Monday, May 14, 2007
A Perfect Ten-- MARKED by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
MARKED – P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
The House of Night, Book 1
A Perfect 10
St. Martin’s Griffin
Young Adult Contemporary Paranormal Fiction
Tulsa, Oklahoma – Present Day
Zoey Redbird is clearly having a bad day. It started off with her best friend Kayla emphasizing that her boyfriend – “almost-boyfriend” – Heath had not been cheating on her at a party. Zoey hadn’t even known there was a question of infidelity in the first place, and, uh, he isn’t really her boyfriend right now. His beer guzzling had so gotten old and totally disgusting, despite the fact that Heath is the high school’s football god. To cap it all off, Zoey is Marked, and that requires some explanation.
It’s been proven by scientists and researchers that there truly exists a race called vampyre. Defined by the blue crescent-shaped mark on the forehead, a vampyre is Marked and subsequently leaves for the House of Night to begin “training.” Some may call it ghoul school, some may call it...well, whatever they like, but no one can predict if or when a teen will be Marked. Humans denigrate and fear it, and the unlucky individuals who now have this bodacious mark on their foreheads have a lot to deal with -- a change of life, a new school, and getting used to those who share their fate. Oh, and then there’s that whole blood thing...
Yeah, so, see what kind of pain Zoey’s feeling right now? At a new school, with new uniforms, and a new lifestyle, Zoey quickly realizes that a hierarchy similar to that of high school exists at the House of Night. It’s all very confusing, and she quickly realizes that there are a few kids just like her, learning the ropes. With her new roommate, Stevie Rae, and a couple of other new friends, Zoey forms friendships and alliances, and even develops a new crush -- Erik “ohmygod” Night. But Zoey stands out from the others, and it’s not just because the High Priestess Neferet is her mentor. Hey, just because Zoey has been hand-picked by the goddess Nyx doesn’t mean she’s a shoe-in for this gig...
Now, about that blood thing...
With a nod to Harry Potter and X-Men, P.C. Cast and her daughter Kristin have on their hands a stellar launch to their new series, The House of Night. Already known for her immensely popular Goddess Summoning series, it was only natural for P.C. Cast to team up with daughter Kristin and write from a different perspective. I can only imagine those brainstorming sessions! Teen lingo and machinations is a totally evolving thing, and so much has changed even from my teen time *bleep* years ago. But what gets me with MARKED is that it’s not just a young adult tale that will only entertain those teenyboppers. I’m thirty-...*cough* ahem, well, I’m not exactly a teen, and I still got a total thrill from reading of Zoey and her friends’ adventures. “Wicked cool” and “gnarly” came to mind, but I really think those terms went out back in 1990 -- so just how do you describe a book that has it all these days? Riveting, page-turning, nail-biting, etc? Yep, that pretty much sums up MARKED and has really got me jonesing for more from Zoey and the gang at House of Night. All characters in this book are well-defined and plotted out, making them very easily identifiable. We all had the class bullies and cheerleader snobs to contend with back in the day, so maybe for many MARKED will be a nightmare revisited. But Zoey and her friends, Damien, Stevie Rae, Erin, and Shaunee, truly stand out and add a bit of zaniness, laughter, and tears, and exemplify true friendship.
A heads-up for those parental control type folks, however: a bit of colorful language is used here and there throughout the book (not abused, though), and while I understand that this may be normal for teens nowadays, it wasn’t very rampant in the young adult books I read as a kid. I can only imagine I’d have a few ugly words if I were thrown in a situation like Zoey’s...
With that said, my next question -- do you award a young adult book RRT’s Perfect 10? Absolutely, and that’s just what I’m doing. My only other thought is this -- how willing would P.C. Cast be to put an adult spin on it and give us stories for the various professors at House of Night?