P.C. and Kristin Cast
Zoey is listen to her friend Kayla babble on about how her semi-boyfriend, Heath, was only drinking to celebrate him leading his football team to victory. Zoey points out that Heath has been drinking a lot lately and she isn’t into a guy whose main goal in life is to get wasted, no matter how hot he is. She isn’t feeling well and hopes she isn’t getting the teenage plague that has been going around. A tracker vampire arrives and points at Zoey. He says she will die and be welcomed at the House of Night. Her head explodes in pain. She wakes up a bit later and Kayla is over her crying. Zoey tries to tell her she is alright, but Kayla points out that she has the mark and backs away. Kayla goes on about how Zoey will have to go to the Vampire finishing school called the House of Night and keeps her distance. Zoey is hurt by her friend’s reaction, so when Kayla’s boyfriend, Jared, calls, she tells her friend to go get a ride home with him. Zoey looks out into the school parking lot and is glad the tracker didn’t find her there (she remembers a kid being marked in the middle of the kid-filled halls). Heath is there surrounded by girls flirting with him. She goes to the girls’ bathroom and looks at the mark on her forehead. She thinks about her overly conservative mom and step dad, her perfect older sister, and her little brother. She knows her life won’t be the same and she is slightly relieved.
Once she has calmed down, Zoey tries to sneak past the kids that are still hanging out in the parking lot. Heath sees her and calls out to her. She looks up to see him on the tailgate of his friend’s truck drinking beer. She scolds him, but that is when Heath and his friends, Drew and Dustin, see her mark. Heath tries to stick up for Zoey when the other two start in on her for being a freak, but Zoey yells at them. They drive off and Heath falls out of the back of the truck. Zoey goes to help him up. He smells good to her as she stares at the blood on his hand. Drew and Dustin come back and grab Heath and drive away again. Zoey drives home and works up the will to go inside. She goes directly to her mom and asks for her help. Zoey wants her mom to wait a few days before telling her step-dad. She wants help packing up and getting to the House of Night. Her mom indicates she isn’t comfortable lying to her husband, John. Zoey goes off on her for not being there for her children since she married John. She storms off to her room and starts packing what she thinks she will need for her new home. A few minutes later, John knocks on the door and says they need to talk.
Zoey goes to the living room to talk with her mom and step-dad. John tells her it is her behavior that brought on the illness. She tries to tell him that science has proven it isn’t something that is “brought on,” it just happens. John doesn’t want to hear it; he tells her he needs to see the shrink and have him and the other Elders around her. She knows she isn’t going to get any real help from her parents to get her to the House of Night so that she is around other vampires. Zoey tells him to start making calls and get the prayer tree started. She tells them she is going to go rest until everyone gets there so that she can get out of there. Her coughing helps drive home that she is sick.
Moving as quietly as possible, Zoey gets her and her stuff out her bedroom window. She does her best to cover up her coughing. She takes the spare key to her VW Bug from under a flower pot and dashes quickly across the lawn to get to the car. She puts it in neutral and costs it out of the driveway before starting it and taking off. As she starts driving, she turns off her phone and heads towards her grandma, Sylvia Redbird’s lavender farm. The trip out to her grandma’s seems to take forever. When she gets there, there is a note taped to the door that says she is picking wildflowers. Zoey, used to her grandma just knowing when she is coming, decides to go find her as quickly as possible. On the way out to the bluffs, she starts coughing from her excitement that she will never have to deal with John again.
The coughing continues and Zoey reminisces about her time with her grandmother. She remembers the Cherokee stories and starts to hear the ancient words on the wind. She freaks out and starts to run back the other way. She falls and hits her head on a rock and passes out. Zoey wakes up feeling much better. She looks down to see her body still lying on the ground. She hears someone calling to her from a crevice in the ground. She thinks it sounds like her grandma, so she follows the voice down into the crack until she comes to a cave. There, the goddess of night, Nyx tells her she has been marked as her daughter. She will find her destiny as a vampire. She kisses her forehead and Zoey passes out again.
