Izzy and I thought it would be fun to hold a chat discussion about the series as a whole rather than do reviews of the whole series (plus a whole series review would require re-reading every single book in the space of not enough time.)
Warning: There is minor spoilage if you have never read the series or are completely unfamiliar with it.
izzy: First question, how did you discover this series?
jehara: my sister bugged me to read it. She ended up lending the first book to me. She physically put the first book, Marked, in my hands because I wasn’t getting to it fast enough. She also did this several months later with the first book of Vampire Academy, and we all know how that turned out. 😉
izzy: Ooh, word of mouth! That’s good. I discovered via B&N. When I got my Nook they had the first two on sale for $2.99. Since I’m cheap and they sounded good, I bought them. So did you get into them right away or did it take a few chapters?
jehara: It captured my attention fairly quickly. When I am confused, when things are not following the normal mythology (in this case vampires) my curiosity is piqued.
izzy: I know what you mean. I liked the idea that it started out as a virus, but that it was out in the open. I thought that was neat. Kind of like a cool leprosy.
jehara: Oh yeah, that was different. I also liked that the vampires are out in the open. I found it interesting that vampires are tracked and subsequently marked. They don’t become vampires by the tradition I-suck-your-blood-then-you-suck-mine route.
izzy: Right? It was such a different spin.
jehara: And don’t forget about the magic!!! This is also what I loved about Vampire Academy, different mythology and magic!!!
izzy: I also liked that many creative types (actors, writers, etc) are vampires. See if we were in that world we both totally could have been vamps. (note: izzy and jehara were theatre majors together at university). I could have totally rocked that school uniform.
jehara: Hee Hee. You so would have. I love that their society revolves around a goddess. Being a vampire is not necessarily being evil, and you don’t have to kill people to live.
izzy: All very good. For the benefit of our readers, should we give a brief summation of the events up to now?
jehara: That would probably be helpful. haha
Wherein Izzy and Jehara Do a Joint Summary
izzy: Okay, let’s start with the general plot of the first book. Zoe (our protagonist), a human, is very sick with what sounds like the flu. She is at school hanging out with her best friend when she is approached by a vampire and marked. This was confusing to me upfront, but kept me reading because it was interesting (jehara’s note: me too). Basically, the vampire told her why she was sick (she has the vampire virus) and in a very traditional way “marked” her. and that’s when everything changed.
jehara: she gets a really cool crescent moon tattoo on her forehead to show she is marked, although it is not filled in as she has not turned into a full vampire. (side interjection-izzy: And can I say that’s the way to get a tat? With no pain? jehara: Right?!! They truly are a gift from the goddess. Love it!) She is a fledgling vampire and must go to vampire school now that she has been marked. She has to be around adult vampires in order to complete the change, otherwise she will die. (She may die anyway. Not all vampires make it through the change.)
izzy: I found it interesting how her friends and family (except Grandma Redbird!!!) suddenly treated her so differently. It’s a great way of playing with prejudice-the way she’s suddenly shunned at her human school. She goes home and delivers the news to her mom and stepbeast. They immediately start their phone tree, so they can pray the virus out of her.
jehara: Oh man, the way her mom reacted really made me so mad. It also reminded me of what some gay kids may experience when coming out of the closet to super religious families.
izzy: Right! I think that part of it was really well done. Her mom and stepbeast made me really mad too. Where was the compassion? I mean, everything was changing for Zoe, and her mom was so concerned with how it would look to others. So Zoe leaves her house and drives the distance to her Grandma Redbird’s. Grandma will understand. Zoe knows it. When she gets there, though, Grandma is out in the lavender field, but there’s a note on the door for Zoe from Grandma to come in and wait. I like this too-this relationship where Grandma Redbird knows Zoe is coming over. She can feel that she is upset without even speaking to her.
jehara: Yes!!! I LOVE the relationship between Zoe and Grandma Redbird.
izzy: I think that is the kind of relationship every young woman should have with someone they look up to. My Grandma Redbird is Faithie (jehara: awwwww) only she’s neither old nor Native American. But we do sometimes get those inklings that the other person needs us right away. And Faithie is always there.
So back to the story: Zoe is walking around Grandma Redbird’s property and she gets hurt. Her spirit falls into a crevice and she meets, for the first time, the goddess Nyx. (Izzy’s note-This is when I realized how completely different this vampire mythology would be in comparison to the more traditional stories.) When Zoe comes to, she is at the House of Night (HoN) and is greeted by Neferet, who will quickly become very important to her.
And here endeth our summary. Neither one of us wanted to give too much away, but we agreed that this was a great launching pad for the rest of our discussion.
izzy: So let’s go right into the mythology then. What do you think of Nyx?
jehara: I ❤ her. Although I have moments where I feel frustrated by her. But I like that she helps Zoe in her mission. After all, she gave Zoe this mission. She certainly didn’t ask for it. She basically tells Zoe in that first meeting that there are important things to be done ahead of her. Instead of abandoning her to struggle through the mission by herself, she does come to her in times of very great need, which is what you would want from your goddess, yes?
izzy: Definitely! I also like that it’s based in choice.
jehara: Yes. I like that too, although I have to say that I got really mad at Nyx at the end of of Dragon’s Oath. (izzy: LOL!!!!) I get that deities are cryptic and sphinx-like, but I felt like she could have said something more to him in his moment of despair than the paltry words she gave him, especially as he was on the brink of making a very bad decision.
izzy: Yeah, I can see that but maybe also there’s nothing she could have said that would have changed his mind. The whole point in this is that she does give her children a choice.
jehara: Oh absolutely. But it seemed like he was asking for help, asking for something and what she said just wasn’t enough. But yeah, grief does that.
izzy: Perhaps any more than she did would have tipped the scale. The choice had to be dragon’s. But I know what you mean. I was really upset by that because Dragon is one of my favorite characters. Do you have the book? What was the exact response?
jehara: It starts with Anastasia’s spirit talking to him. She asks him to remember his oath at the beginning of the book. Then we are taken through the chain of events and what she is referring to. We, the reader, are able to understand the importance of the oath. Nyx doesn’t actually have anything to do with it. Anastasia expresses grief at his rash decision (trying to remain vague so as not to give spoilers).
izzy: So, the question is, did he deliberately misunderstand Anastasia? Because he takes his oath seriously.
jehara: Then when he sees Nyx, he asks for her to let Anastasia remain. Nyx says: You must be brave, to find the peace you crave. This response royally pisses him off, thus he makes another rash decision. Um perhaps, I misremembered a bit due to the severe rashness of his second decision. I just remembered a short interaction with Nyx.
izzy: Me too! Obviously his sin is pride. Very similar to Kalona in a way.
jehara: Yeah, I got mad that she couldn’t have offered more comfort than be brave and find peace.
izzy: But that’s all you get when someone you love dies.
jehara: true. . .
izzy: What else could she have given? I still think there is time for Dragon to reconsider. He can take back his words, but it has to be his choice.
to be continued. . .