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YMMV / The House of Night

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  • Anvilicious: In Betrayed, there's one point where the conversation about a missing teenage boy is put on hold to talk about how un-cool he is for experimenting with pot.
  • Arc Fatigue: Neferet is the primary villain of the series and is plotting to Take Over the World. Zoey and her friends realize Neferet is evil and vow to stop her in the second book, Betrayed. There are ten more books in the main series after this and stopping Neferet is the protagonists' primary goal the entire time. Notably, in-universe only about a year passes, but the books themselves were published over seven years. A lot of readers have mentioned finding the books more of a drag to read around the halfway mark, especially as they tend to be padded out with Zoey's romantic drama rather than actual plot progression.
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  • Archive Panic: There are twelve books in the main series and four books in the Other World sequel series. In addition to the full-length novels, there are four prequel novellas, a five-issue comic book and two companion guides. Some readers have mentioned giving up on the series several books in when it became clear the resolution was nowhere in sight (not helping is that many reviews agree the quality of writing goes increasingly downward, at least with the original series).
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: In Chosen, Zoey has two guys run down with a truck just because they posed a threat to Heath. It is never mentioned again.
  • Character Perception Evolution: When the series began publication in the late 2000s, Zoey was initially viewed as a flawed yet admirable protagonist: a smart-mouthed, strong-willed teenager who stood up to corrupt authority figures and tried to do the right thing as she struggled through adolescence. By the late 2010s, opinions of Zoey have largely become more negative, especially due to the cultural backlash towards Not Like Other Girls. Readers are critical of her judgemental, holier-than-thou attitude - especially towards other girls - particularly when her own behavior is either no better or worse. Zoey's witticisms come off as mean-spirited or even bigoted to readers, and her hypocrisy and self-centeredness results in a rather warped moral code. It's also noted that Zoey just tends to be handed new abilities or solutions, as opposed to working towards them herself. Overall, many readers now see Zoey as being an insufferable jerk with a side helping of internalized misogyny; she's even drawn unflattering comparisons to Ebony Darkness Dementia Raven Way.
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  • Common Knowledge: Lots of people believe the books were co-authored by P.C. and Kristin Cast (which is understandable considering the books are all printed with both names on the covers). Kristin Cast actually just served as an editor for the books (in particular advising her mother on how to write teen characters, given she herself was a teenager when the books were written) and P.C. Cast was the sole author.
  • Designated Hero: Zoey comes across as an awful person, constantly belittling other people in her narration, slut-shaming other women, and being extremely hypocritical (see Unintentionally Unsympathetic below). She has a habit of judging people as good or bad based more on how she personally feels about them as opposed to their actual actions; for example, she views her former best friend as an asshole simply for dating her ex-boyfriend (when Zoey already had a new beau), while she is happy to overlook Kalona being a Serial Rapist and thinks he's a good person deep down simply because he loved her in a past life and she still finds him attractive. She also tends to be a rather passive heroine, who achieves her goals or gains new skills thanks to divine intervention from Nyx more so than her own efforts.
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  • Designated Villain: Kayla makes a whopping two appearances and is promptly branded a man-stealing jealous bitch by Zoey as a result. Kayla's crime, really, is hooking up with Heath after Zoey tells her several times, in no uncertain terms, that she's broken up with him. In Betrayed, Zoey acts like Kayla was being horribly spiteful and irrational in going to the police after witnessing Zoey drinking Heath's blood, and then having Zoey threaten to do the same to her. To really hammer this point in, Zoey's friends (who never even met Kayla before) begin referring to her as "skank-bitch Kayla" after learning that she went to the police.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Stevie Rae, Rephaim and Kramisha are quite popular with the Fandom.
  • Escapist Character: The series is filled with these. The vampyre race is persecuted by humans, despite being superior to them both physically and aesthetically (and having superpowers). Because vampyres are more creative and passionate than any human, they are responsible for nearly all intellectual and artistic advancements, ever. They're all incredibly wealthy, and so socially progressive that their society is ruled entirely by women. Most importantly, upon reaching puberty, a human may be chosen by Nyx and taken away to become one of these glamorous creatures of the night (to be fair, though, this same process may kill them).
