Sunday, April 03, 2011

The Fledgling Handbook 101 by P.C. Cast with Kim Doner

In the world of The House of Night, any teenager might wake up one day to find themselves marked and fated to become a vampire. When they do so, they must leave their previous life behind and move into a House of Night, one of the many schools for Vampires, which have classes at night and are closed during the day. And, upon entering the House of Night, fledgling vampires will be given a handbook to guide them in learning about their new lives and the history of their new races.

But until now, we haven't gotten to see what is actually contained in such a handbook. This book is the book you would get if you were to be marked and go to a House of Night. The book opens with a number of quotations from famous vampires, and includes an introduction to what it means to be marked, and the fact that not all marked fledglings become full vampires. Sometimes their bodies reject the change, and they die. This is only to be expected.

The first part of the book covers the material facts of the change, along with sigils to show the different years of enrollment in the House of Night, a discussion of the Sons and Daughters of Night, the Sigils for teachers, and what each of those sigils mean, as well as the warrior bond. There are pictures showing how a normal human differs from a fledgling, and a full vampire, and how each forehead tattoo will differ, based on the affinity of each vampire for their element.

From there, the book moves on to rituals, discussing each element, and relaying a story about it, plus examples of tattoos from vampires touched by that element. Air, for example, shows how the Dark Daughters started, and gives their induction ritual. While Spirit tells the story of Heracles and Hyppolyta and tells how to break an imprint.

Then, a discussion of when you were born and which element will imprint you. Most of the year is taken up by the first four elements, while Spirit is limited to about 20 or so days during the year. Then a brief history of some better known vampires, and some pictures and inspiring quotes from famous vampires, along with their markings. The book ends with comforting words that despite the often-frightening changes that are occurring in their lives, the new fledgelings should be strong and take comfort in their goddess, Nyx.

This was another interesting book, as I love the entire house of Night series. While it's not a book you really need to get to complete the series, but it fleshes out the history of vampires and allows readers to pretend even better that they are a part of that world- if they want to. Otherwise, it gives the world more backstory and allows for small mythological/historical stories of vampires in the world and fleshes out the various looks of vampire markings, and how one can tell their connection to an element through the markings they wear.

Despite that, it's rather long for a handbook (it's the size of a small book rather than a pamphlet), and the art and pictures that accompany the text are very nicely done. I would be interested in finding out why certain dates are considered to be assigned to spirit. Some I get: they are the 8 major Sabbats of the Wiccan/Pagan faith, but the rest seemed a bit more random, and I am hard put to figure out why they are assigned to spirit.

That being said, this is an awesome companion book to the House of Night series, with plenty of pictures and lore to flesh out the world of Zoey and her friends. I hope that someday soon, they will clue us in on what is happening with the Red Fledgelings/vampires. I mean, they are undead, but what is their ultimate purpose? Will more be born if and when Neferet is defeated/dies? In any case, I enjoyed it, but I'd rather spend my money on the actual books rather than this adjunct, so i got it from the library. Recommended, but unless you are obsessed with the series, you'll probably want to get this from the library, like I did.

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