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123 of 134 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Marking a Turning Point
Early on in my reading of Marked, I wasn't at all sure I would like this young adult novel. The story of Zoey Redbird, a sixteen year old girl who is unhappy at home, becoming "marked" as a fledgling vampyre, just seemed a bit forced. I wanted to feel a part of her story but her angst was overwhelming and I couldn't really see where the plot was headed. However, about...
Published on March 21, 2008 by Tamela Mccann

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380 of 430 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Before you read this
Ask this question to yourself: Am I an immature, shallow, whiny, the-whole-world-is-out-to-get-me teenager? If yes, then I strongly encourage you to read this book. If no, then I strongly encourage you to to put it down and walk away.

Is it unfair to rate this book against Stephenie Meyer's Twilight? Probably. But I found myself doing just that the whole...
Published on March 12, 2008 by Kindle Customer


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123 of 134 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Marking a Turning Point, March 21, 2008
This review is from: Marked (House of Night, Book 1) (Paperback)
Early on in my reading of Marked, I wasn't at all sure I would like this young adult novel. The story of Zoey Redbird, a sixteen year old girl who is unhappy at home, becoming "marked" as a fledgling vampyre, just seemed a bit forced. I wanted to feel a part of her story but her angst was overwhelming and I couldn't really see where the plot was headed. However, about midway through, the book picked up steam and by the last few chapters, I was eagerly turning the pages in order to find out how Zoey's unusual powers would manifest and where it all would lead.

Marked is an imaginative take on vampyres, weaving "old" pagan religious themes throughout and incorporating ancient history into its background. I liked the idea of a society where vampyrism is openly known and accepted, and I liked the School of Night where fledgling vampyres are taken for further training. I loved Zoey's learning to accept herself and step up as a leader at the school, and even the cursing seems realistic. What I didn't like was the obvious prejudice against traditional religion, and the "mini-sermons" we receive early on against drugs, drinking, and oral sex from Zoey's point of view. I liked Zoey's friends but felt that her acceptance into such a tight group so immediately didn't ring true, and I had to wonder at just why Erik, the hot young vampyre, was so attracted so quickly to Zoey. There are also some very lucky coincidences, such as Zoey's Native American grandmother having taught her purification rites which come in very handy. Thankfully these annoyances were overcome by the general storytelling and the excitement of the last half of the book.

Marked is the first in the series and I'll definitely be looking for the next two. I am captured by Zoey's world and want to see how her special spiritualism develops over time. This book also left enough unanswered questions that I'm drawn to find out more. With a caution that this book would probably be better for more mature readers with its incidents of sexual tension and cursing, I can say I'm intrigued enough to recommend this one.
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380 of 430 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Before you read this, March 12, 2008
This review is from: Marked (House of Night, Book 1) (Paperback)
Ask this question to yourself: Am I an immature, shallow, whiny, the-whole-world-is-out-to-get-me teenager? If yes, then I strongly encourage you to read this book. If no, then I strongly encourage you to to put it down and walk away.

Is it unfair to rate this book against Stephenie Meyer's Twilight? Probably. But I found myself doing just that the whole time I was reading Marked. The main character, Zoey Redbird, especially annoyed me.

Zoey (who is the epitome of all that is Mary Sue) is the most under-developed, cliched character I have ever read about. I'll compose a checklist.
Beautiful: check
Moral: check
Interesting ethnicity (in this case Cherokee): check
Family problems: check
Specially chosen: check
Amazing powers: check
Ah, and let's not forget that she's dating the hottest guy at the House of Night and got on the Queen Bee's bad side.

I have to admit though, that thing that most threw me off about Zoey was her vocabulary. Every time I read the word "poopie" or "boobie" I couldn't help thinking, How old is she supposed to be? I also hated how whiny Zoey was. The girl could not go a paragraph without finding some sort of fault with her life.

Moving on. I was rooting for the Zoey/Erik pair for a while, but decided to drop it after the reappearance of Zoey's ex-boyfriend Heath. Zoey and Erik just lacked the chemistry to pull the relationship off with Heath added to the equation.

The plot was mildly interesting, and what caught my attention was that the story takes place in a world exactly like our own, except that vampyres (vampires; the word is spelled differently in this book. The students never seem to have enough energy to say the whole word, and simply abbreviated it to "vamps." I'll admit, that bothered me too) are common and well known. This book would've been better if it had been written by a different author. Stephenie Meyer would've been good, but I think only James Patterson has the style to pull this one off (though it is NOT something he would write about).

