Revealed Chapter 4

The last chapter got me thinking a bit about the vampire high school and their rules. How come they have the boys and the girls separated as they do? In our world, you could argue that the reason you see boys and girls separated is to prevent distraction. Or at least to reduce the odds that they’ll be prematurely adding to the student body.

The idea of schools segregated by sex is a bit old fashioned in the most of the world. The number of public schools that offer single sex education within the States is mind bogglingly low. The best number I was able to find said there was only fifty three total that catered to a single sex and two hundred more had single sex classes.

The reason PCK divided the dorms up into girls and boys is pretty simple. She was copying Harry Potter which was, in itself, modeling itself off of private and boarding schools. PCK will pretend otherwise, claiming that the idea was “vampire finishing school”. Considering that finishing school was only to teach women the basics of culture and social graces, were typically shorter in term than a university education and weren’t for men, that explanation doesn’t wash.

So it’s a public school run like a private school but much worse. Why do they separate the boys and girls again? Aren’t the vampires supposed to be enlightened or progressive? They trust their students with the wine and whatever snacks they want. What’s a little boning between students? Or are the Casts as secretly prude as the religious zealots they make fun of?

We rejoin Zoey who says, out loud, that she’s never believed she would have wished school wasn’t canceled. Not because she’s concerned that students, having nothing to do, might wander off campus and cause an incident. Zoey is bored and doesn’t want to have a three day because, again, she’s bored. I guess the main villain undergoing a resurrection just isn’t interesting.

Stark says she should come to bed and he’ll give her something to do. She also tells us that he smiled cute and cocky, affirming that it’s exactly that. Zoey tells us she’s not in the mood and makes a joke to dismiss his offer. Then she gives him a kiss and apologizes for sleeping badly and then describes her nightmare. Stark may be obligated to listen to Zoey’s horseshit dream but we don’t deserve that.

Realizing he’s going to have to take a longer shower, Stark tells Zoey to sit down. He starts rubbing her shoulders and telling her to stop over thinking things. Something Zoey isn’t equipped to do in the first place. Stark says that she’ll have plenty to do today with finding rooms for the undeadlings. They have to be careful to make sure they’re protected during the day, something we’re all cognizant of. I’m getting really tired of PCK reminding us the red vampires are more traditional like we forgot.

Stark say he has a favor to ask of her. Zoey tenses up at the very thought someone could ask her something. He says they should skip Beavis’ funeral. It wasn’t like they were really missing her or anything. Zoey agrees and says that Shaylin has already shown an affinity for water so Beavis’ place has been filled. She asks if he thinks Dallas would start a fight at the funeral and Stark says yes.

There’s a protracted discussion about why Beavis wanted to rejoin the circle and how she didn’t really want to. Who cares, PCK? Beavis wasn’t a beloved character the audience will mourn the loss of. Hell, she’s not even really that important to the rest of Zoey’s slaves. That Shaylin has already been given the element to replace her, tells us just how much she meant to PCK. You’d think they’d wring some drama out of having to find a water replacement for Beavis for at least a chapter.

Zoey says she’ll talk to Butthead and make sure she’s okay while saying it’s a good idea for her to lead the funeral. She also says she’ll check on Aphro because she’s probably going to be messed up by her dad’s death. Stark says Aphro was already and Zoey slaps him on the leg. She says that Aphro may be “hateful” but she’s still a friend. Yeah, Stark, only Zoey can verbally abuse the slaves as she’s their master.

Stark remembers his place and says he was only kidding. She may be a bitch but she’s their bitch. Now it’s time to go down and get breakfast. They go down and Zoey grabs a plate of spaghetti, mispronouncing it on purpose. That’s the kind of forced cutesiness that gets you cut, Zoey. She attempts more forced quirkiness by making up a spaghetti song and dancing back to the table. Later she’ll hold up a spork and “randomly” quote lines from the Big Bang Theory because she’s just so nerdy and random.

This is merely so Aurox can join in the “random” song and make Stark angry. We learn Zoey has known Heath since they were nine. A fact that makes her bitchiness towards him in the first novel even more inexplicable. PCK started him off as the boyfriend Zoey was going to grow out of. Then they decided they needed a love triangle, because it worked so well in Twilight, and dragged him back. She says it doesn’t help that he’s cute but he could be ugly and she’d still be obsessed because Aurox has Heath’s soul.

Which is a whole load of fucked up. Zoey is attracted to Aurox not for who he is inside or his own personality. It’s because he’s got the soul of someone Zoey was stuck on for reasons that make no sense. She certainly never cared about him while he was alive unless he was bound to her by blood. Damien sends Aurox over to the same table as Zoey and Stark for the sake of a distraction from the plot.

Zoey asks if the rest have seen Aphro. Stevie says no and that Aphro once said she could tell which girls were going to turn into their mothers by how much makeup they wore to breakfast. Butthead asks if more or less is good and Stevie says she doesn’t know, she usually tunes Aphro out. Funny, that’s usually how I cope with your dialogue, PCK.

We find out Damien and Aurox are boarding together because Damien refers to him as “roomie”. Aurox says he doesn’t want to be alone but he didn’t want to bunk with strangers. Stark has to remind Aurox that him and Zoey sleep in the same bed and says they were talking about bedding arrangements for everyone. They say they need to find something underground for the undeadlings.

Damien says he heard Darius talking about a place where they stored old shields and swords. There must be water tight rooms in the basement as Dragon wouldn’t allow swords to be kept in a place that would rust. There’s nothing quite as thrilling as watching characters figure out where they can setup cots and bathrooms for a bunch of other students. If the director of the new Bourne movies had the balls, they’d cut out those boring car chases, fight scenes, demonstrations of spy craft and replace it with easily resolve student council issues like what kind of crepe paper to string up at prom.

Zoey then says they can’t have the full red vampires like Stevie and Stark down there with the other undeadlings. She says that to prevent losing them in case something happens down there. But they definitely need to be guarded still. Aurox offers to camp out down there to look after them as he doesn’t really sleep anyway. Damien says he’ll go along to make sure Aurox doesn’t get lonely and to smooth things over. The other characters assure us that Damien gets along with people really well, though we’ve never seen evidence confirming this.

They get up to go have a chat with Darius about the storerooms and such. Stark stops just at the door of the cafeteria and kisses her. Zoey is outraged because she hates public displays of affection. Anything more than hand holding is off limits. She wants to yell at him but knows that’ll cause a fight. She tries to tell us that she’s not interested in Aurox but even her subconscious knows she is because he has Heath’s soul.

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Revealed Chapter 3

We start off with Aphro bitching about not being able to go home to the tunnels and for thinking of the tunnels as home. She begins fumbling in her purse looking for her Xanax. Darius grabs for her purse and says either the wine or the pills but not both. She begins to pout and Zoey says Darius just wants her alive and not dead.

Nothing quite like the series turning into a public service anouncement when PCK feels like doling out advice. Next we’ll get a chapter with a molester who offers the girls some wine and to take pictures of them. Remeber kids, if a stranger ever asks or touches you in a way that makes you uncomfortable, tell an adult you trust or find a police officer.

I’m also wondering exactly how in the world Zoey knows anything about mixing tranquilizers and alcohol. PCK has spent a lot of the series showing us that Zoey’s pretty ignorant. That wasn’t PCK’s intent by any means but that’s what comes across when she has to search the internet for ideas on how to improve the “dark daughters”. She’s always consulting other people for help in dealing with Neferet. PCK may assert that Zoey is many things but she is neither smart nor learned.

Aphro says she wants to feel numb and pops her pill. Butthead wanders in saying she doesn’t want to feel numb. She doesn’t want to because that will mean she might forget Beavis’ last night and Beavis deserves to be remembered. You’re certainly right, Butthead, what with the way she existed and took up space. And the way she would always rush to stroke Zoey’s ego along with the other slaves.

Other than the fact she would occasionally finish a sentence started by Butthead, or agree with her, I don’t know if she had any individual personality traits. Aphro whines that her dad was a weak man who allowed her mom to bully and cajole him. Which should make him a tragic figure, rather than an asshole. He wasn’t a vampire though so no one is too concerned. Aphro then mentions that she’s sure he didn’t go to vampire heaven.

Aphro says that she deals with death in her own way as everyone does. Which is the closest thing to a salient thought any of the characters has expressed. She asks Butthead how she’s going to remember Beavis. As an incredibly contrived charater who died unceremoniously for the sake of drama? Oh, as the “twin” she was.

PCK had someone express an opinion that they would disagree with. They always do this so they can have the purportedly wise character wander in and counter is. As such, Thanatos comes in and tells them that they would be surprised. She didn’t personally witness his spirit taking off into the great beyond, mind you. She does say that the site was full of peace which normally only accompanies the death of someone who was suffering a lot.

That raises a lot of questions PCK won’t answer. I already asked a few of them when Heath ended up in vampire heaven. I could give it a pass if PCK had explained it away due to his bond with Zoey. But that’s far more thought they ever gave these books. It still wouldn’t explain how the hell Aphro’s dad would get to vampire heaven. It also begs the question if everyone goes there and if not, why? What about the other gods that Nyx admits exist?

