Marked by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

(Cover picture courtesy of Hooked to Books.)

Enter the dark, magical world of the House of Night, a world very much like our own, except here vampyres have always existed.  Sixteen-year-old Zoey Redbird has just been Marked as a fledgling vampyre and joins the House of Night, a school where she will train to become  an adult vampyre. That is, if she makes it through the Change—and not all of those who are Marked do.  It sucks to begin a new life, especially away from her friends and on top of that, Zoey is no average fledgling.  She has been chosen as special by the vampyre Goddess Nyx.  Zoey discovers she has amazing powers, but along with her powers come bloodlust and an unfortunate ability to Imprint her human ex-boyfriend.  To add to her stress, she is not the only fledgling at the House of Night with special powers: When she discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school’s most elite group, is misusing her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny—with a little help from her new vampyre friends.

Marked represents everything that’s wrong with the YA genre.

Okay, that’s a bit harsh and more than a little melodramatic, but it also has a grain of truth in it.  Literary snobs point to the juvenile writing style, vapid characters and utterly predictable plot and say all YA books are like that.  Let me show you two examples of the horrible writing:

“So I listened to the haunting Gaelic lyrics and pitch-forked up poopie.”  (pg 133)

“I wished it was cold and Kayla would freeze her over-developed boobies right off.”  (pg 175)

Writing style and voice are such important components of a novel that when they make it feel like a wish-fulfilling tween wrote it, it’s a good indicator of other problems.  I don’t know about you, but pretty much all sixteen-year-olds I know would die rather than even think the word “poopie.”  P.C. and Kristin Cast have deliberately dumbed down the writing so they think it will appeal to teens, but in truth they have underestimated their target audience and insulted my intelligence.

Pretty much all the of the characters, except Neferet, are stereotypes.  Zoey is the chosen girl who’s super powerful, Damien is the smart and sensitive gay guy, Erik is the hot love interest, Stevie Rae is the cute little Southern girl and Aphrodite is the hot queen bee straight off Mean Girls.  Neferet is really the only character with a little bit of depth and she barely features in the novel.

The plot is so predictable that it’s sickening.  It almost felt as if P.C. and Kristin Cast made an effort to throw every cliché known to mankind in their novel.  To be honest, if I didn’t know better I’d think this was a parody, yet it’s deadly serious.  Scary, isn’t it?

I give this book 0.5/5 stars

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  1. Grace

    And it’s books like these that scare me away from YA, although I’ve recently I’ve been trying to be a bit more fair about it because there are some very talented YA authors out there, and I’d like to discover more of them.

    • Carrie Slager

      Unfortunately, it’s books like this that give the intelligent, well thought out YA books a bad reputation. There are a lot of good YA books once you do some digging.

      • Grace

        Mhm. And I also came to the realization that a lot of the sci-fi/fantasy books that I’d read and loved were written for young adult audiences before separating YA into their own genre was something that was done.

        • Carrie Slager

          Well, the rise of the YA genre only really began when the Harry Potter books came out. It was present before, but it never enjoyed that level of popularity. Since then, what with Twilight and The Hunger Games, it’s only taken off as its own genre. It’s been interesting to watch the rise because for a long time, books were either for children OR adults, not teenagers.

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