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Book Review

Book Cover



Author: P.C. & Kritin Cast
Publisher: Head of Zeus
385 pages
RRP: £8.99
ISBN: 978 1 838 933821
Publication Date: 06 February 2020

Much has happened to Zoey in the run up to her eighteenth birthday. Now heading the Tulsa chapter of the House of Night she is trying to forge links of understanding between the Vampires and their human neighbours. Warned thorough dream visitations and prophetic visions, it seems that something nasty is on the way for the Nerd Herd…

Loved (385 pages) is the first in a new series of fantasy novels centred on Zoey Redbird, a young feisty vampire and her gang of friends. The book was written by P.C. & Kristin Cast, who have previously published a dozen novels set in this alternative world. The book is part of a new young adult series.

This was a really odd novel. In most cases when authors collaborate they try and smooth the differences between their styles and presentation. This novel most certainly feels like it was written by two people.

Our initial introduction to Zoey and her group is made unusual by its presented characterisations. These people are supposed to be eighteen, and yet for the first third of the book they speak and behave like a bunch of fourteen years old’s, and not even convincingly. Either this is how an adult thinks an eighteen year old sounds, or its cultural dissonance creeping in. The whole two nations divided by a common language. Either way I cannot see many fourteen year olds, let alone anyone who is eighteen, who is likely to identify with these characters.

Then something happens. About a third of the way into the book they change to something which is much more recognisable as characters, who while still young, hold positions of authority and so behave with a certain amount of gravitas. It was at this point I gave up the idea of abandoning reading, what was coming over as a sub quality YA novel, and settled into a more enjoyable fantasy story.

For anyone who has not read the series, the world is somewhere between Harry Potter and the American Horror Story’s Coven (2013 – 2014). So, you have the central idea of schools of vampires dotted across the Americas.

The story is set in or near to the year it was written, which has the unfortunate effect that every pop reference will already be getting old by time of publication and in five years it will make the story feel dated.

Whilst the central theme is love, I didn’t find Zoey a particularly compelling character. A far better exploration of both the pain and joy which love can bring is played out through Damien. I cannot tell you how, as this would spoil a massive plot point. That said, I thought Damien the most interesting character in the book, quickly followed by Aphrodite and her issues around her human mother who is running for mayor.

Fans of the franchise will no doubt be thrilled that there is another series kicking off. The book works well as a stand-alone novel, but, personally, I found the changes of tone and character traits too jarring.


Charles Packer

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