I have to admit that I was surprised in the last chapter. I fully expected Nyx to appear before Zoey and her friends and tell her where to go to get the ball rolling. So when PCK opted to skip that, I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that whatever they have in store now can only be worse.
We being with Zoey telling us how the day started off with “suspicious normalacy”. Which is wonderfully laughable as she’s only been going to school for a week so far. What’s normal for Friday at a vampire school anyway? For all we know that could mean Zoey witnessed a student death. ‘Let’s see, woke up, had breakfast, watched Sheryl die in front of the TV while vomiting up blood and milk and finished my homework. Nothing special, really.’
The first paragraph is an abridged version of Zoey’s day. She has breakfast, she goes to class and learns about a Greek vampire festival and then onward to drama where she’ll practice yelling at her mother while dramatic violins swell in the background. Another tip for you, PCK. You don’t have to lay the groundwork for a normal day. At this point we’ve sat through a few of Zoey’s classes and days and it’s all so boring that Sanofi-Aventis has started buying these books and turning them into pills to replace Ambien. The publisher needs to include a warning on these things ‘warning: do not attempt to operate heavy machinery within eight hours of reading this.’ These books are responsible for more people going back to illiteracy than head injuries and blindness combined.
Penthesilea was reading “You Go and I’ll Stay a While Chapter Four” of A Night to Remember. It’s a really good book, and we were all listening, as usual, then that stupid Elliott kid started coughing. Jeesh, the kid was totally and completely annoying.
I hate you Zoey. I want to rip out your bones and fashion them into an axe with which to chop you into tiny pieces. In case you’re wondering, PCK, her pelvis would be the axe head. It has been repeated throughout the book that uncontrollable coughing is a sign that the body is refusing shipment of the new vampire traits amidst a vigorous shop closing which indicates that the tenants are about to flee and never mind the security deposit.
Zoey is a colossal bitch. She hears the coughing get worse and then starts smelling something sweet and tasty. Gee, Zoey, what can vampires smell that’s more appealing that cinnamon buns after a fast? I’ll give you a hint, it rhymes with flood. Of course Zoey doesn’t seem to connect the two things to realize that Elliott is dying. At least until she looks over at him.
The poor bastard is looking down at his hand which is covered in blood and each cough sends more rushing out. The teacher sends a random student to get Neferet. Then she sighs and comes over with a towel to at least contain the mess of his incipient death. I wish I was joking about that, she shoves a towel at him like bleeding to death on the new tile is a social faux pas. Elliott says he doesn’t want to die and the teacher just hushes him and says his pain will end soon.
“But―but, no I―” He started to protest again, in a whiny voice that sounded more like his own, then he was interrupted by another round of hacking coughs. He gagged again, this time puking blood into the already soaked towel.
‘Oh, gee, you’re dying? Sucks to be you. At least it’ll be quick. Do us a favor and yak into that towel, would you? The janitors aren’t here to be your maids.’
Then Neferet and Dragon and one other guy shows up. Neferet is carrying a suspiciously small vial full of whitish liquid.
“Drink this quickly, Elliott,” Dragon told him. When he started to weakly shake his head no, he added gently, “It will make your pain end.”
I just had an awesome thought. What if that was all part of the test? That only certain vampires begin the change by spewing blood like a sprinkler at Rob Zombie’s house and then they’re offered poison. Only the few that refuse it and tough it out become something more dangerous and more like Dracula than Edward. That’s why they’re so eager to kill those kids off, because they’re too powerful and dangerous.
We all know that’s not how PCK has it work but I can dream. It’s still damned cold how quickly they hand him poison. ‘Here, tubby, drink this. It’ll kill you fast.’ ‘But I don’t want to die.’ ‘Tough, suck it up like you sucked up all them pudding cups.’ ‘You don’t need to be rude about it.’ ‘Chug! Chug! Chug!’ ‘Fine, if it’ll shut you up. At the very least, I’ll be out of this damned story.’
Elliott asks if Dragon will stay with him. Of course he will. Then Elliott asks if Dragon will call his mom which he also will. These are Elliotts last words before he knocks back the whiskey and hemlock—also known as a Socrates in vampire circles—and dies. Then they cart Elliott out on a stretcher and have a good laugh about calling his mom.
Neferet sticks around to tell them how death is very sad but you can’t break an omelet without making a few eggs or whatever. Presumably, since most of the class was there before Zoey they’re all quite aware of this but as Zoey serves as our eyes Neferet has to repeat it. Apparently at least one in ten will die before the transition. Neferet says that means they should live as if they would die tomorrow so they don’t have any regrets. Then the teacher cleans up until it looks like nothing ever happened and they get back to their lesson.
Zoey, being the sociopath, doesn’t feel anything. She can’t get the image of Elliott bleeding out of her head nor the smell of blood and how hungry it made her. ‘Sure it’s gross how he’s dying and sad for someone, probably. But is anyone else reminded of how far off lunch is?’