Aphro is glad to hear her dad is now at peace. Then they begin making plans to sit with Beavis’ body and say prayers. Zoey, having finally learned from the rest of the books, says that probably won’t be necessary. Everyone seems to want to argue that there’s no way Beavis could come back. Never mind they’re in a room with another character who did just that. People coming back from the dead is a ridiculous notion and you should get it out of your head right now. PCK totally killed off Beaivs for now and all time.

Then we see why they were protesting so much. So Zoey could point out exactly what I did. Thanatos chimes in saying that Beavis won’t be coming back. She saw Nyx welcome Beavis’ spirit. Stevie says that her and the rest of the undeadlings weren’t welcomed by Nyx when they died and were reborn. That feels like the kind of detail someone should have mentioned before. Like maybe Stevie would have talked about her experience dying and resurrecting with Zoey and friends at some point.

While this seems to satisfy Zoey that Beavis is truly dead, I’m not convinced and won’t be until the series is ended and she remains buried. Heath was sent to vampire heaven and stil came back. I’m more willing to believe that a comic book character is dead than one of PCKs characters.

Having definitvely closed the story on the life state of Beavis, they move on to the other subject at hand. Did they see the outline of Neferet for a moment before it was banished? This is one of the worst elements PCK does. They have something happen, and then the characters have to discuss it for a chapter or two. They all have to establish if they, in fact, saw the thing the narration said they did. Then they’ll have to ask what it means to anyone within earshot, hoping for inspiration from a helpful passerby. If that fails, they’ll sit around and wait for god to send them a sign or prophecy to guide them. It’s all very tiresome and repetetive.

Thanatos asks if anyone noticed signs of sickness in Beavis before tonight. Speaking of random passerby, Dallas shows up and says that she should ask someone who knew her. He says she was doing fine before the magic circle. A fair point as I’m never unwilling to lay blame at Zoey’s feet. He complains that he didn’t even know she died up until a few minutes ago when he was let out of confinement. He says he’ll be sure to tell everyone that it’s Zoey’s fault she died. This leads to Stark and Darius both threatening him.

Thanatos also yells at him, saying his anger and negative energy has no place near someone who’s recently went off to heaven. Why not, PCK? People are often angry at the sudden death of a loved one and having “negative” feelings is natural. Or is it only a bad thing because Dallas is the top henchman? Becuase it wouldn’t be far fetched for PCK to have a morality divided along those lines.

Dallas says he’ll say farewell in his own way and it won’t be with Zoey and slaves. Stark says he’ll be a serious problem. Stevie says he’s been a serious problem since he found out about her and Rephy. Yes, what with all the plans of Zoey’s he has foiled and people he’s killed. Wait, I’m thinking of a more effective villain; Gargamel.

They now discuss what Neferet’s plans will be and what she’ll do. They decide that Neferet will probably try to get the death of Aphro’s mom blamed on a vampire at the school. So they have to prevent her from slipping into the school and planting evidence. Evidence like what, exactly and who for? Are the vampires actually going to let the local police be involved in a murder? If so, shouldn’t they already be collecting evidence? It’d be a little late for Neferet to plant evidence after the local cops have taken what they need. Zoey also mentions Dallas and his “disgusting” crew.

Thanatos says she’ll have the grounds patroled and is sure that Aurox and Kalona will keep it clear. Then she turns into the den mother and says it’s getting late and they need their rest. Aphro says she’s going to take bunk with Darius tonight in spite of the rules against it. She says that the bad guys keep breaking the rules, then they can break the small one like cohabitating sleeping quarters. She’s pretty sure Zoey and Stevie are both down for doing the same.

Which is weird that she’d mention the rules now. I seem to recall Zoey and Stark sleeping together a lot over the past couple of books. If it was against the rules, Zoey sure didn’t give a fuck. I know they had the dorms separated by sex but it seemed to be more of a nod to the human world than anything else. Maybe PCK expects her audience to shell out for the handbook if they expect to learn about these rules before encountering them in the wild of the story.

As Rephy will be taking off as soon as it’s dawn, Butthead asks Stevie if she’ll stay with her. Stevie says of course and Zoey reminds Butthead to keep the drapes closed. In case Butthead forgot that the undeadlings burst into flame the moment a stray beam hits them. With the sleeping arrangements figured out, Aphro then tells Stark to get her a sandwich as she’s clearly tired and hungry. This causes about two seonds worth of pointless tension which the den mother diffuses again.

They go their separate ways and Aphro suddenly gets hit with some bullshit poetry. She realizes a vision is coming and says she’s ready for it. She has some disjointed visions of Zoey, starting with being in Zoey’s place and being horny for Aurox. Then a scene having Stark fight with Zoey because he’s being possesive. Another one follows where Zoey’s carrying some sort of darkness fleas or something somewhere but it turns beautiful. The last being a church with all the members have ripped out throats saying they deserved this.

Aphro comes out of her vision and Darius says he’ll send for Zoey. Aphro tells him no, let no one know about her visions. Darius, being below the slave that Aphro is, says sure thing and tells Aphro to get her rest. Aphro then passes out, gracelessly ending the chapter.

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Revealed Chapter 2

One of the things that’s driven me nuts through the series, and will continue to do so for the remainder, is the perspective change. Not the regular hopping back and forth, that’s something I can tolerate when it’s done right. This Is PCK we’re talking about and that means if anything is done right, it was accidentally inserted by the editor after a long night of boiler makers.

So PCK is always changing perspectives which should be a tool to build the world. Telling the story from someone else’s viewpoint can add richness and details you can’t get from a single character. If you’re not going onmicient narrator, it’s a very handy tool. PCK just uses it to repeat shit we already know. The only thing they do with it that could be interesting is having Zoey in first person perspective.

So what wrong with it, you may be asking, knowing that I won’t mention anything without having something specific to bitch about. It’s the fact that every time we get to see the world from her view, her name is printed at the top, like everyone’s, so we’re warned ahead of time which flavor of drywall mud we’re going to be eating. My problem is the fact that Zoey gets the same announcement. She’s the only one that gets first person narration. Just by the perspective, we know who it is. Telling us is insulting our intelligence.

Stark calls out to Zoey, saying that now is not the time to be hiding. She starts to protest and then asks herself what she’s doing hiding “out here”. Not knowing where here is, that adds nothing to the story. PCK could have had Zoey retreat to a place that she’s done so before, it would be showing us how the stress is affecting her. Maybe have established early on that Zoey like visiting the temple and she ends up retreating there to hide from Neferet. Though that would have taken planning and thought.

Zoey is recapping the doings from the prologue. Naturally, Zoey is shaken by the death of her former friend. It reminds her that, even facing a long and disease free life, the specter of death awaits us all. No ammount of life can ever fully prepare someone for the approach of the end. At least that’s how you’d think she would feel if you believed this were penned by a human being.

The pair of crows with the heads of barking chihuahua’s sewn to them tell us Zoey is annoyed. See, the death of Erin caused a bunch of the humans to gossip about the vampires. How horrible that the humans talk about the vampires and misunderstand them. Won’t the just avail themselves of manuals and reference materials that all the vampires publish on a quarterly basis in hardcopy and make available online in a weekly post.

For some reason they’re also talking about how that must have been the vampires sending a message to Neferet. Zoey is enraged that they’d feel any pity for Neferet. She mentally complains about how they don’t know Zoey had to rescue Grandma from Neferet. Which is, again, all your own fault, Zoey. You could always work with the humans rather than just keeping them in the dark and resenting them.

After whining, we finally learn she’s hiding out at the stables. That’s the kind of detail that should have been mentioned right away. Instead, it’s buried down past the bitching and moaning. Stark tries to tell her that things won’t always be this way. Zoey isn’t sure as Neferet is immortal and keeps coming back. Which would mean something if Zoey kept trying to kill Neferet.

Which would have been a better overarching plot. Have Neferet reach immortallity and have Zoey’s crew keep trying to stop her by killing her. Each book could have them trying different rituals or weapons and ultimately failing. Then the last book could be them discovering a way to turn the immortality against Neferet. With the grand moral being that violence isn’t always the best solution.

All of Zoey’s slaves are seeing to the details of Erin’s death. We can’t trouble Zoey with any of those these days.Stark let’s her know that once the slaves started their duties in herding out the humans and cleaning up, he came looking for her. Zoey complains that she might be going crazy after fighting Neferet so much. Zoey is reassured by Stark who says he’ll stick by her side even if that means he’s crazy too.

Luckily for us, they hear something off in the distance. We don’t hear it but we’re told that it sounds like someone being hysterical. It’s coming from across the school and they decide to investigate. I’m impressed that they just have a character tell us they heard something. It’s way lazier than just telling us or even showing the audience.

They come upon a woman wearing nice clothes and being hysterical. We already know that it’s Aphro’s mom though PCK wants to wring a little bit of tension out of the moment. Zoey is simply relieved that the screaming is a human and not another vampire dying. The nun Angela tries to calm her down, saying that she knows it was upsetting seeing a vampire die.

