House of Night (series) - The Vampyre World

The Vampyre World

(NOTE: Instead of vampire, the authors use the variant spelling vampyre throughout the book series. This convention is also applied to the words vampyric and vampyrism.)

In the fictional world of House of Night, a small percentage of the world's teenagers are changed into vampyres when adolescent hormones trigger a strand of what is otherwise junk DNA. The change from human to vampyre takes four years, during which time the adolescents, known as "fledglings," must attend one of the "House of Night" boarding schools. While there, they are required to take the Vampyre Sociology 101 course to learn the dangers they face. If a fledgling is not in constant proximity to adult vampyres, the fledgling will die; so the fledglings rarely leave the school. About one in ten fledglings die anyway, since their bodies cannot tolerate the Change. For those who survive, there's a big reward: in the words of one of the authors, "Vampyres are like Superman. They’re super-gorgeous. They’re super-talented. They’re super-men."

Vampyres and fledglings are not destroyed by sunlight, as in many vampire novels, but it is painful to them, so classes at the House of Night are held at night. Fledglings are marked by a sapphire blue crescent-shaped outline on their foreheads; when they become full-fledged vampyres, this mark becomes solid and they receive more 'tattoos' which extend over their cheeks (these usually represent some personality aspect; for instance, Zoey's equestrian teacher, Lenobia, has tattoos that look like horses.) Zoey is the only fledgling to receive a filled-in mark and tattoos. As she defeats evil her tattoos extend over her shoulders, down to her lower back, around her waist, down her arms and palms, and across her chest. Older fledglings and adult vampyres need to drink small quantities of human blood, but House of Night vampyres do not attack humans to get it. The taking of blood is pleasurable for both human and vampyre, and may lead to a strong bond, called "Imprinting" between the two. When an imprint is broken, it causes major pain between the vampyre and human.

Some of the issues that Zoey and her friends face are not covered in Vampyre Sociology 101. They are issues faced by real-life human teenagers. Zoey keeps some secrets from her friends and gets in trouble with them, forcing her to consider the nature of friendship. Kristin Cast said that these moral dilemmas were included because "those are issues teenagers deal with." She continued, "We're not afraid to discuss things that are actually happening." As it happens, this kind of exploration of human nature and identity, its meaning, essence and boundaries, form a subtext to most contemporary vampire novels. "The point we wanted to make," said author P.C. Cast, "is acceptance and tolerance and also that teenagers can make mistakes and recover from them." While these issues might not be discussed in the Vampyre Sociology class, they form a backdrop to the novel.

Read more about this topic:  House Of Night (series)

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