House of Night Book 6: Tempted

by P.C. and Kristin Cast

I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation, with smart reviews for modern readers on Sirius XM Book Radio. The book is Tempted by the mother-daughter writing team P.C. and Kristin Cast.

I first talked with the authors of the House of Night series a few years ago, and it’s always interesting to see how time changes writers, particularly since the daughter half of the team, Kristin, is only now getting out of college — she’s a baby!

In the case of the Casts, the success of their young adult fantasy series has made them both busier and more stressed, yet also mellower and more confident. Mom P.C., who does most of the writing, is finding ways to stretch her gang of young vampires, hangers-on, fallen angels, bad boys and good girls in terms of both plot and style. And I think it’s worth mentioning that these are some of the least vampiric vampires you’re likely to meet in print — I thought so when I read the first book and I still think the Casts might have been better served by coming up with a different name for them. The House of Night itself — a sort of boarding school and training academy for new made vampires — is matriarchal and spiritual, heavy on ritual and light on drained corpses.  Personally I’ve read enough about angsty eternal teens so the fact that our heroine Zoe and her friends fall well outside the vampiric norm is good news, giving the Casts room to let the characters grow and change — the opposite of your traditional vampire, who specifically does not change.

In Tempted, the 6th book in the series, the gang is off on another breathless series of adventures, with much more about the transformation of some of them into a new and potentially more dangerous life form. We also find out more about the fallen angel Kalona and Zoe’s link to him. Another thing I particularly like about P.C.’s writing is the ambiguity of her bad guys. I’m never really sure where my sympathies should lie, and I’m often wrong about who the real demons are. Ultimately the best thing about this series is the resolute message of both girl power and inclusiveness at the House of Night, where students are surrounded by weirdness on the kind of scale that renders being simply a teenager seem kind of normal. That’s good news no matter what you turn into after dark.

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