Aprho’s mom is upset that someone would assume why she’s upset. Aprho steps in an says that her mom is making a bit of a scene. Aphro’s mom says that “they” killed “him”. By using a pronoun, Aphro is forced to ask who “him” is. Aprho’s mom has to shout out that it’s her father, the mayor of Tulsa. Lenobia tries to rush in and perform damage control by saying there must have been a mistake. She’ll see to it that everyone gets to their cars safely.

Aphro’s mom says they can’t possibly be safe any longer. Who would have thought it would be dangerous to live in a city full of vampires? Zoey calmly steps forward and says that it sounds like Aphro’s dad has been killed. The discussion of death takes place with the same dull, tone PCK’s characters use to read off the ingredients of a cake mix.

Aprho’s mom point to where his body is and Darius goes and inspects the body. He covers it with his jacket and confirms that, yes, the man appears to be dead. Then he gives Aphro a hug before she can process what’s going on. Zoey then takes charge and tells Aphro to take her mom into the school while Darius is to call nine one one and tell them the mayor is dead. It takes a special kind of author to try and convince us the protagonist is the smart one because they call emergency services.

Aphro’s mom begins screaming how she won’t be going into that building because the vampires killed him. Aphro, being as dumb as the rest, tries to say they don’t know that. She says her dad had high blood pressure and could have died from a heart attack. Look, PCK, this denial would be tolerable if we hadn’t seen Neferet tear his throat out. It might even be acceptable, not good writing mind you, if Neferet had simply leeched him dry.

Lenobia says if it was a vampire attack, and she won’t admit it until someone leaks pictures on the internet, they will find the attacker and punish them. Lenobia then whispers to Zoey that she’s going to kick the humans all out. Zoey is to get Aphro’s mom under control. How dare someone who lost their spouse be upset? He was only human anyway. He was going to die in less than fifty years so it wasn’t that much of a loss.

Zoey knows just what to do. She tells Stark to use his undeadling hypnotism to shut her up though she can still cry. Zoey and them approach Aphro’s mom who’s demanding the human police investigate. Zoey says they’re calling the human police but, in the meantime, Stark has a few questions for her. He looks at her and does his best Lugosi impression at her. He tells her she should go sit in the courtyard and cry but not shout. Aphro’s mom repeats his instructions back at him and wanders off to cry under the direction of hypnotic suggestion.

Zoey and Aphro sigh with relief. Zoey asks if Aphro is okay. Aphro says they were horrible and never liked her but they were her parents. Zoey says she understands as she hated her mom but still felt sad when she died. Don’t worry, Aphro. The feeling will last for about a week or the length of one novel and then you’ll completely forget about him.

There’s a transition to the police arriving and detective Marx once again joins the series. Zoey is glad to see someone who’s biased towards vampires. Aphro’s mom begins screaming for someone to be arrested. Marx says he’ll be investigating and arrest whomever that leads to. When she says his throat was ripped out and his blood drained, Thanatos chimes in and says that’s reason to doubt a vampire killed him.

Thanatos’ reasoning is that there’s no motive for a vampire to kill someone right outside the school. Because vampires are perfectly logical and would never kill anyone, I’m sure. There’s a lot of back and forth between Aphro’s mom and everyone as they all argue against the possibility that the death was done by a vampire, including Aphro. They say it must have been Neferet.

Aphro’s mom says that Neferet was a friend to them and wouldn’t have hurt dad. Zoey and pals tell Marx that’s not true, Neferet hated all humans and advocated violence against them. Marx says if they knew she was violent, they should have gone to the police. That would require the vampires see humans as more than cattle and a source of new members of their kind. Aphro’s mom says they haven’t heard the last of her and gets ready to leave.

Before she goes, she demands that Aphro come with her. Aphro says she doesn’t hav to go with her. Aphro’s mom then asks Marx if she can do that. He says she doesn’t have a mark but she was emancipated when she became a vampire so that probably still stands. Being as Marx is a judge in Megacity-One, he has the authority to make interpretations of the law on the spot.

Having no flair for the dramatic, Aphro’s mom disowns Aphro right then and there. She says she wishes she never gave birth to her and Aphro had better never call her mother ever again. With her gone, Marx asks about the other vampires and why they’re talking about a bus. When he learns that some of them live in a different location, he asks them to have everyone stay put while he investigates. Thanatos says no problem and that, until the investigation concludes, all the vampires will be living on campus.

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Revealed Chapter 1

There is just so much wrong with the prologue I was flabbergasted. Looking back at the other recaps, I assumed that I would easily get through chapters two at a time and cruise right through. I shouldn’t underestimate PCK’s ability to cram stupidity into so few words. I might not be able to plow through this like I’d been hoping. Then there’s still one more book after this, plus the fledgling handbook and four novellas.

First off, there’s the evil spiders. PCK would like us to believe there’s tension to be had by the manifestation of evil. There wasn’t though, not in the slightest. PCK undercut it but having Zoey stop and call Thanatos, have a conversation, and then do the circle which drove it away. Timing is crucial in making something seem urgent. It’s not just the extra words between the spider appearance and the banishment, though an audience does have its limit. It’s the change additional actions, such as the phone call and the forced drama between Erin and the rest. Those don’t feel like part of the action that’s supposed to be going on.

Because those feel separate from the rest, it subtracts the urgency PCK should want. I say should want because a human author would want tension and investment. For all I know, PCK wrote this to tenderize their victims before they eat them. They could still have those things if they were woven into the action, not apart.

The second big sin is Erin’s death. I don’t care what justification PCK is going to throw out, it feels punitive. Like Erin deserved it because she had sex with one of the henchmen and stopped serving the plot. It would have been more acceptable if it had happened after Erin returned to the fold and then died. At least it wouldn’t have read like the horny teens being murdered by the lake man with a machete.

We begin with Neferet who’s complaining about seeing her reflection in Zoey’s magic mirror. I’d forgotten that Zoey’s Macguffin had gained a new boring power. The power to make people look at old photos of themselves. It’s only slightly more useless than a Facebook account. Neferet can’t stand the thought of how weak she once was and that’s what caused her to flee.

We’re told that Aurox had gored her and knocked her to the pavement, things we already knew. Then we’re told that, as her mortal heart stopped beating, the “immortal energy” that made her the witch queen, Tsi Sigili took over. Not being an immortal native american vampire witch queen allied with darkness, I can’t comment if that’s how it works. I can say that sounds incredibly stupid. Why would Neferet have a “mortal heart” if she’s immortal, PCK? Was she immortal as long as her heart was beating? Because that’s the same kind of immortality we all have.

The image of her old self reminded her she had a different name and, Emily something-or-who-gives-a fuck?, and her dad was awful. Yup, being faced with that took away her power, or at least made her forget. So her consciousness is still around, regaining strength and taking new forms as the days go. Considering it’s been just about a week, I’d say she’s doing a bang up job getting things back in order. And yes, PCK is telling us how Neferet is still around and explaining her attack on the school as if we cared.

The liquid darkness that remains of Nefert wandered around, so to speak, aimlessly. She just happened to be lured back to the school because of the power there. We’re told she would have stayed there and fed on the residual power had “death” not appeared. Somehow she sensed death and manifested in evil spiders. This was somehow so she could feed on death. Then PCK uses the word ironic correctly for the first time in this entire series.

Ironically, it was the fledglings’ circle that opened the energy conduit which enabled Neferet to gain enough consciousness so that she was able to focus and borrow the ancient power of death and, ultimately, to find herself once more.

Yes, PCK, that Zoey and her friends are actually the instrument that allowed Neferet to return is as close to irony as you’ll ever get. Hell, Neferet could maybe even get some amusement out of the deal which would be near the definition. Now promise me you’ll never use it to describe Zoey’s love of Halloween themed cereal and you can get your internet cookie.

Neferet fed on the death of Erin and then ran off after Zoey mumbled the words. She got just past the gate of the school before becoming corporeal again. Or that’s merely implied. PCK says that Neferet’s body solidified. She could have turned into a compacted turd for all we know. This sudden transformation leaves her weak though none of the protagonists are nearby to witness it.

I really hate how Zoey isn’t even the slightest concerned when evil shows up. All she does it banish it with a “spell” and then she doesn’t care what happens to it. Just as long as it’s not in her backyard, Zoey doesn’t give a shit. If she at least worried, knowing that Neferet would still hurt other people even if she’s been banished from the school, I might give it a pass. Not on the blog here, I’d just give her a different kind of shit, but in my head.

Neferet needs to feed and there just so happens to be someone nearby. Someone whom PCK will want us to be glad dies. After all, we wouldn’t want our villain to be evil or anything. Aphro’s dad is nearby and he’s muttering about his shrew of a wife and how the hotel was trashed by Neferet. He’s telling himself he wished he never got married because then he could have been a single mayor and dated a lot of old money girls. You know, exactly the kind of thing you talk about to yourself all the time. If you’re in a movie where an angel makes you learn a lesson about your life.

At least I could hope she’d kill him. Instead, Neferet plays the manipulation card on him. She engages the hysterics and begs him to look at what they did to her. Aphro’s mom screeches at him from across the parking lot. Charles, Aphro’s dad, is about to tell he he’s found Neferet when she begs him not to for reasons. So he lies and says he dropped the keys. Neferet then decides to feed on him. Neferet knocks him down and tears out his throat. Why the subterfuge if she was going to kill him? No idea.

