01/01/2011. Contributed by Pauline Morgan
pub: Atom/Little Brown. A House Of Night series book 3. 322 page small enlarged paperback. Price: GBP 5.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-90554-33-8.
check out websites: www.atombooks.co.uk, www.littlebrown.co.uk and www.houseofnightseries.co.uk
A whole section of writings, in all genres is often labelled ‘Rite Of Passage’. It is meant to convey the idea that the young protagonist has somehow taken on the mantle of adulthood by the end of the novel. Amongst mainstream works is William Golding’s ‘Lord Of The Flies’, where a group of boys have to fend for themselves revealing their natures that are hidden beneath the veneer of civilisation. Many of the more sensational autobiographies utilise the theme of the narrator overcoming terrific odds to become a balanced personality (in their eyes at least). Graham Joyce in such novels as ‘TWOC’ and ‘The Limits Of Enchantment’ has young characters who, through no choice of their own, encounter life changing situations. It is the way that they deal with the obstacles that determines what kind of person they become. Adolescence is the chrysalis that decides if the emerging person will be a butterfly or a vine weevil, a ladybird or a clothes’ moth.
Good young adult novels also have their characters developing from the carelessness of childhood into adult responsibility. ‘Chosen’, the third novel of this sequence, ‘A House Of Night; by the mother and daughter team of P.C. and Kristen Cast is a turning point for many of the characters.
The first person narrator is sixteen year-old Zoey. In the last three months, she has been marked as a fledgling vampyre, forced to leave her home for a boarding school (probably the best part of the deal), ousted the class bully and seen her new best friend die. She has also imprinted her ex-boyfriend, acquired a new one and discovered that her mentor, the High Priestess of the vampyres, is not as nice as she appears to be. To cap it all, her birthday is Christmas Eve which she considers to be the worst day in the year to have been born. In the past, everyone has tried to squeeze birthday and Christmas into one event. Perhaps this year will be different. As she finds out, this is the start of a very bad section of her life. A lot has been heaped on Zoey by Nyx, Goddess of the Night, in a very short time. Nyx, though, has not finished with her yet. There are a lot more trials in store for her before she can relax. Zoey’s path to adulthood is sudden and fraught with obstacles.
The girl that Zoey displaced as leader of the student group, Daughters and Sons of Darkness, in volume 1, ‘Marked’, is Aphrodite. She started out as a spoiled, needy brat, wanting her own way in everything, and largely getting it. Now, however, all her so-called friends have deserted her and Neferet, the High Priestess, has declared that her visions are all false. She has become the school’s Cassandra. Fortunately, Zoey believes her and acted on her visions in volume 2, ‘Betrayed’, even though she has promised not to say where she got the information to save her grandmother and rescue her human ex-boyfriend. To grow, Aphrodite has to trust Zoey and atone for her previous misdeeds by following the path Nyx has laid out for her.
Stevie Rae, Zoey’s best friend, has a more difficult path to tread. At the end of ‘Betrayed’, she apparently died, her body unable to complete the change to full vampyre. As Zoey has discovered, Stevie Rae has not died but has become a creature more like the human vision of a scary, blood-sucking killer. Zoey believes that Stevie Rae has retained some of her humanity and can be saved. She has to trust Zoey to help her. Zoey, however, feels that she can trust no-one, not even her friends, in case Neferet hears what she is doing and tries to stop her. The one time she does trust someone, she discovers she has made a very big mistake. It is tough being a teenager and for fledgling vampyre Zoey, tougher than usual.
This is an excellent, addictive young adult series addressing many of the problems of adolescents encounter as they begin to struggle with the problems of being an adult. This is a good writing team creating authentic young people coping with the problems not only of their hormones but their unusual situation.
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