Marked Chapter 1

We start off with some acknowledgements to various folks. The mother thanks people from her creative writing classes in ’05 to ’06 and her daughter. They both do this cutesy thing where they each say something nice about the other and pretend they were forced to write it. Then we have an excerpt from Hesiod’s poem about Nix. Because nothing says quality like borrowing poetry that’s barely related to your story.

Just when I thought my day couldn’t get any worse I saw the dead guy standing next to my locker. Kayla was talking nonstop in her usual K-babble, and she didn’t even notice him. At first. Actually, now that I think about it, no one else noticed him until he spoke, which is, tragically, more evidence of my freakish inability to fit in.

That’s the very first paragraph and I already hate this thing. I hate first person perspective and I hate snotty protagonists. PC and Kristin, who shall now be referred to collectively as PCK, have managed to grate my nerves in record time.

Our protagonist, Zoey, is walking along talking to her friend Kayla who’s talking about Zoey’s boyfriend.  Oh pardon, “almost boyfriend”, he football quarter back. Apparenly he drank a lot after they beat some rival high school but she shouldn’t be mad about it.

Alright PCK, if Zoey is one of those extremely fortunate kids who can’t see how good she’s got it I’m going to scream. There’s nothing I hate more than having an author telling me to feel bad for their protagonist when their “problems” are that too many people like them or that their parents just have too much money. Though we do learn that Zoey felt her mother slighted her because she couldn’t stay out and she hates her step dad. A teenager who hates their parents choice of spouse? Way to break the mold there, PCK. If you make him an out of work alcoholic who beats her, you can hit all the major clichés right now. Then Zoey explains why she’s mad at Heath.

“The point is that he was wasted for like the fifth time this week. I’m sorry, but I don’t want to go out with a guy whose main focus in life has changed from trying to play college football to trying to chug a six-pack without puking. Not to mention the fact that he’s going to get fat from all that beer.” I had to pause to cough. I was feeling a little dizzy and forced myself to take slow, deep breaths when the coughing fit was over. Not that K-babble noticed.

How dare he have human failings. If he can’t stay perfectly focused on what Zoey wants then he’s done. And I like how she glosses over his impending alcoholism and complains that he’ll get fat. As if the early grave isn’t so much a problem but the fact she might be seen in public with an overweight guy. Maybe she’ll like him if he switches to meth.

Kayla says it’s too bad he’s so hot and that’s when Zoey, the ever observant protagonist, notices the “dead guy”. She says he’s a vampire—excuse me, a “vampyre”—because she can see his crescent moon mark on his forehead and knot work tattoo on his face. She says that, what’s worse, is that he’s a Tracker with a capital T. And I don’t know if PCK is just ripping off Twilight or if there’s just some latent idea that’s arisen in modern pop culture that vampires—excuse me, vampyres—are good at tracking things down.

Which always makes me wonder, are they just good at tracking people and creatures a la Tanto? Or are they the equivalent of supernatural PIs? Can they help you find the bicycle that was stolen from you when you were ten or that baseball card you lost? Do they get that old fashioned, Sam Spade/Max Payne narration going in their heads?

‘The dame stepped in through the door and shook off her umbrella. She was six feet of trouble, exactly how deep I’d end up if I got mixed up with her…’ ‘Uh, excuse me?’ ‘Oh sorry, I was narrating again wasn’t I?’ ‘Uh huh.’ ‘My mouth had run away from me, just like she was running from something else or worse, someone. We had a bit in common there, I could see it swimming in her eyes like a desperate drowning man…’ ‘You’re doing it again.’ ‘Oh. Sorry. I’m in therapy for that. So, what can I do for you?’

It turns out mister tracker—I’m not capitalizing that crap—is there to deliver an ominous message. A message of doom!

“Zoey Montgomery! Night has chosen thee; thy death will be thy birth. Night calls to thee; hearken to Her sweet voice. Your destiny awaits you at the House of Night!”

Or it will be a vague and stupid snatch of prophecy. If you’ve never read a novel with vampires in it or have recently suffered a head injury you’re probably baffled. The rest of us have collectively groaned because we know she’s going to become a vampire. Oh, and nice way to tell us her full name PCK.

Having this destiny revealed to her causes Zoey immense pain and she passes out. Whoa, stating the obvious can hurt her? Perhaps that means I’m constantly inflicting a low grade torture upon Zoey just by doing this spork. Kayla is of course shocked that Zoey went unconscious but in a twist I didn’t see coming, Kayla knows everything Zoey does. She says he marked Zoey.

“Zoey!” K was really crying now and had to speak between wet little hiccups. “Oh. My. God. That guy was a Tracker―a vampyre Tracker!”