Freshly fed, Neferet runs off while Aphro’s mom starts screaming. She tries to get the darkness to cloak her in illusion but it refuses. She ends up in some suburb area and worries that she might get caught, being a naked bloody woman. So she grabs a fox and lets the blood drip over her while telling the darkness to show up. The dark tentacles do and drink the blood. She then tells the tendrils to lead her to safety.

The tendrils take her to the fox’s den where she curls up and goes to sleep. What? That’s the kind of desperation I expect from a hero, not the big bad villain. You’d think she would have found a nice quiet house to hide in after drainging the residents. Are you sure she’s the antagonist, PCK? Or were you just drinking while writing this again?

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Revealed Prologue

Of course there are the usual acknowledgments where PCK “hearts” her publisher. Are you an eleven year old harpy, pretending to be human? Because that goddamned affectation of yours is as obnoxious as calling it “brown pop”. That’s the kind of thing that gets you trapped in a seat in coach when you get to hell.

After trying to spread the blame around for this book, they thank “CZ” calling them a “pearl of great price”. I don’t know what the fuck it is with hacks and that singular bible bit. Was there a show that featured it that I missed? Because PCK strikes me as the kind of person that uses bible quotes the same way that Paolini does. With hands made of pressed pork butt.

I get that by sheer cultural osmosis, quotations from the bible carry a lot of weight. So when a hack wants to dress things up, they’ll often drop one in. And there are two ways to fuck up using them. One is to be writing religious fiction, that’ll ruin most everything but especially bible quotes(see the Left Behind series). Two is to use them as obviously as possible such as referencing the prodigal son when a child reunites with an estranged parent.

We finally reach the prologue, because why wouldn’t there be a fucking prologue. Stevie is telling Zoey that there’s a large turnout and that there are more humans than fleas on a dog. They see some local politicians and call them “total parasites”. Which is nothing like the actual parasites that vampires are. Also, Aphro’s mother is there or, as Aphro calls her, “Cruella De Ville” or “the one who bore me”.

Because someone mentioned a well known character, one of the lobotomy patients asks if Aphro’s mom would really skin a kitten. Aphro says no, just baby seals and democrats. Hilarious, PCK. Have you considered writing for The Simpsons? They could use a reason to get canceled.

They look around at the festival they’ve managed to put together in a week. There’s a bake sale booth that is, supposedly, doing a very brisk business in chocolate chip cookies. Grandma has a lavender booth which is also doing well. What the fuck, PCK? A lavender booth? I could accept if she had a booth full of scents, candles and things like lotions. That’s the kind of hippie garbage that gets crystal tickling harpies off in between meals. Just lavender is a bit too narrow.

Let’s see, Thanatos has a job application booth and lots of people are filling them out. Is it just a general job booth or is it only positions for jobs within the school? Because I thought humans were supposed to be afraid of vampires. I wouldn’t think they’d get such a massive amount of applicants. Maybe a couple of vampire fans who think they could get turned if they just give out enough undead hand jobs.

The whole thing is setup around the statue of Nyx. Off to one side, Dragon and Stark are doing weapon demonstrations. Heath and Kalona are not present because they figure the humans aren’t ready for them. Kalona, having pretty obvious wings, I could see. Heath on the other hand is a mystery. He doesn’t have hooves or look like a bull all the time. Or is he so stupid he goes around telling everyone that he’s the soul of a dead football player?

Aphro is drinking wine from a soda cup and gets chastised by Zoey for it. Again, if Zoey was my “friend” I’d spend as much time hammered as possible. Grandma then limps on over and Zoey says she’s doing well considering she’d been freed a week ago. Thanatos said it was because Grandma is in good shape for her age. Zoey says it’s because she has a mystical bond with god. We’re also reminded Nyx gives them “free choice”.

Zoey asks Grandma to hang out and wait while she goes out and visits with the cats. Aphro goes along so they can see and comment on Erin and her boyfriend. They complain about how gross it is to watch them suck face in public. They need to learn to maintain their dignity and only give out oral sex in public like someone we know.

Aphro notices some nun, who has a name but it doesn’t matter. Zoey says she’s one of the more uptight ones. Aphro thinks it’ll be interesting to watch her react to Erin and Dallas making out. Oh no, a nun might bear witness to a couple of horny teens getting to first base in public. Who know what the fallout will be, considering they’re on vampire school property and she has no authority over them. It’ll probably be a contemptuous sniff followed by a walk away.

Then sister Angela waves Zoey and Aphro over. She tells them that the family standing in front of her wants to adopt two kittens. They’re unusually close for litter mates, so sayeth Zoey, and they should be kept together. Zoey and Aphro both offer to help out with the paperwork which must be as arduous as taking out a mortgage and getting a divorce all at once. Least I have to assume that would be the only reason it would take the nun, Zoey and Aphro to get the paperwork done.

The family seems animated from ground up prints of Norman Rockwell. The mother and father gush about how happy they are to have found two cats and how it was such a surprise. The mother then says yes, their twins were also a surprise but it was a wonderful one. Zoey tells us the family made her heart “feel good”. Because Zoey occasionally turns into Lennie Smalls/Saphira.

Then, for some reason, Zoey looks towards the cage just as the girls mention some yucky spiders. Zoey sees the kittens batting a couple of black spiders around and says the backs of the cages are covered by them. She has Angela usher them into a tent to work on their papers while she does her magic. Aphro stops and asks if Zoey is actually going to cast a “circle” in front of humans. Zoey says it’s better than letting them get eaten.

Wait, PCK. Since when was vampire magic in front of the muggles verboten? Zoey sure didn’t care about that when she threw those guys under the truck to die. I can’t recall anyone having to stop Zoey or any of them from breaking the masquerade. Is this just a naked Harry Potter rip then or are you forgetting your own rules, PCK?

As this is a tense moment where supernatural creatures are suddenly materializing, Zoey knows that action is necessary. So she makes a phone call to Thanatos who says, in a dry voice, that something has changed and she senses death. Zoey tells her about the spiders.

“Neferet.” She spoke the name solemnly, confirming my gut reaction. “Invoke the protection of the elements. Whatever the Tsi Sgili is materializing, we know it isn’t natural—so use nature to expel it.”

Sure, makes sense. And which element is nature and can expel it? Also, is there a particular spell for that or will Zoey just have to say, plainly, what the magic should do? So she gathers her slaves for the circle.

I’m not too confident in the protagonist and her ability to take care of this. Considering how Zoey works, she probably won’t kill them but will just banish the spiders from Tulsa. This will force all the spiders to congregate in the woods just outside of the city and plan revenge. Their ultimate plan will be to spell out “Zoey is poop” in a large web then call the news chopper to take footage.

Thanatos comes on the loudspeaker, goes over her ridiculous title and then says she wants everyone to come to the center to start their raffle. Angela then escorts the young family towards them center, saying they’ll have all the details done by the time the raffle is over. Then members of Zoey’s power battery begin to arrive and comment on the spiders.

“Neferet seriously makes my ass hurt,” Aphrodite said, grimacing at the spiders.

Is that supposed to be like she’s a pain in the ass? Because I’m not getting that. It sounds more like Nefert won’t stop ramming things into people when they bend over near her. Aphro offers to stand in for water then Erin shows up for more manufactured drama whining about Aphro being too weak for the real deal. With all the members of Captain Planet present, they summon their elements. Water to make the cages slippery and earth to not let the darkness pollute the land. Then the “darkeness” starts forming into the shape of Neferet.

“No!” I shouted. “Spirit! Strengthen each of the elements with the power of our love and loyalty! Air! Fire! Water! Earth! I call on thee, so mote it be!”

So mote it be? That’s a lot packed into that phrase, PCK. Is Zoey telling the elements to become like a mote, or a small thing? Is she telling the elements to turn the spiders into motes? I’m sure it sounded much better in your head after your fifth breakfast cosmo. Whatever it was meant to do, it causes the Neferet shadow to shriek and then run away out the front entrance. As I predicted, Zoey can’t manage to do anything more than ship her enemies off to someplace else.

Aphro says that was gross, so the audience is informed. PCK can’t show how gross the spider shadow creature was so she has to have a character tell us. Then Zoey hears a “terrible cough” and looks over at Erin. Erin says she didn’t think it would end like this and begins coughing up blood. They all tell their elements to comfort Erin, because their magic isn’t capable of much else, and then she dies in Shaunee’s arms. Take that you horny teenage slut. That’s what you get for kissing your boyfriend in public like a prostitute without morals.

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Life & Death Final Thoughts

Ohh, a final thoughts post. One more post between the last of the main series for House of Night. I hope it doesn’t come across as though I’m putting it off. I mean, yes that’s what I’m doing but I’d like to pretend there was a whole lot of loose ends I just never got to talk about. Otherwise I’d have to admit just how much I’m dreading watching Zoey “triumph” over a villain who gets beat up by Team Rocket for her lunch money.

One thing that irked me was every character kept a first name with the same initial except for Beau. Yes, Bella and Beau both begin with the same letter but Bella is short for Isabella. You’d think Beau’s name should have been Billy or Bob or any nickname for a name he hated. That or have had a name like Issac. It reeks of Meyer doing a hack job on her own already cobbled piece.

