Tuesday, April 13th, 2010 02:00 pm

(Buy from Amazon.ca)

Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) The House of Night series is set in a world very much like our own, except in 16-year-old Zoey Redbird's world, vampyres have always existed. In this first book in the series, Zoey enters the House of Night, a school where, after having undergone the Change, she will train to become an adult vampire--that is, if she makes it through the Change. Not all of those who are chosen do. It’s tough to begin a new life, away from her parents and friends, and on top of that, Zoey finds she is no average fledgling. She has been Marked as special by the vampyre Goddess, Nyx. But she is not the only fledgling at the House of Night with special powers. When she discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school's most elite club, is misusing her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny--with a little help from her new vampyre friends.

Thoughts: This is another one of those books that I expected to suffer my way through and then be done with. I read it first just to say that I've read it, that I've given it a try, and that it was nothing special and didn't deserve half the hype it was getting.

I didn't expect to enjoy it nearly as much as I did.

The world that's created is similar enough to our own that readers can relate to many different aspects, and there's some interesting melding of concepts. Vampyres are essentially blood-drinking Wiccans, and the People of Faith are fundamentalist Christians. Vampyres are known to exist, and as they're stereotypically attractive and talented, many of them become artists and celebrities that we know of in our own reality, like Nicole Kidman.

The plot gets a little cheesy at times, and isn't the most complex thing you can imagine, but it's interesting, and for all its simplicity it's fun to read.

The thing I enjoy the most about this books is just how believable the characters are. Unlike a lot of young adult novels, this book doesn't even try to sanitize teenage life. People swear. They experience sexuality and get confused by it. They get drunk and high. They experience emotional highs and lows. I've read so many YA novels that tread on the darker side of reality without actually making it dark, and it's nice to see a book filled with teenagers actually acting like teenagers.

The main character, Zoey, is preachy and a bit self-involved and shallow, and no attempt is made to rationalize these characteristics away. Nor are they such glaring faults that the character becomes a charicature from exaggeration. She's a bit of a Mary Sue with her grand powers, but she's not reduced to being all about said powers either. There's no high moral ground that she's taking, and though she's Goddess-chosen to do certain things, even she doesn't deny that some of her motives are selfish.

For a modern teen vampire novel, this book is surprisingly well done, and I recommend it highly to those who enjoy that genre of book. Truly, you won't be disappointed.

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