Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Marked - And the Research Begins

I am researching an idea for a YA book on teens and their obsession with the paranormal/fantasy world of vampires and wolves. I'll liken it to adults doing too much internet research on a possible ailment and say that my heroine (named Sherry right now) is confused and seeing "symptoms" that may or may not be there.
I have read all the Twilight series and had heard many good things about the House of Night series, so I decided to dive right into Marked, House of Night Book #1, by PC & Kristin Cast.
The story follows Zoey Redbird in a world where vampyres (this book's choice in spelling) are known about and mark humans to join them. Once marked, you have no choice but to join them or die (well, either way you technically die). Zoey is marked within the first few pages and rather happily leaves her home to start her new life. Except for a good relationship with her Cherokee grandmother, Zoey has a horrible relationship with her mother and overly-religious step-father. Upon arriving at the school for vampyres, the House of Night, she finds she is ahead of most other students on her journey to changing. By the end of the novel, she is on her way to being the High Priestess and has taken over as leader of the Dark Daughters.
The book was entertaining and fast-paced and certainly read like a teenager's voice. It is recommended for grades 9 and up, and thanks to some sexual scenes, I would definitely agree with this age recommendation. I found the obvious undercurrent of anti-religion (or at the very least anti-conservative-religion) a bit heavy handed for a YA book. Basically she can't help being turned into a vampyre any more than a homosexual can help being homosexual. Again, it just seemed heavy-handed for a YA book on vampyres.
I'm just beginning into the fantasy YA land. Other than Twilight, I've never read much fantasy or science fiction outside of the Twilight series and Uglies Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld (which I loved and my 10 year old daughter will begin reading soon). I will finish up House of Night and then read a vampire series by Westerfeld and the Mortal Instruments series.
But, for now, I must admit Marked made me want to continue down my research path. Good thing since I have a long way to go!
Rating: 4 stars