Popular Young Adult Vampire Novel: Marked
Marked is the first book in The House of Night series. In this book, the reader meets the sixteen-year-old heroine Zoe Redbird as she
is “marked” or chosen by a ghoulish vampire tracker at school. She is not too happy to have an outline of a crescent moon on her forehead, but she knows that she needs to get to the House of Night in order to continue living.
Basic Summary of Marked
Her “Bible belt” parents are not too keen on this transformation, so she runs off to her Cherokee grandmother’s house and has an out of body experience. She meets the goddess Nyx during this supernatural experience. Zoe learns that she is special to Nyx and finds that her crescent moon become filled in, which is unusual for most fledglings. A fledgling is a chosen human who has not completed the change to become an adult vampire. Unfortunately, not all teens change properly.
The daily life at the House of Night is switched to evening classes and sleeping during the day. Zoe has classes, just like a real high school. She continues to be distant from her mother and her stepfather, who is an elder in his church. This drives her closer to her grandmother and her new friends.
The climax of this story occurs when Aphrodite LaFont at a Dark Daughter’s ritual tries to cast a circle for a vampire ritual and summons some evil ghosts. At this ritual, they drink wine laced with human blood. Zoe has been inducted into this group. Things go horribly wrong as Heath shows up, and the ghosts want his blood. Zoe and her friends save the day, and Zoe is “marked” with some additional tattoos in the end.
Main Characters in House of Night
Marked introduces Zoe’s friendship circle at the House of Night: Stevie Rae Johnson, Erin Bates, Shaunee Cole, and Damien Maslin. Stevie Rae is her best friend and her roommate. In addition, she starts dating Erik Night, and her ex-boyfriend Heath Luck will not go away. Zoe becomes “imprinted” on Heath because she drinks his blood. In this book, drinking blood is not similar to the Twilight series. It is pleasurable for both the human and vampire. And, the human does not turn into a vampire. The human just wants to be with the vampire even more and the two share a special connection. However, vampires outlive humans.
Zoe’s nemesis in this book is Aphrodite LaFont and her three other mean and popular best friends. They are in the elite club at the House of Night called the Dark Daughter. The director of the House of Night, Neferet, decides to be Zoe’s mentor.
House of Night Series Ideas
Themes in House of Night
The House of Night series has the usual teen motifs, such as mean girls, boy problems, parent issues, making choices, making mistakes, and friendship conflicts. Of course, it is a vampire book, and there are supernatural themes as well. The goddess Nyx is the protector of this sect and is the goddess of night. And, of course, there is magic. Zoe casts a circle, calling water, earth, fire, and wind and spirit. She learns this from her Cherokee grandmother, and uses it throughout the series. Her friends are part of this circle and each represent one of the elements. Zoe represents spirit in the circle.
Young Adult Reading
A note to teachers and parents, the first book Marked has some cursing and a scene where Aphrodite gives male student a blow job. Also, one of Zoe’s male friends is gay and has a boyfriend later in the series. In addition, later on in the series, Zoe does have sex with a teacher, and there are some pretty violent and gruesome scenes. Some parents may want their young readers to hold off until high school to read this series.
This book could become part of a unit on books on vampires or books with a supernatural theme. It is definitely a fantasy book. This book would be great for students to read to meet their Accelerated Reader goal or a book that could be read for a literature circle.
Once students have read this series or one of the books in the series, they could complete a research project on one of the following topics:
- history of vampires
- Cherokee rituals and history
- use of vampires in literature through the ages
- Nyx, goddess of night
- setting of Tulsa, Oklahoma
The book probably will not be for a whole class read. However, teenage girls will enjoy following what happens to the likable main character Zoe and will be intrigued with the vampires, magic and teenage angst.