Zoey wakes up to her grandma’s singing feeling much better. Sylvia explains she found Zoey unconscious on the path and immediately took her to the House of Night. She is surprised Zoey didn’t tell her sooner that she was a vampire. Zoey explains she was only marked earlier that day. Neferet arrives and asks Zoey if she remembers anything because it is very unusual for a fledgling to have their marked filled in rather than just an outline. A feeling keeps Zoey from telling Neferet about Nyx. Neferet promises Sylvia she will look after Zoey and be her assigned mentor. Sylvia says she will hold her to it and leaves. Neferet takes the newly named Zoey Redbird to learn about her new life.
Neferet leads Zoey around the campus and explains the altered schedule for classes. A large orange cat, Skylar, jumps into Neferet’s arms. She is impressed when he lets Zoey pet him. She explains that most vampires have an affinity, some gift from the goddess. The gifts can be anything from metal (mind reading, etc.) to physical (elements, animals, etc.). Neferet has two: she has affinities for cats and healing. She explains that the sun is uncomfortable, but will not kill them, and vampires always know what time it is. Neferet’s cell phone rings and she answers. She has to return to the infirmary to help someone and sends Zoey to wait at a bench down the hall. As she starts walking, she hears someone down another corridor and she thinks they are saying her name. She goes down and sees a guy trying to refuse a blow job from a girl on her knees. She cuts his pants through so that his thigh is bleeding. Zoey can smell the blood and wants to lick it. As the boy tries to push the girl away, he sees Zoey. Their eyes lock for a moment and Zoey feels something strange. She takes off down the hall until she gets to the doors Neferet described. Neferet arrives shortly after and heals Zoey’s headache before taking her into the courtyard. Zoey sees the school and the church and thinks they look more like a castle. She notices the uniforms and how oddly beautiful the adult vampires are. She also notices most of them have long hair. Lastly, she notices everyone seems to be interested in her mark.
As they enter the dorm area, all of the girls stare at Zoey’s mark. Aphrodite offers to take Zoey to her room. When she gives a fake laugh, Zoey suddenly realizes she is the girl she saw in the hallway earlier. Neferet leaves Zoey with her. Aphrodite leads Zoey down the hall. She says she is the most important student there, despite Zoey’s mark. Zoey is not impressed with Aphrodite’s attitude and is relieved when they arrive at her dorm. Aphrodite mockingly introduces Zoey to Stevie Rae, her new roommate. Zoey quickly enters and shuts the door in Aphrodite’s face. Stevie Rae starts telling Zoey about the school and introduces her to the uniform system. She shows Zoey her closet full of clothes in her size and the emblem for a “third former” student. She hands her some clothes and pushes Zoey into their bathroom to get ready for dinner. Zoey gets dressed and looks in the mirror for the first time. She wonders if this new life is really for her.
Stevie Rae takes Zoey to the dining hall where they are served real food in a school cafeteria fashion. She leads Zoey past a table with a place setting dedicated to Nyx and to a table where her friends are sitting. She introduces her to Erin and Shawnee (referred to as twins because they are alike, though look like complete opposites); Damien (their gay friend) starts to explain how the school’s social system works. There are the Dark Daughters who are supposed to be the spirit of the school (like honors and cheerleaders rolled into one) and become future leaders of their kind. However, they are currently lead by Aphrodite and are more about popularity and hating humans. They suck in cute boys to join the Dark Sons as well. Aphrodite comes to their table to invite Zoey to join their Full Moon ritual the next night. She has already discussed it with Neferet and they both agree it is a good idea for Zoey to join.
Aphrodite and her friends leave them alone. Stevie Rae and Damien tell Zoey she doesn’t have much of a choice but to go to the ritual. She can talk to Neferet about it and try to get out of it, but then the Dark Daughters would make things more difficult for her. Damien explains the different symbols on the student’s uniforms. Third formers have Nyx’s spiral maze to signify a beginning (Zoey, Stevie Rae, Damien); Fourth formers have wings symbolizing love and forward progress (Erin and Shaunee); Fifth formers have a Nyx’s chariot spreading stars representing progress and accomplishment; Sixth formers have the fates (Aphrodite). Stevie Rae takes Zoey back to their room so that she can get some rest. On the way to their room, she points out the healthy snacks in the common area. They are not sure how or what the vampires eat, but they try to keep the fledglings healthy to help with the change.
