The Negative Reader

Drinking Tea and Trashing Books

Hello everyone. Welcome to the slow, agonizing horror known as Marked.

Marked is an odd book series. I know no one who read it, no one who admits to liking it, yet the series did surprisingly well for…reasons.

Since I’m in possession of PC Cast’s own book were she talks about the folklore and myths that she’s using, there’s going to be a lot of discussion of that, as well as historic context, and other things that she thinks that she’s being clever about doing. Particularly when it comes to changing around pantheistic religions until they’re all mother goddess vampire worship and ‘feminism’.

Not that I put feminism in quotes because what they are profession honestly is the thing that gives feminism a bad name among the general masses.

Now, I am going to be fair in this. Giving credit where it is due. Sometimes I think I can be a little over angry, and writing my own book has shown me that it takes a lot of work, and I have no doubt that this was the result of work. The question is if this work was well spent.

The Casts

The House of Night is a series of novels written by the mother/daughter team of PC Cast and Kristin Cast. PC Cast is actually an established author, having written such works as the Goddess Summoning series. Most of her stories seem to have similar heavy New Age-y themes, and from what I have gathered in researching some of their interviews, she honestly believes in what she’s writing.

So, unfortunately, for me, she’s a lot like the writer of Shadowmancer, who thought that he could proselytize while writing a good book, much like C.S Lewis did. This isn’t all that uncommon, as Philip Pullman and other writers have attempted to do the same exact thing to varying success. The problem of course is that Lewis was a very, very talented writer and PC Cast is, while decent sometimes, not to the same talents that Lewis had.

Kristin Cast, at the time of this book’s creation in 2007, was a communications major. There is nothing much to say about her other than the fact that PC has flat admitted that Zoey is based heavily on Kristin as a teenager.

Now, co-authorship is not easy. I am doing it with a very good friend of mine. If she and I didn’t have very similar interests and ideas, we’d probably have a lot problems, and sometimes, we have to make compromises. Also, there is the fact that we have to edit things together so that it looks like it has a pretty even flow. She has her ticks and so do I. With an experienced writer and an amateur, I can only guess that it was probably twice as hard.

Here, there are clear times when PC Cast takes over and clear times when Kristin does, and I’m going to discuss when I think those are and what the effects are.

So, let’s dive in.

Cover Impressions


This thing looks like porn no matter how I try to pretend that it doesn’t. It was a shame to have on the bus to school. What I’m going to talk about here is why it looks like porn, what it was actually trying to do, and why it doesn’t do it.

The first thing that really comes to the attention when looking at this thing is the fact that the majority of the book is taken up with black. While there are some nice little designs around it in the physical copy that don’t show up here well, it doesn’t change the fact that this is almost entirely blank space that could be used for something else. The title and the crescent moon are nice enough, and hint at something magical, but the only actual picture here is that of the girl in the upper left corner.

Or rather half of her face, which is staring at me in a way that I think is supposed to be sultry and mysterious, but honestly just looks kind of silly.

It gives me nothing about what the book is going to be like, what the tone of the thing is, or anything else. If anything, it’s promising me sex, since it is formatted much like novels such as the later Anita Blake books, where a woman in a sultry pose is silhouetted against a dark background. The fact that her visible eye is violet does add something to the idea of magic, since it’s a rare color, but honestly it seems more like it would be at home as a Gossip Girl book than what they’re trying to write.

As it is, there is nothing that tells me anything about their being vampires, magic or anything else. I am walking into this, speaking as a newbie reader with no clue other than I should be getting some smut.


The book is dedicated to

our wonderful agent Meredith Bernstein, who said the three magic words: vampyre finishing school. We heart you!

And yes, ‘vampyre’ is spelled with a ‘y’ in this book.

I have no idea why they’re doing this. I looked at the book that I got that was supposed to help me know about mythology and nothing came up. I assume that it is merely because the Casts would like very much not to be connected too closely to the folkloric vampire, or possibly just be connected to the older spelling like in The Vampyre by John Polidori.

That’s probably for the best if it was a distancing since the vampires in this have less in common with the folkloric kind than the ones in Twilight.

The ‘we heart you’ feels as if the Casts are desperately trying to be hip.


So, the first person that the Casts thank is a student called John Maslin who apparently helped with research and giving feedback. So, he basically made crap up and told them that the book was great.

They also add

A big THANKS GUYS goes out to my Creative Writing classes in the school year 2005-2006. Your brainstorming was lots of help (and quiet amusing).

I don’t really know why the caps are there. I guess that a normal sized ‘thanks guys’ just wasn’t enough. I’m pretty sure that this isn’t Mommy Cast taking classes, since she’s already an author. It’s very possible that she was teaching and allowed her class to see some segments. That’s not really cricket, but I’m never seen anything that is overtly against it. Though I’m sure the students were more worried about their grades.

Also, I’d be interested in knowing what level this was. Creative Writing courses on the 200 level tend to be “I need credit and this looks easy” while the upper levels tend to be for more serious writers. The Writer in Residence at my college refused to teach anything that is below 400.

Both thank one another for being wonderful people, and frankly it looks a little self-indulgent. Then again, I suppose that they both think that no one is actually going to read this, so who cares.

Finally, both thank Dick Cast, who is PC’s dad and Kristin’s grandfather for

the biological hypothesis he helped create as the basis for the House of Night’s vampyres.

So, basically the explanation that comes up, but honestly doesn’t make all that much sense within the narrative. It also is mostly disproven since the majority of the focus ends up being on Nyx and preaching about the Casts’ religion.

So, that is the acknowledgements. It’s pretty short this time, so I’m going to let things go. In the next part, we meet Zoey Redbird, her friend, and things get started.

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