We rejoin Zoey who’s still weak in the knees from Erik’s creepy make out session with her wrist. She walks past the girls watching a reality show who’s title I won’t give the oxygen of exposure and heads into the kitchen. The stupid cat mews at her while she makes a sandwich then grabs a bag of pretzels which makes her complain that Stevie was right, there’s no real junk food in the kitchen. Then she grabs a can of “brown soda”—the word cola is for plebeians—because she must have brown soda as long as it’s not diet.
Whoa, there, ladies. Back the hell up for a second. They aren’t allowed “junk food” but they can have regular soda? This doesn’t make any sense. If the adults were keeping them on a restricted diet because a few extra pounds was really that deadly, then there would be none of that. No sweet cereals, no chocolate and no regular soda. They also wouldn’t just keep a fridge stocked full of food no matter how “healthy” it is.
Instead they’d have a dietician work with each student and adjust their meals regularly to ensure they weren’t being over or under fed. And they’d only get their meals from the cafeteria to discourage unreported snacking. But it’s just PCK’s fantasy school, where food is free and they doesn’t have to give up any of their favorite things.
As soon as Zoey walks into her room, Stevie bolts upright and full of concern. She was so worried and demands Zoey tell her everything. I picture Stevie’s concern a little differently though. ‘Zoey? Oh, wow, you’re back…early. Did you decide to skip the dark daughters’ ritual? No? That’s odd. Huh? Oh, well I was just seeing if your bed was softer than mine.’
Stevie gushes about the dress and the cat and then squees when Zoey says she was walked home by Erik. Zoey decides to lie about it and says he kissed her rather than tell her what he did to her wrist. Stevie says that must have pissed Aphrodite off but Zoey says she left before that happened and that she saw Elizabeth’s ghost!
“No way! Were you totally freaked?”
Why no, Stevie. Zoey often bears witnesse to the apparitions of recently dead peers. To her, it’s really no more shocking that finding a bunny sitting on the lawn on the way to school. Zoey says she disappeared just before Kayla and Heath showed up but that Nala hissed at the ghost too which Stevie says must mean she was real.
Uh, no. Unless the cat talked to Zoey, she has no way of knowing that. Cats hiss at all sorts of things like, just off the top of my head here, other cats? They are territorial and with the number of cats hanging around, maybe Nala saw a cat she doesn’t like and was trying to scare it off. But no, a cat hisses in the same direction that Zoey hallucinates and that means it’s real.
“Are you sure she’s dead?” My voice was almost a whisper. “There couldn’t have been some mistake made and she’s still alive but wandering around the school?” It sounded ridiculous, but not much more ridiculous than me seeing an actual ghost.
Stevie says no, they all saw her die in class and that Elizabeth it dead. And we all know how famous vampires are for staying dead once they’ve collapsed. Then they talk about Kayla and Heath and laugh at the stupid humans for coming to help a friend. PCK is just running us over the details we were already present for. The only new thing is that Stevie is there to agree with Zoey like the larval form of a yesman.
“Apparently. Oh, and then Kayla, my ex-best friend, made it obvious that she’s after Heath!”
Stevie Rae gasped. “Slut!”
Yeah, what a whore. How dare she pursue a romantic relationship with an unattached boy of her choosing. Doesn’t she know she has to get Zoey’s permission first? ‘Please Zoey, I implore you. Let me develop another character trait?’ ‘Your request has been heard and denied, peasant. Go toil in the plot mines until such time as I call for you.’ ‘Please, Zoey. I could add such depth to the story!’ ‘Silence, grandma! You dared to speak out of turn? Stevie, take her to stalls and see if she can learn humility after a week of muckinh them out with her bare hands.’
Zoey tells Stevie that Erik showed up right after she drove her friends off. Stevie asks if Erik was sweet and romantic and Zoey says yes. I guess if some guy telling you that you’re special and that his last name is cool, then yes I suppose he was being romantic. Stevie coos because he’s already given Zoey a nickname by calling her “Z”. Then she says how she was hungry but couldn’t go back to the rec hall.
The conversation then shifts to Aphrodite because Zoey doesn’t like her. Stevie asks how the ritual with the “dark daughters” went and Zoey asks if Stevie remember how Neferet did it and how she was sexy and beautiful and classy. Stevie’s like ‘of course, she’s your mentor and therefore almost perfect.’
“Aphrodite did basically what Neferet did, but she looked like a ho.”