On a last note, the only reaon the book was described as "sexy" was because of one scene (which is continually cited in books two and three. Why, I don't know...) in which Queen Bee Aphrodite was attempting to forcefully administer oral sex to Erik. This scene was absolutely irrelevant to the rest of the plot.
All in all, I would not recommend this book, much less the series; I read books two and three in hopes that is would get better. It didn't. I hope this review has been helpful to you.
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51 of 58 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Annoying..., January 11, 2009
This review is from: Marked (House of Night, Book 1) (Paperback)
I think these books might have been better if I were still in high school. But probably not. Sadly, once I finished the first book I had to know what happened, just for completion of the story, so I read the next two, thinking that the writing might get better. Nope. So now I'm just going to stop reading. The plot is not bad, though slightly reminiscent of Harry Potter, only with vampires. It's the main character who kills it. Zoey is an annoying mix of ditz and goody-goody. She's supposed to be this intelligent Chosen one who is special and different than everyone else, yet she is no different than the rest of the blandly babbling teenagers you see in stereotypical high school movies or books. BLAH. P.C. Cast's daughter says she went over the writing to make it sound like a teenager. Well, I don't know what teenagers she knew or what she was like as one, but at times I actually found myself cringing in annoyance at Zoey and her ditzy blather. Not to mention the fact that she says, as one other reviewer points out, that she doesn't fit in, yet she is dating the star quarterback in the beginning, and soon meets the most popular boy at vampire school, who is likewise smitten. This all might make more sense if she was believably characterized as being different and intriguing, not like other teenagers. As it is, I can't understand why anyone would pick her out of the rest of the rabble. Everyone in this book sounded like middle schoolers, not sixteen-almost-seventeen-year-olds. Also, after three of these books, you will find yourself wanting to scream after hearing her mention her love of brown pop the millionth time. Bottom line: don't bother reading these. It's too annoying.
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66 of 77 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Trite, Ridiculous, Extremely Irritating, November 12, 2009
By 
Kait (Portland, OR) - See all my reviews
This is probably the worst book I have ever read. The characters are superficial and cliched, the plot predictable and silly, and the narration is whiny and irritating. Case in point, the main character makes some sort of stupid, childish statement followed by the phrase "hee hee" at least once in each chapter. One chapter ends with a discussion of "poopie" and female body parts are repeatedly referred to as "boobies." I understand that the writers are trying to emulate the thought patterns of a teenager, but even most teenagers aren't this inane and childish. "Poopie" is the phraseology and humor of a 2nd-grader, not a sixteen-year-old.
I rarely write book reviews, even of those books I don't particularly enjoy (which is quite rare, actually), but I was so angry that I wasted precious hours of my life reading this ridiculous tripe that I was motivated to try to save others from the same fate. I cannot recommend strongly enough to avoid this irritating book.
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56 of 65 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Impressed..., February 21, 2010
By 
Oh look! A series about a teenager that has been specially marked and designated The Chosen One, with unknown cool powers who will someday save the world! What an original idea! In case my sarcasm isn't apparent, I wasn't exactly thrilled with this book (and it's unoriginality is the least of my criticisms). It comes up short in almost every category. Allow me to ennumerate:

- The characters were all one-dimensional and can be summed up in 1-2 words each. Her best friend Stevie Ray is a hick (a fact Zoey reminds us of by repeatedly describing her "Okie twang") and friendly. Her two other girlfriends are shallow and ....shallow. The only guy friend is smart and gay. Zoey's mentor is wise, and the antagonist (another student) is evil. Comically so. In fact, she utters lines like "This school is cool because I'm here. So stay out of my way" within the first 2 pages of meeting her. What?? Who even talks like that? Which leads me to my next point...

-The dialogue DOES NOT SOUND LIKE TEENAGERS. I may be mistaken, but I thought the job of the younger of the Cast authors was to make the teenagers sound like teenagers. SHE FAILED. MISERABLY. The conversations reminds one of grade-school kids, not high-schoolers. The writing in general was also sub-par.

