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Awakened (House of Night, Book 8)
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167 of 180 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The lines between adult and YA become a bit blurred in the Casts' latest installment to the House of Night series. Things get quite steamy for a few of the characters early on, and I suppose it helps to fill the void that such an over extended series needs. This edition mostly consists of tying up loose ends and conclusions from previous books, and finally introducing some new threads to close this series out. Because of this I find the story difficult to summarize, but I'll try.

Neferet is up to her nefarious games again conning the counsel, and deceiving all of vampire kind. But her black tendrils of darkness have pissed off the wrong immortal. Kalona is not a happy camper. Zoey is as ever unevolving if not less mature than in previous books avoiding her responsibilities for as long as the Casts' can afford to keep her from going home, which is most of the book. Her and Stark are strengthening their bond as warrior and high priestess as well as boyfriend and girlfriend. Just for fun and as if there wasn't enough magic and folklore in the book the Casts' introduce a fey element into the mix. I'm sure a magical kitchen sink is soon to follow. Death brings Zoey around and devastates her click. By the end Stevie Rae and Rephaim will be outed, Neferet will be down but not for long, repercussions of Stark's resurrection will start to surface, and the lines between light and dark will be drawn. Choices will be made. And yes after seven books the ground work for the end is finally being laid.

Nine books in this series was stretching it. Twelve is becoming unfocused and scattered. Five or six well planned four to six hundred paged books would have been enough to do this story and it's characters justice. Now by the eighth book it seems to me that the original outline for the overall storyline and individual books has gotten wildly out of control. I think the plan went out the window and the story's being made up as it goes along. The great idea of the vampire tattoos, religion a sort of mixture of Wicca and Native American rituals and mythology is getting lost and convoluted by the addition of the nuns, and darkness, and the bulls, and the fey or old magic, the other world, Kalona. My head hurts with all the elements I have to keep up with in this series. I am disappointed that this great original series wants to become more like a teen Trueblood, with multiple story lines, a rich diverse world, but it's not working, it's too much and I wish Cast would simplify and focus everything. The amount of filler in the last few books is taking a once enjoyable series and turning it into a novelty. The writing seems to be getting worse. I think I would rather hear some one curse than have to hear them say bull poopie constantly. In print it's not so bad, but hearing it on the audio book is quite annoying. I don't think Mark Twain's idea of write how you would speak applies when your imagining what's the worst possible representation of how young people talk. I do understand what the Casts' are trying to do, they just don't do it very well. I don't think you should talk down to a younger audience, in fact I think you should take every opportunity to display good writing.

If your a fan of the characters other than Zoe and Stevie Rae, you will be as disappointed as I was, since their banter was minimal in this installment. We do hear a little about Zoey's long lost family and mom who hasn't really been featured in quite some time. I was not impressed with all the pop culture references and author shout outs. Instead of relating to the audience it seemed to dumb down the story. While I love Glee and agree with the hotness of a certain Trueblood Werewolve, it took away from the originality of HON. Like when tragedy strikes our close knit circle of friends, an unfortunate opportunity to connect with the reader is missed. I admit I cried when Dobby died in Deathly Hollows, and most likely when Sirius met his end as well, because they were written simply and worded beautifully. I found a death framed in the concept of a glee episode and certain Wicked song kind of corny and less than what the character deserved.

Overall I am a bit confused with this book. The authors seem as bored with Zoey's character as I am. She's not developing at all. There is a distinctive shift toward Stevie Rae and her possible role taking down Neferet and Darkness. Her green glow hints at the old magic introduced early in the book. Someone should write a lexicon to keep track of everything, all the different cultures and mythology are becoming too complicated. Though I applaud Stevie Rae's growth her storyline mirrors Zoey's almost exactly. With her having secrets, not trusting her friends to understand, while she's trying to save her friend (Rephaim) or lover (like Stark) from darkness, and a relationship with someone she's not suppose to be with and whom she imprints with. If you feel as I do, that the books end in a strange place Awakened is no different. Because none of the books have that classic story arch with a climax and conclusion you don't get that resolve. Since they aren't really separate stories within a larger plot, more like a long continuous narrative chopped up at a joint in the story.