Hmm. I’m oftentimes a little thick but let me get this straight, PCK. Let’s see if I’ve got the situation down so far. That guy was a vampire and he’s a tracker? As opposed to a Geo Tracker or a satellite tracker? Ok, glad we’re all on the same page. Now do you think you can stop repeating it, ladies? And I like how Kayla immediately starts crying so that Zoey appears to be a strong female lead in comparison.

Kayla is disturbed by the whole thing and says that Zoey can’t go there and become one of those “things”. It would only mean giving up her life and becoming a slave to the darkness and feeding on the innocent…oh. Kayla doesn’t care about that. She’s upset because then she won’t have anyone to go with her to football games. Wow, I think I have my nominee for Worst Fictional Best Friend award this year.

Luckily for Kayla her cell phone rings, and her ringtone is Material Girl which feels out of place considering when this was written and these are high school girls. Zoey tells Kayla to go ahead and leave her alone, she’ll be fine. Sure, Zoey will face the shadows alone, Kayla, you go on and ride home with your boyfriend.

Apparently in this world, everyone knows all about the vampires. Being marked means you either turn into one or your body rejects it and you die. If it takes, Zoey will spend the next four years in a vampire high school while her body undergoes changes, vampire puberty I guess.

Zoey pretends to be reluctant about the whole thing. She says she just wants to get good grades and leave her ultra conservative parents and horrible siblings behind when she waves goodbye to Oklahoma…wait, what? There’s a vampire school in Oklahoma? Are you sure you aren’t thinking meth addicts, PCK? That would explain the physical changes like the sudden aversion to light, tooth loss and staying up all night.

Zoey goes into a bathroom and looks into the mirror so the author can tell us what she looks like. I’ll skip it because there’s nothing there. The author sticks to heavy generalities like “wide mouth” and “strong nose”. But we do find out that she’s part native American and she’s secretly pleased she was marked. I’m getting a definite Mary Sue vibe here and I don’t think it’ll get better as we go along.

This entry was posted in House of Night, Recap, Spork and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Marked Chapter 1

  1. maeverin says:

    hm. a Mary Sue story by a mom and daughter. my creepy sense is tingling.

    • vivisector says:

      The worst part is you don’t know who to blame for what. And maybe that’s waht they were going for, plausible deniability. Supposedly, part of the daughter’s job was to make sure the teens sound authentic but I don’t doubt she’s partly to blame for the Sue-ishness of Zoey.

  2. chocolatesamus says:

    Hmm, I don’t think we’ve met the villian yet. That vampyre tracker guy sounds more like a potential love interest. Or a one-shot.

    “Being marked means you either turn into one or your body rejects it and you die.”

    ALSO ripped from Twilight if you ask me.

    “Zoey Montgomery! Night has chosen thee; thy death will be thy birth. Night calls to thee; hearken to Her sweet voice. Your destiny awaits you at the House of Night!”

    Hmm, this sounds like something to me. Like it’s for… advertising. Like it should be delivered by one of those big disembodied voices that announces prizes on The Price is Right.

    • Oculus_Reparo says:

      It sounds like a teaser for an amusement park ride or haunted house–something you’d listen to while standing in line for whatever attraction it happened to be.
      Anyway, there’s nothing I like better than a thee-to-you shift! It positively reeks of class.

      • vivisector says:

        That made me think of that scene in Jurassic Park and I imagined Richard Kiley telling Zoey she’s won the vampire sweepstakes.

        And yeah, gotta love the random, ye, thou, and thee. Because ye olde Englishe-ish adds such weight to the proclamation.

  3. chocolatesamus says:

    Alright, one more…
    Wouldn’t it be a great mindscrew if Zoey DOESN’T turn into a vampire, that tracker guy was just trolling her, and the rest of the story is about the alcoholic boyfriend?

    • vivisector says:

      That would be interesting. He would swap one vice, alcohol, for another, blood. Watching him cope with temptation when it no longer threatens his own life but those around him would be great opportunity for character growth.

  4. Curmudgeonly_Caiman says:

    First off, wanted to say I really love your work. I have literally laughed out loud several times reading over these.

    Ah, the 1st POV fail. As someone who actually writes and adores 1st POV for its potential, these books make me want to challenge authors like these to a duel for my sweet lady POV’s honor. I remember flipping my shit when I read the scene where she looks in the mirror and describes how she looks. NO! BAD PCK! Seriously, that is how I would describe characters when I was in middle school.

    • vivisector says:


      I was surprised they used the bathroom mirror. I was figuring Zoey would catch a glance of herself in a rear view mirror or a window reflection.

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