I’m still really hating how cheap PCK is being with Elliott. He hasn’t really done anything to deserve scorn from Zoey aside from insulting Damien. Considering how much trouble he’s gotten into just for being disinterested, I’d say he’s just frustrated. Maybe he doesn’t like all the vampire classes and the religion that comes with it. Maybe all he really wants to do is draw or design flash games or grow prize winning vegetables.
I have an easy time identifying with a character whose only crime is being incredibly bored at school. If I spent most of my days feeling worn out and bored out of my mind and then got yelled at for it, I’d probably be a raging douche too.
That doesn’t mean PCK couldn’t make an example out of him. They could even keep the parts where the teachers are lecturing him at the end of each class. Zoey would have to react differently. Instead, have Zoey curious or even impartial towards Elliott but not concerned. Then have him die in front of her. He could serve as an example of what happens if you start slipping and you’re too weak for the “change”. We’d learn that the teachers are hard for a reason, because even small slips can lead to death.
For those hard core Zoey fans building an itinerary of her first day, don’t worry. PCK doesn’t skip ahead much between last chapter and this one. Stevie and her only get halfway—however far that is—to the temple before she realizes that something’s wrong. Stevie is very pale. How do you tell a pale vampire from a regular one? I mean, if going out in the sun is uncomfortable then I have to assume they don’t go tanning. So if they’re alive then you’d assume that, depending on base skin color and resulting mutations of the vampisirm, they’d get as pale as they could.
But yeah, for the sake of the story, Stevie looks more pale than usual. So she asks what’s wrong and Stevie says that it’s “sad and scary”. I know, Stevie. Just knowing that not only did this get published but that it’s sold well enough to spawn a largish series is somewhat depressing. It’s enough to make you wonder if you shouldn’t just give up and try writing schlock that will sell. Oh, wait. Stevie is talking about something else. Apparently some girl died within the hour.
It happened in Stevie’s Tae Kwon Do class. She started coughing and then she up and died. It turns out it was the Elizabeth girl from Zoey’s lit class. And Stevie reiterates that there’s no way to stop it if your body start rejecting it. I’m starting to wonder if Zoey won’t get sick and then have a miraculous recovery via a visit from Nyx. You know, because that’s never happened before.
Zoey starts whining that everything is just going along like normal. Stevie says that’s because they don’t want to make a big deal about it to get them used to the idea. ‘Alright kids, turn to page four seventy eight where we’ll start reading up on the last Czars.’ Thump. ‘And it looks like Jared has just keeled over. I’ll go get the campus coroner, in the meantime read the next thirty pages and discuss western influences on the deposition of Nicholas the Second until I get back.’
Zoey is, of course, worried about herself and says that it’s hard to believe. Neferet doesn’t treat her like she’s temporary but it could happen to her at any moment! Shaunee interrupts Zoey’s angst and tells them to hurry up and that Damien saved them seats in “the circle”. We also learn that once they start the “ritual” that they don’t let anyone else in.
Then they tell Zoey what to expect which is a damned first. The priestess will trace a pentagram on her forehead and say “blessed be” which Zoey will repeat back. She asks if the pentagram is evil and everyone laughs and says that, no, it’s a sign of good and blah blah blah. Then Zoey says it’s the fault of the “people of the faith” and their desire to control everything so they convince everyone that it’s evil.
Right, except that they’re a small splinter group of fundamentalists while the vampires are the world domineering religion that runs the arts and who knows what else. Clearly, the small group of nut jobs in Oklahoma have more influence that the poor, oppressed vampires. Personally, it seems they just disagree with your new theology, Zoey and it has nothing to do with control.
They go in and the priestess running the show is Anastasia, Dragon’s wife. She dips a finger in oil and blesses Zoey while welcoming her to her new life. Then she sends her in and says she believes the goddess is already waiting for her. Again, the only thing I can think about is how uncomfortable this has to be for everyone else.
Zoey describes the place and there are lots of candles everywhere and the sconces in the temple are real. There’s also a large table with a statue of Nyx on it and there aren’t any pews. Zoey says she hates pews and could they be any more uncomfortable? Yeah, I’m sure it’s much nicer to sit on the floor in a circle.
Four women come in and then a woman and a man. Zoey says he’s the kind of guy that gives vampires the reputation as movie stars. He’s six foot tall and looks like he belongs on a movie screen. That’s a pretty scant description, PCK. Does that mean he looks like Boris Karloff? That’s what I’m going to picture.
“And there is the only reason I’m taking that damn Poetry elective,” Shaunee whispered.
“I’m with you there, Twin,” Erin breathed dreamily.
Remember, they’re twins or they’d really like to be. Let’s stake one of them to the wall and see if it hurts the other. His name is Loren Blake and he’s the “first male Poet Laureate in two hundred years” which is not at all awkward to say. And he’s only twenty some years old.
He starts reciting a poem by Lord Byron and the women start dancing around. Then Neferet raises a goblet to the sky and says they celebrate the full moon and blah blah blah. They go through a whole ritual that’s actually a good approximation of regular religious ceremony in that it’s incredibly boring.
