In Book Reviews, YA Paranormal


Author:  P.C. and Kristen Cast 
Rating: 2 out of 5
Genre: YA paranormal
Format: Hardcover
Publisher:  St. Martin’s Press
Recommended Reading: AGE 12+

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OVERALL THOUGHTS: The mother daughter team of P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast started out their House of Night, a YA vampire series, with Marked, a work that left readers with a taste of everything: magic, friendship, parent/ child struggle, and unlike Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight, “good” vampires that bite. House of Night are a series of fast paced coming of age novels whose main character; Zoey Redbird comes from two extreme cultures: One of tyrannical Christianity and brainwashing in her mother’s house, to another at her Grandmother’s fantastic lavender farm where Zoey connects with her Native American heritage. Beginning with Marked, P.C. and Kristin Cast were on their way to a youthful, sarcastic approach to dealing with social issues of today.  Zoey’s friends who include your stereotypical Oklahoman football playing jock, an “old money” spoiled rich kid, “twins” one Caucasian the other African-American, and a homosexual teenager that not only assists Zoey in a classic “good v. evil” campaign (on the good side of course), but through witty teenage minded dialog sheds light on societal injustices American teens deal with on a daily basis.

SYNOPSIS:  Rather than post a bunch of synopses, we are attaching a link to the books so you can check them out one by one and on your own time. LINK

THE LOWDOWN: What could be better than combining an all-time favorite like J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter series with vampires?  At first, NOTHING and right up until the sixth book: Tempted. P.C. and Kristin Cast had a good thing going. Then it began to feel as if I was not only reading the same book repeatedly, but  the characters were slowly losing depth and circumstance as time passed.  Zoey, once a strong female lead, became dependent on male characters, which left a gaping hole where my love of female heroines resides. I get that life changes people; I am no longer the person I once was, but Zoey lost her strength and though it seemed to have returned in Destined, when closely examined, that strength becomes something superimposed through characters that seemed to have gained the purpose Zoey lost.

The sarcastic banter throughout the series is spot on, although I could do without the America’s Next Top Model references and Zoe constantly correcting Aphrodite about her foul mouth. Even from a not-so-young adult perspective the teenage language was mostly funny. But as the series progressed, the pace began to slow, the plot began to weaken, I began to lose interest and the banter became whinny in the extreme. Granted, life as an über powerful, fledgling vampyre is probably rough, but (spoiler alert) vampyres aren’t real and stories about them should take readers to a place they’re unable to reach in the “real” world.  If I wanted to hear teenagers whine I could walk around the mall on a Saturday afternoon.

THE WRAP UP: P.C. and Kristin Cast may have stretched this series too thin. Zoe and her “nerd Herd” should have conquered evil back in book four and ended their initially promising series with a strong triumphant female lead that any teenage girl – vampyre or not – could look up to.

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