Then Zoey, being a gossipy bitch, tell Stevie that she say Aphrodite trying to give Erik a blow job. I like how it suddenly shifted from did to tried. It’s not like Zoey stuck around and saw Erik walk away, she only saw him protesting rather weakly. Maybe he relented after they were alone or maybe that’s a little game they play. Maybe Erik was trying to fulfill a particular fantasy where a girl came on to him and just wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Zoey says she met the “terrible triplets”—yes, PCK, we were all there—and OMG, they were soooo awful. Like, what were they thinking when they picked those names? Yeah, it’s like, they think they’re better than everyone just because Aphrodite’s their friend and she’s next in line to be high priestess. Zoey says she doesn’t think Nyx will allow that. Stevie says she thinks otherwise due to Aphrodite’s “affinity”.
Aprhodite is a clairvoyant, or at least Stevie thinks so. She has visions of the future and of tragedies and blah blah blah. Zoey is shocked and asks if she can see the future but doesn’t do anything about it and how horrible of an abuse that is. Which is, again, unfair to Aphrodite. Maybe she’s tried tampering with her visions and it doesn’t work out.
Oh but then we get a story about how Aphrodite had a vision of a plane crash and Neferet found out and demanded to hear about it. Zoey asked why didn’t Aphrodite just lie about it if she wanted people to die and Stevie says vampires are almost impossible to lie to. Zoey then says Neferet’s way too smart to be taken in by the act but Stevie says Aphrodite acts differently around Neferet. Then Stevie whine about what a mean and horrible person Aphrodite is.
Zoey, showing unusual sense for her, asks why they don’t tell Neferet about it. Stevie says that, because that would ruin the plot. Zoey thinks things would be so much better if some other fledgling took over the “dark daughters” and became the next in line for high priestess. Hey, is that a glimpse of the plot I see? Come on, little plot, don’t be shy. Come here, that’s a good plot.
Then, out of the blue, Zoey asks if Stevie feels anything when they’re doing the ritual. She asks if she feels warm when Neferet calls out to fire or dampness when she invokes water and blah blah blah. Stevie says she sometimes feels a charge flowing through the circle but nothing related to the elements. Zoey asks if she’s sure.
“No way. Only a High Priestess with a major affinity for the elements would―” She broke off suddenly and her eyes got huge. “Are you saying that you felt that stuff? Any of that stuff?”
This starts Stevie gushing about how wonderful it is that Zoey’s so much more special than before. Apparently there hasn’t been priestess with an affinity for all the elements in over five hundred years. Gee, PCK, why don’t you just go for broke and say ever? In fact, why not just reveal in the next chapter than Zoey is actually Nyx in human form?
Then Stevie reveals her tragic story involving the “dark daughters”. They offered to bring her in as one of the snacks and she said no. So they did nothing to her which must have been traumatizing. Zoey then realizes that Aphrodite doesn’t want her to join them but can’t tell Neferet she refuses. So Zoey decides she has to join them or else Aphrodite wins. What does she win, exactly?
Now that the plot has been sketched out like the caricature it is, Stevie pulls out a bag of pet supplies. There’s a collar and cat food and other various cat related things. There’s also a note from Neferet that says her cat told her that Nala was coming. Great, so Zoey gets a pet with none of the responsibilities that entails. Hurray. Could life get any better for her? Maybe next chapter she’ll stumble upon a money tree that only flowers for her.
Ugh, this protagonist…..
With Eragon, the average reader has to read between the lines a bit to realize he’s a jerk. With Bella, she’s a jerk, but a very passive, inactive jerk and some readers don’t notice.
Marked is unique for having a protagonist that’s such an open, unrepentant asshole. Can’t give any of her fellow students the benefit of the doubt, huh? “Gosh, what a slut. Gosh, what a ho. Gosh, he’s ugly and stupid. I hate my old friends.”
I guess it’s a bold experiment to make a protagonist so utterly unlikable as this. Though I doubt PCK was doing it intentionally.
I don’t know why, but the term “brown soda” just grinds my gears. It’s not a regional term as far as I know, so I can’t for the life figure out why it is used. I suspect it’s some quirky detail about the younger Cast, which Zoey is based on. I am rapidly learning more about these people then I ever care to know.
That and brown soda sounds like a horrible condition where the victims suffer from effervescent diarrhea.
Okay, two things. One, I really, REALLY hate Zoey. She’s such a speshul snowflake that she makes other speshul snowflakes look plain. And two, if Elliot is already at risk of dying because of rejection, why do they keep feeding on him? I assume vampires can suffer from anemia just like humans can, and that can’t be good for his already-failing health.