Then there was the genital swap and lack thereof. Why didn’t Charlie become Charlene, Meyer? Mothers can be just as neglectful as fathers like Charlie. Or could you just not imagine that Charlene could be a police chief? You sure as shit couldn’t imagine Beau doing ballet. I mean, what kind of guy participates in ballet? Certainly no one that would be imposing.

I was also bothered by the change in book material. Instead of reading Jane Erye or whatever romance Meyer uses to get the irrigation going for the ten second twerk, Beau was reading old school sci-fi. Nothing wrong with that in reality but from a story perspective it’s a sign of weakness.

Why not have Beau be infatuated with romances? Maybe it’s a secret hobby he keeps from his friends and family but indulges when Charlie disappears to Lake Motel 6(now with naked Bonnie). The audience would understand, without being told, that this is a guy who seeks romance in fiction the same as he does in his life. He wants simple, uncomplicated love at first sight, with few obstacles between them.

A better author could have used that to show why Beau wasn’t bothered by the social implications of turning into a vampire. Or draw parallels between the challenges of characters in a favorite book of Beau’s. Which I’m sure Meyer thought she did but someone in her creative writing class should have told her otherwise.

But if she wanted to take a “classic” book and use it it for parallels without using romance, there are plenty of others. Moby Dick is a kind of go to that gets tossed around. Integrating it would be easy enough once you accept that Beau would be the white whale. Detailing a story of fixation, from the perspective of the obsesse rather than the obsessor, might be a hair compelling.

Hell, why not change a lot more about the whole book? Meyer claims it was to show that the love story would turn out the same no matter what. Which means that, within her literary universe, it was destined to happen. So why make it a retelling happen almost exactly the same as Twilight but with the exchange of tab A’s and slot B’s? It’s just puzzling the shit out of me.

Because all art has a purpose. Even the shittiest fan fiction exists to satisfy some desire. Twilight existed as a wish fulfillment fantasy of a bored housewife who finds marble counter tops erotic. The audience it resonated with, mostly women, aren’t interested in a dull avatar male with the personality of a cinder block. That’s not going to put asses in the bookstore like the dull girl they can pretend to be while their romantic ideal tells them how special they are.

If the outcome, the E and B romance, is destined then why not change up the setting entirely? If you truly were going to mirror the original, swap everything. Why not set it in Arizona and have Ed be the one that moves? Meyer could have shown how the scatterbrained mother impacted Beau’s life, rather than tell us. We could see firsthand his struggle with running the household while trying to be a teen. We could also witness Beau not being the most interesting person in the town because, there, he’s just another student.

Their personalities could be changed too. Beau could have been a slight to full on extrovert with Ed being a little shy and quiet. Play with the expectation that a century old vampire would have the self confidence to interact with people like a regular human. If the audience already knows how things are going to end, change the path everyone takes to get there. If only so they aren’t bored to death. They are paying you, Meyer.

So why does Life & Death exist? It doesn’t satisfy the suggestion that the E and B romance is inevitable. It’s not exploring or building on the themes put forward in Twilight. That would require Twilight has a theme though and that’s a lot of strain for someone who’d rather focus on the bland teen than the Civil War vampire. I would have said money had the ending not been changed.

That is still the biggest shock to me. I fully expected to see Beau start turning only to have Edythe  manage to suck the “venom” out in time. This would be followed by the horrible cliffhangers we’ve already seen and the threat of additional installments of the retelling of Twilight. I would have almost looked forward to New Moon being explained away. I don’t think Charlie would have allowed his son to sit around and mope for four months while doing nothing.

That’s probably the nicest thing I can say about Life & Death. Meyer doesn’t appear to be trying to double dip on her success. A lesser author would have jumped at the chance to repeat even a portion of their original sales from such a bestseller. Especially considering the, comparative, flops that her other attempts have been.

A really shitty author might take the wafer thin premise of theirs and stretch it out to twelve books. Along the way, they could come up with the most obnoxious protagonist, a horribly broken mythology and constantly break the fourth wall to berate the audience with their personal and political beliefs. Something Meyer and/or her editor has successfully kept from happening. Even at her absolute worst, Meyer has never been and will never be as bad as PCK.

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Life & Death Epilogue

Oh good. Looks like I set a blank post to autopublish while having no content to go in it. Good job to me. I finally sat down and decided to get things moving once again. I figure one more post with a wrap up of this book and I’ll be back to the House of Night series. Not that I was looking forward to it but I made it this far I should probably finish it out. In the meantime, here’s the actual epilogue.

Of course there’s an epilogue. I’ve made my feelings regarding those pretty clear in past recaps. I’m not a fan whatsoever. They’re obnoxious, repetitive and often used as nothing more than a regular chapter. I’m not saying they don’t have their utility, all things in writing do. Especially tropes and clichés. We’ll table that talk until some other time.

Beau and Ed are hanging out in a tree watching the road. Ed says he doesn’t have to be there if he doesn’t want. Beau says he should and watches what is clearly a funeral procession. Rene is there with Phil, like we were going to question it otherwise.

‘Rene was in the front seat.’ ‘But was Phil there, Stephanie?’ ‘Why wouldn’t he be? They are married and spouses typically support each other in times of crisis.’ ‘But if you don’t tell us Phil was there, we might think they’ve gotten a divorce because Bella/Beau died.’ ‘Good point, I need to remember the audience has probably suffered as many head injuries as I have.’

The very act of Beau watching his own burial is far more dark than anything the vampires do in the entire series. It would carry a bit more weight if Beau seemed to be impacted by it. In usually Meyer fashion though, he seems incredibly bored by the affair until she remembers that funerals equal sad and drops a couple of adjective telling us how sad he is.

Let’s see, Charlie is one of the pallbearers along with Phil and Rene. Also some pastor that Beau knows though Meyer didn’t establish the Swan’s as religious folk. Maybe it’s just supposed to be something about being a small town. Also, almost everyone from school is there and a lot of them are crying.

While I didn’t attend a small school, I did know a number of classmates that got killed. I’m willing to buy that maybe there’s so little to do in Podunk Washington that the entire student body will arrive to witness a funeral. I’m less inclined to believe that the lot of them are crying. Bella/Beau didn’t exactly endear themselves to a lot of people. I have a hard time picturing even their “friends” crying at their funeral.

The rest of the Cullens are there aside from Ed. Everyone does their best to comfort Rene and Charlie. I like to believe that Charlie is secretly relieved. There’s now nothing in between him and fishing trips and sports. It also means he never has to meet any hellspawn unlike the Charlie in Bella’s universe.

Everyone leaves except Charlie who stays until the grave is filled in. Beau refers to it as the hole, which tells us that him or Meyer doesn’t understand what’s really going on. That or she’s not giving it the gravity the situation calls for. It wouldn’t be the first time that Meyer treated something serious as a boring chore. Ed says that’s not what she wanted for him.

Beau asks what was Ed’s plan. She says she would have tried to live with him without changing him and marry him if he didn’t get bored. Then, once he died, she’d kill herself. Beau seems taken aback at the idea that she would have married him. Ed says she still will, Archie has foreseen it.

Does Meyer understand romance at all? Knowing that you’re going to get married, before you’ve decided, would be a bit of a downer. Part of the fun of romance is the unpredictability, not being forced into a relationship or marriage but coming to the decision because you realized that’s what you want. If you could tell exactly where things were going with a potential mate but couldn’t deviate, wouldn’t you feel trapped? Here’s Beau’s reaction to finding out Ed is slated to marry him.

I blinked a few times. “Wow. I’m… super flattered. You would really marry me, Edythe?”

That serves as the proposal, it seems. So they agree to marry, which isn’t a surprise to us at this point. He kind of wishes that they could have finished school and invited everyone to their wedding though. Ed says that would have meant they would have to do a double funeral afterwards.

Why is that, Meyer? Just because Bella/Beau isn’t going to age, doesn’t mean they couldn’t keep in touch with Rene and Charlie. If they really have to keep up appearances, they could always practice with makeup. It’s rather amazing what a little talent and powder can accomplish these days. But no, it’s far better to fake your death, crush your family and disappear.

Their wedding discussion is interrupted by some sound off in the distance. It’s Carnine calling them, saying they have guests. They run home and see the werewolves, though Beau doesn’t know that yet. They’re there because they believe Carnine broke the treaty and killed Beau.

Not only is this compressing the events of New Moon into the last chapter here but it’s stupid. If the wolves know there’s a family of vampires, they would probably know there are other vampires. It might be just possible that the other vampires could have, just possibly, be the ones who wanted to kill Beau. Though we couldn’t have had this half-assed confrontation otherwise.

Now that they see Beau is alive, basically, they change their accusation to the Cullens transforming Beau against his will. He explains about Joss and how she wanted to eat him but failed at it. Though he was going to die so he asked Edythe to save him by turning him. They’re not sure and want Beau to talk to Bonnie so she can make the final judgment.

Once the wolves leave, there’s a long conversation about whether this is a trap or what. Archie says he couldn’t see the wolves for some reason and this bothers him. Is it a trap? Which of them should go? Who gives a rancid flying fuck, Meyer? Get your god be damned characters to the next scene and wrap this turd up so we can flush it.

