Friday, 7 December 2012

Marked, by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Title: Marked
Author: P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast
Format: Paperback
Length: 306 pages
Genre: Young Adult
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Buy this: Paperback |Ebook

So I read this back at the end of September... and now its the start of December and I have only just forced myself to sit down and actually write this blooming review. That is just how mixed my feelings are towards this book. This entire series in fact. On one hand, I really want to like it, and I feel almost obligated to like it, but on the other hand there are elements that make me want to throw the book into a fire and weep for humanity. Am I being dramatic? Most definitely. 

Zoey is a 'normal' teenager until she is marked as a Vampyre and has to relocate to the House of Night, a vampyre finishing school, and leave her old life behind, including her friends and boyfriend Heath. And if that wasn't complicated enough, her mum and step-dad are being jerks about it all, she has an out of body experience, gets a super special vampyre mark on her forehead instead of a boring standard one, meets a new guy, Erik, and makes a load of new friends who are a large mass of stereotypes, and makes an enemy in the form of Aphrodite, another student. Plus, her body might reject the change at any time, killing her. 

Now, the story is interesting, and the whole book is packed full of plot set up for books in the rest of the series, which is probably why I read the next few books as well. The whole vampy-ness being not a bit poor unsuspecting strangers in alleyways thing really intrigued me. I also liked that there was no "oh, look, vampires are real, and not just fiction" element, which is usually a mainstay of this kind of book. 

But... I had so many problems with the whole thing. There were a few moments when I nearly didn't bother continuing. The out of body experience/dream with the goddess bit about Zoey being special just bored me a bit, actually. There was such a massive cast of ready-made friends waiting for Zoey at the House of Night that, unless you were going to bother with the rest of the series, it probably wasn't worth remembering who was who. It felt too convenient that Zoey had "moved on" emotionally from her friends and family before she even got to the House of Night and then discovered her "real" family.

Now, in general I am a fan of P. C Cast and her books, but that woman can not write dialogue for toffee. It's either too formal, or trying to get "hip" and "fresh" and down with the kids or whatever, and I have to say, its the same in this series, even with her daughter "helping" to make the teenagerisms sound natural. 

And then there is Zoey herself. I'm gonna put it out there that I potentially am more annoyed by her than both Elena from The Vampire Diaries, and Bella from Twilight. Zoey gets kind of high and mighty, and has a massive superiority complex, but in a way that is pretending to be modest. She's friends with all the popular shallow kids before she becomes a vampyre, and has the requisite jock boyfriend, while judging everyone around her constantly. Plus, she judges so many people based on their sexual activities, whilst using her own infinitely superior actions as the measuring stick- her calling Aphrodite a skank and a load of other names, all behind her back, has probably affected boatloads of teen readers and what their standards of "skank" are. I know this has been discussed to death on other blogs, as well as goodreads, so I'll leave it at that for now on the whole social repercussions spiel.


So, overall, its possible to really like this book, and the whole series... if you just don't engage any kind of judgement or thought process whilst reading it. If you overlook all of the preaching that is edged into the writing, and you don't mind the wicca-inspired calling of the elements goddess ritual type stuff, then its actually a pretty good book. Its really hard for me to pick a rating on this one. At the time I finished it, it was probably a solid 7; I wanted to read the next book straight away, and was happy enough with where the book ended. But, the little annoying bits all the way through, and the few moments when I was like, "what the hell am I actually reading?" drag the book down to perhaps a 5.5 overall. 
Yep. That's what I'm going for. 5.5 stars.

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