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Marked (House of Night Series #1)

Marked (House of Night Series #1) - I read with a theme during the April Read-a-Thon, and vampire young adult series was that theme. One would think that the vampire story would get old after a while, but each author I pick up has a unique twist to it. P.C. and Kristin Cast are no different in that they present the idea of a vampire finishing school. While it might seem like a silly idea, it really is fun and ultimately compelling. Even better, unlike other novels where the vampires are not evil incarnate, Marked hints at a society that is not as friendly, even dangerous. It is a welcome approach to the mythology that makes it fresh.Zoey Redbird is exceedingly likeable. A reader cannot help but support someone with such a common sense approach to life, someone who does not have a privileged background. Zoey is just a not-so-average teen struggling to fit in to her new school. We have all been there at some point in our lives and can definitely relate to her "new-kid-in-the-school" angst.I found the idea of tattoos on vampires appealing. There is still a bit of a taboo regarding tattoos, especially facial ones, that renders the entire idea of facial tattoos on vampires as a sign of danger. In addition, while traditionally vampires are difficult to find because they tend to look like normal humans, the Casts' versions are blatantly marked. This causes them to lose some of the mystery but I think the visual cues makes them even more menacing. At the same time, the idea of a delicate pattern woven around the eyes and cheeks is breathtakingly beautiful. It is an interesting conundrum and speaks to the very charm of vampires no matter what the myth.From the moment the Tracker appears, there is an undercurrent of stress that builds within the reader. I attribute this to the threat of the final change and the fact that some fledglings will not live through the change. The fact that it happens without any warning contributes greatly to the tension built by the Casts as we follow Zoey's initial transition to the House of Night and her status as a fledgling vampyre. One turns each page with anticipation and dread that something awful will occur to Zoey or any of her new friends. It is a trick few writers can achieve page after page, yet the Casts have managed to perfect it.Out of all the vampire books I read in the April Read-a-Thon (of which there were three), Marked was my absolute favorite. I felt the characters were more believable, the danger more apparent, the story more appealing. I will definitely be checking out the next book in the series.