Marked by P.C. and Kristin Cast - Reivew

Note: This book does contain sexual themes and swearing (including the f-bomb)

Zoey Redbird has been marked. Her mother and step-loser step-father have rejected her. So, naturally she goes to her grandmother’s house, looking for help, anything, as she gets sicker and sicker. But her grandmother is out in the bluffs and Zoey must find her. On her way, she slips, falls, and hits her head on a rock, where she receives a mysterious message from the goddess Nyx, telling her to “find her destiny.”


Marked, written by P.C. and Kristin Cast, a mother-daughter duo from Oklahoma, is about vampyres. However, they have written a unique take on a subject that has been overwhelming YA novels for years, which I will get to later.  It was first published in 2007, and is the first book in the House of Night series.

The main character is Zoey, who has a wishy-washy relationship with nearly everybody in her human life, except for her Cherokee grandmother. This certainly makes it easier for her to leave everybody and everything behind as she starts her new life as a vampyre. And yes, they are referred to as “vampyres” not “vampires”. The House of Night is a kind of boarding school designed to get fledglings (the newly marked) strong enough to last through the Change.

Here, Zoey makes friends with four others, develops a crush on the hottest  and most prestigious actor there, and of course, makes her enemies. She accepted into the Dark Daughters, a special kind of club for the special kind of people (basically, the popular girls). This sets Zoey on her quest, and I can’t tell you much more about it without giving any spoilers away.


Most of the characters were semi-believable. A lot of the secondary characters were really flat and I'm hoping that picks up further in the series. They don't always sound like teenagers; actually, quite the opposite. Most of them sound like an adult trying to sound like a teenagers, which is okay. It didn't bother me. There was a lot of talk about celebrities that were vampyres. It got a little old. I found that a lot of the vulgarity was unnecessary (there was also a part where Zoey used the word "poopie", but later said "b**** slapped" and "h***" for example).

Zoey was relatable, but only to a certain extent. Some of the things she did and said led me to believe that if she were real, I would probably call her something along the lines of "fake" and "shallow". Basically, she's a Mary Sue. Knowing what I know about the series, I can tell you that she is a bit of a hypocrite (see use of swear words above), and that itself if very frustrating for me. It can be immensely difficult to read a novel where you don't really connect that well with the main character. After searching around and reading other's reviews, I realized many people didn't like her, either.

The comedy can be irritating, but sometimes its worth a chuckle. I wouldn't call this story funny, and don't even try it if that's what you're looking for. It also seems like there's some fluff - descriptions that don't need to be there. For example, this one segment about eyeliner. We really didn't need a full paragraph about eyeliner.

It follows that typical, teenage romance plot. Girl finds she special, but still doesn't believe it. Has problems adjusting. But wait! The hottest guy ever is falling in love with Girl! Girl gets Boy. Girl saves day. The end. I didn't keep reading this novel for the plot, though. I kept reading for the world that the Casts wrote.

So just what makes this book unique from other vampire novels? Vampyres are considered an entirely different species of human, and are known to the general population. As you can imagine, the change from one species to another can be painful. Throughout the novel, certain fledglings passed as their bodies rejected the Change. They have been accepted into society in the same kind of way that, in the US, African Americans were in the sixties. However, some have prevailed into the world as beautiful celebrities. The society is matriarchal, and is almost Pagan in nature.

If that makes you uncomfortable, I would stay away from this book. However, you don't have be a Pagan, or interested in Paganism, to enjoy this book. It's a quick read, albeit cheesy and over-the-top. The Casts have created a world that blends three cultures together, and I have to say, that was my favorite part about this book. It's a short novel for such world building, and after reading it, I'm intrigued to learn more. This is one of the only reasons I will continue to read the series.

Could everyone read this? Only if they're comfortable with the warnings that I wrote above: language and sexuality. You have to read it lightly; if you're someone who can't do that, don't pick up this book expecting a story you will fall in love with. You won't. It's not a literary masterpiece. Not anywhere close. If you read it to pass the time, then maybe you won't hate it so much. This book is not for everyone. I suggest reading the sample off of Amazon first, and if you can stomach that, then maybe give it a try.

Overall, I have mixed feelings about this book. I really want to like it. But at the same time, I was put off by the dialogue, the lack of character development, the cliches, and overuse of vampires in today's YA fiction. But I love the world, and so I'm going to continue on to the next one, and hope it gets better.

The next book in the series is Betrayed.

Rating: 3/5