- The monologues were a bit disconcerting and annoying. Yes, monologues. Zoey randomly goes off on monologues with herself about the dumbest thing, and she often does it in the middle of a conversation with somebody else. This happens at least once with everybody she talks to, and nobody finds it in the least bit odd.

-The plot was unpredictable insofar that I couldn't guess how Zoey would manifest her powers, but manifest them she would. Besides, we readers might not have taken the hint that Zoey is really cool and special, so the climax includes her using said powers to show just how much the vampire goddess (yes, you read that right) favors her.

- Oh ya, and the authors want you to know that discriminating against homosexual people is bad, but doing so against Christians is ok. The one Christian we meet is her step-dad, who is an egotistical, overbearing jerk. Ok, we get they aren't Jesus Freaks, but the Casts need to get out more if this is their view of every single Christian on the planet. Ironically enough, the vampires' view of the vampire goddess is very similar to that of Christians.

- I found all these elements annoying, but my main gripe with the book was its sheer...unrelatable-ness. I mean, what teenager can honestly relate to a 16 year old girl who is destined to be The Almighty Chosen One, has 3 gorgeous guys chasing after her, has "this is right feelings" about random things that do not fall under the conscience category (such as, I decided to take the long way to class today, and I JUST KNEW that it was the right thing to do), has 4 friends who are not really friends but more like starry-eyed adorers of her awesomeness, and who moralizes about everything from sex (girls who have sex in high school are losers!) to smoking (smokers are losers!) to goofing off in class (people who don't pay attention in class are losers!). I actually agree with these ideas, but the manner in which the authors presented them could have been handled more tactfully (i.e. I would have appreciated NOT being beat over the head with them)
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not that great..., June 20, 2007
By 
This review is from: Marked (House of Night, Book 1) (Paperback)
I wrote a review, and yet Amazon somehow ate it, so let's try again.

The novel is okay - it's well written enough. The main character has some interesting ways of describing things. But it's not as good as it could be. Specifically:

- The main character is a Mary Sue. From the beginning, she's special, special, special - she's part Cherokee, she's beautiful, everybody loves her, she's got an awesome facial tattoo that fills itself in by magic, and she doesn't have a single negative trait that would spoil the impression that she's anything but perfect. She's also got a magic cat.

- Her friends are essentially the cast of the first season Real World. There's the Black Girl, the Gay Guy, and even the Okie Girl. They have no traits, but chirp at each other amusingly in order to seem like the world's most wonderful friends.

- There's some religious bigotry in that all of the pagans are absolutely perfect, handsome, Byron-spouting Goths - more of that wish fulfillment - and all of the people who belong to the Old Religion are a bunch of hypocritical, patriarchal jerks. This is the kind of simpleminded thinking that most writers outgrow around the age of sixteen or so; not so much here.

- The antagonists are simply evil without having any other personality traits. There's some vague mutterings about how the evil girl is "set up" towards the end, but nothing that makes her more a cartoon.

You could find better pagan fiction, better vampire fiction, better high school fiction - the writing is technically good, but I would say that the series needs to get seriously deep or it'll remain a layer of wish-fulfillment frosting over an empty cake.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sigh, June 27, 2009
By 
Tiffany (Florida, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Marked (House of Night, Book 1) (Paperback)
So before I start, I want to say this. I love books. I give almost any book that sounds mildly interesting a chance. I tend to forgive poor writing if the characters are good. I cannot, however, forgive bad characters even if the writing is good. That being said, here is how this book made me feel.

This book sucked. Period. I do not mean that in a fun, vampire, blood-sucking way. I mean that in a it was terrible and worthless and a waste of money kind of way. I am drawn to vampire books. It's likely that if you are reading these reviews that you are as well. For some of you, this book might rock. I'm not going to lie, though, I despise Zoey. She is a horrible character. She is cliche, uninteresting, and downright annoying. She drove me crazy through the entire book. The whole time I was waiting for her to stop saying the same line...Nothing of interesting happened the entire time. All of her friends are boring. If I have to see the word Twin one more time, I'll puke.

This book represents all the idiotic nonsense that popular culture is trying to push as interesting and cool. Beyond that, this book is not for kids.

I found no redeeming qualities in this book, and I hate that I wasted money on it. So, try it if you want, but don't say I didn't warn you.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Disappointing, November 16, 2009
"Marked" follows the progression of Zoey Redbird, a fledgling vampyre in a world (parallel? future?)where vampyres are a fact of life. They're separate from humans, they're dangerous, but they're here, and there's nothing to do about it.

