Review: Chosen by P.C. and Kristin Cast

Review: Chosen by P.C. and Kristin CastChosen by Kristin Cast, P.C. Cast
Series: House of Night #3
Published by ATOM, St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 352
Genres: Paranormal YA, Young Adult
Source: Purchased myself
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Also in this series: Marked, Betrayed, Tempted

SPOILERS for previous books!

Dark forces are at work at the House of Night and fledgling vampyre Zoey Redbird’s adventures at the school take a mysterious turn. Those who appear to be friends are turning out to be enemies. And oddly enough, sworn enemies are also turning into friends. So begins the gripping third installment of this “highly addictive series” (Romantic Times), in which Zoey’s mettle will be tested like never before. Her best friend, Stevie Rae, is undead and struggling to maintain a grip on her humanity. Zoey doesn’t have a clue how to help her, but she does know that anything she and Stevie Rae discover must be kept secret from everyone else at the House of Night, where trust has become a rare commodity.

Speaking of rare: Zoey finds herself in the very unexpected and rare position of having three boyfriends. Mix a little bloodlust into the equation and the situation has the potential to spell social disaster. Just when it seems things couldn’t get any tougher, vampyres start turning up dead. Really dead. It looks like the People of Faith, and Zoey’s horrid step-father in particular, are tired of living side-by-side with vampyres. But, as Zoey and her friends so often find out, how things appear rarely reflects the truth…

Thoughts: I have had such a roller-coaster ride with the HoN series. I was stunned (not in a good way) by Marked, blown away (in a good way) by Betrayed – and then I wanted to burn Chosen.

Seriously.

This was by far my least favourite book. It put the series on hold for me, and I likely would not have continued had it not been for the fact that I had already bought the rest of the series after reading Betrayed. I have to say, the books do return to the mediocre-yet-addicting quality of Betrayed… but you have to get past this thing first.

What made this book so bad was the unimaginable stupidity of Zoey. Along with this stupidity came the extraordinary stupidity of her friends – all of whom failed to realise that they were equally as dumb. In fact, the only one with any sense at all was Aphrodite… but of course no one listened to her because she is such a “poo-head.”

*sighs*

Bottom line? Read the a summary of the book on-line and then skip ahead to Untamed.

Review: Evermore by Alyson Noel

Review: Evermore by Alyson NoelEvermore by Alyson Noel
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 306
Genres: Paranormal YA, Young Adult
Source: Purchased myself
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Since a horrible accident claimed the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever can see auras, hear people’s thoughts, and know a person’s life story by touch. Going out of her way to shield herself from human contact to suppress her abilities has branded her as a freak at her new high school—but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste…

Ever sees Damen and feels an instant recognition. He is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy, and he holds many secrets. Damen is able to make things appear and disappear, he always seems to know what she’s thinking—and he’s the only one who can silence the noise and the random energy in her head. She doesn’t know who he really is—or what he is. Damen equal parts light and darkness, and he belongs to an enchanted new world where no one ever dies.

Rec for people who love:  Twilight-esque romances

Thoughts:  Okay, let me start by saying that the writing in Evermore was excellent.  Alyson Noel has buckets of talent when it comes to writing.  I know a lot of people have criticized this book for being too similar from Twilight.  But honestly, I found it not similar enough!  While with Twilight, you love the book because you love the characters – I just couldn’t love these characters.

My problem was with the romance.  Ever, our heroine, was wonderful.  A bit thick-headed at times, but identifiable and in a very real amount of pain from the loss of her family.  That she then inherited a debilitating “gift” made her suffering all the worse.  It was refreshing to read about a heroine who is just as supernatural as her love interest!

But then there is Damen, the “hero”… yeah, I was not so keen on him. We never really understand his motivations – and considering his actions usually made him seem like a total asshole, I really needed some kind of explanation for his behaviour.  It was frustrating, and even Ever thought so!  Thing was, she was in love with him despite all her attempts to forget him completely.  I had no such luck!

Bottom line?  Great writing, lackluster romance.  I do plan on picking up the sequels and remain hopeful that Damen will grow on me!