Fast forward to later, no one’s in a good mood at lunch. So Zoey and Stevie wander off to their next class early. Stevie says that because no one like Elliott that somehow makes it worse. Worse because you’re forced to deal with being a bunch of insensitive douche bags? Then Zoey flat out says she doesn’t care that Elliott died.
“I know what you mean. I feel upset, but I know I’m really upset that I saw what can happen to us and now I can’t get it out of my mind, and not upset that the kid’s dead.”
Hey, Zoey? How would you like to go hunting in the middle of the day? I’ll carry the gun and you can flush the game for me. Here, wear this bright orange vest with the target on it. It’s painted in reflective material so you show up nice and bright in low light conditions. Oh, and would you mind carrying this shovel and bag of quicklime?
Then PCK tells us how cruel the vampires are. Stevie says that the poison they give you numbs the pain but lets you remain conscious. Great, so you get to drown in your own bodily fluids and witness it. Why not just ram a spigot in their chest and have the adult drink from them as they die? I mean, you wouldn’t want to waste all that blood.
Then Zoey asks if they’ll cancel the Halloween ritual. Yes, I know it’s supposed to be Samhain but they’re not druids or Celtic, they’re damned vampires, PCK. Stevie says no, Zoeys says Elliott was their snack and wonders if he acted drugged because he was already dying. Stevie is grossed out but says they’ll find someone new.
Then Stevie tries to talk Zoey out of going because Aphrodite will be extra mean. Zoey says that’s just a risk she’ll have to take though she might watch Mean Girls to get herself psyched up. Stevie suggests Zoey take her along because she’s technically a member and can bring quests. Zoey says no because she doesn’t want Stevie to see her indulge in bloodlust and she says Erik’s there. Stevie says that doesn’t count because Erik has the spine of a tubeworm.
Then, out of the blue, Zoey checks her phone because Stevie hears it vibrating. So Zoey, being the oblivious moron, checks her phone and realizes there are a bunch of missed calls and texts from Heath. She listens to a couple of voicemails and Stevie says he sounds obsessive. Zoey says yeah and has to go talk to Neferet for completely unrelated reasons and don’t ask questions.
Zoey quickly recaps all the “bad” things that have happened so far. Wanting to drink Elloitt’s blood, going to the Halloween ritual with kids who don’t like her and imprinting Heath. Yeah, I bet you’re the one having the bad night, Zoey. Maybe you can call Elloitt’s mom later and cheer her up by telling her all your problems. Just don’t forget to mention how no one liked him at all.
How the HELL can a hero, a good guy, our golden protagonist, not feel anything at a character’s death? That’s the mark of a VILLAIN!
I mean. My GOD I want to hurt Zoey right now!
I could see it if PCK made it a point where Zoey grew a bit because she was forced to come to grips with her mortality or something but the cold, callous way she deals with Elliott is unacceptable in a protagonist we’re supposed to like.
Oh yeah, this chapter…I couldn’t believe the authors could write this. Going so far as to describe someone as being “whiny” in any context as they were dying. I know if I had a classmate bloodily die in front of me, I’d be pretty messed up, even if I didn’t really know them. Let me know when you go Zoey hunting, I’ll bring my the hunting bow and the booze for afterwards.
After you pin her to a tree we’ll bring Elliott out of Samus’s freezer so he can laugh at Zoey and tell her how whiny she sounds as she breathes her last.
Elliot dies and Zoey doesn’t care one bit. I think we all called that one.
Although… hmm. *pulls Elliot out of the story* It takes a while for a person to actually be fully dead. If I could stop his bodily processes right here…
*stuffs Elliot into freezer* There ya go! Perfect cryogenesis. Now I need to find a good doctor!
What? Non-villains being treated as villains ALSO get the services of People for the Ethical Treatment of Villains!
Holy crap it’s like the god damn authour is so BLIND about human emotion she can’t understand that most people can’t brush off death like that. You know, I can understand someone dying, and someone else doesn’t feel that sad they died if it happened off screen maybe, it happens. But after WATCHING it happen, and saying they don’t care only hours after it happened?
This sounds like the mind set of a teenager who IMAGINES someone they hate or dislike dying in front of them. We’ve all had fantasies about out bullies meeting a violent end. But in real life when someone coughs up blood and kicks it in a violent way most people react with horror. If the characters in this book were in any way realistic the class would have all got up from their seats and started screaming. Okay, Zoey didn’t know Elliot at all, but you can just feel PCK smuggly killing off this poor kid as punishment for being unperfect like Zoey and her friends. Eliott knew he was going to die and was probably scared, hence he acted like an ass, it’s how teens deal with emotions sometimes. I’m freaking creeped out that PCK thinks its okay for her main character to think this way.
It’s not so much that Zoey thinks that way as PCK expects us to identify with her. There’s an implicit message here the PCK expects her audience to be a bunch of sociopathic jackasses.