Marked Chapter 22

So, we’re starting chapter 22 now and this book only runs to chapter 29. And we just learned the “plot”, as thin as it is, in chapter 20. Two thirds of this book has been about Zoey. Zoey doesn’t like this person, Zoey doesn’t like that in general, Zoey wishes her Stepdad would kill himself. Zoey loves school and flirting with attractive guys and doesn’t mind being a vampire. And finally PCK realized that, oh crap, there’s no plot to this thing.

So they quickly stuffed in an end goal of taking down Aphrodite and replacing her as the head of the “dark daughters”. The problem I have with this is there’s no reason for it. Nothing Aphrodite is doing makes her worthy of being ousted. The blood drinking might have been a good reason but that’s apparently sanctioned by the school. What reason does Zoey have to justify her incipient coup? That Aphrodite is too blond or “fake” for her tastes? Probably.

Zoey’s support group—they’re not friends, no matter what PCK tries to tell us—are shocked that Zoey would be so brave. They ask her what she’s going to do and Zoey doesn’t know. If Zoey just goads Aphrodite into fighting which causes her to lose her position I’m going to have to stuff her into a stump grinder. She tells them she figured she’d perform an “ancient Cherokee purification prayer” for Nyx’s guidance. They say that it’s not a bad idea to ask Nyx for help.

“Are you Cherokee?” Shaunee asked.

 “You look Cherokee,” Erin said.

 “Hello! Her last name is Redbird. She’s Cherokee,” Stevie Rae said with finality.

Ok, just a couple of things there. First, as Nyx is the deity of vampires does it matter what your ancestry is? Is Nyx a racist and refuses to hear prayers from some people based on ethnicity? Secondly, assuming she’s Cherokee because of her appearance is racist. Thirdly, assuming she’s anything because of her last name is worse. Last names don’t mean anything in a place where you can change it on your first day.

Though some of them express doubt about Zoey’s ability to usurp Aphrodite, they’re all extremely impressed when she says she has an affinity for all five elements. Damien says he’s never heard of a high priestess with an affinity for all five elements and everyone else is duly impressed. They says they knew there had to be more to her mark and that she was special. Let me know when you’re done bragging, Zoey.

How many times does she need to repeat herself? First she told Erik, then Stevie, then Neferet, then Grandma and now the rest of her friends. We get it, PCK, Zoey’s is so special that when she dies the world will weep in synchronized sadness. No doubt because they’ll all discover that she was too beautiful for this world or something. Now can you tell her to stop bragging about her powers to everyone?

Then Stevie asks when they’re doing the “purification thingy”. See, Stevie can’t remember it’s call a purification prayer because she’s a dumb ol’ hayseed. Why all she knows is line dancing and country music, yee ha. Zoey’s confused—her natural state—and they say they’re not going to let Zoey do it alone.

Ok, why? They’ve known Zoey for two whole days now and she’s done nothing but talk to them. I hate to be crass, but usually friends have to be a bit more invested in you before they’re willing to go out on a limb. I could see one or maybe two of them because maybe they’re just that kind of person. But not all of them, especially as they think going up against Aphrodite is such a big deal.

Damien says that they have to help because even a strong priestess needs her “circle”. Zoey says she hadn’t thought about a casting circle and Stevie suggest she do the circle and the purification prayer. Shaunee says that seems logical, because we all know how magic rituals are all about logic. Zoey isn’t sure if she wants to involve them when a voice speaks up.

Value them; they are pearls of great price.

Ok, I think Nyx must be drunk all the time on whatever it is gods drink. I’m assuming Ambrosia. That’s the only explanation I have for why she said that. What the hell does that mean “pearls of great price”? I mean, just because something is expensive doesn’t mean you should value it. I get that she’s trying to tell Zoey her support group is valuable but why not just say that they are valuable pearls or something like that? Of course I’m still asking why Nyx picked Zoey in the first place and the only explanation I come up for both is an abundance of Long Island Iced Teas.

So Zoey gives tells them to bring the stuff she needs because author forbid Zoey have to run an errand. ‘You, go fetch me stuff.’ ‘Uh, why?’ ‘Because I’m the main character and a priestess.’ ‘Ok, and what’s in it for me?’ ‘A swift death.’ ‘As opposed to?’ ‘Being forced to serve as one of my “friends”.’ ‘I’ll have your stuff by noon.’

Zoey tells them they’ll meet after dinner and she says they shouldn’t leave as a group. Right, because there’s something suspicious about a group of friends going off to hang out together. Then they go off to class and Zoey, mostly, skips the narration about it. Then Aphrodite scares her by appearing behind her after horse class.

Aphrodite says she knows what Zoey is planning tonight. Zoey plays dumb and Aphrodite reveals that she thinks Zoey is doing something with Erik. She says he’ll always be hers and Zoey retorts that she sounds like Erik’s mom and Aphrodite asks if she looked like Erik’s mom while she was blowing him in the hallway.

Alright, PCK, timeout. First Zoey sees the blowjob then Erik claims Aphrodite only tried and now Aphrodite says she actually did. Did Aphrodite sexually assault Erik or was it only attempted? Ignoring this, Zoey says that Aphrodite looked desperate. Not slutty or whorish or any other insults which you’d expect, just desperate. This causes Aphrodite to flip out madly and scream and curse and attempt to hit Zoey.

