Sunday, 16 October 2011
Kim's Review: The House of Night Series
Guilty Confession: Ever since "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" aired on Indian TV screens over a decade ago, I have been a sucker for vampire stories (pun intended). In those days, we even had debates as to who was a better female ass kicker and Xena won over Buffy, but Spike & Angel were my 2 main reasons to keep watching the series. Since then there's been a flood of teen fiction involving vampires ever since Stephanie Meyer burst on the screen with the Twilight Series followed by True Blood & the Vampire Diaries. And I guiltily pick up the e-books.
My sister told me about The House of Night series, so I downloaded the whole series (8 books, the 9th one will be out on 25th October) and with the husband traveling on work, I read them all back to back in 2 days :) So I really can't review them seperately and will have to do it in one post.
The premise that the series is based upon is that Vampires are born because of a junk DNA presence. They live life as normal human beings until somewhere in the middle of teenage, a tracker (vampire who identifies humans who have the vampire DNA) finds them and touches their forehead creating the outline of a blue crescent tattoo.
Once they (fledglings) have been so "marked", they have to head to the nearest "House of Night" kinda like a vampire finishing school where they spend the next 4 years learning a more relevant curriculum like vampire sociology, horseriding, fencing, acting music. If the fledgling is lucky, they will make the change to a full vampire by the end of 4 years, if they aren't and the body rejects the change, they die.
Vampires and humans know of each others existence and co-exist. These vampires belie most stereotypes, They are sensitive to light, but don't fear it. Sucking human blood is pleasurable for both the vampire and the human and its never with the intent to drain or kill. Vampires have a moral compass & know the difference between good & evil & darkness & light.
The series starts with the main protagonist Zoey Redbird being marked. Zoey has Cherokee blood in her and when she is marked - Nyx the Goddess of vampires - appears to her and tells her that she has been chosen to help the Goddess on Earth. Nyx gifts her followers, but never takes any of the gifts back and completely believes in "free choice" and giving fledglings and vampires the freedom to choose their own paths.
The first 6 books are in the voice of Zoey, the series actually becomes more interesting after that when other perspectives are introduced.
The first book - "Marked" is quite simplistic and doesn't really reel you in (more of a 90210/gossip girl with vampires), unless you are a devourer of vampire fiction. The books and the story line do improve after that.
The language is very simple. Although the characters complain that Damien (one half of a vampire gay couple) uses very complicated language, even that is very simple and isn't difficult to comprehend. This makes me wonder at the target age group for the series. The language is simple enough for a 10-12 year old child, but the subject matter - blood, gore, sex should be at least PG 13?
The series doesn't really leave you with a sense of closure at the end of each book like the Harry Potter series did. It leaves you on a bit of a cliffhanger like the vampire diaries tv episodes. Each novel literally spans around one month or so and there are a lot of story lines that are left hanging at the end of each book. I wonder how long they plan to stretch out this series?
PC Cast has been writing novels for quite awhile. What is unique in this series is that she felt that the voice of the teen vampires wasn't really modern enough and so she roped in the help of her daughter Kristin Cast to help with the dialogues. The partnership seems to have worked quite well. However when I came to book 8, I did wonder how it felt for a daughter to edit the sex scenes written by her mother. Wouldn't it feel a bit weird?
Rating : 2.5/5