Loved (House Of Night Otherworld trilogy book 1 of 3) by P.C. & Kristin Cast (book review).

March 26, 2021 | By | Reply More

With series of books, particularly urban fantasy, being longer than the traditional three-book set, it is possible to wonder whether the authors conceived the story arc that many of them have or if it grew out of the initial work. Finding that the characters have much more to do to resolve their particular set of issues is not unusual. A created environment is often much larger than the initial concept. Different characters bring new ideas and approaches to the situation.

While there are series, such as Laurel K Hamilton’s ‘Anita Blake’ series, which move along the understanding of the characters and help them grow, there is not necessarily a clear end point, whereas in Charlaine Harris’s ‘Sookie Stackhouse’ novels, there was.

P.C. and Kristen Cast introduced readers to the ‘House Of Night’ sequence in 2007 with ‘Marked’. In this world, some youngsters are marked spontaneously with a facial tattoo. It indicates that they are a proto-vampyre. Although there is suspicion between humans and vampyres, this situation is a fact of life and those marked need to go to a House of Night to complete their education. There is effectively segregation between the two groups. Zoey Redbird is part-Cherokee and, when she reports to the Tulsa House of Night, she falls in with a group that is known as the Nerd Herd. After twelve books, after tragedies and triumphs, she and her friends have defeated evil and are working on bettering human-vampyre relations.

The authors have returned to the ‘House Of Night’ in ‘Loved’. As this series is YA, Zoey and her friends are late teens and have been exploring their sexuality as well as magical powers. As ‘Loved’ opens, it is the eve of Zoey’s eighteenth birthday. A dream which she regards as a true sending suggests that something bad is on the way.

At that point, she doesn’t realise that she is being manipulated. Aphrodite, who is a prophetess of the Goddess Nyx, has a vision of something even worse, the suggestion of a zombie invasion. Neferet, who used to be the High Priestess of Nyx when Zoey was first marked, turned to Darkness in order to become immortal and rule the world. She has been walled up in a local park.

When Zoey discovers that her friends are on their way for a surprise birthday party, they decide to strengthen the protections around Neferet’s tomb. Unfortunately, Aphrodite’s estranged mother turns up with a film crew claiming they are performing black magic, an almost prophetic statement as Zoey makes a slip at a crucial moment in the spell and a hole opens in the ground and a horde of red-marked vampyres pour through from another dimension. These have all the characteristics of zombies, having an insatiable hunger for human flesh and a contagious bite. Mayhem ensues.

This volume has a couple of extras. The question and answer session between the authors and the fans contains interesting information but the exam-like discussion questions are off-putting and take away the overall enjoyment of the book. It does contain a number of important themes. The marked youngsters are a diverse community form a range of ethnic backgrounds and blossoming sexualities, all of which are accepted without hesitation. It is the human characters, especially Aphrodite’s mother, who show extreme prejudice.

This particular book follows fairly closely from the earlier series so in order to understand the nuances of the characters concerns it is probably better to start at the beginning.

Pauline Morgan

March 2021

(pub: Head Of Zeus. 364 page small enlarged paperback. Price: £ 8.99. ISBN: 978-1-83893-382-1)

check out website: www.headofzeus.com

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Category: Books, Fantasy

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