Zoey's an interesting heroine. A normal teenage girl, she is reluctantly chosen as a vampyre, which basically means she's separated from her family. Zoey's also quite believable within the parameters of the story.

Unfortunately, Zoey is the only likeable part of this book.

While the opening sentence is certainly a gripper, the book swiftly falls flat from there. The writing is much too lean, and it seems unskillful; the progression is a little too fast, there aren't any smooth transitions--it's always very jarring, jarring enough to let you know you definitely are reading, and aren't lost in the book--and with the exception of Zoey, nobody's a sympathetic character. In fact, ALL of the sideline characters are incredibly shallow. Neferet is the deepest character after Zoey, and even she's a stereotype.

For instance, Aphrodite is so openly self-centered that, from her first or second sentence, I wondered if I was reading a bullying scene written by a 2nd-grader. Most of the writing style is like that, but Aphrodite saying, "This place is awesome because of me" is so incredibly stupid, even for a villainess, that I almost stopped reading. Aphrodite can easily be a nasty character without throwing it in our faces that like. Having to be so obvious is a mark of bad writing; if the writer has to tell that tidbit, and has no way of showing it for the reader to infer him or herself first, then there's a problem.

Also, Zoey's friends are just as unbelievable: one's the hick-stupid country girl, her human best friend is so without depth, so snarky and vapid, that it was boring; and even her love interest is your basic two-dimensional hero template. Excluding one dirty scene early in the novel, he's the boy next door--without anything to his personality or history beyond that. NONE of them have any personality beyond stereotypical high school roles. It's not that fitting the high school roles into this story is bad; in this novel, which has the potential to be funny, it could have been hysterical. But instead it's only ridiculous.

The plot is also so insanely juvenile. While you expect high school drama here--it's a vampire boarding school-- you would think the underlying plot would be deeper, or at least not so submerged in adolescent melodrama.

I do apologize for the severity here, but for any reader who likes story depth and character development is going to be so disappointed. The story was shallow, a thin plot developed in time to cash in on the vampire craze, an excuse for more adolescent fantasy in relatively clean book-form. I know we all need escapism, but I do think it could be better than this. The writers could have done much better; I don't know why they welshed here.

I'd advise you to skip it. Still, take this with a grain of salt; one man's trash, and all that.
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37 of 44 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A vampire story that really SUCKS!!!!, February 6, 2009
By 
JulHeadley (Maryland, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Marked (House of Night, Book 1) (Paperback)
Seriously, this book SUCKS! It was hard to read because I felt I was getting dumber with each turn of the page. The overall story of the book could have been great if only it were well written. The whole concept of a vampire finishing school and two separate worlds within a society can definitely make for a good book.

My two largest issues are 1. the writing and supposed "talking like a teen" (honestly, I don't know any girls who talk like that other than the steriotypical Hollywood blonde Barbie cheerleaders in every really bad high school flick) 2. God forbid (literally), if you are a Christian or have any faith in God. It makes Christian or "people of faith" out to be horrible villians that are only concerned with being judgemental and in a way "evil", while also making fun of sacred Christian ritual. It definitely seems that the authors have some personal issues with God or at least some "people of faith" in their lives.

I guess to sum it up on the whole, I feel this book could have been great, but unfortunately misses the mark so completely as to only get one star. This is coming from someone who always gives at least two stars for effort. Yeah, it is really that bad.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Richelle Mead does it better, May 22, 2010
I got about half way through this book before deciding I couldn't stand to read another page. Even for a young adult series the writing was unbelievably silly. The superficiality and immaturity of teenagers was highly exaggerated. I found it most amusing that the authors appeared to pride themselves on their "teen" dialogue by using words like "poopie". I don't know a single person over the age of 5 that includes the word "poopie" in their vocabulary. I also found the constant pop culture references to be a distraction from the story. With all the references to current celebrities this series is going to be severely outdated in a couple of years. Overall, a "vampire finishing school" was an interesting plot, but the writers failed at creating interesting characters to drive the plot. I suggest reading Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead instead.
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Marked (House of Night, Book 1)
Marked (House of Night, Book 1) by P. C. Cast (Paperback - May 1, 2007)
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