  • Hype Backlash: These books were quite popular during the paranormal romance craze kicked off by Twilight in the late 2000s and early 2010s, becoming bestsellers and there being talk of a movie or TV adaptation. Some fans even stated it was better than Twilight because Zoey was perceived as a more proactive and strong-willed protagonist than Bella Swan, as well as being Hotter and Sexier with a more diverse cast. However, as noted by many former fans of the books, the House of Night series didn't age too well on account of the rampant amounts of sexism, slut shaming, rape apology, and other problematic content. Zoey herself tends to be perceived as rather judgemental and mean-spirited with an obnoxious Not Like Other Girls attitude, which is more heavily criticized these days. It's also been pointed out that the diversity of the main cast is undermined by the fact that characters like Shaunee and Damien tend to come off as stereotypical tokens; Zoey herself is part Cherokee but tends to slip into Magical Native American stereotypes (on top of coming across as Unintentionally Unsympathetic). Many readers have argued that while Twilight has its issues, House of Night is comparatively worse.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: The fact that Zoey and her friends use ritual circles to defeat the villain in just about every book (sometimes more than once in the same installment) gets very repetitive and dull for some readers, who wish the author would come up with more creative or unique ways to resolve conflict.
  • Jerkass Woobie: While Aphrodite is a gigantic bitch, you have to feel bad for her from having abusive parents. It's also unfair how she's called a slut or hoe, even though she's only has been in two relationships. (And actually serious about the second one!) Not to mention her seizure-like visions, which don't seem to be very pleasant for her (if only because she constantly is forced to watch scenes of death and destruction) and cause her parents to bully her even more into using them to gain leverage and power. She also becomes more pitiable when it becomes more apparent that she is having visions of something very horrific on the way and seems aware to some degree that Neferet is involved and can't be trusted. Oh, and Neferet covers her own ass by ruining Aphrodite's reputation even more than it already is, spreading the word that her visions are fake and telling Aphrodite that she has lost Nyx's favor (more or less the equivalent of a teacher telling a student "You did something so bad that God hates you now).
  • Narm:
    • Near the beginning of Chosen, shortly after Zoey gets a present from her boyfriend, Heath, saying she doesn't like gifts that combine her birthday and Christmas, comes this from the stereotypical gay guy of the group:
    "I like snow globes," Jack said softly, looking like he was about to cry. "The snowy part makes me happy."
    • A lot of the dialogue in Dragon's Oath rhymes unnecessarily. So you get sentences like this:
    "You have cut my heart with your sword,
    "Bryan Dragon Lankford!"
  • Offending the Creator's Own: A complicated example. The series has been criticized for the way it portrays people of color, in particular black people and Native Americans, with accusations of stereotyping and tokenism. Kristin Cast, who helped create and edit the series, is biracial with Nigerian ancestry, although the books were technically written by her mother P.C. Cast, who is white.
  • Older Than They Think: While detractors frequently mock "vampyre" as a blatant Xtreme Kool Letterz invention of the author, the term was used as far back as 1819 before "vampire" was common enough in English to have a standardised spelling.
  • Paranoia Fuel: If you were a fledgling, you would never know that your body is rejecting the Change, until you start coughing up blood. Then, in about 10 minutes, you would be dead and then there's nothing that anybody can do.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: Marked had Zoey get a hot boyfriend and try to fend off her ex-boyfriend, but it was still mostly about Zoey becoming familiar with the vampyre world. Betrayed put more focus on Zoey finding herself having three boyfriends at once, but the vampyre plot still had more attention and importance. Chosen is when this trope fully emerges, with Zoey's juggling of her three boyfriends taking up as much space as the much more interesting plot with Aphrodite and Stevie Rae, if not more. It tapers off for a bit after Zoey finds herself boyfriend-less at the end of Chosen, but is back with a vengeance in Hunted, with Zoey even getting a new suitor to fill the place of the one she lost. It's probably telling that the most highly rated book of this series on Amazon is Untamed, the one where Zoey's love problems don't take up a large part of the plot.
