Marked Chapter 12

One of the strangest things I’ve noticed about this series is the lack of names. Or rather the uneven distribution among the characters. The vampires all have names and they serve as bright neon signs labeling the “good” and the “bad”. Zoey and friends are good because they have only slightly exotic names. Aphrodite and crew have ridiculously exotic names which makes them evil.

Fine, I don’t expect anything less in a book where the morality is skewed by the sociopathic avatar. But it is curious how Zoey’s mom didn’t get a name. Her mom is supposed to be a rather important character as Zoey’s dad disappeared when she was two and Stepdad only married into the family three years before. So Zoey has obviously spent a lot of her life so far living in a single parent household. And yet we never hear her mother’s name.

There are dozens of ways PCK could have let it slip. From having Zoey call her mom by her first name as a show of disrespect to having her Grandma refer to her daughter by name. It’s just weird having a character, who should be important to the protagonist, not get a name while Stepdad does. It’s like PCK realized that Zoey has a family but wants to get past that so she can focus on the vampires.

Zoey walks into her first class and we’ll get to see here cope with a group of strangers. This will give PCK a moment to strongly define Zoey by showing us how she reacts to social discomfort in a setting where such reactions are important. Or PCK will wuss out and have one of Stevie’s friends waiting for her there.

She goes and sits down with Damien. I’m glad this is a real loose kind of class and you can just sit wherever you want. He asks Zoey if she’s ready for her first day and PCK tries to write her as nervous but gets distracted by describing Neferet’s outfit.

I nodded. “Yep.” I wanted to say more, but just then a bell gave five quick rings and as the echo of it died Neferet swept into the room. She was wearing a long black skirt slit up the side to show great stiletto boots, and a deep purple silk sweater. Over her left breast, embroidered in silver, was the image of a goddess with her arms upraised, hands cupping a crescent moon. Her black hair was pulled back into a thick braid. The series of delicate wavelike tattoos that framed her face made her look like an ancient warrior priestess. She smiled at us and I could see that the entire class was as caught as I was by her powerful presence.

She looks like “an ancient warrior priestess”? Yeah, because they were known for wearing extremely impractical stiletto boots. And are they really only called tattoos if it’s ink? Or are we not supposed to know that those are vampire markings and not actual ink?

Moving past the details, I don’t like quoting a block of text again right after doing it already but the next paragraph is too funny to pass up.

“Good evening! I’ve been looking forward to beginning this unit. Delving into the rich sociology of the Amazons is one of my favorites.” Then she gestured to me. “It is excellent timing that Zoey Redbird has joined us today. I am Zoey’s mentor, so I’ll expect my students to welcome her. Damien, would you please get Zoey a textbook? Her cabinet is next to yours. While you explain our locker system to her I want the rest of you to journal about what preconceived impressions you have of the ancient vampyre warriors who are known as the Amazons.”

‘Hi everyone! Just a reminder, Zoey here is very special and you aren’t. Damien, because you’re the only other character in the room with a name, I’m designating you Zoey’s personal gopher. Now go get her stuff and tell her how to use the locker. Everyone else, work on this assignment where I will belittle the belief of the real world. Don’t worry, Zoey, this doesn’t apply to you.’

Damien explains that the lockers here aren’t like normal lockers. Gasp! No! You mean a box with a lock on it is too plain for a vampire? Basically they’re not lockers, they’re little cabinets that they don’t ever need to lock because no one would dare steal from them. Also, as it’s in their homeroom, their homeroom is always open.

Zoey then sits down to work on the assignement. Which is stupid, a history teacher doesn’t start off by having you tell them what “preconceived notions” you have. Zoey starts wondering why everyone is so scared of getting in trouble and tells us she only got detention once because she hit a kid for telling her to blow him. She says it wasn’t so bad because she could get caught up on homework.

Once Zoey’s done reminiscing about being part of her own private breakfast club, PCK starts telling us about the “amazons”. Apparently vampires shake hands by grabbing each other’s forearms which somehow nods to them as does the “bow of respect”. Don’t forget about the mace of justice and the frying pan of angst. Oh and people thought that amazons were man-haters just because they were a matriarchal society. And apparently vampire societies are heavily matriarchal. Neferet warns that you have to keep legend and history separate.

Ok, PCK you do realize that the amazons were entirely fictional, right? Or are you trying to say that all legends exist in your vampire’s universe? That there was also a Gilgamesh and an Atlantis and a Paul Bunyan would change things considerably.

Once PCK is done telling us we’re stupid, she launches into the “coolest lecture” Zoey has heard. Thankfully, we’re not present for that. Though Zoey does get stopped by Neferet on the way out. She asks how Zoey’s doing and tells her that she’ll see her at “ritual”. She also tells Zoey that she should consider joining the “dark daughters” because it’s a very exclusive club. Doubtless she’ll be running it after Aphrodite is deposed and staked out for the vultures to peck to death.

