A book about a fancy boarding school for vampyres? Sign us up.
In Marked, written by mother-daughter team P.C. and Kristin Cast, Zoey Montgomery is swept away from her daily teenage drama (you know—annoying family, flaky friends, killer geometry tests) when a vampyre called Tracker shows up and summons her to the House of Night. Now Zoey not only has to make new friends at her fancy new school, she also has to figure out why the vampyre goddess Nyx has gifted her with mysterious powers.
In other words, hello drama.
Published in 2007, Marked is the first book in the House of Night series, which has been pretty popular ever since. The series was number two on the New York Times bestsellers children's series list in 2011, and has fluctuated on and off the top five since then. It's also received mentions by Goodreads and Romantic Times Readers Choice Awards and has been translated into other languages. Love and blood both flow freely when it comes to this series.
If you're looking for a different a take on the whole teenagers-dealing-with-teen-drama-as-well-as-navigating-the-wild-world-of-vampirism, then check this book out. If that doesn't pique your interest, though, perhaps this will: In 2009, a school district in Texas banned the entire series due to its sexual content—even though the entire series hadn't even been published yet. In other words, as much as the New York Times bestsellers list loves this book, other people hate it.
So grab a copy and get ready to pick a side—or to just get lost in the ridiculously good-looking land of vamps.
No man is an island—and neither is a vampyre fledgling in Marked. Zoey desperately longs to blend in and be accepted for who she is, but she also can't just stand by and do nothing when she notices how jacked up things are when she arrives at the House of Night.
The funny thing, though, is that while Zoey eventually realizes that she's leadership material and she has to take a stand, she can't do so all on her own. Yes, she has unique talents that are gifts from the vampyre goddess Nyx. Yes, she's courageous enough to stand up to the snotty Aphrodite and her pack of bullies. Yes, she's enough of a free thinker to think outside the box when it comes to finding solutions. But Zoey can't do it all on her own.
Turns out she needs her friends, not only for their emotional support, but also to help her form a ritual circle to banish some seriously scary ghosts. We get the sense that Zoey is more powerful than she knows yet, which begs the question: If she can't do everything by herself, what chance do the rest of us mere mortals have? It's not looking good, right? Right.
And that's one of the take-home messages we find most intriguing in here. We dig how Zoey must simultaneously learn to lead and learn to lean on her buds for support and strength. Isn't that something we all need to work on a bit? Like, maybe we're not all casting ritual spells between classes, but if we try to do everything on our own, we'll just fail.
Learn to delegate and trust others, Shmoopers. If a fledgling vampyre can do it, then so can you—and if you're not sure how, then start reading and let Zoey show you the way.
The Whole Dang Series' Website
Want to know where the series goes after Marked? You'll find a ton of info here, from blurbs about each subsequent book to wallpapers and quizzes.
House of Night Graphic Novels by Dark Horse
More of a visual type? Check out this series, which fills in some of the gaps in the books.
Welcome to the Silver Screen
Davis Films has acquired the movie rights for the series and is moving forward with a film.
Don't Start Popping Popcorn Just Yet
P.C. Cast is still waiting on news about where they'll film the movie, who'll be cast in it, and so on. She urges her readers to contact the producer to chime in.
LoveVampires Interviews P.C. and Kristin Cast
They have an adorable mother-daughter dynamic, including arguments about who loves Spike from Buffy more. (Psst… we do.)
Paranormal Romance Interviews P.C. Cast
Cast discusses her writing (like character development and world-building) and some of the other series she's working on besides the House of Night stuff.
Writing Out Loud Interview with P.C.
Cast discusses her responsibilities to her readers, some of the reflections of her experience in her books, and the trajectory of the series.
Dark Horse Motion Comics House of Night Series
Hungry for more stories set in the same universe as Marked? Check out Dark Horse's motion comics based on various stories from that world.
But Where Do All These Ideas Come From?
P.C. Cast answers questions about her research on religion for her House of Night books and how she decided to have her vampyres be Marked among other things.
P.C. and Kristin Cast Together
Aw, aren't they cute?
Fan Images of Vampyre Tattoos
The Casts ran a contest for their fans to see who could create the coolest vampyre tattoos. Here are the results.