  Yeah… I’d have to say, even after they were married, Bella never gave Edward a blow job (and the Casts use that term, too).  I’m trying to think of how I can sneak Marked back to the library before my 16-year-old can read it.

On a technical level, the characters are well-developed and most of them are likable.  The ones you aren’t meant to like, Aphrodite’s sycophants, her step-loser (step-dad), even Kayla, her ex-best friend, aren’t developed beyond the point of, “name, relationship and purpose… next!”  I would also add, that the Casts have dug deep, imagination-wise, to create a half-a-step-away alternate-reality where vampyrism has always existed, and contain everything in our world (stars, books, mythology) but claiming it as it’s own, Faith Hill is a vampyre for instance.  Also, they borrow a bit from Wicca and the Native American, as well as other bits and pieces from other religions, to create the Vampyre religion, worship of the Goddess Nyx.  It’s rather interesting in that regard, as well.

Fun and a bit naughty, Marked by P. C. Cast and Kristen Cast is my beginning into the world of vampyres, and I’m looking forward to reading the next book, Betrayed.  I give Marked 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

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I highly recommend visiting The House of Night website, it’s a lot of fun.  You can read the first chapter of Marked there, as well as check out videos of the other HoN books, and even make a pic of yourself with a vampyre Mark.

The video I picked for this book is a lot of fun.  It is a bit long, but you can get a feel for how playful P. C. and Kristen are, both as mother and daughter and as co-authors. It’s a spoof interview, and the Casts contributed to the script.  It’s not so much about Marked, all I found for it were teenage fan-vids, several containing Britney Snow as their hoped-for Stevie Rae… Britney Snow gets on my last nerve D-:< .  But the series has been optioned, so a movie may be coming to a theater near you… or a series on the WB.

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BTT -Go For Gold, Jeffy!

BTT Gold Medal Reading

You, um, may have noticed that the Olympics are going on right now, so that’s the genesis of this week’s question, in two parts:

First:

  • Do you or have you ever read books about the Olympics? About sports in general?
  • Fictional ones? Or non-fiction? Or both?

And, Second:

  • Do you consider yourself a sports fan?
  • Because, of course, if you’re a rabid fan and read about sports constantly, there’s a logic there; if you hate sports and never read anything sports-related, that, too … but you don’t have to love sports to enjoy a good sports story.

  • (Or a good sports movie, for that matter. Feel free to expand this into a discussion about “Friday Night Lights” or “The Natural” or whatever…)
  • Let me answer this in it’s individual parts. First:

    Do you or have you ever read books about the Olympics? About sports in general?
    Fictional ones? Or non-fiction? Or both?

    No. Never read Olympics books, sports books, in general… fiction or non-fiction. If the characters in story were in a sport and they’re playing of the sport was included in the prose, then that is as close to a sports book I’ve gotten.  Reading about sports is like watching golf or professional bowling… BOR-ing!

    The only caveat to this is, as an 80’s kid and a gymnast (back then), I probably read a Mary Lou Retton book.

    The second part is a little more involved:

    Do you consider yourself a sports fan?

    I used to be a lot more into baseball, a rabid Cubs and Bears fan (if you admit to liking these teams, rabid becomes necessary), but then the pro-baseball players strike in the mid 90’s really made me so miffed that I haven’t seen an MLB game since. I’m starting to miss my Cubbies… I don’t guess it’s Mark Grace, Andre Dawson Jody Davis and Greg Maddux anymore 😦 … so I’ll probably start watching it again next year. I’ve been sneaking peeks at the stats section in the paper.

    Now, football has been more of my speed lately. Like I said, I used to be a Bears fan, and they are still my favorite NFC team, but my favorite football team now is the COLTS * 😀 * Picture me… watching the 2007 Superbowl… rooting for both teams, loving both coaches, and Mr. Manning! Last year they fell a little flat, as often happens with year-after teams. I rooted for the Giants and little Manning this year, for two reasons: It was cool to think of both brothers having a Superbowl ring and the second reason is… they were playing the Pats, and the PATS MUST DIE!!!!!!!!! 😀

    But, all of this “love of the game” doesn’t translate into a love of READING ABOUT the game. Yeah, no… I like to watch it, love to play it… but reading about it sucks and bores me to tears. I think I have Friday Night Lightssomewhere, either on Mt. TBR or in the rest of my library.

    I do, however, love a lot of the sports movies. Maybe it’s a busy-ness thing. In the movies, the sporting events are in real time and I don’t have to work out the X’es and O’s in my brain (I’m not very good with mental spatial stuff, that’s what’s killing me in The Conquest of Gaul) I’ve watched most of the sports-related movies that’s come out in the last few years with the exception, oddly enough, of Friday Night Lights.

    My top five sports movie picks:

    WE ARE MARSHALL-I cried, I cheered, I pulled for the whole town and the team… I lusted after Matthew McConaughey 😀 Seriously, a phenomenally great movie.

    GRIDIRON GANG– The Rock is hot, so I’d watch an instructional video on how to clean your toilet bowl if he was my instructor 😀 . Besides The Rock (I was surprised by Xzibit’s acting skillz, too), the story is very inspiring. Based on a true story, Sean (Rock’s character) is a former high school and college football star, who finds himself “babysitting” a bunch of gangbanging teens in the state juvie prison. Frustrated with his inability to make any difference in the lives of those in his care, most of whom are either dead or back in prison within a couple years of parole. He manages to dog at the warden until he can get a football program going in hopes that giving the kids a sense of self-esteem based on their own worth instead of gang identity and hoping to improve their chances of a better life.

    We Are the Titans-Denzel Washington is an amazing actor, and Hayden Panettiere (Claire the Cheerleader in NBC’S HEROES) is in this. The story’s a good one, too.

    Breaking Away– A story of four townie friends who work together as a cycling team to compete against the rich college students in IU’s Little 500. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this movie!

    Sunset Park and Coach Carter are both really great basketball movies. In both, the coaches teach their players to believe in themselves and expect better in life instead of the hopelessness they see around them.

    Others worth mentioning:

    Game Plan is an adorable family movie with a great message, Wildcats with Goldie Hawn is hilarious, Major League is an icon from my youth, and I still say a couple of the lines as part of my everyday speech (up Jobu’s butt is an answer I give the kids when they ask where something is instead of looking for it… like I magically know the location of every item that has ever come through our front door!), Kingpin with Woody Harrelson and Randy Quaid is a bit raunchy and adult and funny as hell,  and In a League of Their Own is sweet, funny and “Oops, there goes my bosoms” was the perfect line for Madonna.

    I chose not to mention the obvious ones like The Natural and Brian’s Song because I figure everyone knows about them all ready.

    The Ringer with Johnny Knoxville (not exactly high brow, but I loved it)

    GO FOR GOLD! GO FOR GOLD!!