Review: Betrayed by P.C. and Kristin Cast

Review: Betrayed by P.C. and Kristin CastBetrayed by Kristin Cast, P.C. Cast
Series: House of Night #2
Published by ATOM, St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 400
Genres: Paranormal YA, Young Adult
Source: Purchased myself
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Also in this series: Marked, Chosen, Tempted

Things seem to be going pretty well for Zoey Redbird. She's settled in at the house of night finishing school and is coming to terms with her incredible new powers. It all seems too good to be true. And guess what?
Someone has been murdering human teenagers and all evidence points to the vampyres at Zoey's school. Which means her first assignment as the leader of the dark daughters is finding out which one of her classmates or teachers is a killer.

Sigh. And she thought her boyfriends (yes, plural) were going to be her biggest problem this year....

Rec for people who love: Vampire Chick-lit, and people who miss their high school days.

Thoughts: Yet again, as with The Dead Girls’ Dance by Rachel Caine, the second book in the series has convinced me to enjoy it! Betrayed made me laugh, made me – surprisingly, even though I sob pretty easily – cry, and, all-in-all got me out to the store to buy the rest of the series.

Admittedly, the writing is almost painfully, er, un-good. Most of the characters are rather simplistic stereotypes, and the Casts remind us of the events of the last book – and at times the last chapter – to distraction. But the writing flows, so reading through the bits you don’t enjoy does not take too long.

In my review for Marked, I complained about the books painful realism. And while the characters are still very much the same as they were in the last book, for some reason I found the same realism refreshing. Having Zoey sit in a Starbucks and talking about Brokeback Mountain, well… it was actually kind of enjoyable.

As for the romance mentioned in the summary, it is very well done. Having Zoey juggling three guys at once I found amazingly acceptable. Instead of sitting through the scenes wondering what these three guys see in her, I instead can understand what she sees in all three. Hell, I might not have done any different in her shoes.

Villain wise, the Casts have really taken it to the next level. Zoey learns to empathise with those she hated, and comes to realise the people she considered allies may not always have her best interest at heart. Hell, the book is called Betrayed, which kinda gives you an idea how it goes!

All in all, a huge improvement over the first in the series, but if you hated Marked you probably still aren’t going to enjoy Betrayed!

Review: Marked by P.C. and Kristin Cast

Review: Marked by P.C. and Kristin CastMarked by Kristin Cast, P.C. Cast
Series: House of Night #1
Published by ATOM, St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 368
Genres: Paranormal YA, Young Adult
Source: Purchased myself
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Also in this series: Betrayed, Chosen, Tempted

When sixteen-year-old Zoey Redbird gets Marked as a fledgling vampire she must join the House of Night school where she will train to become an adult vampire. That is, if she makes it through the Change. But Zoe is no ordinary fledgling. She has been chosen as special by the Goddess Nyx and discovers her amazing new power to conjure the elements: earth, air, fire, water and spirit. When Zoey discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school's most elite group, is misusing her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look within herself to embrace her destiny - with a little help from her new vampire friends.

Rec for: People over 17, and vampire chick-lit.

Thoughts: I was in a wee bit of shock for the first couple of chapters of this book. The teenagers are just such teenagers it was almost painful. Drunk, back-stabbing, swearing, fornicating teenagers.

I wanted to put it down – mostly out of shock – but what kept me going was the universe. In the acknowledgements at the start of the book, P.C. Cast thanks her editor for the words “Vampire Finishing School” – and I have to thank her too. They have created a very unique universe in an already saturated genre; kind of Harry Potter meets Anne Rice. Admittedly, I had to suffer through a variety of excruciatingly boring religious rituals before I could bring myself to appreciate the verse. Not only are the rituals long and tedious, but they also form a pretty central part of the story. Which means skipping ahead is a no-no if you want to understand what on earth is going on.

So, having said that, what did I enjoy? Well, the main character, Zoey, is a pretty likable gal who honestly wants to do what is right. Had we gone to school together, I would have really liked her – even though on paper she is a rather typical heroine. Her gang of merry men are also pretty adorable – and YAY for a gay teenager (her buddy Damien) being featured in a popular YA novel. Also, the token nemesis, Aphrodite, is extraordinarily villainous (although no where near as bad as Monica from the Morganville Series).

All in all, it was an OK book. There’s some potential in the series, so Betrayed is already in my basket!

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