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Dearest Readers,

   For those of you who need a House of Night recap—or those of you who might be entering the House of Night world for the very first time—here is a brief summary to get you up to date for our newest adventure!

   What is a House of Night?

   It is a school that fledgling vampyres go to after they are Marked. Over the next four years there, they will either mature into adult vampyres and make the Change, or they will die horribly.

   Tell me about the House of Night vampyres! I hear they’re not like other vamps …

   You’re right! They aren’t!

   HoN vampyrism is based on biology with a little goddess magick sprinkled in. In some young people going through puberty, an amazing physiological chain reaction begins. This reaction gives them flu-like symptoms as their bodies begin to Change from human to vampyre.

   Vampyre Trackers follow the pheromones these teens release. When the Tracker makes contact, the teenager is Marked magickally by the Goddess as a fledgling vampyre, and the outline of a sapphire-colored crescent moon appears in the middle of his or her forehead. The youth then must go to a House of Night, as the only way the reaction within him or her can be semicontrolled is by being around adult vampyres, and even then many of them die horribly as their bodies reject the Change.

   All House of Night schools are autonomous and matriarchal. They have their own society that exists apart from the country in which it is located, and their own religion. Once a student is Marked and becomes a fledgling vampyre, he or she is legally emancipated from their human families and can choose a new name and future.

   If a fledgling makes the Change, their crescent tattoo is magickally colored in and expanded into a unique facial tattoo, which is a gift from the vampyre goddess, Nyx.

   The Goddess Nyx is the deity most vampyres worship, though she does not require that worship, and she has many faces and names as she is worshipped by vampyres all over the world.

   Vampyres are not immortal, though they do live abnormally long lives (two hundred to a thousand years). They flourish in the arts. They can Imprint with humans through drinking their blood, and they often take human mates. They also often choose a vampyre consort. Vampyres cannot become pregnant and give birth, nor can they father children or create new vampyres in any way.

   Two different species of HoN vampyres have developed. Blue vampyres are the original type of vampyre. They are nocturnal, but can go out in the sunlight, though it isn’t pleasant for them. Some are gifted by Nyx with affinities for an element or an animal (cats are the usual vampyre familiar), or are given other special abilities. Red vampyres are considered a mutation—though in our HoN world, led by our heroine, Zoey Redbird, they are not considered less than blue vampyres. Red vamps can be destroyed by sunlight. They cannot enter a private home without an invitation. They can influence human thoughts, though that is a skill that is not encouraged.

   Most teachers at the HoN are called Professor, though there are some discrepancies. Example: Kramisha, (Loren Blake before her) is the Vampyre Poet Laureate. She teaches, but her main job is being Poet Laureate. Kramisha is also, like Shaylin and Aphrodite, a Prophetess of Nyx. This role circumvents the title of Priestess or High Priestess. Prophetesses of Nyx have different abilities, but all of them are oracle-like in nature, as they can either read signs and portents, or they get actual glimpses of the future. Kramisha’s prophetess gift comes in the form of prophetic poetry. Shaylin’s gift is that she can read auras. Aphrodite gets visions of traumatic future events.

   Priestesses and High Priestess form most of the governing bodies for all Houses of Night. A priestess is simply a young High Priestess in training. Some priestesses never attain the level of High Priestess, which is a sign of having a special connection with Nyx—High Priestesses are wise and mature, and respected by all vampyres and fledglings.

   Gender roles are fluid in the HoN. Warriors do tend to be male, and High Priestesses are usually female, but everyone is encouraged to follow his or her own path.

   Humans have varied reactions to vampyres. Traditionally, vampyres segregate themselves from human societies, though Zoey and her group are working hard to change that, but as is typical with human beings, fear and ignorance breed racism and hatred, and our vampyres struggle with that—especially in Oklahoma, our setting for the Tulsa House of Night.

   Main Characters

   Zoey Redbird is our heroine. She was Marked just before she turned seventeen. From the beginning her Mark was unusual because the Goddess Nyx chose her as special. She is of Cherokee descent and is very close to her grandmother, Sylvia Redbird, who is Cherokee. Nyx gifted Zoey with an affinity for all five elements: wind, fire, water, earth, and spirit. Zoey fights against Darkness and was the first person to realize that Neferet, the High Priestess at the HoN, was trafficking with Darkness and had turned from Nyx. Zoey has a tight group of friends who call themselves the Nerd Herd (they weren’t exactly the most popular group in school!). Her friends have special abilities, too, though none have been as gifted as Zoey.

   Zoey has a tumultuous history with boys, and although in the matriarchal world of the HoN she has the right to have multiple partners without being judged and slut-shamed, she’s not very good at juggling guys. Her Warrior, James Stark, is much more than her boyfriend—he is bound to her through blood and oath. He can feel her emotions and they are very much in love, though Z will always have feelings for her childhood sweetheart, Heath Luck, who was killed during the battle between Light and Darkness.

   At the beginning of Loved, Zoey and the Nerd Herd have made the Change and are full vampyres. Almost a year before the new book opens, Zoey was named the High Priestess of the North American Vampyre High Council—which is a big responsibility for a girl who isn’t quite eighteen.

   Stevie Rae Johnson is Z’s bestie. She’s a true Oklahoma girl who loves country music and everything Okie. She was Marked before Zoey and welcomed her to the HoN as her roommate. Tragically, Stevie Rae’s body rejected the Change and she died—though she was reborn as one of the first red fledglings. Nyx gifts Stevie Rae with an affinity for earth. Her mate is Rephaim, a magickal being who is the son of Kalona (see below). Because of crimes against humanity he committed with his father, Nyx sentenced Rephaim to be a raven during the day and a boy after sunset. Though Rephaim’s love for Stevie Rae caused him to turn from Darkness and Nyx forgave him for his past, the goddess believes he must take responsibility for those mistakes. At the beginning of Loved, Stevie Rae and Rephaim are living at the Chicago HoN where she is High Priestess. With the rest of the Nerd Herd, she returns to Tulsa to celebrate Z’s eighteenth birthday.

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