Marked: House of Night, Book 1 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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Enter the dark, magical world of the House of Night series by bestselling authors P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast, a world very much like our own, except here vampyres have always existed.
One minute, sixteen-year-old Zoey Redbird is a normal teenager dealing with everyday high school stress: her cute boyfriend Heath, the school's star quarterback who suddenly seems more interested in partying than playing ball; her nosy frenemy Kayla, who's way too concerned with how things are going with Heath; her uber-tough geometry test tomorrow.
The next, she's Marked as a fledgling vampyre, forcing her to leave her ordinary life behind and join the House of Night, a boarding school where she will train to become an adult vampyre. That is, if she makes it through the Change—and not all of those who are Marked do.
It sucks to begin a new life, especially away from her friends, and on top of that, Zoey is no average fledgling. She has been chosen as special by the vampyre Goddess, Nyx. Zoey discovers she has amazing powers, but along with her powers come bloodlust and an unfortunate ability to Imprint with Heath, who just doesn't know how to take "no" for an answer. To add to her stress, she is not the only fledgling at the House of Night with special powers: when she discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school's most elite group, is misusing her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny—with a little help from her new vampyre friends.
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|Listening Length||9 hours and 45 minutes|
|Author||P. C. Cast, Kristin Cast|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||July 14, 2017|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #2,946 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#5 in Contemporary Fantasy for Teens
#6 in Paranormal Fantasy for Teens
#7 in Paranormal Mystery, Thriller & Suspense for Teens
Reviewed in the United States on January 15, 2020
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I have finished "Marked", the first book in the series. I both like and dislike this book.
The premise for the existence of the vampire world in this series is definitely a very original, intriguing one: some people have inherited ‘the vampyre gene’; their transformation begins when they reach a certain age, and are then singled out by a Tracker, a vampyre (this is how the authors spell the word) whose special assignment is finding and marking new fledglings.
So it is that Zoey Montgomery, sixteen-year-old normal, average high-school student, is Marked, when a Tracker suddenly appears at her locker one afternoon. Pointing a finger at her, he recites the formal words that identify a new vampyre fledgling. The Mark appears on her forehead at once – a sapphire-colored, crescent moon.
Zoey’s life is completely changed. She has to deal with the reactions of her mother and stepfather, and ends up running away to find her Cherokee grandmother, who, far from condemning her, lovingly accepts the change, and takes her to the House of Night, a special boarding school for those who have been Marked.
Zoey leaves everything behind – her old school, her friends, even her family, for they have rejected her - to begin an entirely new existence. She now has new friends, entirely new school subjects, a new name – Zoey Redbird -- and even a new religion.
The book reeled me in from the start, immediately immersing me in Zoey’s world. I related to her right away, as I remembered my own rebellious struggles with my parents, as well as the injustices of high-school social life.
My first inkling that I would not wholeheartedly love the book came in Chapter Two, in which the authors first drop the F-bomb -- twice. I couldn’t help cringing, as well as feeling a surge of anger toward P.C. and Kristin Cast. I completely dislike coming across this word, whether in young adult or adult fiction. However, I feel that it’s even more inappropriate in a YA novel. Unfortunately, this book is peppered with the word.
Then, just after Zoey is admitted to the House of Night, she unwittingly gets a sordid little glimpse of....an act of oral sex taking place in a darkened school hallway. True, the Casts don't go into details, but they write enough that the reader knows what's going on. I realize that they were trying to make a certain character look manipulative, shallow, and despicable, as well as to highlight, in contrast, Zoey's innocence and noble character. Subsequent incidents in the story bring out this contrast in a completely satisfactory manner, however, so this scene is entirely unnecessary, not to mention inappropriate for a YA novel.
I plunged ahead in spite of these things, since I was, indeed, intrigued and fascinated by the story. Then the next problem surfaced – bigotry. This is a charge commonly leveled at right-wingers and Christian Fundamentalists. Ironically, left-wingers and minority religious groups are rarely accused of it. Yet, we are all human, whatever our politics or religion may be, and thus, all equally susceptible to the errors of the human species.
