What if the hottest guy in the world was hiding a nameless evil, and all he wanted was you?
At the start of this heart-pounding new installment of the bestselling House of Night series, Zoey's friends have her back again and Stevie Rae and the red fledglings aren't Neferet's secrets any longer. But an unexpected danger has emerged. Neferet guards her powerful new consort, Kalona, and no one at the House of Night seems to understand the threat he poses. Kalona looks gorgeous, and he has the House of Night under his spell. A past life holds the key to breaking his rapidly spreading influence, but what if this past life shows Zoey secrets she doesn't want to hear and truths she can't face?
On the run and holed up in Tulsa's Prohibition-era tunnels, Zoey and her gang must discover a way to deal with something that might bring them all down. Meanwhile, Zoey has a few other little problems. The red fledglings have cleaned up well – they've even managed to make the dark, creepy tunnels feel more like home – but are they really as friendly as they seem? On the boyfriend front, Zoey has a chance to make things right with super-hot ex-, Erik, but she can't stop thinking about Stark, the archer who died in her arms after one unforgettable night, and she is driven to try to save him from Neferet's sinister influence at all costs. Will anyone believe the power evil has to hide among us?
Cast, best known for her adult fantasy romance titles, enlists the help of 19-year-old daughter Kristin for her first YA book, a teen vampire melodrama that tries a bit too hard to be cool. Zoey Montgomery is "Marked" by a "vampyre tracker" while at school one day, meaning that she too, will become such a creature. Vampirism is an accepted fact of life in this world, but her distant mother and clueless, Christian stepfather don't understand, so she flees to her beloved Grandma Redbird's home. After a frightening encounter with the vampire goddess Nyx, Zoey awakens at the House of Night, a surprisingly dull school with all the usual problems and petty squabbles found in the "normal" world. Girls in this vampire kingdom aren't that different from any other teen milieu: there are fashionista snobs and there are country music fans who have Kenny Chesney posters over their beds. Zoey quickly finds herself running afoul of the former and making friends with the latter. Aphrodite, leader of a group of girls called the Dark Daughters, distrusts Zoey and is jealous of the unusual mark she bears; Zoey learns that the popular girl is using her position for illicit purposes, leading to a power play and ultimately a showdown. There are points of interest along the way-young vampires can die at any moment if their bodies "reject the Change" and Zoey struggles with early-onset bloodlust-but too much time is spent on endless teen-speak conversations and winking asides to the reader. Ages 13-up.