A few years ago I heard about the House of Night series. I heard they sucked. Out of morbid curiosity I read the third book and hated it. After I recoA few years ago I heard about the House of Night series. I heard they sucked. Out of morbid curiosity I read the third book and hated it. After I recovered from the mental brain fart I vowed never to read House of Night again. I succeeded for about a year and six months. But like the Evermore series I came back. I don't know why I came back to House of Night. I went back to Evermore because Princess Lina and Moorchild were talking about Everlasting and I was mad that they could tough it out and I couldn't, and I wanted to show them up. I don't know if it was worth it. I don't know what the hell made me come back to House of Night? I'm a glutton for punishment, I guess.
Marked is the story of a sixteen-year-old girl Zoey Redbird who turns into a fledgling vampire and goes to the school House of Night. She then befriends a group of stereotypes (camp gay, pretty girl, black girl and country girl). She finds out that the leader of the Dark Daughters (aka, the only character I gave a shit about) is misusing her powers and Zoey must stop her. This is basically the plot. Of course it gets lost under all of Zoey's judgments and stereotypes. Seriously, if I'd started a drinking game for all the stereotypes and judgments Zoey made I'm pretty sure I would have had alcohol poisoning in half-an hour.
I didn't care that Zoey had to overthrow Aphrodite and become the new High Priestess. Aphrodite just wasn't a convincing villain. I've seen scary bullies on Disney Channel movies. I know that bullying can often be used to break a person down, but Aphrodite did none of that. She never got the whole school to ostracize Zoey or started any nasty rumors about her. All she does is make snide remarks and Zoey is just annoyed by those. Zoey isn't getting ulcers at the thought of what Aphrodite can do to her. She doesn't seem at all affected by Aphrodite's lame taunts. I don't mind bring the bully down plots, but it would be nice if the bully actually had a presence. When Zoey stood up to Aphrodite I felt nothing because Aphrodite had never done anything aside from make a few lame taunts so I just couldn't take it seriously.
The summary also says that Aphrodite has been misusing her powers. How? After hearing too many judgmental asides and unimportant pop culture references my brain may have started to block out passages so it wouldn't self-destruct, but how did Aphrodite misuse her powers? Okay, Aphrodite was sneaking off to have her visions. Zoey jumps to the conclusions that she's trying to hide them. It could be that maybe she just doesn't want an audience while she's having a vision. For all Zoey knows, Aphrodite could be planning to tell Neferet about her visions. Second, is Aphrodite required to have her visions in front of an audience? Zoey really doesn't have a leg to stand on? Also, is Aphrodite required to tell people about her visions? It would have been nice if I knew more about what the High Priestess does. As it is I don't see how Aphrodite is misusing her powers.
I suppose you could make a case for the refrigerator business, but I don't know if Elliot consented. I know that Aphrodite told Stevie Rae that she was going to be the refrigerator, but they let her go. Aphrodite did try to blow Erik in the hall, but everyone just treats this as her acting like a desperate slut instead of her attempting too rape Erik.
The plot about having to overthrow Aphrodite is annoying because there are other more important things going on. It would have been nice to see some worldbuilding. The fledglings are basically told to forget their families and aren't thought of as real until they change. This would have been an interesting angle to explore, but it's pissed away in favor of Zoey whining about Aphrodite and other insignificant things. You know what might have been interesting? The ghost kids. Two fledgings Elliot and Elizabeth rejected the Change and died. They come back as ghosts with red eyes and fangs. Zoey's inner voice tells her that this is an abomination. Does Zoey alert Neferet? No, taking down Aphrodite is more important. It gets even worse when Aphrodite has a vision and goes on about something being unnatural and looks at Zoey and says she knows. Zoey doesn't connect the dots until the end of the book where Aphrodite comes up to her and says, "We've got bigger things to worry about than me being a bad student body president, shit for brains." It would have been nice to see more about the unnatural ghosts, but no. We have to get rid of the mean girl who isn't even making that much trouble.
The characters. I hate Zoey Redbird. She is a judgmental little brat. I guess I developed a defense mechanism where I didn't become enraged at her holy-than-thou attitude. It's a good thing, too. I don't want to deal with rising blood pressure or attempt to brain myself to death with my laptop. Nothing can please Zoey. Nothing. I don't mind someone having strong opinions, but it was like no one could please Zoey. It's like if I wore a tank top and shorts to bed. Zoey would call me a slut. If I wore nightgown with a picture of Eeyore that didn't show cleavage and definitely covered my butt, she'd say I looked twelve. Her attitude about sluts is also very irritating. Every behavior in the world is slutty. My skirt hitches. I'm a slut. I lick my lips. I'm a slut. A girl gives a blowjob. She's a slut. Has it ever occurred to Zoey that some girls might like giving blowjobs? No, according to her they're just cheap sluts who are being used. A girl never has the choice to give blowjob. Oh, and making out with someone you like and is available is slutty. Good to know. How many people are sluts by Zoey's logic?
It also bothered me that Zoey had shallow reasons for disliking things. Take her reactions to underage drinking and smoking pot. There are plenty of reasons to be annoyed at your ex-boyfriend drinking. Zoey could be worried he'll get liver poisoning or go off and do something stupid. But all she cares about is him getting fat. I'm sure there's more important things to worry about if Heath is an alcoholic. She's only worried about the urge to eat a lot when the issue of smoking pot comes up. She never worries about psychological consequences or that the pot could have been laced with something stronger- no, getting the munchies is the worst thing ever.
Zoey's love interest is Erik Night. She first met Erik when Aphrodite was attempting to give him a blowjob. I didn't get the attraction. Okay, Erik's hot so Zoey should date him. Her friends' attitudes annoyed me. They were acting like Zoey was a moron for not watching a movie with Erik because she was busy. I hate friends who relentlessly try to push you into a relationship. If they think Erik is so hot, why the hell doesn't Shaunee or Erik ask him out? Maybe Zoey wasn't attracted to Erik and she doesn't want to date him. That's perfectly alright and she does not owe anyone an explanation.
I wasn't sure what the big deal was about Erik. Okay, he was cute and not a stalking abusive jackass. He gets a few points. It's sad that I have to award points to a love interest for not being a stalking abusive jackass. Erik was just bland. I couldn't get invested in his relationship with Zoey because I didn't know enough about him to care. I found it really unrealistic that he'd be talking about how Zoey made him feel something in his heart after a few conversations, none of which were very deep. The relationship was just meh. I didn't care if they became a couple or not.
Zoey's friends were nothing but a bunch of gossiping judgmental stereotypes. We have Damien as the camp gay, Shaunee as the sassy black girl, Erin as the pretty girl who is really nice (she's not) and Stevie Rae, the country girl. These people never developed outside of stereotypes, so I couldn't get invested in their characters. Wait, being annoyed is an investment, right? I know the Casts were probably trying to have them be Zoey's nakama, but they weren't developed enough and neither was Zoey's relationships with them, so I wasn't moved when they came to help her with the ritual.
Oh, and how long did it take Zoey to realize she was the vampire Avatar? Seriously....more