1/12/2010. Contributed by Pauline Morgan
Betrayed (A House Of Night series book 2) by P.C. and Kristen Cast. pub: Atom/Little Brown. 392 page small enlarged paperback. Price: GBP 5.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-90554-32-1.
check out websites: www.atombooks.co.uk and www.littlebrown.co.uk
There are many reasons why authors would want to collaborate. Not all of the combinations are successful. There are as many ways to do it as there are authors willing to try. Sometimes a collaboration occurs when an author dies, leaving only notes for the end of a book or, in some cases, just notes. A number of people have tried to complete Charles Dickens unfinished novel ‘Edwin Drood’. The problem is not only not knowing what Dickens intended, but also trying to adhere to his style. Christopher Tolkein composed ‘The Silmarillion’ largely from his father’s notes. It shows. Anne McCaffrey’s collaborations are of a different kind. Usually, she has written the broad synopsis of perhaps twenty thousand words, then turned it over to her collaborator to put the flesh on the book, allowing them to stamp their own personality on it but acting as a consultant for continuity purposes. With her ‘Pern’ novels, written with her son Todd, this has developed into him taking over the franchise.
There have been cases where one author admits to having got stuck with an idea and willingly hands it over to someone else. In other cases, the person with the idea, freely admits that they do not have the skill to turn it into a publishable novel. Sometimes, though, authors will work together, sparking ideas of each other resulting in a work that is far better than each could have achieved on their own. P.C. and Kristen Cast are one such pair. P.C. is an experienced author of fantasy novels and has had the time to develop her skills. Her daughter Kristen has the knowledge of youth culture that make the books in the ‘House Of Night' series authentic.
In a world where some people begin to change into vampyres at puberty, there is often a conflict between them and the families they leave behind. Teen-agers marked by the outline of a blue crescent moon on their foreheads need to report to the nearest House of Night or risk a painful death. That death may come to them anyway but they have a better chance of survival among adult vampyres. When Zoey was marked on the first volume of this series, ‘Marked’, she leaves behind a boyfriend, Heath, and a family which includes a step-father who thinks she can be cured by praying over her. She is relieved to leave her family behind and quickly makes new friends. She finds she is a rarity in that she has an affinity for all five elements (the usual four plus spirit) and uses her new power to depose the nasty bully.
At the start of ‘Betrayed’, Zoey has been made leader of the Dark Daughters and Sons by Neferet, the High Priestess of Nyx, the vampyres’ goddess. Zoey is determined to do a good job and turn the group into a kind of school council. Her problems, though, have only just begun. In ‘Marked’, she managed to accidentally imprint Heath by licking his blood from a scratch and he is now obsessed with her, despite the fact she has told him that there can be no future in their relationship. She has also acquired another boyfriend, the fledgling vampire Eric Night. Her love-life is complicated more when one of the teachers, Loren Blake, begins to take an interest in her, against the rules. As if she didn’t have enough to cope with, a human boy goes missing and is later found dead with scratches all over him and his blood drained. She had met him on a number of occasions when she dated Heath. When a second boy goes missing, the police turn up at the school wanting to question Zoey as someone who knew both the boys. Some have a suspicion that vampyres were responsible. When Zoey sees Neferet with a fledgling who everyone believes had died, she realises that there is something unpleasant going on around the school and the goddess, Nyx, is leading her straight into it.
Like the previous novel, ‘Betrayed’ is a good, fast-paced tale which will appeal to the young adult (especially female) audience it is aimed at as well as any other reader wanting something not too taxing. The main problem, as in ‘Marked’, is that Zoey has only been at the school a very short time. This takes place in the second month after her arrival, the authors heaping all these misfortunes upon her in a very short space of time. Like all teen-agers, she needs some time off from the angst of growing up. Warning, this series can be addictive.
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