First of all I'll admit that I preferred Ashley's story to Marissa's and I maintain that the actor hero being this yummy is unrealistic, but I enjoyedFirst of all I'll admit that I preferred Ashley's story to Marissa's and I maintain that the actor hero being this yummy is unrealistic, but I enjoyed it all the same.
Marissa is a great character, she comes from a different background than Ashley and of course from the actors. This is a character who's used to being poor and working her ass off for every small thing she has while expecting it all to fall apart and be taken from her if she ever makes the smallest mistake. She's both driven and caring which I really liked about her.
Despite loving the fast paced way Evans writes, this one moves just a little too fast and it feels like some where along the way I skipped parts except I know that I didn't. There's way more going on in this one with outside characters than there was in Ashley's as well and I think that why I feel it either needed a slower pace or a longer length to fit it all in. However overall it's still a great lighthearted read I'd recommend if you're looking for a clean teen romance with a happily ever after....more
Zoey Redbird is without a doubt a troubled teen trying to hold things together when we're first introduce***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS***
Zoey Redbird is without a doubt a troubled teen trying to hold things together when we're first introduced to her. Abandoned as a child by her father, her mother has remarried to an emotionally abusive religion freak who treats her mother like a scared and willful child and becomes jealous even if her mother shows attention or affection to her own children. Stuck in those teen years her siblings who are only barely mentioned other than in passing and don't actually appear in the novel haven't learned how to be anything but rivals with her and the only places she feels at home are at school and at her grandmother's home that her stepfather doesn't approve of her visiting. When she is Marked as a vampire and made an outcast in her own school even that ceases to feel at home and she forced to move into the House of Night, a Vampire boarding school that holds the only answers that might prevent her from dying of the sickness overcoming her as a sign of being marked. She's has two choices, become what she thinks of as a monster, the vampyre she's destined to be, or to lay down and die. Fortunately for readers, Zoey isn't ready to lay down and die.
In the path to accepting her fate she is visited by Nyx the Vampire Goddess among other things and marked as the eyes and ears of the goddess herself. While being different in hours and coursework, the school is very reminiscent of your average high school right down to the awful mean girl that everyone pretends to adore while secretly hating. Because of her calling, that she shares with no one Zoey starts right out standing out because her mark, which should only be an outline as a fledgling is already filled in. From there you follow her on a journey to realizing that being different isn't always wrong and finding her path to growing up, by accepting her gifts and using them to do what's right. While there is a small love story within the story, it's not prevalent enough to be mentioned and at this point in the series seems more like a crush than actual love.
I'll begin with mentioning the major problem with this book, basically it's that it was a mother daughter team and what teenager daughter is going to tell her mother that she swears, or ever really does anything wrong and what mother is going to create a character with any moral imperfections if she's writing a story with her daughter? The character flaws are understandable because of the dynamic between the writers of this book, however that doesn't make them any less annoying to the reader. Because of the lack of real honesty between the pair, which is totally common of course, and not an insult, it's the way of the world, Zoey Redbird, the main character of this novel is like a walking Just Say NO campaign. I mean no I don't want to read about a sex crazed, drug addicted, alcoholic teenager who swears like a sailor drunk at a bar. However for her generation she's way beyond prim and proper and delving into prude. While I'll admit there are a few teens like that in the world, those are not the same teens that are dating the quarterback of the football team or rather in her case fending him off. She doesn't curse, she thinks oral sex is being used and demoralized, she won't go out with the quarterback because he drinks and she lectures her friends on the dangers of drinking and smoking. She says words like poopy. What teenager says poopy? Teenage girls realistically think about sex, consider things like oral and regular sex even if they aren't ready to cross that line and actually do anything beyond a chaste kiss. It's part of puberty and it's unrealistic that the thought never even crosses this characters mind and while I don't expect her to curse like a sailor, typical teenagers do curse at least occasionally. And while I'll buy that she's strong enough to resist the peer pressure to drink or do drugs, many teens can, I will not buy that she gives an adult-like lecture to her friends on the dangers of the habits and what influences those habits could have on their future. And if by chance she did do these things she wouldn't be the type of person that got invited to the in crowd parties or attracted the attention of anyone on the football team. I don't care how beautiful she is, even in high school her personality would be off-putting enough that the in-crowd would avoid her. They might talk about her behind her back and the things they'd like to do to her body, but they wouldn't even attempt to date her because being around her would be a complete drag. If the character had been a little more realistic in her behavior concerning real life teenage dangers, this book would have easily been a 5 star novel for me. But as I already mentioned the fact that she isn't doesn't really surprise me.
I read this book in only a couple of hours, it was well paced and easy to read. I didn't even notice the time passing until I'd reached the last page and got annoyed with myself for not having already purchased the entire series. I only bought the first book because I didn't want to invest a bunch of money only to end up hating the series. You sort of have to be cautious in your purchases as an adult reader of young adult novels, some series just aren't mature enough for an adult reader to still enjoy them. That doesn't lessen them as a novel, it just means it's not the type of story that transcends age ranges. This series however is both mature enough for an adult to enjoy and for the most part clean enough to feel safe handing over to a child. The only really questionable scene involves Zoey accidentally walking in on a teenage couple performing oral sex in a hallway. Having said that if your child is old enough to understand there isn't a stork, she's probably mature enough for this book. It's a story about being different being better because you accept and embrace your difference and a story about understanding what a true friend really is and does. Yes it has the excitement and dark suspense of a vampire novel mixed with teen angst, but even with that as of yet, the Cast duo hasn't really made blood, or drinking blood a constant in the book.