I was thus extremely disappointed to discover an anti-Christian bias in this novel, while at the same time, there was heavy proselytizing for Wicca. The authors, who are a mother/daughter team, don’t call Christians by name, identifying them as “People of Faith” instead; this is, ironically, a rather beautiful title. Their portrayal of anyone who is Christian is stereotypically negative – all Christians are intolerant and narrow-minded. What is most offensive, however, is the characterization of all Christian men as “pedophiles”. Here’s the actual quote, from page 27 of the book, so anyone who doubts me can look it up for themselves:
“…by another equally hysterical call that would activate the dreaded People of Faith prayer tree. WITHIN THIRTY MINUTES OUR HOUSE WOULD BEGIN TO FILL UP WITH FAT WOMEN AND THEIR BEADY-EYED PEDOPHILE HUSBANDS." (caps added for emphasis)
My enjoyment of the story line was entirely marred by these things, but that’s not all I found objectionable. Equally irritating is the authors’ constant attention to political correctness, as well as their preachy way of presenting it. There’s a token gay vampire, as well as a token black one. The Wiccan religion – which, in this book, contains some very beautiful rituals in honor of the Greek goddess Nyx, the patron of all vampyres -- is presented as a much more preferable alternative to Christianity.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with presenting political or religious views in fiction. It’s the way it’s done, however, that makes the difference. A fiction writer should never allow these views to get in the way of telling the story. That’s just what the Casts have done here. The plot is intriguing, fascinating, to the point that I was compelled to finish the book, but I had to grit my teeth while reading, most of the time.
The way Wicca is tied into the story is quite effective. I found it totally fascinating, especially as Zoey emerged as a strong leader, a very likely contender for the title of High Priestess. I especially liked the way she refused to be cowed by Aphrodite, and took matters into her own hands to deal with the challenges she was inevitably confronted with. I found her to be a very likable character. If it weren't for her anti-Christian bias (indeed, she seems to be a spokesperson for the authors' own feelings), I would have added her to my roster of favorite fictional heroines, right next to Jane Eyre and Bella Swan.
Unfortunately, I cannot give this novel my enthusiastic endorsement, because of the reasons stated above. In spite of their excellent story-telling skills, the Casts' inclusion of these disturbing elements created too much of a barrier to this reader's full enjoyment of the book. If the rest of the books in the series contain similar elements (and they probably do), then I know I will not want to read them .
Top reviews from other countries
Stevie Rae, Damien,Shuanee and Erin are her new friends.
Aphrodite is the evil leader of the the dark sons and daughters, she hates Zoey. She and her friends run the daughters and rule through fear.
Neferet is high priestess, but there is something about her that holds Zoey back from telling her the whole truth.
CanZoey and her friends protect themselves and others from what is to come?
A must read for all lovers of the supernatural world.
I love them now as much as I ever have. I have a feeling this series will be a favourite of mine throughout my entire life.
Beautifully written, the words create magical scenes in my mind, they make me feel and think and smile and cry. They teach invaluable lessons.
Truly phenomenal books, thank you PC and Kristen Cast for the gift you've given us 💛❤💙💚💜
I don't sense that the series is going anywhere exciting or different, but then I haven't read the blurb for book 2 yet.
There were some lovely unique elements of the world. I actually liked the concept of teenagers getting marked and then going through a transition, or 'change', into a Vampyre. I liked the marks on their foreheads and the whole tattoo thing. I also really liked the elements and circle business. I felt the spirituality of the book came through strongly, the rituals had a lovely rhythm to them that made them feel believable instead of nonsense.
What I was less keen on, however, was the cliché high school drama feel it had. The gang of hags, and the nerdy but cool new group of friends, the super hot love interest that used to date the 'enemy' - yawn
We find so little about the adult vamp world. I couldn't even get my head around how old Erik was or how many students were in the school, never mind how many vamps altogether. The world building was narrow and insubstantial. I appreciate it's the first in a series and some things you'd want to come out gradually, but I felt I came out with so many questions and rather than curious for the answers I was frustrated that I'd been left ignorant and confused.
I've shelved this as young adult because of the high school feel and Zoeys age and romantic immaturity but I did find that for a high school/young adult book there was some graphic language. I would call it unnecessarily crude actually, it had no sensuality or intimacy.
I did love the writing style generally though. First person always grips me and I read this in one sitting. I liked Zoey but I felt she grew too quick and was a bit too 'good', I mean who can relate to being that compassionate and well perfect? Deep characters have faults and grow slowly through experience. It felt like these events took place over about a week! But I liked the language she spoke with and the way she talks to animals.
I could go on with "I liked this, but not that" but I'll spare you that. To sum up; I was underwhelmed.