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Book Review: Redeemed
I see myself reflected in the characters
Levaunna Gray
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Redeemed is the 12th and final book in the “House of Night” series by mother-daughter co-authors P.C. and Kristin Cast. The series focuses on the life of the fledgling vampire (spelled vampyre in the series) Zoey Redbird. Zoey is the most talented fledgling of all time because she has the singular ability to conjure up the five elements: wind, water, air, earth, and spirit.

Due to her uniqueness, Zoey becomes high priestess-in-training at the House of Night, the school where fledglings prepare to become vampires. Zoey soon makes friends and finds out that each of them specializes in conjuring up a particular element. Together, they battle their rogue headmistress, Neferet, who has fallen from the path of light and goodness into evil.

Although I haven’t read or watched all of the “Harry Potter” series, I see similarities. In “Harry Potter,” the characters go to school to train to be wizards; in the “House of Night” series, they go to become vampires. Harry is the most powerful wizard and Zoey is the most powerful vampire. They both battle odd creatures and face villianous teachers. Although it might seem like a “Harry Potter” knock-off, the “House of Night” series has distinct differences. First, the kids are vampires which I think is a cool twist. What teenager hasn’t wanted to be a vampire at some point? And second, it also focuses heavily on Zoey’s relationships with the people around her, such as boys, her grandmother, and friends.

Redbird's a Jailbird

Redeemed is set in Tulsa, Oklahoma and starts with Zoey in jail. She is accused of killing two men. While Zoey’s behind bars, Neferet initiates her plans for world domination. She uses her loyal threads of darkness, evil snake-like creatures, to control the minds of some of the workers of the Mayo Hotel, which she’s turned into a temple for everyone to worship her.

Although Zoey is the most powerful fledgling known to vampirekind, in other ways she’s not much different from the average teen. For instance, she has a hard time getting along with her mother, and she has to deal with boy drama. Responsibilities and tasks are thrust on her and she often doubts her abilities to carry them out successfully. I think many teenagers can relate to feeling insecure about handling new responsibilities.

Though Neferet’s not a teen, her fall from the top resonated with me. Before Zoey’s arrival, Neferet was the most powerful vampire. Then Zoey became high priestess and took that title from her. I can relate to feeling like I’m the best then have someone come from out-the-blue and take that away from me. It reminds me of when my little brother was born. For a while, I struggled with no longer being the center of attention. I felt as if I had been forgotten. It was temporary, but it negatively impacted my self-esteem.

image by St. Martin’s Press

Threads of Darkness

One of my favorite scenes takes place at the Mayo Hotel when policemen begin to fire at Neferet, who uses an invisible shield along with her threads of darkness to deflect the bullets. She then puts up a defensive wall around her new
temple. She is full of bravado.

Though she’s the villain and totally in the wrong, it excited me to see Neferet brag, as well as defeat the police with her unorthodox trick (which I won’t reveal). It made me think, “I’d like to be like Neferet when I’m under pressure. She’s the epitome of cool and confidence.” Even though she was wrong, she was fearless and believed in what she was doing. I got from her that you should always stand up for what you believe in, even when the world might not see things your way.

Although the plot is the classic good-versus-evil story, I still highly recommend Redeemed. I think you, like me, will get entranced by Neferet and her actions. I got drawn in and started to anticipate her every move. Or, you might be pulled in wondering how Zoey and her friends will stop Neferet.

I like that the book was written from a female’s point of view because you don’t see that often and I like how it presents women as strong beings. The men are mostly warriors following orders. The females are the ones in charge. The whole book series is matriarchal. The head of Zoey’s family is her grandmother; the vampire society is headed by a female high priestess. They worship a female deity.

This makes sense since the book was written by two women. Because they are actual mother and daughter, it helps to make certain situations more believable. For instance, when Zoey talks to her grandmother about her guilt when she thought that she killed the two men, the advice her grandmother gives is something most moms would tell their child. She tells Zoey that she can sulk about her actions, or she can move forward and learn from her mistakes. This motherly advice might have come from a time when Kristin Cast did something that warranted the same speech.

Redeemed is a page-turner; it has drama, romance and vampires—powerful female vampires. Even though it has some scenes that are predictable, this didn’t take away from the world I was drawn into.

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(NYC-2015-03-23)

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