Zoey has no trouble getting to sleep. Her alarm goes off the next night and wakes up her and Stevie Rae. They get ready for class and Zoey looks over her schedule. She decides her elective will be drama (Stevie Rae’s is music because she wants to be a country singer). They head down to the living room and kitchen area to eat. Aphrodite comes up to them to tell Zoey she will go to the school ritual with her and then take her to the Dark Daughter’s ritual after. Zoey quickly says that she already promised Stevie Rae that she would go with her. Stevie Rae quickly jumps in and says she will take Zoey to them afterwards. Aphrodite leaves them and they go to class.
Stevie Rae shows Zoey the third former hallway and where her class is. Zoey is relieved to see Damien is in her first class (Vampire Sociology with Neferet). He shows her they don’t have lockers, but cabinets in the back of their homeroom classes. Neferet starts her lecture about the matriarchal sect of vampires in the Amazon. After class, she calls Zoey to her to make sure she is adjusting alright and is okay with going to the Dark Daughters Full Moon ritual that night. Zoey assures her she is getting along fine and Neferet sends her off to be lead by Damien to her class. She gets inside and sits next to a girl named Elizabeth that was in her previous class. They get to know each other a little bit. Professor Nolan tells them they will be doing monologues and has an upperclassman come in to demonstrate. Zoey immediately recognizes the boy, Erik Night, from the hall with Aphrodite. He smiles at her through most of his time in the classroom. As he is leaving, he catches her staring at him and smiles again. Elizabeth confirms Zoey’s suspicion that Erik seemed to focus on her as they go to get books to search for their own monologues.
When she gets to her Literature class, Zoey is excited to see Stevie Rae and Damien are both in the same class. Stevie Rae asks her about Professor Nolan, but Zoey says she was a bit distracted by Erik. The bell to start class rings before she can elaborate. Professor P starts asking questions about an event early in her lifetime (1912). When no one answers, Zoey gives her answers about the Titanic. She has books passed out and then reads them a capture from their book. She assigns the next chapter as homework. Throughout the lesson, Zoey has noticed a sloth-like boy, Elliot, in the back of the room staring at her. At the end of class, Professor P calls him him and scolds him for being lazy and not participating. She offers him extra credit to make up for the day, but he turns it down. When the bell rings, he hurries out of the room and bumps into Damien in the process. Zoey and Stevie Rae are offended when he calls Damien a fag. The three friends walk down the hall together and Zoey feels like she belongs there.
In fencing class, Dragon comes by to introduce Zoey to the sport before passing her over to Damien for beginner’s instructions. After a quick shower, they head down to lunch and meet up with the rest of their friends. Stevie Rae asks what Zoey wanted to tell them about Erik Night. She tells him about him looking at her and smiling. They conclude that if it happens again, she should say hi. Erin and Shaunee point out it will make Aphrodite mad as a bonus. After lunch, Zoey goes to Spanish and is already behind. She promises herself to go over the vocabulary. After that, she goes to her equestrian class. Lenobia, the professor, tells them they were chosen for the class because they have the potential to be a skilled rider. She has them muck out stalls for the hour. Afterwards, Lenobia is impressed with Zoey’s work. She allows her to stay and brush the horse, Penelope, whose stall she just cleaned. Lenobia moves on to scold Elliot for not doing his work. Stevie Rae comes to get Zoey for the ritual.