If you like the other books, well then you'll love this one as well. It's more of (sadly) what we've come to expect from the HON. If your like me and are hoping it will get better, it's not. I would like to see things to the end, but I'm not sure I will feel the same in November. Awakened was as equally entertaining as it was annoying. Once you pick past all the filler and fluff the plot points were decent. Unfortunately you have to wade through all the bad poetry, and dialogue to get to it. The whole book revolved mostly around death. Ironic for a series that just won't end.
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127 of 145 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
(This review has serious SPOILERS)
When I first started reading this series, I enjoyed the story line enough to over look all the things that were wrong with the books. I am aware that this is YA fantasy series so obviously I do not expect anything high quality. However, this book reached to the threshold for me and I have to say enough is enough. This was a mid size book and it took me 1 1/2 hour to read. Because there was nothing in it. Let me tell you what happens in this book in one sentence. Two people die (they die because they are convenient characters), Zoey and Stark take their relationship one step further, Kalona realizes he is sharing his soul with Stark which is negatively effecting Stark but they don't know it yet, Stevie Rae and her raven get what they want, the group leaves school to live underground while everyone thinks Neferet is good again, Heath comes back in the form of a vessel who will be doing the bid of Neferet and kill Zoey (obviously it is not going to work in the next book since it is really Heath's soul in the vessel). If you think that is a lot of stuff to happen in one book, you are wrong. Because 70% of the book was dedicated to teenage bickering about pop culture stuff so that we readers feel like this is really happening and these are real characters. The reason that I am ending my relationship with this series aaaaaannnd most importantly with these authors is very simple. I don't want to spend my money for a series which makes me regret it while I am reading every new installment. The quality is dropping because there is simply not enough meat in these books to qualify 10+ books. I don't know if it was the choice of authors or the publishers but they are taking advantage of their fans and I decided not to be one of them.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I know I'm rehashing a lot of what others have said, but I wanted to add my voice to the growing list of those who feel this series has lost it's way. I began reading these books before the fifth book, "Hunted" was released. I thought they were interesting and had a good plot going. Now, the books have almost become caricatures of themselves. The way the authors present the conversations between the characters was always something that annoyed me, but it's beyond ridiculous now. I'm not a teenager now but I remember being 17 and trust me, that is not how your average 17 year old talks. At all. It's made even more annoying when you have Zoey saying "bullpoopie" in one sentence and in the very next Aphrodite is using the f-word. Let's drop the cutesy language and be real. Also, the revolving door of men(boys) in Zoey's life is more than a little disturbing. It seems as if they're trying to mask what is essentially promiscuity with vampire "traditions" and mythology. Mostly what annoys me is that what began as a great series has become annoying and hard to trudge through. The fact that there are going to be 12 books in this series is unfathomable. This series should be over, in my opinion. Make the books that you have slightly longer and tie up loose ends quicker instead of having pages and pages of filler and leave the reader satisfied with a story well told. I'm not even sure that I'm interested enough at this point to wait four more books to see how this plays out. The unnecessary deaths, rehashing of "Neferet is good, now she's evil, maybe she's good, nope she's definitely evil but no one believes us even though she's doing this in plain sight", and the whole Heath thing...It's become too much to handle. Basically, if you've enjoyed the series tremendously and you're looking for more of the same, you're going to love this. If you're like me, and you started out loving the series but over the last few books you've come to feel like this story is never going to reach it's conclusion, you may want to save your money.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
So- I started reading House of Night around two years ago, and absolutely LOVED the series up until the 7th "Burned", which in my opinion, was a fail. I felt like the authors were dragging out the series, and that the story was starting to get old. Seriously, they plan to write TWELVE of these books? HOW? "Burned" wasn't completely terrible, but was a definite downfall compared to the previous six books. It was just all over the place, and the plot was a total mess. The way the authors skipped from different characters' points of views was really confusing the way it was done, and I had a hard time finishing reading the book because the story was so jumbled!
Despite my dissapointment with "Burned", I still decided to buy this one, "Awakened", just in case maybe "Burned" was just a little stumbling point, and the authors would bounce back with this one.
Unfortunately, that did not happen. I found "Awakened" to be just as drug-out and confusing as "Burned", and what's worse, this one is BORING! It's SOOOOO pathetically stretched out, and the authors tried to put character deaths in there to try to keep your interest.
I am DONE with this series. I'm sorry, but I can't take the dissapointment any more. I spent $17.99 on this book, and I have to say it was a waste. It really sucks that a good series has gone down the drain like this.
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62 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2011
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
When I started reading this series, i genuinely enjoyed it. I thought it was intresting and captivating, however, with each additional book they just go down hill. I can clearly see the authors are just in it for the money, the more books in the series the more money in the bank. It kind of makes me sick. I felt like this book did not take me anywhere, I did not learn anything new, it just a whole lot of time to tell readers what they already know. Get to the point all ready ladies. I have given up on this series, I cant believe it has taken me this long, but I had faith we would finally get some answers in this book. I was so very wrong. Dont waste your time and money on this series which started with so much promise is now begging to be put out of its misery.
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61 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book is simply a retelling and rehashing of previous plot twists. The language and pop-banter is sub-par, even for a YA book. In short, disappointing. I won't be waiting for the 9th. It is a shame because I enjoyed seeing a real heroin with real issues and flaws, but the storyline no longer supports her potential.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Okay, so I am not a hater of either Cast. I have read every book in Cast's other series, and I generally like her writing style. But my main disappointment in these books, specifically the last 3 or 4, is the re-telling.