Neferet comments on how the stitches are almost gone and Zoey tells us she hasn’t thought about it since she got it. She also notices she hasn’t thought about her family at all but this doesn’t bother her as much as the cut. Then Neferet sends her on her way to drama class where Zoey. Oh, and on the way there Zoey tell her friends that she had no idea that amzons cut off their right breast because it was in the way.

Ok, PCK, you’re an idiot. Yes, both you, PC, and your daughter barely add up to being a moron when you pool your brain power. There’s no reason they’d cut off their right breast. Allow me to explain. Most people are right-handed which means that they draw with their right hand. When you draw, you don’t draw as far as your arm can possibly go. Usually it’s back to about your cheek and if any breast would conceivably get in the way it would be the left.

Because it’s been a long time since I’ve shot a bow, I looked up some videos of people using them. And just for kicks I stuck to ones featuring women. This one and this one and a third and a fourth. If you don’t watch the videos, something that’s apparent is that the drawing hand is kept level with the shoulder as they pull back and they all stop right around the cheek as they sight their target. In none of them, do their breasts serve as an impediment.

So the only reason they have to mutilate themselves is because they’re brainless. But being as they’re vampires made by PCK that is entirely possible. Which means that PCK wrote about a tribe of warrior women vampires who cut off the wrong breast and shoot a bow incorrectly. If that’s what passes for admirable in Zoey’s world, then I’m worried how stupid the rest of the vampires will be.

Zoey gets to drama class where the teacher, “professor Nolan”, already knows Zoey by name. Zoey sits next to a girl she thinks is smart–and we all know Zoey’s a good judge of character–because it never hurts to sit next to a smart kid. Then Nolan says she was just preparing the monologues from the great vampire playwright. Care to guess what historical figure PCK pulls out? Yes, Shakespeare. Then a man walks in.

The door opened and oh my dear sweet lord I do believe my heart totally stopped beating. I’m positive my mouth flopped open like a moron. He was the most gorgeous young lad I had ever seen. He was tall and had dark hair that did that adorably perfect Superman curl thing. His eyes were an amazing sapphire blue and…

Unless you’re old enough to collect Social Security checks, you should never refer to any guy as a “young lad”. That makes me picture her as an old lady offering the “nice young man” on her doorstep a crisp dollar bill to shovel her walk. And wouldn’t you know it, that’s the guy who was getting a hummer earlier. His name is Erik, by the way.

Apparently he’s won the school’s monologue competitions for a number of years running. Oh please, PCK. There’s only one master of the monologue, William Shatner, and until he’s dead Erik will always go home with the silver. Erik goes into his monologue and it makes him seem older, and bigger and more powerful and blah blah blah.

That’s PCK making him special enough to be Zoey’s boyfriend but not so special that he outshines her. And of course their eyes lock just like the day before and Zoey swears he’s speaking directly to her. That’s because he is, you twit. The other characters are so flat they might as well be figments of your imagination.

The girl next to Zoey, Elizabeth, says he’s so “f-ing” hot. She then proceeds to sum up her existence to Zoey, unasked. She says she has no last name because it used to be Titsworth and she dropped it as soon as she got there. Her one anecdote spent, Elizabeth tells Zoey that Erik was really looking looking at her and she likes Zoey’s mark.

Zoey grabs a couple of books to look through so she can pick her monologue. You mean the narration isn’t her monologue? Does that mean we’re going to suffer through a nested monologue then? Either way, Zoey worries for a second or two about Erik looking at her and tries to pretend that it must have been bad that he did.

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3 Responses to Marked Chapter 12

  1. maeverin says:

    yeah, i’m just gonna go ahead and pretend Erik sounds like Dr. Orpheus from Venture Bros. when he’s monologuing.
    i really wish these writers would stop doing the easy immediate attraction at first sight. there’s nothing wrong with having a gorgeous character who takes your breath away, but why can the love interest be the friend with the nice smile they didn’t notice until later?

  2. Curmudgeonly_Caiman says:

    As a lady who does archery (and I use compound bows, which HURT if they smack you), I have never had my lovely lady lumps impede on my shooting abilities. About the only you’ll hit is your left arm (if you are shooting right handed as I do).

    And I admit that the Titsworth story was extremely endearing to me because I thought the name change was so stupid but at least that made sense and I deeply rather listen to Titsworth story than Zoey’s. Basically, I’m desperate from any escape of all this stupidity.

  3. Jenn says:

    Did anyone else notice that Neferet was described as having auburn hair the first time Zoey saw her and black hair now, and there’s never any mention that her hair had been dyed? Is it sad that I’m shocked that PCK are so inept at writing that they don’t even bother to be consistent with their character descriptions?

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