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House of Night: Legacy Review

7 min read

With great power comes a whole lot of extra homework.

What They Say:
Until recently, Zoey Redbird was an average high-school student worrying about grades, boys, and breakouts. But priorities have a way of changing when you’re Marked as a vampyre, enroll in the vampyre academy House of Night, and have to figure out a whole new social hierarchy, affinities for elemental magic, and physiological changes that make you crave blood! Based on the international bestselling series of novels by mother/daughter duo P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast, House of Night: Legacy follows Zoey and her group of devoted friends as they turn to The Fledgling Handbook, a historical vampyre tome, in hopes of better understanding this big, new world of vampyrism.

Until recently, Zoey Redbird was an average high-school student worrying about grades, boys, and breakouts. But priorities have a way of changing when you’re Marked as a vampyre, enroll in the vampyre academy House of Night, and have to figure out a whole new social hierarchy, affinities for elemental magic, and physiological changes that make you crave blood! Based on the international bestselling series of novels by mother/daughter duo P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast, House of Night: Legacy follows Zoey and her group of devoted friends as they turn to The Fledgling Handbook, a historical vampyre tome, in hopes of better understanding this big, new world of vampyrism.

Creators:
P.C. Cast/Kristin Cast, Kent Dalian, Joelle Jones, Karl Kerschl, Joshua Covey, Daniel Krall, Jonathan Case, Eric Canete, Jenny Frison, Steve Morris

The Review:
Based off the bestselling novel series, House of Night: Legacy takes place in between the first two novels as series protagonist Zoey Redbird struggles to come to terms with the powers she now possesses as a fledgling vampyre and the additional responsibility that the vampyre goddess Nyx has placed on her as she has suddenly been chosen to lead a prestigious order known as the Dark Daughters.

For Zoey this task seems an impossible thing to be tasked with as she is totally unprepared for her new life as a fledgling vampyre to begin with. Now having been singled out by the goddess has placed her into an even more precarious position as there are those jealous of her new role as well as those looking up to a 16 year old girl who has suddenly discovered that a regular puberty with all its trials provides wasn’t going to be the sum total of her troubles.

In order to fully attain her new role the goddess has tasked Zoey with achieving mastery of the five elements have been set before her. Luckily for Zoey she won’t be alone as she has a core group of friends who appreciate her for who she is beyond this suddenly expanded figure who is quickly becoming a sort of legend. With their help she will strive to learn the lessons of mastering the elements that are hinted at in the handbook that the school gives its students, a handbook which delves into some of the vampyres of legend and the trials they faced- and which they did not always overcome.

As Zoey works with her friends at night to study, her day includes encounters which provide both a resonating factor with the stories but which also illustrate why it is that she needs to learn to control her powers as she has a number of heated encounters and the resulting mistimed use of her powers tends to leave bridges that then need some repairing and the handbook provides hints as to how she may attempt to do so. And conflicts there will be, whether they come from the Darkness Daughters former leader, Zoey’s own family whose religious beliefs place them opposite their daughter and the changes that have befallen her, her own impulsive behavior or a cold, hard truth that comes with her current reality which all have the potential to shake Zoey to her core.

Through it all Zoey will have to learn from the past and the wisdom that can be imparted if she is going to be able to rise to the occasion. But does the 16 year old girl have what it takes to learn from her mistakes or will she find herself consumed as some of her predecessors were by the errors that are so easy to make at any age- let alone her current one with both the inexperience of youth and the explosion of hormones that come with it- mistakes which have claimed people far more experienced in years than herself?

In picking up this book I admittedly hadn’t done much pre-research into the title and found myself not entering a simple comic series but a world that has garnered a legion of fans and which I somehow wasn’t paying attention to and had been unaware of before this. Suddenly I thought I was going to have to accelerate from having no knowledge of the series to having to get a bit caught up on the setting to be able to truly get a feel for the world. Fortunately the book doesn’t really require much familiarity with the background as the author does a pretty good job of writing a comic series that doesn’t require knowledge of all sorts of minutia about the cast and their world but which (it seems anyway) will be a tremendous extra from existing fans as they get to see some new aspects and discover a “hidden chapter” in the books they have come to love.

To be honest, had I been a bit more familiar with the series set up I might have passed on this title as there are some parts of the world and characters which frankly don’t do much for me at best and at worst would probably grate if I ran into them otherwise. However, that is one of those “Kind of your problem things” and so after figuring out where the story was coming from I made a conscious effort to set my cynicism aside and approach the story from at least a more neutral position even if I couldn’t come at it from the viewpoint of the target audience and I discovered I had a better time than I thought when I was doing a little back story catch-up.

I tried to dedicate myself to looking at the story as it exists and trying to take the intended audiences perspective into mind while setting aside the cynical voice that was yelling about how certain setups seemed a bit familiar of a certain boy wizard along with a couple other things. This attempt did improve my outlook on the story somewhat as I found the interaction between the characters to be in keeping with the age range that the books tend to be aimed at and while some of the mechanics of the five issues became a little predictable and forced in this format (problem leads to late night studying a story about a similar issue leads to resolution) it isn’t exactly like this is the first comic series- or literature/narrative tale- to run into this kind of a set up issue.

What the series does do well is it very creatively re-imagines some famous (and not so) characters from history to weave in the moral tale that the author has decided to use Zoey to demonstrate. To that end the comic series really stands well as the tales bring to life these ancient characters and they connect to the reader fairly well, even with the re-vamping (no pun intended) of their tales and the morals that the character learns and then applies.

In the end this is probably the kind of story that will appeal more to the existing fans of the franchise or the age group the stories are aimed at, though it does have legs enough to stand beyond just them if one is willing to give it a try. At the same time though it also providing those who are critics of the series with some material that they could use to justify their perceptions of the franchise- but in fairness that attitude isn’t limited to this franchise as pretty much all fanbases have this kind of dynamic at work and stories that appeal to fans also tend to have aspects for those who hate the franchise to use as wedge issues. In the end, the material here isn’t the kind of thing that will come across as Earth shattering to most readers but it is solid and imaginative and when looking for entertainment that is one of the key ingredients that people often go looking for and I have certain encountered much worse in my pursuit of stories to spend some free time on.

In Summary:
House of Night: Legacy brings the hit franchise to another medium and presents the authors a chance to show off a tale of their protagonist while using the colorful imagery that comics provide to give a new feeling and approach to their fans. Legacy is a tale of learning and growing up and it uses rather well crafted and visually impressive scenery to help create a setting to frame and draw in readers as it then delivers some impact with the morals that the main character must learn if she is to live up to the task assigned to her. While some of the morals seem a bit less than subtle the story is crafter for a teenage (ish) crowd and it certainly isn’t any more blatant than some of the superhero stories that have been created over the years. It is probably going to be a release that appeals more to the already existing fanbase but it is one that non fans could pick up and still get some enjoyment out of unless they are already predisposed to disliking the franchise.

Grade: B