I mean these books are short already, why would the authors have to recap book 8 for the 1st half of book 9? Seems to me they are preying on the consumers buying these books that are little more than fluff. From a consumer perspective, you would not buy book 9 without reading books 1-8.

I truly believe this would be a great trilogy, if they were able to remove the over-kill of re-writing and summary between each of these books.

Give us more original content, less sex, and less recap.

Overall grade of this book is a C-.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This review is almost sad to write. I loved the books in the beginning but they have gone nowhere. This series/storyline had so much potential and I feel better writers could have done it justice. I lost all hope after the 6th book but kept reading up until the last one and vowed never to return. My husband bought this for me (sweet man lol) unknowing, so I read it anyways. I could have skipped it and not missed a beat. I learned nothing. It was a waste of my 2 hrs. I think its safe to say that if the writers keep on this track with the serious that I can wait until the final book comes out to read again and ill be right up to speed. Maybe thats what ill do? Although, I dont want to spend anymore time or money on this, so I probably wont. :(
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2011
Format: Audio CD
(a sort-of spoiler-it probably won't ruin your reading experience though)

I was really psyched to get this book.....now I'm just sorry I ever started reading the series in the first place.

I'm really glad there are a lot of other bad reviews for this because I was thinking to myself....other people have GOT to recognize how awful this is! Really, I'm glad I'm not alone in a sea of supporters here, being the odd one out and all.

I am so very disappointed in this book. I was aware from the very beginning when I read the first book, that the Casts' had a very....unique idea of how young people speak. I've always found a lot of the "teenage banter" to be a bit on the annoying side. But nonetheless, there was a good plot line behind it all and so I kept reading and ushered aside the small things I didn't like.

It's blatantly obvious how the authors attempt to employ well-meaning positive attitudes for teens in these novels, as they are geared towards teens. There are a lot of "be yourself," "young women with confidence," and "stand up for your beliefs" undertones lining the pages. I commend the effort, however well-meaning, but it is not believable in many instances in which a character's thought process or conversation is drawn out. I felt myself rolling my eyes a lot. I'm sure I would have if I were still 16 too.

And then there is the overdose on pop culture. There really is no need to saturate the pages with numerous shout-outs to True Blood, Sookie Stackhouse and Glee. It simply makes it more unbelievable to me that these fledglings, who have apparently been trying to fight against evil for the last however many months, have time to be on the up and up with the latest episodes. Seriously.

All that aside, I had always asked myself in the back of my head, as a mother, would I want my children reading this? My children are not teenagers yet, but when the time comes, is this something I'd want on my 15 year old daughter's bookshelf? There is a lot of foul language. Granted, in my opinion, they will hear it elsewhere if not in a book. There are some steamy situations. And in the third book, Chosen, the main character, Zoey manages to become seduced by Loren Blake and loses her virginity. I was still sort of ok with this because the backlash was shown clearly. It wasn't glorified in my opinion. It seemed like a warning to young girls everywhere. Save it for love. However, after reading the eighth book, I know that there is no way in hell these will land on my child's bookshelf. This has got to be my number one reason in being so disappointed in this book. So, a heads up to mothers everywhere if you were thinking about getting these for your daughter, I will tell you, not only do Zoey and Stark have sex, but they bite and suck blood while they do it. It is not mentioned as graphically as in some adult novels, but it is graphic enough to (pardon me here) mention when Stark "enters" her and how good it all feels and all that fun stuff. Towards the end, after Kalona has discovered he can enter Stark's mind, Stark gets a little rough with Zoey, whilst unintentionally influenced by Kalona. So now not only are we talking overly sexual situations, but also it seems that domestic violence will be one of the many "causes" the Casts' cover in this series. You can only cover so many things! As an adult woman, I personally enjoy a little steam every now and then (not gonna lie!), but if I knew my teenage daughter was reading that, I would be upset. The sexual relationship between Zoey and Stark has been glorified and made into a very good thing, when Zoey is only 17. I don't know about you, but I really prefer that my daughter doesn't get any extra ideas. Of course, it all dwindles down to how well you communicate with your children, but why plant the seed? No pun intended. I've found in plenty of YA books where there is sex involved, usually it is more implied than an actual detailed event. Not always true and it doesn't make it any more of a positive influence, but I was honestly shocked when I read Zoey and Stark's first sex scene.

My point in going off on the sexual situation tangent is that these books are about teens, targeted towards teens. No matter how fancy you dress it up with good intentions and positive messages, you simply cannot take away the fact that this is actually smut for teens. Needless to say, I am not impressed.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I have been following this series since the begining and have enjoyed all but the last two books in the series. It is such a horrible boring book that it makes me think the author only wrote the novels because a certain amout was promised to the publisher but that they ran out of ideas two books ago.
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