This year I joined the 2017 Witch’s and Witchcraft Reading Challenge.
In 2008, I began reading the House of Night series. I read books 1-9 and half of book 10 before Witchlette was born. I haven’t read novels for pleasure since then. In joining this challenge, I knew I wanted my first “book” to be the tail end of this series.
The story takes place in an alternate Universe where Vampyres are real: a separate species that evolves from humanity and this evolution takes place without siring but bather through Marking. The Vampyres as a whole are very spiritual beings very devoted to their goddess, Nyx, and participating in very Wiccan rituals. The plot follows Zoey, a high school student who has been Marked. She very quickly becomes a favorite of Nyx with an affinit to all 5 elements. Her closest friends make up her Circle and each has an affinity to one of the Four natural elements. Her group expands over time to include a former mean girl turned prophetess, a warrior boyfriend, a fallen angel foe turned ally, a few unnatural beasts, and some nuns. Her story becomes more complex as the evil professor, the big bad for the whole series, tinkers with the growth of young Vampyres and making her own new breed of Red Vampyres, compared to the typical blue Vampyre. The setting is Tulsa, Oklahoma at the finishing school for Vampyre Fledlings as they complete the evolution, called the Change, and learn about their history and culture, and take classes such as Magick, horseback riding, archery, and drama in addition to literature and history. We learn that most of the most beautiful/famous people have been Vampyres, like Cleopatra.
The big bad is the evil professor, who evolves herself to go from Vampyre priestess and head mistress to evil witch to immoral darkness. As the series goes on, the book becomes slightly more predictable when it relates to the evil professor. It reaches out to Zoey’s Cherokee heritage and relates to the Magick found in Tulsa native people.
A huge missed opportunity is with the taking on of the fictional Westboro Baptist, called People of Faith who are against the Vampyres and dismiss the evolution, which is depicted as something akin to natural progression, as evil and unclean. It seemed during the first two books, the authors were going to go down the road of looking at faith as follow what I believe to be good in my idea of good versus faith in something else and being a good person. Zoey’s stepdad is an elder of the group and wants to bring her to them after she is Marked because they can “save her”. The topic is revisited in the second book, but is not mentioned again until the end, and only then in passing. In book 8, we learn Zoey’s mom left her husband because of his infidelity she tries connect with her daughter. This is the biggest form of proof that the “faith” doesn’t practice what they preach but it is not done explicitly. I understand why- books that seemed as if they directly targeted a mainstream faith would be received in very poor light. But it is still a missed opportunity.
The best line of this series is “Not everything dark is evil and not everything light is good” in an attempt to break the typical align met of good and evil. Even though the Vampyres worship the goddess of Night personified, and she exudes light and love rather than darkness and selfishness.
I have already pre-ordered Norse Mythology by Neil Gailman as a follow up to Myths of the Norsemen by H. A. Guerber and Gods of Asgard by Erik Evensen.