We begin with Neferet taking Zoey on a tour of the school. She explains that, as it’s four A.M., classes have been out for more than an hour. She says that They start at eight P.M. and end at three. The gym is open until dawn which she’ll have to pay attention to everyday until “the change” is completed. Also the temple to Nyx is open all day everyday but they have services twice a week.
Which brings me to my next point. Why does becoming a vampire mean you have to worship a particular god? I mean, what if you’re a Zoroastrian who wakes up with the blue raver tattoo on your forehead? Do you have to convert or are you allowed to stick with your old religion? Are they allowed to be atheists as a vampire? How about agnostics?
Ignoring the fact that PCK has created a vampiric cult, a large orange cat shows up. Neferet—who I’m still picturing as a ferret—says his name is Skylar and he’s a known biter. Which means he’s probably an imported knock off of Greebo or Crookshanks. Does this normally vicious and territorial cat savage Zoey to the point that she’d need reconstructive surgery if she weren’t a vampire? Of course not. It rubs against her hands like Zoey raised him from a kitten and Neferet comments on how unusual that is.
I carefully scratched Skylar’s ears like Neferet had been doing. “I like cats,” I said softly. “I used to have one, but when my mom got remarried I had to give it to Street Cats to be adopted. John, her new husband, doesn’t like cats.”
My hypothesis was correct. John’s attitude is a litmus test for everything in Zoey’s world. Neferet speaks then for the authors, saying that she finds how someone likes cats and how cats like them is an excellent indication of someone’s personality. I think it depends on the cat but then again I’m not the larval stage of a crazy cat lady.
PCK tells us that cats—in this universe—are closely associated with vampires. Why? Because PCK likes cats. Supposedly “normal” people used to kill them because they thought cats turned people into vampires. Zoey thinks “stupid humans” and is shocked by how quickly she’s distanced herself from humanity. I’m shocked that it didn’t happen sooner. Zoey asks if she can have a cat and Neferet says if a cat chooses her. Then Neferet says that her affinity for cats is a gift from Nyx.
Apparently Nyx hands out random perks to her priestesses. It can be anything from psychic powers to something really dumb like getting along with cats. That’s PCK’s way of writing a future power coupon for Zoey. Oh and she can give you as many as she wants. Neferet also has an “unusual healing rate” which is how she knows Zoey was doing fine.
Zoey then starts clarifying the schedule and she’s shocked that classes start so late. Neferet says that classes at night is the “only logical” thing. Being as vampires don’t die or explode in sunlight or any of that other “fictional nonsense” but it is uncomfortable. The irony of a fictional character making fun of fictional traits for fictional monsters is not lost on me.
Neferet sends Zoey off to some room on her own to wait for dinner. For some reason Zoey thinks she hears someone say her name—probably because everything revolves around her—so she wanders over to an alcove. There she sees a guy standing away from her and some blond girl on her knees fellating him. The guy is protesting and telling her to stop and the blond girl is telling him he knows he wants it and her.
Let’s see, being as this guy is getting a forced blowjob I’d say he’s supposed to be Zoey’s love interest. She’ll step in and save him from the blond girl will then resent her and stand in for the antagonist. Of course I’m just blue-skying here but would anyone be shocked if I were right?
The girl keeps making advances on him and he keeps telling her no. She starts slashing at his pants and he starts pulling away while bleeding. Then Zoey and his eyes lock. And it’s like the whole world stops existing as they look into each other’s eyes. They’re so mesmerized by each other that they never even hear the semi that plows through the school and runs them over.
Zoey and her future husband manage to tear their eyes apart but it rips their corneas out, highlighting the dangers of using epoxy as eye drops. Remember kids, don’t put advanced bonding agents on your eyes or else you too might end up blind. Zoey turns away and runs, grossed out by the whole thing.
Yes, I was aware of the whole oral sex thing. I doubt if there’s a teenager alive in America today who isn’t aware that most of the adult public think we’re giving guys blow jobs like they used to give guys gum (or maybe more appropriately suckers). Okay, that’s just bullshit, and it’s always made me mad. Of course there are girls who think it’s “cool” to give guys head. Uh, they’re wrong. Those of us with functioning brains know that it is not cool to be used like that.
Wow, there’s so much wrong with that. For one, the whole scare that teenage girls were giving head away like candy on Halloween was indeed a big scare in the early ‘00s. The latest scare word among panicky parents is “sexting”. Secondly, was this cowritten by the founder of the DARE program? It reads like an after school special. ‘Yeah, texting is cool but you know what’s even cooler?’ ‘Drugs?’ ‘No.’ ‘Drinking booze?’ ‘No ‘ ‘Raising free range chickens for fun and profit?’ ‘No! Oral sex!’
Thirdly, participating in oral sex doesn’t mean you’re being used. This is one of those moments where I’m not sure if that’s Zoey talking or if PCK is talking through her again. Zoey tells us that both the blowjob and the blood freaked her out. Mostly because she wanted to lick the blood off of him. I will offer PCK a little credit as Zoey is also bothered by the look they shared.
‘I know some kids think it’s “cool” to wear gloves but they’re wrong.’ This message brought to you by the Foundation for Mittens Awareness.
