jeesh, what a poopie book
I have been avoiding the House of Night books for a long time. I always pick them up when I'm waiting in the checkout line at places like TJ Max and Target, but for some reason something (probably the cheesy jacket copy, or maybe memories of some really atrocious Amazon reviews on these books that I've come across) always holds me back from purchasing. I happened to come across a copy at my local library the other day, however, and finally decided to take the plunge.
And now I feel justified in having resisted for so long.
I'll start with the one good thing I can say about this book, the first in the House of Night Series (and the last that I will be reading): the myth is interesting and unique. I'm not talking about the concept of a vampire finishing school (sorry, I refuse to type out "vampyre." Presumably the authors thought this bizarre spelling might give the book a sort of mysterious, medieval-ish edge, but actually it just looks ridiculous, especially when words like "poopie" and "ohmygod!" pop up continually on the same page as "vampyre"). Sorry...back to the topic. Yes, the vampire myth presented in this book is a unique one; I liked the idea of the Amazons being ancient vampires, of the matriarchal society, the goddess Nyx, all that. It's a creative idea and had a lot of potential.
Unfortunately, the allure of the myth was completely overshadowed by the absurd and grating vocab. I realize that as a 24 yr old, it's been a little while since I was in high school, but I have a hard time imagining that the vernacular has changed so much since my teenage years that words like "jeesh," "poopie," and "hell! hell! hell!" are now making their way into nearly every sentence a teenager utters. I get that PC Cast is a bit removed from the generation she's writing about, and is trying very hard to make her characters sound their age...but for me, the language seems totally forced, unnatural, and dumb. I really couldn't get past it.
Another serious stumbling block for me was the main character and narrator, Zoey. When the book begins, Zoey is dating the high school football captain--yet she continually refers to cheerleader type girls as "barbies" and makes fun of people for dyeing their hair blond. It doesn't really make sense; usually the football quarterback's girlfriend wouldn't be so surprised and put off by these types of things...even if she chooses to resist them herself. Additionally, from almost the beginning of the book, we're given the impression that Zoey is "special" - even among vampires, she is somehow superior. For me, this seemed more like "telling" than "showing" on the part of the author. Zoey just didn't really have any character traits that seemed all that remarkable. She never really felt like a real person to me. Maybe she is developed more in the next books...I guess I'll never know.
The final and perhaps most severe problem I had with the book is that it was extremely boring. Solidly half the book takes place during one day of classes at the House of Night, during which there is absolutely no action. We see Zoey go to drama class, English literature class, fencing class, etc. It's like the beginning of a Harry Potter book, minus the characters we love (or love to hate), the unbelievable creativity, and the exciting feeling that something major is about to happen.
To be honest: I made it 2/3 of the way through this, and then skipped to the last chapter. The end was unsurprising, and did not leave me breathless (or even vaguely interested) to find what might happen next.
1.5 stars (the extra .5 is awarded because of the creative take on the vamp myth).
Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition. (September 29, 2009)