Review: Marked

Marked (House of Night, #1)Marked by P.C. Cast

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Rereading this book roughly a decade later, as an adult, has been quite an experience. I was drawn back to the series by the recent announcement that it’s to be adapted into a tv series, very exciting news!
I found the book enticing enough, and finished it relatively quickly given the struggles I’ve had with reading anything lately, but there were definitely moments that had me… cringing.

The story follows Zoey, an ordinary high school student, who is chosen and “marked” by the Goddess Nyx to be a vampire. She moves to the surprisingly trendy vampire school and starts her new life, with one thing after another proving that Zoey is special and meant for great and extraordinary things, leaving no question as to why she’s our protagonist.

The characters might’ve been a little cliche, sticking strongly to a range of stereotypes (the effeminate gay, the gossip girls, the wretched cow), but were still believable and – for the most part – likable. Overall, I sympathized with Zoey and could relate to – at least some – of the struggles she faced, between trying to fit in, making new friends, and cutting ties with decidedly toxic past. The combination of elements made this an enjoyable read, despite the somewhat… shallowness of the story. Let’s just say it was strongly Young Adult, and to be expected of teen fiction.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of the read was the voice of our protagonist, Zoey. The book has a young, almost playful voice that I found really enjoyable and really inspired me in one of my own writing projects. Without a doubt, I would say this book has re-sparked my personal interest in young-adult fiction, as I’ve found myself strongly drawn to my more adult writing projects of late.

Overall I enjoyed the read, and already have the second in the series on hand to keep on with. However, I suppose I’m hoping there might be some improvement in terms of the old-school ideals found throughout the book – namely, slut-shaming.
I understand it likely represents the ideals P.C. Cast’s generation, but Zoey tends to completely vilify any and all expression of sensuality. There’s a kind of gross hatred for any expression of sexual maturity in a disappointing display of slut-shaming.
Yes, Aphrodite (spoiler alert: hag from hell) is over the top and crudely sexual, but the nature of the language used to degrade her behavior isn’t what I would want to be represented to teens in the modern-day as society moves towards more acceptance of people who embrace their sexuality.

Despite these instances that had me grimacing, the book is still an entertaining read and I believe holds it’s ground in the world of teen fiction, even after more than a decade. I have high hopes for the success of the TV adaptation and look forward to rereading the rest of the series.

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