Review: Marked by P.C. and Kristin Cast

House of Night #1

Marked by P.C. and Kristin Cast, UK edition cover.

Title: Marked (A House of Night Novel)
Author:  P.C. and Kristin Cast
Genre:  Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Publisher:  Atom (15th January 2009)
Source: Local library/Own copy

So the bad news was that I’d have to move into the House of Night, a private boarding scholl, known by all my friends as the vampyre finishing school, where I would spend the next four years going through bizarre and unnamable physical changes, as well as a  told and permanent life shake-up. And that’s only if the whole process didn’t kill me.

But the good news was that I wouldn’t have to take the geometry test tomorrow.

When sixteen-year-old Zoey is marked by the Tracker, she knows her old life is over. Now she has to leave her friends and family to join the House of Night school, where there’s only one subject Zoey needs to study: Vampyre 101.

Of course, there’s always a catch, and this one’s nice and simple: if you fail, you die . . .

Rating: ****
(4 stars)

Marked is the first book in P.C. and Kristin Cast’s House of Night series. As the book’s blurb suggests, Zoey gets sent to a school to learn how to be a vampyre. So the story is half high-school story, half vampyre story.

I have to admit that I approached reading this book with a healthy caution. I’d seen it in bookstores and read about it on the internet, and I can’t say I was particularly impressed. However, when I went into my local library recently I saw it on the shelf and decided to pick it up. I was pleasantly surprised. From the very beginning I found myself engrossed in the book, and before I knew it I’d almost finished.

I like Zoey as a character. She is fundamentally nice. As the narrator I enjoyed her wit, and her little asides were brilliant. I also liked the liberal dose of pop culture references, that you’d only really understand if you lived now. In some ways she’s a little bit clichéd, but I don’t really think that detracts from her or the book.

I only had one minor issue with the book, and that was that when I reached the end I found myself wondering where the rest of the book had gone. The Casts set up some really interesting bits of plot, but not all of them are resolved by the end of the book. Whilst this has only encouraged my desire to read the next book in the series, Betrayed, I can’t help but feel  that it’s a mark against the series. You see, I like the books in series I read so stand on their own – there may be an overall arc to the series, but each book in it has its own definite plot.

I can’t write this review and not mention the secondary characters and the villain of the piece. The secondary characters really came alive for me, and felt like individuals for me. I also like how the bad guys were handled. There was a real sense of a dividing line in the House of Night, with the characters on one side of the other.

This book was a real surprise for me; so I recommend that you give this book a go even if you’ve only heard bad things, as you might be pleasantly surprised (like me).

4 thoughts on “Review: Marked by P.C. and Kristin Cast

    • I’ve just finished the fifth book in the series, and I think it might be better to wait until she’s in her teens. The series actually warns that it’s “not suitable for younger readers” and I agree because there’s sexual activity and violence.


  1. Thanks. Is it worse than The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead? In case you haven’t read them it deals with self harming, violence and a student that has sex with her teacher. Sounds quite shocking when you put it like that!


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