Many books in my book queue are waiting to be read, and a common theme among is that they’re all part of a series, trilogy or saga. Each Sunday, I’ll share a book from a series. You can read along with me, or add the books to your own reading list. This week, I’ll be reviewing “Untamed” the fourth book in the House of Night series by P.C. and Kristin Cast.
The Horcruxes in Harry Potter. The Eldunari in the Inheritance Cycle. The ancient Native American legend in the “House of Night” series.
What do these things all have in common?
They’re all ridiculous plot devices used late in a series to freshen it up and make the story interesting when it starts to drag.
Just when I thought I’d be treated to more day-in and day-out operations and adolescent babble at the House of Night, P.C. and Kristin Cast decided to introduce some flying raven-men and an ancient legend into the story.
At the beginning, Zoey is trying to get over the deaths of some of the staff at the House of Night. The drama instructor was killed in “Chosen,” along with Zoey’s brief love interest Loren, so the school calls in Erik, Zoey’s ex-boyfriend, to take over as drama instructor. This, of course, makes things awkward for Zoey.
Zoey also is trying to figure out what to do about Stevie Rae and her group of red fledglings. After an incident with Aphrodite, Stevie Rae regained her humanity, but Aphrodite lost her vampyre powers and the mark on her forehead that signified she was a vampyre. Aphrodite can still see visions of the future, and predicts that Zoey is going to die.
Outside of Zoey’s circle of friends, the House of Night is under scrutiny from Shekinah, the head priestess. She’s kind of like the CEO for all of the vampire schools. She’s critical and suspicious of Neferet’s desire to start a war with humankind.
In the end, Kalona, an evil fallen angel with insatiable lust, is released upon the world and Zoey and her friends flee underground with the red fledglings.
I was a little baffled at the story and how the concept of the ancient Cherokee legend was devised out of thin air. I don’t know if the legend P.C. and Kristin Cast used was authentic. It was interesting how it gave the characters something to do. I was worried the story would be a bit draggy, but things really picked up with the introduction of Kalona. I’ll be interested to see what P.C. and Kristin Cast do with Kalona, as well as with Stark, an undead student, and Erik, Zoey’s returning ex-boyfriend.
The series has definitely matured since “Marked.” I could feel it in the dialogue and general atmosphere of the book. “Untamed” is darker and reads more like a romance novel than a teen book. As in the last book, there are some serious sexual themes that would probably not be appropriate for younger teens, even if you can find it in the YA literature section of your bookstore. There’s a good deal more swearing in there, too. Similar to other YA series, I think the authors write it with the growth of their readers in mind.
The next book in the series is “Hunted.” Only three more books in the series to go! I’ve been thinking about tackling “Girl With A Dragon Tattoo” and its subsequent books next. Have you read it, or did you see the “Girl With A Dragon Tattoo” films (Swedish or American)? What did you think?