They go the meeting place and see a car pull up. Bonnie is driving and a large, strong looking girl is in the passenger. She’s clearly strong because she lifts Bonnie out of the car without any trouble. Bonnie says she should have guessed what happened when she saw the Cullen clan there. Because the only people who attend funerals are the immediate family, friends and maybe the murderer.

At first, Bonnie says that “thing” that looks like Beau isn’t. Beau says, yes he is. Carnine says they’ll hang around until the kids “graduate” and leave. It’ll look more natural that way. Bonnie says okay, it’s clear they didn’t violate the treaty. She also apologizes for the infraction which was done because they were overwrought.

Suddenly Beau catches the scent of Bonnie as the wind shifts. He’s suddenly very tempted and says that, although he’s never done drugs, he thinks Edy’s Heroin comparison is spot on. While he really wants to kill Bonnie, he realizes he doesn’t have to and maintains control. Yet another bit of tension that pops up and dissolves like a butterscotch on a hot dashboard.

Beau then gets sad and asks Bonnie to take care of Charlie. She says she would have done that regardless. I still maintain that Bonnie and Charlie spend a lot of time in a rented hotel room because Charlie doesn’t know how to get stains out of the comforter. Beau also says that she should hit him up if there’s anything she needs Beau to do from behind the scenes.

Once they’re gone, Beau says that it must have been a shock for Carnine to see that werewolves were still around. Carnine says that she saw something more amazing tonight. Beau is very special because, as a young vampire, he avoided losing control and killing someone. That’s so amazingly special he has earned a generous helping of praise.

Edythe then says that it’s been a long hard day but Beau is extraordinary and she loves him. Beau says he can handle anything as long as Edythe is by his side. As long as he can get laid, Beau will have no ragerts about letting his father slowly drink himself to death or Rene lapsing into a depression she will carry until her death. They kiss and Beau tells us that forever was going to be amazing.

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Life & Death Chapter 24

I don’t read my chapters ahead of the recaps and I’ve never read the book before doing them. Which might contribute to the seeming spontaneity that shows up in some of my posts. Parts where I’ll clearly chase some little thing on a tangent for a paragraph or two just to have it amount to nothing because it was merely the character being stupid and the other characters correct them.

Then there are things like right now that I’m taken aback. I would not have guessed, except sarcastically, that Meyer would have turned Beau into a vampire right away. Honestly that should have been how the original ended anyway. So I’m naturally more than a little suspicious of why this happened now.

Beau is complaining that the “fire in his arm” was nothing compared to what’s happening now. He begged Edy to kill him and get it over with. Archie, being the closest thing we get to a voice of reason, tells Beau everyone says the same thing. Beau yells at him and he shuts up and maybe apologizes for having a spine.

Though he’s lost in a fever dream of vampiric change, Beau is still cogent enough to tell things are happening. He’s not in the ballet room for one though they’ve moved him somewhere dark for the time being. No matter what, Edy stays with him as does Archie. Beau cries and screams and Edythe apologizes every time he does which makes him try to stop screaming.

They stop and get gas while Edy stays with him. Beau complains how the “fire” never lessens. You know that thing where you repeat a word over and over until it eventually loses all meaning? It has a name, semantic satiation. It’s something that kicks in within writing as well.

Constantly exposing an audience to the same word is almost exhausting. Repeating the word “fire” to describe the sensation stops having an impact fairly quickly. It also bores people and boring people, who are already reading your work to escape boredom, quickly put your shit down and decide it’d be better to hunt a squirrel with a turkey baster than get to the end of your drivel. For fucks sake, borrow the thesaurus from Paolini and grab a few other descriptors. Hell, I wouldn’t have faulted Meyer if she only bounced back between burning and fire.

At some point, Archie and Edythe decide Beau is far along enough in his transformation that they can begin educating him on vampirism. Number one, he’s going to be thirsty. Not just in a ‘hey, when you get a chance, could we swing by a Sonic and get me a shake?’ He’ll probably want to grab the nearest thing with a pulse, rip its head off and toss back their life essence like someone in a Gatorade commercial doing their damnedest to stem the leak of essential neon colors.

Edythe says that as soon as he’s done, she’ll take him hunting and he always wanted to see that, didn’t he? Also, he’ll get to see Eleanor’s bear impression and laughs. It comes across as desperate as those scenes in war movies where the poor bastard comforts a dying soldier. ‘Yeah, we’re going to go hunting just like you always wanted. And we’ll watch the fear in Katie Courics eyes swallow her soul as we descend like locusts on her flesh.’

Archie actually tells Edythe to stop worrying about it. Edythe says there’s just so much Beau doesn’t know about being a vampire. There’s one rule that has “a thousand permutations”. Basically that vampires must maintain the masquerade or else the Ventrue, er Volturi, will come down on them hard. Also, for no reason given, he can’t see his mother or father again.

Edythe first says this is because it’s not safe. This make a little sense as you can’t let a starving mouse loose in a grain silo. Especially not when that mouse could rip the silo apart and use it to harvest all the wheat in the surrounding fifteen kilometers(it just doesn’t have the same ring as miles does to me).

Edythe then is mumbling about how the Volturi are the reason he can’t talk to them again. It’s better for them to think he’s dead and how sad he never got to say goodbye. Then Beau is given a brief rundown of the Volts and their varying X-Men powers. I don’t remember her but one of them, a girl, can take a vampire’s power and give it to someone else. Everyone else remains the same boring, back of the envelope, had to make a new mutant before the deadline power.

Now it’s tine for a mention of the vampires that live in Alaska and are the real reason the polar bear population is in decline. Al Gore was wrong, it’s vampires! One of them can do the electricity thing while one of them can tell what powers a vampire has. Not very useful in their day to day operations I guess.

The transition is hurting beau more than knowing he won’t get to see either of his parents right now. He knows this won’t stay that way forever. Edythe continues to tell him all the fiddling bits like not aging or sleeping. He’s also going to remember everything ever for as long as he’s alive.

Goofy powers, RPG knock offs and the basics aside, Edythe then introduces the series werewolves. Yup, Jules’ family tree is lousy with magic wolves. Beau says all the things that Julie “scoffs at” are actual history. Which is unfair to Jules as she’s never seen a real werewolf and the last ancestor who could morph, her great grandmother, was probably dead before she was born.

Then we get short paragraphs for each of the Cullens and their backstory. Absolutely none of them change. Jessamine was still part of the Confederacy. Which is funny because Beau wasn’t in ballet like Bella was. That means Meyer thought it was more believable that a woman in the days of the U.S. Civil War would fight to secede than a boy going to dance lessons.

I don’t know why this is all here, do you Meyer? The only market for a Twilight re-imagined book is the original audience of Twilight fans. That unicorn reader, one who wants Twilight but hasn’t read it yet, doesn’t need the series spoiled by this shit. It’s basically letting the fans wank at the fact they know everyone’s tale already. Skip, skip, skip.

Victor took off by swimming into the Pacific, so he’s gone and could never be a threat again. Beau hopes that they destroyed the tape Joss had rolling while she was beating him. Beau also complains about how different the pain is between different parts of his body and how it burns different here than it does there. Meyer, having finally moved from fire to burn, continues to use it until it sounds like an incantation for conjuring rain.

The searing of the change begins to fade from his extremities. This worries Beau as he’s convinced parts of his body are now falling off after having been charred. The heat then focuses inwards towards his heart. Carnine, being quite the doctor with a bed side manner that would make House angry, has this to say:

“You’re all right, Beau. It’s ending. I’m sorry, I know. I remember.”

I get that Carnine is telling him that it will pass and, in the long view of things, this will be momentary. I’m taking it to mean that, after changing most of her “family” into vampires, Carnine’s sympathy is worn out. ‘Yes, yes, Beau. It hurts and I care very deeply about that. Just let me finish checking my lotto tickets and we’ll talk.’

There’s a description of what sounds like Beau having a heart attack and then it’s all over. Immediately after changing, Beau can hop up and look around. No relaxing in the simple pleasure of pain passed. Everything looks amazing to him now and he can touch Edythe without fear of her hurting him. Also, she doesn’t feel cold anymore.

Beau sees himself in a mirror and is startled by his eyes. We’re not told what color they are but it scares him. Edythe says that they will turn gold if he sticks to an non-human diet. If he chooses to graze among the population though they’ll go red. Beau says he’ll only hunt animals because that’s the right thing to do. Edythe then suggests they go hunting to slake his thirst and see. This is setup for a dumb joke where Beau says he’s never used a rifle before. How funny, time to fetch the lighter fluid.

As he moves while holding Edythe’s hand, Beau notices pale blurs in the floor length mirror. He stops and manages to force Edy to join him as he’s now strong. He tells us how his eyes are not only red, thanks for the late detail, but appear to be glowing and savage. He says he would scare himself if he ran into him in a dark alley.

Beau’s still wearing the bloody jeans he had before but has a fresh shirt on. This is a Swan fashion update brought to you by Aeropostale. He also tells us how he now looks right standing next to Edythe rather than like Jake Baruchel next to Alice Eve. This will make the paparazzi photos of them on the red carpet much less awkward. And yes this is a long fucking chapter.