Zoey runs into Neferet and she says she’s worried about meeting her new roommate. Neferet uses some vampire magic to heal Zoey’s head a little which makes her feel better then she shows her to the courtyard. There’s a bunch of oak trees and a statue of Nyx and everything is lit by gas lamps.
Why does the “house of night” use gas lamps, PCK? Do they just like wasting natural gas or is it because you read Interview with the Vampire and just loved the image of Paris lit up by foul burning gas? Why not low power LEDs or CFLs? I doubt the vampires need a whole lot of light to see by.
Neferet then tells Zoey about the statue of Nix they own. It was originally owned by a private school that Zoey heard about. There was a big drug bust there and everyone was shocked except Zoey because she knew all those rich kids were majorly into drugs. Zoey says she’s surprised they sold the Nyx statue to them and Neferet says they made the “arrogant headmaster and offer even he couldn’t refuse”.
Which really only serves to reiterate that PCK really, really hates private schools. Or that they really like making extremely dated jokes by dropping references to movies older than their audience. Next gunfire will go off and Neferet will tell Zoey to run “serpentine!”.
Zoey is looking around and says that all the vampires are extremely good looking. Apparently in her world the vampires dominate the arts, and yes I mean all the arts, which is how they have so much money. And that’s why the “people of the faith”—the religious group Stepdad belongs to—claim to hate vampires. Zoey says it’s because they’re secretly jealous with the confidence that can only come from ignorance.
Zoey then says that it only affects the adults, that the kids aren’t quite so good looking yet. But they’re still wearing extremely fashionable clothes that look like they belong on runway models. Because author forbid there be a vampire who doesn’t obsess about their clothes or look ugly.
See, this would be a brilliant moment where PCK could show that vampires are obsessed with beauty because they’re ugly inside or even just under the skin. They’re desperately seeking to be something which they can’t ever be and so they covet things of beauty. But PCK, like Chris with his elves, just has vampires better than humans because PCK wants to be better than humans.
Hey, PCK? What about the vampires that don’t have any fashion sense? Like the guy who cares more about programming late into the night and doesn’t concern himself with such passing fancies as clothes? Or how about the woman who wear clothes at the height of fashion…from the sixties because that’s the decade she was turned? They probably aren’t allowed to exist. PCK’s vampires cultivate a certain image and anyone that deviates from it is tied to a stake and burned as an offering to Nyx.
Oh, and Zoey mentions that everyone has long hair. Which makes me think these vampires really are a cult or they belong to a hive mind. They all worship the same god and they all have the same hair. ‘Individuality is frowned upon here, unit 20568.’ ‘My name’s Zoey.’ ‘You are vampire unit 20568. Report to the feeding chamber for your allotment of nutrients.’ ‘Well, as long as I get to be pretty.’
I also noticed that the adults and the kids had one other thing in common―their eyes all lingered with obvious curiosity on my Mark. Great. So I was beginning my new life as an anomaly, which figured about as much as it sucked.
Yes, poor Zoey. It’s just so hard being special and different from everyone. The constant looks, the latent admiration and constant fawning is almost too much. For all of Zoey’s complaining though I’d bet she’ll never consider giving it up.
Wow. Congratulations, authors, for going from eye-rolling silliness to disturbing material in five seconds flat!
At least they threw in a cat, though. I have always (*slurps blood*) liked cats.
Yeah, they definitely have a tonal issue and the shifts from boring info dumping to bad comedy to light gore are so jarring the book should include seat belts.
For the life of me I cannot work out how PCK, err, I mean Zoey decides what to soapbox. I mean, shouldn’t she be more concerned about the sexual assault/attempted rape on this poor guy than the oral sex itself? If the genders had been reversed and Zoey had still reacted like that, I’d imagine this book would never have been published.
Also, this book reads like an awful PSA written in the 80s. I’m really shocked and disappointed there’s no “Radical!” or “Cowabunga dudes!”.
I’m getting more of a nineties feel and wouldn’t be surprised if some of the boys at the school were really into rollerblading and bungee jumping. I keep waiting for someone to parachute in while shouting “extreme!” and slamming back a can of Dew.
Actually, that makes sense, since the daughter Cast was a teenager in the nineties. And I have to say extreme!vampires with bunging jumping and Dew drinking would only improve the book in my eyes.
It’s true, that would improve the book if only because something would be happening. Instead we’ve spent seven chapters just getting to the school and things don’t look like they’re going to pick up any time soon.
Okay what the hell is with female urban fantasy writers? Because seriously Rice, hamilton, Meyer, and this chick. All of them are either just plan bad and somehow get mass popularity, or go nuts later down the line from fame. I’m starting to suspect the generation gap plays a huge part in giving teens unhealthy messages. I mean, I’m sure when PCK was an actual teenager the idea of a man getting raped wasn’t even possible to most people. She was born in 1960, so yeh she was a teenager in the 70s, thinking about that, the ‘blowjobbing is bad and only BAD girls do it’ message isn’t all to shocking. Makes me wonder if this story would have been better set in the 70s, though god forbid PCK couldn’t have her modern teenage fanbase.
The generation gap might explain something. Though I am surprised she didn’t set it back in the seventies instead or even the eighties. Not only would it appeal to the hipsters but then she could reuse all those old plot devices that things like cell phones and the internet have rendered useless.