Zoey is amazed that she’s listening to a sermon but not bored at all. She also comments how no one present is sleeping or “sneakily doing Sudoku”. Yeah, that sounds like any fundamentalist church as well. My guess is Zoey has never seen the real crazies who “speak in tongues” or fall down over and do the croppy flop when they “feel the spirit”.
Loren says that the full moon is the time when magic is afoot so they should all make a silent wish. Zoey wishes that she now has a home that no one can take away from her. They do some more dancing, calling out elements and Zoey says she never felt anything like that in church. Then they all take communion, I mean, they pass around a wine goblet and Zoey likes it. Then they finally seem to be wrapping up.
“Tonight I want each of us to spend at least a moment or two alone in the light of the full moon. Let its light refresh you and help you to remember how extraordinary you are…or you are becoming.” She smiled at some of the fledglings, including me. “Bask in your uniqueness. Revel in your strength. We stand separate from the world because of our gifts. Never forget that, because you may be sure the world never will. Now let us close the circle and embrace the night.”
Wow, can they really be that unaware? ‘Remember that you’re special because everyone will always be picking on you. Sure we don’t make it easy on ourselves as we dominate the arts and have a large amount of wealth and have a separate community that we don’t allow humans in but they’re just mean. Don’t let the strain of having super strength, enhanced senses, advanced healing and various other assorted powers bring you down. We will persevere!’
They finish up and head out for dinner. Zoey then remembers that she has yet another ritual to attend. The other girls say they’ll probably have raw meat or someone that Aphrodite snagged in her “nasty spider web”. Shaunee says that’s a reference to Aphrodite’s vagina. Ok, I’m just going to step over here where terms make sense. You stay there, PCK.
Zoey asks if they’re joking about the raw meat and Stevie isn’t so sure. She gives Zoey some antacids she has in her purse. Will Zoey suffer from heartburn? What will Aphrodite serve for dinner? Will the plot be revealed? Why do I think only the last one will go unanswered.
the whole slamming the People of Faith thing is really pissing me off. Zoey’s traded one religion for another and refuses to acknowledge it.
from what i can see, the followers of Nyx are just as restricting and controlling, just in different ways.
and again i ask, does becoming a vampire (in any book at this point) mean you become pretty? PCK kind of skirted this by having all vamps eat well and excercise, which can (can!) lead to a decent body, but what if someone’s a butterface? do you suddenly become more symmetrical? hair start becoming more managable? all skin problems go away?
Fuck Zoey, i want to read about Elliot, the chubby, “ugly” vampire who should be dead by now but isn’t.
Seriously, though, poor Elliot. This is how I’ve filled out his story:
He was abused and neglected at home, kind of a literal and metaphorical red-headed step child. Both of his parents made it clear they didn’t give a damn about him, and he grew up very poor. At school he was permanently unpopular, no friends, regularly bullied. Forsaken by everyone. Nobody gave a damn about him and he didn’t give a damn about anyone.
Then he gets the news that he’s turning into a vampire. It comes completely out of left field. Since all the best, prettiest, most talented people in the world are vampires, this gave him a little sliver of hope that he could experience being worth something. So he runs away from home to go to the House of Night. Aaaand…. things are just as bad for him.
Once again he gets pegged as permanently unpopular. He’s uglier, fatter, and not nearly as talented as the other vampires. He can’t keep up with his classes; he did badly in school before the change and now the curriculum is three times as challenging. And now he’s slowly dying. He can feel his energy slipping away.
My characterization of Elliot is that he’s completely given up on living. Not actively suicidal, but just letting himself die. Why try hard at schoolwork or making friends? He’s just going to die. And then he DOES die, while nobody gives a damn about the fat ugly lazy kid. Zoey’s reaction could go three ways: she doesn’t give a damn, she’s glad the ugly jerk is gone, or she’s sorry for him.
yeah, see? much more interesting. and i agree he’s just kind of giving up.
i want to read about how even though he’s essentially given up, he somehow manages to be the unlikely hero of the book despite the fact he was not chosen by the Goddess to be the bestest.
I’ll bet in this book, if/when Elliot dies, everyone will say “eh, whatevs” and Zoey will say something like “that sucks” inbetween bites of Count Chocula and everyone will fawn over her and be amazed at how compassionate she is, even to ugly people!
I’m betting on that too. For everything must only happen to show us how wonderful the author avatar is. ‘Oh Zoey, I’m amazed that you could think of the little people like us. Three hundred cheers for Zoey!’ Dead body of Elliott goes completely ignored.
Although I am enjoying you bashing this trash book, I am getting annoyed with your “religion/sprituality = crazy/boring”. I don’t know what you believe, but not all young people find church or temple boring. I am hindu and I don’t find temple boring. I have a christian friend whom enjoys her churches sermons.
So…are they ever going to drink blood like actual vampires, or are they just going to stick with wine and salad?