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The House of Night Series Breathes New Life Into the Vampire Genre

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The popularity of the vampire genre has exploded in recent years and people cannot seem to get enough of the undead blood suckers. Following on from successful adaptations in film and on television, Stephenie Meyer’s Twlight Saga, Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse novels, and L. J. Smith’s Vampire Diaries are flying off the shelves in bookstores worldwide. So is there room for another vampire series?

Well, you could say that we’ve been writing about humans for over 5,000 years and no one ever got tired of that so perhaps another vampire series is just what we need! Silliness aside, the House of Night series by mother-daughter team P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast is an exciting, imaginative, and inventive series that breathes new life into the ever more popular genre of vampire novels. The books are written for the young adult market but are not intended for readers younger than 16 years of age.

Six books have been published so far out of a planned twelve and the seventh book, Burned, is due to be released on April 27, 2010.

Marked (May 1, 2007) – Sixteen-year-old Zoey Redbird is marked by a vampyre Tracker and must leave her home and school to attend The House of Night, the prestigious vampyre finishing school. Zoey is no typical fledgling though and her powers are soon required to fight an evil secret society in the school called the Dark Daughters.

Betrayed (October 2, 2007) – Now the leader of the Dark Daughters and a high priestess in training, Zoey soon discovers that an evil force within the school is killing human teenagers. When her human almost ex-boyfriend Heath disappears, Zoey must rush against time to rescue him and encounters a heartbreaking betrayal.

Chosen (March 4, 2008) – Continuing on from the events of Betrayed, Zoey must now deal with an undead best friend and what appear to be a series of attacks on vampyres from the religious group People of Faith. The action really starts to heat up in this book and you find yourself racing towards the end.

Untamed (October 1, 2008) – Alienated from her once tight group of friends, Zoey must rely on her two remaining friends (one of whom is undead and the other unMarked) to help her fight the high priestess as she declares war on humans. Loyalties are tested and true intentions are discovered as the book hurtles towards a shocking end.

Hunted (March 10, 2009) – Reunited once again with her friends and her boyfriend, Zoey discovers an unexpected danger at play at the House of Night. Can she convince the others that there is evil amongst them and rid the House of Night of this curse once and for all?

Tempted (October 27, 2009) – After their success in the last book, things are not as quiet as expected for Zoey and her friends as old suspicions and rivalries emerge. In the end, Zoey must make a choice and risk her own life to save the lives of those she cares for.

Burned is due to be released on April 27, 2010, and according to P.C. Cast’s blog, the book is not yet finished, covers have not been chosen, and the synopsis has not even been released! The pressure is on the mother and daughter team to get the book finished in time for marketing and general release!

Five Reasons to read the House of Night series

There are a couple of compelling reasons to read the House of Night series and some factors that set it apart from other series in this genre:

  • Magic: more than ever before in a vampire series, the characters in the House of Night series use elemental magic and there are strong references to goddesses, spirit, and inner power. If you were a fan of the 1996 film The Craft and the popular show Charmed, then you’ll probably like this a lot.
  • Magical schools: there is something about boarding schools for gifted and magical children and the House of Night is not unlike a Hogwarts for gifted, magical, American vampyre teens.
  • Ancient Cherokee traditions: Zoey’s grandmother is a Cherokee and as the books are set in Oklahoma, the book draws greatly on Cherokee legends and traditions. This gives a wonderful spiritual feel to the books.
  • Strong women: whether they are evil or heroic, the women in the House of Night series show incredible strength of character and will. They are not perfect and they certainly make mistakes but they are far greater role models than Bella Swan who loses her identity and tries her best to die when her vampire boyfriend walks out on her.
  • The Sons of Erebus: the drop-dead gorgeous vampyre warrior clan will get many a heart fluttering. They are the protectors of the vampyre race and are called upon to protect the House of Night. This is in addition to the vampyres themselves who are all said to have perfect bodies, hair, and grace.

The House of Night series is a lot of fun to read, with each book being action-packed and full of romance, betrayal, and adventure. Strong characters, magic, and mysticism combine to make these books appealing to both young adults and older readers as well.

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About Mandy Southgate

Mandy Southgate is a blogger, serial expat and eternal tourist living and working in London. Aside from writing at Blogcritics, she blogs about travel and London at Emm in London, entertainment and media at Addicted to Media and war crimes, genocide and social justice over at A Passion to Understand. Mandy has continued to write for Blogcritics under the new profile Mandy Southgate.
  • Laurie

    I’m so tired of people calling Bella anything less than a good rolemodel! First of all, she is the character in a work of fiction she is not meant to be the example of how women or young girls should live their lives! Her sole purpose is entertainment as a fictional character!!

    If you think that Bella Swan is a weak character that loses her identity when she loses her love, I beg to differ! Bella is a teenage girl who is so madly in love with the love of her life that when she loses him it sends her into a deep depression! I wouldn’t call that losing her identity, I would call that a normal reaction! She is fighting not to lose the memories of the emotions and feelings that her relationship with Edward brought her! She is hanging on the best way she knows how. And eventually she begins to come around with the help of a good friend. I don’t know about you,but I’ve seen exactly this sort of thing play out in real life many times. Being crushed by loss does not make you a bad rolemodel!! It makes you HUMAN!

  • Ok, so I was with you for a while there. I love what you had to say about the House of Night series. I adore these books, they are wonderfully written and they do empower women and capture the imagination. I do however have a problem with something else you said. About the character of Bella Swan. Did you read the Twilight books? I’m honestly just wondering because you say that she tries to kill herself and that just plain old doesn’t happen. Does the love of her life leave her? Yes. Does she sink into a deep depression? Again, yes, she does. Does this mean she’s weak or a bad role model? I don’t believe so. Bella does her very best to keep going and pretend like she’s ok. She doesn’t want to worry her father. Have a heart, the girl not only lost her boyfriend, she lost her best friend, (his sister) and the whole future she thought she had waiting for her. How would you react to that? Would you keep going like nothing happened? You’re a better person that me if that’s the case. I believe Bella to be a strong character who goes after what she wants and protects those she loves from danger. Is this a bad thing?? I wasn’t raised to think so.

  • Emm

    Hi Laurie and Melissa, thank you for taking the time to comment and read. You’re obviously both great fans of the Twilight Saga which is great but as you both said, Bella is a fictional character and this was not a Twilight review so I won’t comment further.