House of Night, pt. 1

I have to break up this series for a couple of reasons.

1.  There are 8 books in the series. 

2.  I've only read 5, and I really have the itch to write about it.

3.  I don't want to pay for the hardcovers, so I'm taking an intermission.

So in this section, I'll write about the first 5:  Marked, Betrayed, Chosen, Untamed, and Hunted.  The titles are kind of cheesy, and they are too easy.  I like more compelling titles.

The premise is yet another take on the vampire.  In this world, vampirism is a genetic mutation that takes hold of some teenagers.  They become "fledglings" and are sent to a vampire finishing school of sorts.  There they learn about vampire sociology, archery, and blow jobs.  Yes.  Giving head.  (Both of these terms are used frequently enough to make it strange.)  Over the course of the 4-year education a fledgling receives, he or she may die a horrible death--turning to bloody slush from the inside out.  On the other hand, he or she may spontaneously burst into a beautiful full vampire--or "vamp," as they're called in the novel.

  • The new take above is interesting.
  • Sexual stuff borders on teen-porn.  I put this as a merit because I look forward to reading about the soft moans and the flicking tongues.  I admit it. 
  • Aphrodite.  She's hilariously cunty, and out of all of the characters, she's the most dynamic.  Five novels in, and I find myself becoming afraid that she'll be killed off in subsequent installments.
  • Spiritual/religious stuff.  There's a ton of Cherokee magic, Christian craziness, Catholic reverence, and pagan ritual.  I like the idea that Nyx (goddess of vampires) is also Mary (Jesus's mom).  I'd compliment the authors on creating a fascinating convergence of spiritual systems...but that'd be going too far.  These novels aren't sophisticated enough for that.  Still, I appreciate the attempt.
  • Relatively page-turny.  I've made it through 5 with only minor revulsions.  (Sort of.)
  • Penetration.  "Making love," it's called.  Perhaps this is a phrase that preteens don't recognize?  Would "hooking up" make more sense to them?
  • Matriarchal society (superficially).  Again, I appreciate the attempt, and that's why this is in the Merits, not the Absolutely Awful.  The women are placed in positions of power--they govern, take consorts, make/change policy, receive worship.  The authors have tapped into some feminist tenets--but some of what some readers would consider "strong women" are actually more like Cristina Aguilera-style feminists to me.  They still define themselves through their relationships with men, they rely on their bodies/sexuality to manipulate situations, they depend on men for protection, and they let cattiness get in the way of real development.
  • Stereotypes that are truly offensive.  Seriously.  The authors (it's a mom-daughter team) have a thing about male homosexuality.  I bet they're the kind of people who say, "I have gay friends, and they know when I use 'fag' that I'm doing it from a place of understanding."  PUHLEEZE.  There are two male characters who squeal, decorate, pirouette, and dress fashionably.  Straight characters are described in terms of their relationship to homosexual stereotypes--and ambiguously.  A character was described as like Leo DiCaprio without the "latent homosexuality."  Huh?  The two black characters speak in what was once called Ebonics.  "I be watchin' you, white boy."  I'm not even kidding. They gyrate and say, "Mmm hmm."  Again, I kid you not.  I could write an entire entry on this...
  • Secondary characters are more interesting than the protagonist.  That's a big problem.
  • Plot summaries from novel to novel.  It's annoying to read pages of summary about what I'd just read.  I hate books that give me a reason to skip pages.  
  • Rituals.  They call it "casting a circle."  Every time they do it--and that's several times each novel--they go through the entire damn thing.  All the chants.  Over and over.  All the physical sensations that go with the chants.  Over and over.  Saying hello to the elements.  Over and over.  Saying goodbye to the elements.  Over and over.  Yet another reason to skip pages. 
  • The writing.  It's just bad.  I'm sorry to be a mean reviewer--I hate it when reviewers are jerks because they like to hear themselves write--but this is one of those situations that calls for brutal honesty.  The writing is worse than Twilight.  (Yet, like Twilight and it's brood, these novels mysteriously keep you reading.  How do these women do that?!)
  • Zoey's boyfriends.  Why does she have to constantly balance three or four at once?  They all play different roles as the novels progress--human blood donor/consort, vampy kinda-mate, older devirginizer, honor-bound protector...etc.  But she's always whining about what boy's forefront in her mind.
I don't know what it is that keeps me reading these novels.  Truly.  But I do keep reading, so there must be something going on.  I hate the bigoted bullshit, but somehow that is canceled out.  Maybe something in the plot?  Maybe Zoey's boyfriend troubles?  Maybe the implications of church evils?  I don't know.  Maybe by the end of the series I'll know.

But do these series ever end?


  1. lol great review, I agree with all your issues about House of Night and more. It's such a monumentally bad series that we haven't been able to tackle it just because there's so much to talk about.

    I'm glad I wasn't the only one to be annoyed by the terrible stereotypes - I love how you can only occasionally tell the "twins" apart by one's spontaneous outbursts of stereotypical behavior, you know, like liking boys whos pants sag while her prim-and-proper caucasian counterpart does not. And Kramisha....oh my God I can't believe there hasn't been any kind of controversy over her.

    The writing is fucking awful, and the worst part is probably that nobody ever learns, evolves or changes, except for Aphrodite, and that stopped about four books in.

    I honestly don't understand how these are so popular, especially in the blogging community. You'd think we'd know better.

  2. Just like you I read the first 5 books in the series and you summed it all up perfectly! Those are the exact points why this series is annoying as hell but also a lot of fun to read.
    I hate it when they write whole paragraphs about how supportive they are of gay rights... ever heard of "show, don't tell"?

    Anyway, I just stumbled upon your blog and I want to tell you that I think it's awesome! I love your review format and your honesty. I'll def. be coming back :D