BOOK REVIEW: Awakened (House of Night series, Book #8), by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Read: February 27 – March 2, 2011
Genre: YA Supernatural

Series
1. Marked
2. Betrayed
3. Chosen
4. Untamed
5. Hunted
6. Tempted
7. Burned
8. Awakened Goodreads | Amazon
9. Destined
10. Hidden

SYNOPSIS
Exonerated by the Vampyre High Council and returned to her position of High Priestess at Tulsa’s House of Night, Neferet has sworn vengeance on Zoey. Dominion over Kalona is only one of the weapons she plans to use against Z. But Zoey has found sanctuary on the Isle of Skye and is being groomed by Queen Sgiach to take over for her there. Being Queen would be cool, wouldn’t it? Why should she return to Tulsa? After losing her human consort, Heath, she will never be the same—and her relationship with her super-hot-warrior, Stark, may never be the same either… 

And what about Stevie Rae and Rephaim? The Raven Mocker refuses to be used against Stevie Rae, but what choice does he have when no one in the entire world, including Zoey, would be okay with their relationship? Does he betray his father or his heart? 

In the pulse-pounding 8th book in the bestselling House of Night series, how far will the bonds of friendship stretch and how strong are the ties that bind one girl’s heart?

My Thoughts (May Contain Spoilers)
Is this series over yet?

The 8th book in the House of Night series, Awakened is the second-to-last book before the finale (at least, that’s what I thought—correct me if I’m wrong)!

Can I get a woo-hoo? Continue reading

BOOK REVIEW: Burned (House of Night series, Book #7), by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Read: May 10 – 13, 2010
Genre: YA Supernatural

Series
1. Marked
2. Betrayed
3. Chosen
4. Untamed
5. Hunted
6. Tempted
7. Burned Goodreads | Amazon
8. Awakened
9. Destined
10. Hidden

SYNOPSIS
Y’all need to get yourselves together. Here’s a newsflash from the only High Priestess you have left at this dang school: Zoey isn’t dead. And believe me, I know dead. I’ve been there, done that and got the fricken tee-shirt. 

Zoey Redbird is the youngest High Priestess in House of Night history and is the only person—vamp or fledgling—that can stop the evil Neferet from raising all kinds of immortal trouble. And she might just have a chance if she wasn’t so busy being dead.Well, dead is too strong a word. Stevie Rae knows she can bring her BFF back from her unscheduled va-cay in the Otherworld. But it’s going to take a lot more than hoping to bring Zoey back. Stevie Rae will have to give up a few secrets of her own…

My Thoughts (May Contain Spoilers)
I have to admit it: As much as I love the House of Night series, it’s really starting to bug me.

First off, the reference to the TV show True Blood on the FIRST PAGE of the 7th instalment, Burned, irked me. If you want your work to be timeless, don’t insert current pop culture into it. There were also references to Paris Hilton and Barbie dolls, which was just a filler conversation in the novel, if you ask me. It’s just not necessary – the book should be able to stand on its own.

Second, I don’t understand why the Casts’ have to make Damien, Jack, and Zoey seem like such babies when throughout the novel there are people who act like adults – outright swearing and not just being a baby about everything. The weepiness and the lovey-doviness between Jack and Damien is really starting to get to me. And no, it’s not a gay thing, it’s just annoying. Yes, we all know that Jack is shy, but after he speaks out, it’s not necessary to point out how much his day is brightened when he’s encouraged by Damien. Once is fine, but after each time is just a little much. I also don’t get why some characters swear and act like adults and then we see Heath and Zoey saying things like “bullpoopie” to one another. It’s just wrong.

I honestly expected more from Zoey in this book – like more “screen time,” so to speak. But after seeing the interaction between her and Heath (who I couldn’t stand since day one, by the way) I was happy that the book focused more on other things.

Now that I’ve gotten those things off my chest, I’ll talk about the thing I loved.

