I’m back! Sorry for the long absence — life happens. And this time around I read a book that had been on my shelf for a while, part of a series that I’ve also been following for a while.
If you follow trends in YA, you’ll know that the House of Night series by P.C. Cast and her daughter Kristin has had almost unprecedented success. The writing duo have managed to write 10+ books in about five years, most of which made it on The New York Times best seller lists. Nevertheless, just like any type of media, keeping the popularity going for so long is difficult. If Goodreads reviews are to be trusted, many people have lost interest in the series.
For me, it’s my guilty love-hate relationship. I obviously have not stopped reading the books, but I am far from their cheerleader. In my first draft of this post I had an in-depth comparison between my feelings for the House of Night series and my feelings for Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie.” I’ll spare you the nitty-gritty and just say that it came down to three things:
I’ve liked the books (music in regard to JT) in the past and, despite problems, anticipate their releases after ever lengthening gaps between them; but then, reading the new books, I am annoyed with characters and frustrated with unnecessarily complicated plot lines; but again, I read the books because I’m not one to typically stop mid-series so I look at the books redeeming qualities.
The first problem is that I hate Zoey Redbird … which is a problem because she’s the main character. I am constantly annoyed with her decisions or lack thereof, when it comes to her “guy problems” and even her “save the world” problems. I hate her and not the characters who you’re supposed to find annoying, like Aphrodite.
The other main problem is the length. I find myself forgetting details from the first few books. But there a funny thing — the first few books could disappear and you wouldn’t be missing much. The plot in the last books is completely different from in the first. It’s one thing to develop and complicate a story line, and it’s a complete different thing to not even recognize what started it all in the first place. On top of this, it seems like nothing happens from book to book. “Hidden” for example is only two or three days worth of action. How did that make up a whole book you ask? The point of view changes every dozen pages so you hear what every character thinks about any one decision. This tactic was necessary when they started introducing multiple story lines, but now it’s muddling and working against them.
“Hidden” unsurprisingly conforms to all of these problems but is flecked with gems of humor and genuine character development. You just can’t help but laugh at some of the “Okie” charm.
My advice: If you are critical of books or often don’t finish books/series, do not start reading the House of Night series. But, if you have an open mind or enjoy typical YA with teen drama and supernatural catastrophes, you might just pick up these books and not want to put them down.
What books are on your love-hate/guilty pleasures list?