On their way to the temple, Stevie Rae says that Elizabeth rejected the change and died. Zoey points out there was nothing Stevie Rae could have done to help her. Stevie Rae says the vampires and older kids seems to just ignore death because it is a common part of their lives. She changes the subject and starts telling Zoey what will happen at the ritual. Anastasia (Dragon’s wife) uses oil to draw a star on each fledgling’s forehead. Stevie Rae tells Zoey it isn’t a symbol of evil, but of power. The People of Faith have twisted it to make people believe it is evil. Shaunee leads them to their other friends. They stand in a big circle around four women holding candles to represent the elements. The young poetry teacher, Loren, recites a poem while Neferet dancing in beside him. She calls on each element with their respective cardinal directions (east and air, south and fire, west and water, north and earth) and Zoey feels their presence as each are called. Last, Neferet lights Loren’s candle representing spirit. They offer up their wishes to Nyx and then the elements are thanked and released. The temple empties out quickly after the ritual is over. Zoey’s friends are all excited about dinner, but she reminds them she has to go to the Dark Daughter’s ritual. Stevie Rae starts to lead the way and tells Zoey not to worry.
Aphrodite greets Zoey and introduces her to a few girls, Deino and Enyo, to walk her through the ritual while she runs it. Zoey is in the circle between them and asks them about their names. They say they mean “terrible” and “war-like” respectively. They continue to talk about how horrible humans are. Zoey starts to think about her family and how none of them or her friends have called since she left. Aphrodite starts the ritual and Zoey can smell marajuana in the incense. She sees Aphrodite trying to dance like Neferet did during the previous ritual, but thinks it is more of a “booty dance.” She finds Erik directly across from her, but diverts her eyes when she sees he is already looking at her. Aphrodite passes around a cup of wine. Zoey likes it a little too much and Aphrodite has to take it away from her to pass around to the others. After the ritual, Zoey notices Elliot is there with bandages on his wrists. Deino and Enyo explain it was his blood in the wine. Zoey leaves and finds a place by the school’s wall to vomit.
Zoey walks along the wall for a while until she finds a tree. There is a small orange cat stuck in it and she climbs the wall to help her. The cat makes her way over to Zoey, who now realizes the cat was in her dream the night before. As they sit on the school wall, she decides to call the cat Nala. Zoey sees someone and thinks it is Elizabeth, who runs away quickly. Zoey thinks she is seeing things, but is quickly distracted by the arrival of Heath and Kayla. Heath climbs on the wall to sit by Zoey and then helps Kayla up. Zoey can tell that Kayla likes Heath and is pretty sure she is cheating on her boy friend with him. She scolds both of her friends for drinking and smoking pot. Zoey tells them both to leave and Kayla gets off the wall. Heath starts kissing Zoey and she tastes his blood. He gives her his wrist to drink from. Kayla starts yelling for her to stop. Zoey tells them both to leave and never come back. Heath says he loves her and will come back to see her again. Zoey sits at the base of the tree and cries. Nala comes back to comfort her. Erik shows up and gives her a kleenex.
Erik starts trying to cheer Zoey up by telling her that being different can be amazing. He says they don’t start teaching about bloodlust until the students become sixth formers. Erik was asked to join the Dark Sons after he was chosen to go to London to compete in the soliloquy competition. His first time tasting the blood, he hated it but has now grown accustomed to it. Aphrodite told him she would tell Zoey about it, but when Zoey left, Erik knew the truth and followed to help her. While walking her back to her dorm, he goes on to tell her they are allowed to drink fledgling blood because they heal quickly and it is safe if consensual. However, they are forbidden from drinking living human blood (rather than donated) because a bond can form. Zoey realizes she will have to tell Neferet everything that has happened. He tells her that if she ever wants to try blood again, he will over his blood. He kisses her wrist and leaves.
Zoey makes herself a sandwich and takes Nala to her room where Stevie Rae is waiting. She starts to tell Stevie Rae about what happens and launches into the whole story, only leaving out the stuff about the blood. Stevie Rae says she was invited to a Dark Daughter’s ritual, but they only wanted to drink her blood. She refused and ran out of the rec room. That was when she met Damien and the twins. Zoey asks why Aphrodite is in charge of the group when she is obviously not like Nyx. Stevie Rae explains that Aphrodite has visions, though it seems she tries to hide them to prevent helping people. A fledgling wouldn’t be given such a great power without reason. When Zoey finishes eating, she goes to prepare for Nala to stay with them. Stevie Rae pulls out a bag of supplies Neferet sent.