Rephaim. Oh dear, dear Rephaim. Am I the only girl who has totally fallen in love with this half-bird/half-man? The whole story arc between him and Stevie Rae was great, and that’s not just me being a romantic. I love that they save each other and openly claimed to their elements that the other belongs to them. The part that really had me was when Stevie Rae couldn’t get back to the House of Night, so she stayed at the mansion with Rephaim. However, for Rephaim, the sky is where he feels comfortable, and for Stevie Rae, the underground is where she feels most comfortable. If Stevie Rae isn’t underground, she could die in the daytime. When Rephaim gathered up his nest on the top floor of the mansion to move underground where Stevie Rae was, I was so ready to fall apart. I just love him so much. It’s such a great message to show that you can go against what you’ve been nurtured to be in order to do right – Rephaim went against the Darkness just to be with Stevie Rae. I really hope that Rephaim can find himself worthy of love and come back to Stevie Rae – and that her friends can accept him.

And in the end there was one man: Stark.

Can I just say how much I’ve loved Stark since he first came into the series? I know that for some crazy reason, the Casts’ will find a way to bring Heath back, but it was like Zoey changed when she healed Stark in the grove – she grew up and took her place as a queen and it was all just so beautiful. Yes, it might have been a very quick 360-degree spin, but to see her grow up in an instant was worth it.

And Aphrodite! I couldn’t believe how much her character had grown since meeting her in the first book. She truly is fitting into her roll as Prophetess and I’m happy that she still has a snarky attitude, but only when necessary. She has the makings of a leader and that’s definitely a good thing.

Oh, and just a writing thing that’s been bothering me – why is it that when it’s Zoey’s time to speak in the novel, she’s the narrator, but then whenever anyone else is speaking (which bugged me – if the point of view is Stark for one chapter, why have more than one header reading ‘Stark’?), they’re never the narrator? It was a little off-putting, especially considering Zoey wasn’t that prominent a speaker in the novel.

Anyway, as ticked off as I was when I finished reading Tempted, the last novel in this series, I was very happy when I finished reading Burned. Even though I know something is bound to happen with Kalona, Rephaim, and Neferet in the future books, it’s nice to have some finality to this book.

The next installment (Book #8!), Awakened,  isn’t due out until January 2011 – I’ll have to wait that much longer to get my Stevie Rae/Rephaim and Zoey/Stark fix!

Author Links
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BOOK REVIEW: Tempted (House of Night #6), by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Read: November 2009
Genre: YA Supernatural

Series
1. Marked
2. Betrayed
3. Chosen
4. Untamed
5. Hunted
6. Tempted Goodreads | Amazon
7. Burned
8. Awakened
9. Destined
10. Hidden

SYNOPSIS
Zoey needs a break after some serious excitement. Sadly, the House of Night school for vampyres doesn’t feature breaks on its curriculum—even for a High Priestess in training and her gang. Plus juggling three guys is no stress reliever, especially when one is a sexy Warrior so into protecting Zoey that he’s sensing her emotions. Wider stresses lurk too, and the dark force in Tulsa’s tunnels is spreading. Could Stevie Rae be responsible for more than a group of misfit fledglings? And Aphrodite’s visions warn Zoey to stay away from the immortal Kalona and his dark allure—but they also show that only Zoey can stop him. She’s not exactly keen to meet up, but if Zoey doesn’t go to Kalona he’ll exact a fiery vengeance on those closest to her. She just has to find the courage to do what’s necessary, or everything that’s important to her will be destroyed.

My Thoughts (May Contain Spoilers)
I was very pleased with this book. In the past 4 books for the House of Night series, P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast spend a lot of time explaining everyone and everything. By the sixth book, we know where everyone goes to school, we know the characters, we know Kalona and what he’s done, so there’s no need to get into it again.

However, more than half of the book was spent with the House of Night kids plotting what to do with Kalona and then … nothing happened! I expected some kind of battle between Zoey and Kalona and Neferet, but instead, a character was killed off and the Casts left us hanging until the next book, Burning, comes out.

I was surprised to see what happened between Stevie Rae and Rephaim. I was torn between whether or not it was her humanity that wanted to save him, or whether or not there’s still evil in her bones, which is why she didn’t want to kill him. The imprint was unexpected, but I’m curious to see what will happen in the next book between the two.

One thing that is really getting to me is the word usage … we’ve heard “bullpoopie” enough and the phrase “ah, hell” was used more times than necessary. If there will be other swearing in the book, it seems childish to have words like “bullpoopie” seem to be taken seriously. Maybe it’s just me.

In the end, we were left hanging with multiple story lines and nothing really happened in the book. It was a good, quick read, but it would have been nice to have at least one resolution.

Author Links
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