I have a love/hate relationship with “Marked” from the “House of Night Series”. When I first read this I was in high school (about 6 years ago), so I didn’t pick up on the many horrible things about this book. Re-reading it, I have found that I still really like this series (the overall idea of the book, the main chunks of plot and story are what I really enjoyed) BUT this book is a terrible thing for a young person. I could overlook a lot of what was wrong with this book because I know better now but for a young person (who this book is AIMED at), the authors should be ashamed of themselves for putting these things into their heads.
First of all, the writing is terrible. They break every writing rule in the book. They overuse parenthesis, point of view changes, breaking character, and SEVERAL cliches that just could have been avoided, like the love at first sight crap. On top of that, they used the “R” word 4 times in the novel to describe someone being stupid.
The timeline made no sense. Several classes said they had been in session for months, and then other classes acted like it was the first day of the semester. I know Zoey is a new kid, but the teachers aren’t going to introduce themselves to an entire class just for her sake.
This novel is full of hardcore slut shaming. The MC says “hoe” and “slut” about 18-20 times throughout this book and even compares one of the girls to a “nasty stripper.” They obsess over boys and then get preachy when someone they don’t like happens to act sexually. It’s so annoying and completely uncalled for. The MC says that girls who sleep with guys are going to get an STD, and it will “eat their brains” and even calls herself a slut for making out with her boyfriend. She has a superiority complex for sure.
The sexism doesn’t stop there, the girls are all obsessed with boys, half the time they don’t even pay attention in class because they are paying attention to the boys. They added a gay character to add to the total obsession with men. They never let you forget that he’s gay either…ever. OH and every vampire is attractive apparently, like, that’s a thing that happens when you become a vampire, you have to become hot too. When one of the characters died, they actually commented on his appearance as a reason they weren’t sad he was dead.
Along with this blatant sexism, they introduced one of the main male characters using rape culture. The MC didn’t see much wrong with a girl trying to give him a blowjob, and he kept having to push her away and yell no. She never stepped in to help him and even went as far as to say she felt sorry for the GIRL because she sounded desperate, NOT the guy who was being molested. One of the main characters was also caught saying that gay guys don’t count as real men and gays that “come out of the closet” are too girly.
The authors pick fun at anorexia and bulimia at one point in the novel, claiming girls do it because they want to look hot and blame it on Paris Hilton. Eating disorders are not meant to be taken lightly, and they aren’t because girls just “want to be hot.” Eating disorders are a disease of the mind, and I didn’t appreciate her making fun of them for it.
The MC’s judgments don’t stop there, she calls goths boring, and says emos don’t bathe, but cheerleaders are “Barbies” and are super “judgmental” even though she’s the most judgmental character in the entire novel. She judges a girl for her name. You can pick your own name in this book once you start school and the girl picked ‘Aphrodite’ and Zoey (MC) immediately judged her for it and said she couldn’t be sane. It’s not the only time she’s caught using mental illness to describe or judge someone. Also, girls who wear too much eyeliner just “aren’t cool”.
Racism isn’t too bad in this novel, but it is definitely there, 3 times they compare the skin of a black girl to coffee…she’s a human being, not a ‘Quick Stop Pick me Up’. And the only other black girl in this book has long hair, which the main character points out, “must be a weave” like black girls can’t have naturally long hair.
My biggest problem with this book is Zoey the MC. She’s such a goodie-two-shoes and acts like she’s so high and mighty because she doesn’t drink, do drugs, or have sex and then judges other people who do. From a 17-year-old girl, I don’t find this believable in the slightest. Yes, I believe that she’s judging others for doing it, but they made her way to pristine for the kind of character that she is. She sneaks out to make-out with her boyfriend, she’s very naive and trusts very easily and uses the word “poopie” in place of “shit”), I would not expect her to be the type to never drink.
She always worries about fitting in and yet, she claims she would be a flapper in the 1920’s. This is a character flaw, and it would definitely NOT be something she would be doing In the 1920s.
She reminds me way too much of those teens who always say “I’m so random, LOL TACOS” and she claims that watching star wars, star trek, and Indiana Jones makes you a dork.
Besides the MC, the other issues I had with this book was the story itself. This book is supposed to take place in a VAMPIRE finishing school, and yet they resemble witches more than anything else.
They worship a goddess named Nyx, and goddesses are found in Wicca. They have an affinity for cats and cats are found all over campus, much like the cat connection with witches. They use “blessed be” at the end of their prayers which is an ACTUAL Wicca saying used in spells and rituals, and they even use real Wiccan symbols in their rituals and prayer circles.
I know I ranted a lot about the bad of this novel, but I want to point out the good as well.
I really enjoyed this story (if I ignored all the things mentioned above) and if you don’t think of them as vampires so much as witches who need blood, this becomes an absorbing novel.
They use magic and rituals, and the plot and twists are very interesting. The overall idea has me intrigued to keep reading the series. I read about four of these novels back in high school, and I remember crying and physically gasping out loud at different parts, the friends and characters feel real (except for the MC being a total pain in the ass), and I liked the variety of issues in these novels as well.
Zoey leaves her overly religious parents to come to the house of night. Already, we have a character who lives with religious nuts whose mom became neglectful because she was being manipulated, a grandmother who acts more like a mom than the real mom does, high school drama and than supernatural issues such as “The Change” and fitting in.
As a teen novel aimed at a younger audience, this novel is a good read, but only if you know for a fact you can tell the difference between what is right and wrong in this book. This book can be very damaging to a small mind who doesn’t understand things, but you can ignore it if you already know that it’s stupid.
I wish this novel were written with better language and with a different main character, but the overall idea and plot of the book makes it interesting enough to keep reading so I’m giving this a 3 out of 5.