Edythe tells him that hunting will be much easier than he thinks and to follow her. Beau runs along like the Flash after her. He’s impressed because his plot given flaw of clumsiness has been removed and he can now operate his legs unlike the drunken squid that normally did it. He’s quite pleased with his new super speed and tells Edythe, as soon as they stop, they have to do that again.

Edythe is frustrated and angry that Beau is in a good mood. he should be mad with hunger at this point because that’s what she felt. She asks then if he doesn’t have something he wants to say or do with them being alone. He should want to hit that booty now that he’s immortal and always rock hard. Instead, Beau has no idea what she’s talking about.

When Beau fails to comprehend what Edythe is talking about, she gets angrier. She though he wanted to yell at her in privacy to save her the embarrassment. Beau says no, he was trying to tell her in the car that she needn’t apologize, it’s not her fault. He’s still a bit disoriented, having only been a full vampire for about twenty minutes. As long as he’s with Edythe though, he’s good and happy. What else could she have done to have saved his life?

As Beau is absolving Edythe of any and all guilt she could possibly feel, he remembers something Joss said. Edythe says that Joss spoke of many things. She listened to the tape with headphones, a valuable detail we needed to have. She asks which lie of Joss’ is Beau thinking of. Probably the one where she claimed that alien vampires built the pyramids using plesiosaurs as beast of burdern while the yeti’s served as the stone masons.

The part where Joss said Edy didn’t want to turn him into a vampire. Edythe says that’s true, she didn’t. Beau says this means she wasn’t planning on him sticking around for very long. He doesn’t expect her to put up with him forever if she doesn’t want but he’ll be the best vampire he can possibly be. She “growls” at him that if he ever says something so stupid again, she’ll bite him.

He’s not stupid, Edythe. There aren’t many reasons I can come up with for not wanting to turn him into a vampire. If you truly felt love at first sight and it’s the kind of soul mate connection that will last an eternity, why not? Even if not right away, maybe have plans on offering it and see how he takes it. Not having any desire to change him says ‘sure I like you but I don’t see myself into you within the next century.’

Edythe says that having him there and being able to keep him is like having every wish she ever had fulfilled. She specifically says selfish wish, so Beau still doesn’t top the desire to see cancer eradicated. She says the real reason she didn’t want to turn him was because he was so special and he deserved more. Basically she didn’t want him to deal with being a vampire.

You keep claiming that, Meyer, but you have to show what Beau loses or it’s meaningless. You did that in Twilight as well and it’s just a token barrier you’ve set up. It’s part of why this series comes across as a personal fantasy. You don’t actually want anything that would make choosing immortality and beauty hard. Which is fine but that quality is what makes the story interesting. It tests the characters and shows us what they’re made of.

Edythe assures him that she’ll never want him anywhere else besides her. He says ok and Edythe says that she knew she’d love him forever right away. With that out of the way, she thinks they can figure the rest out for themselves. Which is actually almost sweet. She’s basically saying that she knows she loves him and they have time to sort the rest of their lives out.

That’s damn near a human sentiment, Meyer. Who’s fucking wedding vows did you take it from? I know full well, being a machine priest myself, that the binding ceremonies of subterranau do not value feelings. I have to assume one of your underlings married into human society and you were taking notes.

Beau leans into kiss her, noting how easy it is now. He doesn’t have to worry about her getting horny and dry humping his pelvis into a compound fracture. Edythe is still surprised he’s able to focus on anything but blood. he says he is pretty thirsty now that she mentions it. She says they should hunt and they run off into the night. beau says that he was unafraid and this would be easy just like everything else.

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Life & Death Chapter 23

I’ve said it before but it bears repeating. This story fails because it fails at characterization. That’s not to say all stories need depth and characterization. Some can just be good fun and an adventure or about bigger things. As an example, I’ve always been of the opinion that Dune is not about the characters as it is about the universe they inhabit.

Twilight has never been about big ideas or a large universe. Meyer isn’t about exploring the relationship of vampires with the environment or humanity and mortality. It’s supposedly about romance between Ed and Bella/Beau. I know more about the meals the Swans have had than any reason those two are in love. And that’s all because Meyer doesn’t show us the characters who are supposed to make this romance.

So when Beau walks into danger, it’s hard to feel anything other than frustration. We get to watch characters do stupid things because they’re the designated moron of the day. Meyer could have used character building to make it all justified. It’d still be obnoxious watching Beau walk into an obvious trap. Though it we knew the character, and it fit, we’d just say “of course Beau would do that.”

For example, if we saw evidence of Bella/Beau’s naivete at some point. Say they regularly missed out on sex jokes or maybe they didn’t see the danger with that crowd of random criminals that was ready to assault them. Then we’d have learned that Bella/Beau was a little inexperienced and might just have believed James/Joss when they made their offer. We’d still know the villain was lying but at least we’d understand why a character would walk into it.

There’s another scream on top of Beau’s shrieking. “The hunter”, having evolved from “tracker I guess”, lunges at Beau. Joss is stopped and flung away. Status update on how Beau is feeling, the burning has spread to his elbow now. More in eleven seconds. Most importantly though, is the fact that he’s not alone. Edythe is there and she’s sobbing his name. Normally women only sob his name after the disappointing sex so this is an improvement.

Beau wants to answer her but can’t because he can no longer breathe. She screams at Carnine to help her help Beau. Edythe begins by blowing breaths into him and not bothering with chest compressions all while telling him to keep breathing. Kinda hard for him to do if you’re doing it for him. And once you’ve had a sexy toy vampire start doing your breathing for you, who the hell can go back to manual breaths?

Carnine tells Archie to get to work on splints for Beau. Which sounds really important but its more busywork than anything. Broken bones are pretty serious but unless it’s an open fracture, bone poking through muscle or something, probably not going to be the first thing that kills you. And unless Carnine has vampire x-ray vision, then she can’t tell where the breaks are without taking Beau to a hospital. Carmine/Carnine is a bit of an asshole then, making their “children” keep busy.

Then Carnine focuses on the important part, the bleeding, which would kill Beau pretty shortly. He has some wounds which Carnine gets to work on while Edythe rummages around for analgesic or, as Meyer calls it, “something for the pain.” There’s probably a bottle of “No-Pain” in Carnine’s bag.

Beau tries his best to draw attention to his hand. It takes a few tries and labored gasps to get the rock stupid vampires to notice the bite mark he’s now sporting. Edythe is horrified that Beau has been bitten by a vampire. Edythe is convinced she can stop it and asks for a scalpel. Archie warns Edy that she might kill him in the process.

Is this a metaphor for virginity? Because I can’t see why this bothers them all so much. So Beau is going to turn into a vampire, so the fuck what? It sure would be awful if the useless protagonist suddenly turned into something useful before the next installment of the series. Then there couldn’t be any bullshit tension from Bella/Beau being endangered by a wobbly step stool or a passing tow truck.

Edythe slashes his hand and begins to suck harder than she’s ever sucked in her life. Beau says the fire now feels like it’s moving back down his arm. Archie declares he can now only see two futures; one where Beau lives and transforms or another where he dies. Of course Archie, being clairvoyant, and seeing all futures as merely possibilities must be correct. It’s not like there could be a third, remote option.

Nope, Meyer wrote Alice/Archie in as the only character able to see the outline the whole thing is based on. It’s all predestined and will happen and there’s basically no free will. Archie says this doesn’t need to happen slowly and looks at Carnine. Carnine says she took an oath.

What kind of oath are we talking about, Meyer? Do you mean the Hippocratic oath? Because the oath doesn’t prevent you from doing minimal harm for the greater good. Otherwise no doctor could ever perform surgery. Do you mean some sort of vampire oath not to ever drink blood? ‘Cause I would like to have seen that. It would have required character building and we just didn’t have time with the description of pop tarts.

Edythe then says that he deserves a choice. She leans over and says she won’t make the decision for him. If he doesn’t want to live as a vampire, she’ll let him die. She starts lamenting how she’d die right then to give him his life back and oh, if only there was another way. Never mind any pleasure she’ll get out of it when he allows her to bite him. That’s incidental and in no way influenced her decision.

How is this any kind of choice, Meyer? How many people would turn down vampirism on their deathbed? How many fewer could say no as they lay bleeding from wounds? I don’t think Beau would have said no under any other circumstances but it’s a rather thin veneer of choice you’re throwing around. Which a better author would want to explore. Meyer is just eager to get Beau into the vampire clan and dispense with everything else.

Edythe says to tell her what he wants. Beau says just her and Edythe has to ask if he’s sure. Good god, vampire, just turn the little bitch already! He affirms, yes, that he’d prefer to stay with her in the land of the living rather than dying. Archie tells Edythe to get out of his way before Edythe says she didn’t make any oaths. The chapter ends with Beau telling us that he couldn’t feel it but he could hear the sounds of her teeth cutting his flesh.

This was a very short chapter that took a rather unexpected turn. I can’t wait to see how things turn out now. The question I have though is why deviate from Twilight at this point but not the rest? If you’re going to change things, feel free to mix it up more than just who gets a penis or vagina and two scenes.