She raised her hand and, clawlike, moved to slash at my face. Then it seemed that the world stopped, leaving the two of us in a little bubble of slow-motion. I caught her wrist, stopping her easily―too easily. It was like she was a small, sick child who had struck out in anger, but was really too weak to do any harm. I held her there for a moment, meeting her hateful eyes.

Ok, so I guess we get to add bullet time, super strength and possibly martial arts to Zoey’s unbelievable skill set. Why can’t you allow her to get struck, PCK? Would it bruise your ego that much? If Aphrodite actually struck Zoey, it’d cement their rivalry and give her real cause to be angry. Zoey tells Aphrodite she’s not scared of her.

Aphrodite says Zoey is uninvited form the “dark daughters”. Zoey asks if she’d care to explain that to Neferet when it was Neferet’s idea.

Her face paled.

You know what I hate about that? It’s not just that vampires are inherently pale though I’ve ragged on that before. It’s what it tells me about the author’s thought process. Because if they actually thought of their characters as vampires, they’d find other ways to express a character like saying their face fell. But they think of their characters as humans who drink blood and get really neat powers so they don’t adapt their style to them.

Zoey continues to threaten Aphrodite with tattling, saying that she’d be sure to sob and cry the entire time. Zoey even demonstrates her fake sobbing just to drive the point home. But remember, Aphrodite is the one who’s artificial and Zoey is genuine.

This irony is made stronger when Aphrodite asks if Zoey knows what it’s like to belong to a group where everybody dislikes you. Zoey admits to us she does but tells Aphrodite she has no idea while smiling and bragging how happy Erik is that she joined the DDs. Aphrodite scowls and says it’s no big deal, Erik is hers and then stalks off.

Then Stevie speaks up from her hiding place. She saw the whole thing and says she wasn’t going to come out because Aphrodite scares her. Then she marvels at how Aphrodite actually tried to hit her. Again, this would have been a great opportunity to show some character development. Have Aphrodite go to hit Zoey and have Stevie rush out and block her.

That would have served multiple purposes. It would have shown Stevie getting over her fear of Aphrodite to protect someone, given Zoey a real reason to call her friend and it would have made the prior story fit. Because with how PCK kept mentioning Stevie being in Tae Kwon Do, I was sure that was setting up a moment just like that. Instead, we get Stevie babbling on how much guts Zoey has and how amazed she is and blah blah blah.

Stevie says Aphrodite really hates her and Zoey agrees. No, Zoey. Until she’s spent the last ten years filling hate diaries with all the ways she plans on torturing you, you don’t really get to say that. Stevie says that now Zoey will really have to take Aphrodite down. Zoey tells us she didn’t have a choice since Nyx marked her. Then Zoey remembers how Nyx told her she was special. Easy there, PCK. Your Unicus is showing.

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8 Responses to Marked Chapter 22

  1. Oculus_Reparo says:

    The phrase “pearl of great price” is rather unusual (to me) in this context because it originally comes from Matthew 13:46–Jesus’ parable of a man who found a pearl of great price in a field, sold everything he had, and bought the field. It is also the name of a religious book in the Mormon faith.
    Soooo . . . has Nyx been reading the Bible?

  2. redclause says:

    As if Zoey couldn’t be anymore unlikeable! x-x Just picturing her threating to tell on someone in a mocking voice and then pretend crying to make a point that her lies will be believed over anyone elses makes her come off even more bitchy then Aphrodite. More so when the only reason she wants in is to take over.

  3. Curmudgeonly_Caiman says:

    Yeah the Native American stereotyping is getting on my nerves. Trust me, I’m the first person to sign up for more N.A. mythology and representation in pretty much any literature (you tell me this book wouldn’t be improved with the addition of a wendigo). But no, instead we’re just going for the mystical wise stereotype. And yes, all Native Americans have long black hair, high cheek bones, and tan skin and have naturey mutliword last names. Better tell all the Native Americans around where I live they’re doing it wrong.

  4. Oi. Must… not… scream… at… protagonist…

    Actually, I just thought of a reason why Zoey (if she were likeable) would want to take down Aphrodite. Because Aphrodite drained Elliot of blood to use in the ritual. Sure there’s no reason to object if it was consensual, like they’re bf/gf… but Aphrodite’s already shown she doesn’t mind doing things to people nonconsensually. (And if she’s so shallow, why Elliot?) More likely, she’s taking advantage of Elliot. Maybe she threatened him? Maybe she does that kind of thing a lot, against really unpopular students so she gets away with it more easily.

    So, what if Zoey wanted to take down Aphrodite because bullying “lesser” students for blood is wrong? Because she felt sorry for Elliot? That would make for a better plot and a more likeable protagonist.

    …. what is this compulsion I have to try and improve terrible stories? I did this throughout Eragon too…

    • vivisector says:

      True, Zoey might be a bit more likable if she wanted to help students like Elliott. Like if she realized that the DDs are extremely discriminatory basing their membership on looks and that people deserve to join based on other merits. It wouldn’t win me over but it would be better than ‘I have to take down Aphrodite because I’m better off being in charge.’

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