  • Sequelitis: A lot of readers agree that the first three or four books are decent but that things go downhill from there; the most common criticisms are that the story gets dragged out far too long (discounting the spin-offs, there are twelve books in the series) and that the issues surrounding Zoey's love life tend to overtake everything with more interesting plots getting neglected or shunted to the side.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: There are some readers (mostly detractors) who have noted the House of Night series almost seems like an unofficial adaptation of My Immortal reworked into an original piece, due to the strange similarities between the plot, setting and characterization in both stories (e.g. the main character is a teenage vampire attending a school of magic secretly run by an evil teacher; she also befriends a group of outcasts, frequently rages against the popular kids, is juggling numerous love interests, is The Chosen One with all kinds of rare abilities etc).
  • Squick: Zoey's 'romance' with Blake; not only is he 25 while she's just 16, he's also her high school teacher who is fully aware she has an age-appropriate boyfriend. His treatment of her is textbook grooming, including telling her how 'special' and 'different' she is, treating her more like an adult peer than his young student, giving her expensive gifts etc. The whole relationship comes off as extremely creepy even without the revelation Blake is in league with Neferet...and he's sleeping with her as well.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Side character Aphrodite, a snarky yet sympathetic Lonely Rich Kid who begins as an Alpha Bitch but genuinely matures over the story's course, overcoming parental neglect (and the stress of her precognitive abilities) to become a good person and Zoey's Token Evil Teammate.
    • Stevie Rae, a compassionate Wide-Eyed Idealist who is killed early into the story, resurrected through dark magic, and becomes the disillusioned leader of the red fledgings. The glimpses we get of her descent of insanity (and eventual climb out of it) are quite interesting.
    • Speaking of Stevie Rae, a whole novel could be written about the red fledgings (outcast from everything they've ever known, seemingly abandoned by God, yet staying sane and retaining their personalities...).
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot - The following subplots have not been/were not really resolved:
    • Zoey and her Christian Fundamentalist mother (her mother was killed by Neferet as of the most recent book).
    • The High Council and the election of a new Vampyre High Priestess
    • The Twins and their respective boyfriends. One stood up against the Raven Mockers, the other didn't.
    • The Rogue Red Fledglings and the secret orders they're receiving from Neferet.
    • The potential war between Humans and Vampyre, which if declared will be The End of the World as We Know It. As the story stands there is still considerable tensions between the two parties due to the recent murders of two professors (see Van Helsing Hate Crimes), which still haven't been solved in-universe.
    • Neferet's motivations for doing the things she's been doing. Broken Bird turned Well-Intentioned Extremist or was it just For the Evulz?
    • In the series' setting humans and vampyres openly live side-by-side and any human teenager has a chance of being Marked and turning into a vampyre. As well as standing out from many other young adult vampire series which tend to take the hidden society approach, the fact in this world humans have always been aware vampyres are real seems like it would have a profound impact on various areas of society. However, the series never really delves into how the open existence of vampyres affects the world; in fact, beyond no one batting an eyelid at vampyres, occasional tension between humans and vampyres due to violent acts committed on each other's species and most of humanity's greatest achievements being attributed to vampyres, the setting seems little different from our own world.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic:
    • There's the briefly-shown Kayla. She was Zoey's friend when Zoey was human, and supposedly "betrays" her by dating Zoey's boyfriend, Heath, unfairly sending the police to investigate Zoey in the wake of several murders, and forming a "Bitch Posse" with a group of not-nice female classmates. Thing is, Kayla began dating Heath after Zoey repeatedly said how she had dumped him, her going to the police was logical since Zoey openly threatened to drink Kayla's blood (and Kayla saw her drinking Heath's blood), and the alleged "Mean Girls" she befriended are never introduced, so there's nothing to go off of, save Zoey's word that they're "hateful sluts".