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Life & Death Chapter 22

How did James/Joss find Rene’s house? Let’s stop and dial back a few where Lauren was hanging out with the Cullens. Meyer never comes out and says it but it’s implied that Laurent/Lauren went right back to JJ and filled them in on the Cullens. That’s the only way JJ could have known about Alice’s clairvoyance. Otherwise JJ would have to have been receiving dispatches from the author herself and that would just be silly, right?

Of course it’s the only accounting I can come up with for how JJ ends up in Phoenix. Lauren/t never hears Bella/Beau’s last name mentioned so all they have to go on is Charlie’s place. Sure JJ could have snagged a piece of mail or overheard Charlie Swan but Rene doesn’t strike me as the kind of lady who kept her married name. JJ probably overheard Bella/Beau shout how they were going back to Phoenix so JJ has at least the city.

Though I would love to have watched JJ sift through phone books, desperately trying to find a Swan address. Meyer could have fixed this if Bella/Beau had thoughtlessly decided they needed to visit Rene’s house just to make sure. Then their scent would be all over it and give something for JJ to stumble upon. Compound this by saying “trackers” have incredible sense of smell, even greater than normal vampires, and it’s easy enough to accept.

Back to the book at hand, Archie has a new vision. Beau asks what it was and Archie says nothing, just the same room. To punctuate the lie, he asks if Beau wants breakfast. Beau says he’ll eat at the airport. Might I recommend a bottle of duty free vodka? Archie asks if Beau’s mom is okay and Beau says, yup, never better.

As they’re going to be leaving soon, Beau is tasked with packing his shit. He walks back into his room and scribbles a note to Edy. He say he loves her and he’s sorry, apologizing a lot, about what’s going to happen. But JJ has his mom and he has to try and save her because a squishy human has a better shot against the living statues that are Meyer-pires.

We’re told that he explicitly folds the note into thirds and puts it into an envelope before being sealed. All very vital details, I’m sure. Of course Myere left out the most critical details, whether it was a business envelope with the blue print that prevents the contents from being read through the paper or not. Yet another wiki page of the Twilight saga goes woefully under written because Meyer feels like being lazy.

In the car, Beau mentions the envelope to Archie, asking him to give it to Rene. Archie says yes warily, knowing something is up. It doesn’t take future sight to guess that someone handing you a note for someone the should be able to call(assuming Rene gets save by Edy’s crew) is a bit suspicious.

They sit down inside the airport to hang out and wait for Edythe’s arrival. Beau is looking at the flight arrivals and departures while bemoaning all the places he’s never been and will never get to go. He notices that Jessamine and Archie are keeping very close eyes on him and wonders how he can get away.

Beau says he’d like to get a bite. Jessamine says that’s wonderful but Edythe should really be the one to do it to him. Archie offers to go with and Beau says he’d prefer Jessamine to do it. Then he hands over the envelope to Archie and repeats the request that it be given to Rene. Again, it shouldn’t take psychic vision to feel the red flags going up.

As he’s walking away, Beau figures there’s one place where Jessamine won’t follow him. He asks her if she minds and heads into the bathroom. This is one place where there could be a divergence far from Twilight. Men are generally frowned upon for going into the ladies room in the US. There’s not the same taboo on women walking into the men’s though.

Jessamine could just march into the bathroom with confidence and the worst thing that would happen would be a few stares. One guy might have the guts to ask if she needs something. That’d get shut right down with a “oh, there’s a line and I have to go” real quick.

Beau knows that there are two exits to these bathrooms. So he runs through this one and out the other side. Then he’s dashing off to the elevator, riding it towards ground transportation and hoping a shuttle to a hotel. Once he’s at the Hyatt, he hops into a cab that’s just been vacated and throws the driver eighty buck to drive to Rene’s address which is in Scottsdale. As he’s a cab driver in fiction, they take the money in advance without question and drive.

Can I ask where in the hell Beau got that money? Beau just having almost a hundred dollars in early millennium money seems surreal to me. The imagery Meyer has offered so far, the simple house, the inexpensive hobbies and the beat up truck serve to paint Charlie as lower middle class. Not exactly the kind of parent who has a lot of cash to hand to his kid any given day. And Bella/Beau doesn’t work so it’s not like they have an income. I guess they have one of those magical wallets that always has exactly how much they need to advance the plot.

Beau spends the drive thinking about Edythe and what they would have done if he hadn’t run off. This is as dumb as it is asinine. They arrive and Beau dashes out to find the key that’s always hidden under the mat or under a flower pot. If I ever find myself trapped in a fictional universe, I’ll never be wanting a bed for all the spare keys buried like tulip bulbs throughout the front garden.

There’s a number written by the phone which Beau dials. Joss immediately answers and says she’s impressed at how quick he was. Beau wants to know how Rene is doing and Joss assures him that she’s just fine. Does Beau remember the ballet studio around the corner? Good, he should get his ass there to ensure Rene keeps all her blood on the inside and unconsumed.

Beau runs down the street, giving us the name of the street he turns onto. The studio is there but the parking lot is empty. There’s a hand written sign in the window about them being closed for spring break. I can’t tell you how many small businesses I know that close for school holidays. It’s hell getting your pants hemmed on President’s Day where I live.

Being the slow learning crustacean Beau is, he is surprised to find the front door unlocked. I would have been surprised if it was locked. Hell, I would have given JJ and Meyer props if they made Beau force his way in. It would have been interesting to see Bella/beau debate the merit of breaking into a place and overcome their normal inclination not to. That might have resulted in character building and that’s a cardinal sin in shitty writing.

We’re given a paragraph of description about the interior that doesn’t add or set the mood in any way. For example, the carpet is damp. The dance floor is dark because the blinds are down and the lights are off. Lastly, the air conditioner was running and the air is cool inside. As this is mostly normal for a building that’s not in use, Beau is terrified. ‘Agh, room temperature! I think I just pissed myself…’

Rene’s voice then calls out Beau’s name. He runs over towards it and hears Rene call out again followed by the dumb line that give away that something is going wrong. Beau, you scared me! Don’t you ever do that to me again!” Beau doesn’t answer her or just call out hoping to hear Rene. He just lumbers blindly towards her voice, sure that everything is as it seems.

Then he spots the TV which was playing a video. If he had at least the intelligence of a goldfish, Beau might have been smart enough to feel stupid. Beau is relieved that Rene is still in Florida and safe. Joss asks if Beau will say that the Cullens will avenge him. Beau says no, he asked in his goodbye letter for them to do nothing.

Joss takes this as an invitation to begin her villain’s monologue. Apparently Victor was going to kill Charlie but he was too closely guarded. So Joss decided to head to Phoenix to pay Rene a visit. She wasn’t sure Beau would actually go there, I mean who would use it as a ruse and go there, but there he was. She figured he’d go someplace comfortable and familiar. Never mind that Archie and Jessamine should have taken him elsewhere just for that reason.

It’s a pity that Beau came alone. Joss was so looking forward to a bit of a challenge. Of course she has a sixth sens about her prey and got his hotel number from the answering machine. How helpful of him to have given her the clue she needed to locate and taunt him. As Edy didn’t come to rescue him, she’s going to have to make this very gruesome.

Then Joss comes to a full stop and says that she has a story to tell him. How much different this series would have been if JJ had been a mute. Bella/Beau would have been dead long before Ed could have shown up. Joss made Archie. He was living in an asylum and smelled tastier than Beau does. Though Archie’s protector drained Archie before Joss could get to him. She was so angry she killed that nameless vampire. Also, she was surprised to see Archie there.

With that pointless anecdote out of the way, Joss says they’ll have some fun. She breaks Beau’s arm in what is arguably the most cathartic moment of the series. He’s then thrown against the wall and she breaks his leg. She then puts the camera in his face, she’s been recording this, and tells him to order Edythe to come after her. Beau refuses even after repeated threats to break more bones.

With her stupid plan thwarted, Joss decides to make Beau truly hurt. She takes his unbroken arm and nips his hand. Beau can feel the fire of vampiric transformation begin to spread through his hand and up his arm. He breaks the camera and gets thrown into the wall, again.

Fire had ignited my bitten finger—flames exploded across my palm. Heat was scorching up my wrist. It was fire that was more than fire—a pain that was more than pain.

That’s almost as lazy as just pegging a sensation as indescribable and calling it a day. I once grabbed a bar of steel that had, moments before, been welded. There was the initial shock of that first burn, that tender stab as the heat registered and made me pull away. I had a moment to think maybe I escaped with just a reddened hand for being stupid. Then there was the building temperature as the burn seemed to burrow into the flesh. I could feel the skin tightening as blisters started to form.

I could simply say that it burned and it was like fire. That wouldn’t get across how it felt to get burned like that. We don’t read fiction to be told, dryly, that something feels good or bad. We want to be sold on the empathy of it. We want to feel what the character feels, we need it. Sell us on the transformation, Meyer. Fulfill that need.

Anywho, Beau failed at breaking the camera and he’s bleeding. He can see Joss struggling to maintain control at the presence of blood. I don’t know why she’s bothering. Just bite down and dig in, he’s already dead. Beau is screaming and watching her approach, knowing that she’s going to kill him finally. If only we didn’t know better.

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