The next morning after eating breakfast, Aphrodite approaches Zoey to apologize that she didn’t have fun with the Dark Daughters. Zoey said she had a great time and accepts her dress and the invitation to join. Aphrodite tells her their next meeting is that night at 4:30 AM. As Zoey walks to class with Stevie Rae, she explains she is just trying to knock Aphrodite down a few pegs. She doesn’t believe Aphrodite is what Nyx wants in a high priestess. Zoey goes to Neferet’s office to tell her about what happened with the Dark Daughters and Heath. Neferet offers to scold Aphrodite for not telling Zoey about the blood, but Zoey insists she can take care of it herself. She explains what happened with Heath on the well. Neferet says it is possible that a weak imprint could have formed that will fade with time and space. If she fully imprinted on him, there are unpleasant ways to undo it. She leaves Zoey in her office so she can call her grandma before returning to classes for the day.
Zoey calls her grandma and tells her about her worries. Sylvia tells her she has always been special and being marked has just made her even more so. She tells her granddaughter to use a purification prayer with either running water or a smudge stick before dawn. She will do the same to pray to the goddess for Zoey. Later that day as Zoey is going through the lunch line, Erik comes up to her. He is surprised that she joined the Dark Daughters. Zoey points out that he is Dark Son and he explains the guys are just ornamental. He asks her to go watch Star Wars with her in the movie room that night, but she has to turn him down. As he walks away, Zoey’s friends start asking why she turned him down. Zoey tells them she has to work on getting rid of Aphrodite.
During lunch, the group decides what they need to do the purification prayer together. They decide the twins will borrow candles from Nyx's temple to cast a circle, which will also help determine if Zoey really does have an affinity for all five elements. Since the stream that runs through the grounds is too public, Damien will get sage and lavender from the school store. Zoey tells them to meet at the tree after dinner. After lunch, Zoey goes to the rest of her classes. On her way to dinner, Aphrodite sneaks up and surprises Zoey. She threatens Zoey to try to get her to quit the Dark Daughters and stop going after Erik. Zoey stands up to her bullying. Aphrodite goes to scratch at Zoey’s face, but they start to move in slow motion and Zoey stops her. Aphrodite huffs off and Stevie Rae comes out of hiding. She is impressed with how Zoey handled Aphrodite. They head off to dinner.
After dinner, everyone goes their separate ways to gather what they need. Zoey and Stevie Rae wait for the others at the tree. Nala is nearby. The others arrive with what they need. Zoey assigns each of them an element. Shaunee is fire, Erin is water, Stevie Rae is earth, and Damien is air. They get into position and Zoey stands in the center with her purple spirit candle. She uses the smudge stick to cleanse everyone and then has Stevie Rae do the same to her. She then calls on each element (air, fire, water, then earth) before calling on spirit. There is a glow around the perimeter of their circle proving she has an affinity for all the elements. She says her purification prayer with a few adjustments. She then asks Nyx to help her know and have the courage to do what is right. She then closes the circle.
The others are impressed by Zoey’s ability to call all five elements. They get ready to go back to the dorms because the sun is getting ready to rise. Zoey stays behind and Stevie Rae convinces the others to leave her alone so she has time to think. Erik shows up and says he couldn’t focus on his homework and just found himself walking. Zoey tells him she was just about to go inside. She asks him to walk her to her dorm again. He asks about Heath and she asks about Aphrodite. She admits it is difficult for her to imagine what a guy that went out with Aphrodite would want from a girl like her. He asks her out again and they decide on Saturday. He kisses her and then they start making out. Zoey pulls away and tells him she isn’t the kind of girl that makes out with guys in public. He tells her he has never felt for anyone what he feels for her and has her promise she won’t let Aphrodite come between them. He kisses her again before he leaves.