    • In Chosen, Erik's reaction to finding out that Zoey slept with Blake is over-the-top, with him repeatedly calling her a slut and a two-timer, while she cries about how he's so different and hurting her so much. Later, Aprodite accuses him of hating on Zoey just to boost his own ego, which is treated as her rightfully calling him out. The thing is, after Zoey spends the past book and all of Chosen sneaking around with two other men, Erik being angry with her comes across as pretty justified. Not to mention that everything he tells her (that Blake didn't actually love her, that he was obviously using her, that he'd dump her the instant he was tired of her, and that Zoey was kinda stupid not to notice) turned out to be true.
    • Becca, a House of Night Student, in later books is supposed to be horrible, going so far as to try to hit Zoey after Zoey calls her a bitch for mocking Zoe for being dumped by Erik. Zoey and co mock her for thinking Stark is hot and not realizing Kalona is evil. But Becca is a victim of mind control and sexual assault by Stark, who would have done worse had Zoey not show up. (While she doesn't remember it, a) that doesn't make it better, and b) Zoey saw it, and as High Priestess should be a lot more concerned about it, rather than babying Stark and telling him how he's still good inside.) Becca's being persecuted by the nominal protagonist for...not immediately snapping out of Kalona's evil magic and finding a boy Zoey likes attractive. The boy who tried to rape her, let's not forget. She's a victim of terrible things that she's currently unable to feel the horror of, meaning that when she finally is able to feel it it'll be ten times worse...but the book makes her out to be the problem.
    • Elliot. We're supposed to hate him, he's a pudgy redhead with acne, as opposed to all of the "hot" vampyre guys whom Zoey lusts after? Oh, and he sleeps in class, which probably has nothing to do with blood loss from the Dark Daughters constantly feeding on him. For these unspeakable crimes, Zoey calls him "that horrid Elliot creature" and even the teachers get to publicly call him out for not being "special."
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Zoey and her friends. The group as a whole are supposed to be outcasts known as "the nerd herd", but it's hard to see them as that when all of them are given extra-special powers directly from the vampire goddess. All of them have a tendency to be pretty rude to each other (most often it being the Twins constantly making gay jokes at the expense of Damien and Jack), which is meant as friendly ribbing but doesn't really come across as such.
    • Zoey herself is extremely judgmental, dubbing many female characters (including ones we never even see in the series) as "sluts" and "hos", constantly making disparaging comments about the behaviors or appearances of people in various groups (this includes, but is not limited to, goths, emos, chess club members, cheerleaders, people who use too much eyeliner, people who smoke marijuana, women who give blowjobs, people with bright red hair, girls who take dance class, and homeless people). She's incredibly shallow, constantly focusing on outward appearance first and foremost. She constantly complains about suffering stress from the various hardships she has to deal with, but she herself does virtually nothing to solve the problems herself. Instead, she waits until the end of the book, when Nyx magically tells her what to do and gives her the powers to do it. We're also supposed to pity her terrible home life, except that ridiculous stepfather aside, her complaints about her siblings are that her sister is having lots of sex, and her little brother plays violent video games.note  When we see her meeting her mother on her birthday, she constantly reacts in a condescending manner, and makes no effort at all to reach her mother halfway on any attempts made to bond with her. She often responds to even minor disagreements by calling up her magic to show off how powerful she is, which is supposed to make her seem badass and a strong leader but actually seem like temper tantrums.
    • Stark's journey of redemption after turning into a Red Fledgling, working for Neferet, and trying to rape a girl is clearly meant to be powerful and sad. However, he never really confronts what he did after swearing himself to Zoey (who decides he's "different" now, which, given the compressed time span of the books, takes somewhere around a week), and the way the authors demonize Becca, the girl he attacked and actually have him threaten this person, and have it supposed to be romantic because he's Zoey's love interest...let's just say it's not working.
    • Stevie Rae also gets this, as she only pays lip service to keeping the Red Fledglings from killing people, even though as a High Priestess with a strong Earth affinity she absolutely has the power to enforce real consequences. This is compounded by the fact that, like Zoey, she'll call Earth when people are mean to her, but hasn't used her powers to actually keep the Red Fledglings in line.