Marked, the first novel in the House of Night novels by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast, follows Zoey Redbird’s journey that starts with her being Marked as a vampire.

Unlike other vampire stories, a vampire in this story is Marked by the Goddess Nyx usually when they’re in their teens. They get a crescent moon on their forehead, which fills in once they’ve gone through the change and they also get tattoos to match their personality that form around their face.

But, not all of the teens that are marked get to be a full vampire. Some teen’s bodies rejects the change, and they can die at any time during their stay at the House of Night. This is among the very little knowledge that Zoey has of vampires once she’s marked, and she quickly learns that the normal rules of fledglings doesn’t really apply to her.

After her parents attempt to keep her locked at home once they see her Mark, Zoey runs off to her Grandmother’s Lavender Farm where she falls and hits her head. She has a spiritual meeting with Nyx, and once she awakens she’s told that her Mark has filled in. (Very unusual for newly Marked fledglings.)

After only a short time at her new school, and into her new life, Zoey realizes that there’s something odd going on at Tulsa’s House of Night. Corruption has control and is influencing the school, and two kids die within a day of each other and Zoey sees their ghosts running away from the school.

Zoey also quickly realizes that the Goddess has blessed her tenfold when she goes to her first Circle Casting, when she feels the elements manifest around her as they’re called to the Circle. This is a very powerful gift from the Goddess, one that means that Zoey could one day be a High Priestess.

After overthrowing a fellow fledgling during a Circle Casting, Zoey begins her training as a High Priestess and becomes the leader of the Dark Daughters group. Her Mark is also added to when she gets tattoos on her shoulder, and on her forehead. This is puzzling to everyone, because Zoey isn’t a full vampire. She’s still a fledgling, and the only know one in history to have a full in Mark and tattoos before her change has fully happened.

This series is a refreshing take on vampires, and oozes Girl Power from the way the Goddess Nyx and her religion is portrayed. It’s also refreshing in the way that Zoey is a real character, someone you would actually know in your school days. She’s funny, honest, and always does the right thing.