The day starts out normal, but by English class, Zoey knows it will be a strange day. Elliot starts coughing. She smells the blood and everyone looks back at him. Elliot coughs more blood and has it coming out of his eyes and ears. Penthesilea sends someone to get Neferet. When the High Priestess arrives with Elliot’s mentor, Dragon, she tells him to take a vial of liquid. Dragon promises he will not leave the boys side. Elliot drinks it and is taken out of the room. Neferet stays behind to tell them third former class that death can come for any of them, so to cherish their life while they have it. Stevie Rae leaves lunch early to go back to the dorm and Zoey goes with her. They both feel guilty that they don’t feel worse about Elliot’s death. They are more freaked out about watching it happen. Zoey hopes that the Dark Daughter’s ritual will be cancelled, but Stevie Rae says they never are. She tells Zoey she can invite people to the meetings now and it might be a good idea to have some backup. Zoey doesn’t want her friends to know about her blood lust yet, so she says she can stand up for herself. Stevie Rae points out that her phone is ringing. Zoey looks at it to see missed calls and text messages from Heath. She decides to go talk to Neferet before her next class.
On her way to Neferet’s office, Zoey finds Aphrodite in a hallway hiding in an alcove. She is sitting by a statue of Nyx and her eyes are rolled back into her head. Zoey realizes she is having a vision and takes her to Neferet’s office. They get her into a chair and Aphrodite starts talking about pieces of her vision. She mentions the dead and blood. Neferet tells her to go back and get a clear picture, but Aphrodite starts screaming. She sends Zoey away so she can help Aphrodite. After classes, Zoey’s friends find her and tell her they think she should take them to the ritual with her that night. Zoey refuses and says she has to do it on her own before storming off. She goes to the tree and Nala joins her. As she leaving to go get ready for the ritual, she sees Elliot. His eyes are red and he smells bad. He starts coming after her, but Nala attacks his leg. He tosses the cat aside and gets over the wall. Zoey grabs Nala and gets out of there. She can’t find her friends anywhere, so she gets ready for the ritual and hurries to the rec hall.
Aphrodite greets Zoey with an insult. Zoey insults her back and instantly regrets it and apologizes. Aphrodite makes another mean comment and walks away. Everyone ignores Zoey except Erik. Aphrodite tells them they are leaving the grounds for the ritual. She leads the group through a secret passage in the wall and to a museum. Erik explains the guards are drugged to prevent getting caught. The circle is started and Zoey finds herself anxious to drink more blood. Zoey is worried about Aphrodite not burning sage before calling spirits. Sweet grass is burned to call energy. In the middle of the ritual, Heath shows up looking for Zoey.
The spirits possess Aphrodite and call Heath to them inside the circle. Aphrodite says to let them have Heath rather than any of them. Zoey tries his best to stop Heath from advancing, but the candle holders symbolizing the elements run away. The spirits are no longer bound to the circle. Damien and the twins reveal they have been watching the whole time. Stevie Rae uncovers herself from the hood to show she was the volunteer blood for the ritual. Erik holds back Heath and tries his best to keep the spirits away from them. Zoey calls on her friends to recast the circle. Once everything is in place, she asks the spirits to leave. She spills the blood tainted wine on the ground as their sacrifice due. When they refuse, she commands them and they are forced to leave. Zoey closes the circle and tells Aphrodite what she did wrong and how the only thing that wasn’t her fault was Heath showing up. Zoey decides she is taking over the Dark Daughters. Neferet is there to back her up.
Neferet congratulates Zoey, her friends, and Erik on a job well done. She scolds Aphrodite and strips her of her title as the leader of the Dark Daughters. She takes the necklace away and gives it to Zoey to signify her as the new leader. Neferet and the others all bow with their fists over their hearts as a sign of respect. Zoey sends everyone back to the school except her friends. Neferet sends them along after everyone else and says she will take care of everything else, including Heath, who won’t remember finding them. Zoey thanks her friends for coming even after she yelled at them. Erik joins them and they all start to walk back. Zoey is held up by her cat, Nala, and goes to carry her. Aphrodite is there and blaming Zoey for the way things turned out. Zoey tries to make friends with her, but Aphrodite is positive they need to play the roles they are in. Zoey asks about the vision, sure that it is about Elizabeth and Elliot, but Aphrodite just says it will get worse. Zoey tells her friends to let Aphrodite past them and then they all make their way back to the school.