My final comment is for those who question if the book is anti-religion or anti-Christianity. I definitely have to firmly disagree with that, the religious faction within the novel The People of the Faith are never described as a typical church or religion, the behavior and zealousness is clearly characteristic of a religious cult. There's a big difference between the Waco compound and the Catholic Church and the behavior displayed by members of this religion fall just short of Waco. The behavior of the religious members mentioned in the story would never be accepted or approved of by any current organized religion unless it was a cult. Even Christianity or Catholicism is about belief, and faith, it isn't about control, where as this religion as well as any actual cult is about the same thing - control. Unless the writers themselves were to come out and say this was meant to bash on organized faith, I'd never view this story as bashing on Christianity or anti-organized religion. If the People of the Faith were anything other than a cult the writers I would hope would have given them at least some compassion and reason even if they didn't agree with the religious beliefs of Christianity. I can't see the Pope or the whatever other major religion figureheads are out there approving of a cult and all this story demonstrates is that the authors don't either.
The book is definitely a must read if you like young adult paranormal stories. I look forward to the next in the series, though I can't help but hope that Zoey stops carrying her Just Say No sign in the next story....more
My read count on this might be a bit low, because I know I've read it a few times over the years. It's the sort of book you hold on to because you enjMy read count on this might be a bit low, because I know I've read it a few times over the years. It's the sort of book you hold on to because you enjoyed it enough that in a few years when the details are blurry again you can read it as if it were a brand new release and enjoy the magic again just as much.
That said my rating on this might also be a bit low because I didn't find this time as enjoyable as the others, possibly because I've read it too often and possibly because the way I think and look at the world might have changed over the years as it does for most people.
As always the book features Roberts trademark lyrical prose that reads almost like poetry, a trio of contrasting heroines and an interesting plot. These are all things that a fan of Roberts expects when opening one of her books and she never fails to provide.
I think my issues with the read this time was how much I noticed that appearance was a focus in this work. Not only for Evan, the stories villain but for the heroines themselves. Let me clarify what parts of this bothered me and explain why because I'm not saying I'm opposed to a scene where a man checks out a woman. That's a part of life, a realistic scene and depending on how it's experienced or written can be flattering, bring a smile to a person's face. When Zack takes a minute to appreciate Nell's ass before going over to assist her I smiled a bit, because it wasn't like he was whistling or catcalling, just appreciating to himself a sight he thought was enjoyable. The parts that bothered me were for example Mia's thoughts when she first meets Nell about how they'd need to clean her up. Or her comments later after they became friends where she asked Nell is she had a religious aversion to wearing makeup. I was going to quote that but I read this in hardcover and not ebook so it's not like I marked the page to later quote it in the review. Mia also makes a comment to Ripley asking her if it was difficult for her to choose between the white or the black dress because Ripley only owns two. Ripley doesn't really care for wearing dresses and I liked that about her character and while Nell does seem to enjoy clothing and makeup once she starts wearing it again I don't feel that the idea of doing so should have been forced on her by her employer. Both comments came across to me as catty and as a form of body shaming as if Nell or Ripley weren't good enough without makeup or extensive wardrobes. I don't think a woman should be judged or measured by her appearance especially by someone who's supposed to be a friend. I also don't feel a woman should be pressured to wear makeup or dresses if that's not her thing or something she does on her own. I think those are personal choices, all the power to those who want to spend the time on makeup and fancy attire, but it doesn't make another woman less so because she doesn't choose to spend her time that way or have an interest in partaking in what might be considered a feminine ritual. I'm pretty sure most of the makeup I own is long past the expiration date and I know pretty much all of it I bought was because of outside pressures telling me I should. It was never my thing so I don't like reading about a character receiving the sort of comments that I received in my own life that bothered me from someone who's not only supposed to be a friend but another of the heroines in this series. It's not very heroic to belittle the appearance of a friend or make an comment that sounds like they're not beautiful unless they're conforming to archaic social norms.
The second thing that I wasn't really digging this time as much as I did when I read this when I was younger is how new age the magic part of this story feels. It's not that I'm opposed to the witch as a character. I'm a big fan of kick ass witch with fantastic powers that they bring to a fight. I'm not as much a fan of scenes about which crystals and herbs apply to which desires. It's hard to explain. It's not so much that I'm saying that these scenes make the book bad, it's that I'm saying I just really wasn't feeling them and that's sort of a personal preference thing.
What I did like was Nell's story, how she escaped a frightfully abusive marriage and how she remade herself after being torn so low. The book has a lot of feminist commentary about how ridiculous it is to consider a woman's thoughts or feelings to be less than a mans among other things. I really loved that part of the story which is why the body shaming and focus on appearance bothered me that much more. I don't think I totally understand voicing opinions about one without understanding the issue with the other.
Overall it's a good book and most likely if you've never read this story before you won't even notice the little things that bothered me so much on this reading. I think maybe the fact that they did bother me so much is partially because since I've read it so many times I'm noticing little details and comments that I wouldn't have otherwise noticed. I do recommend the story despite my complaints listed above and I will be finishing rereading the rest of the trilogy. ...more