Marked Chapter 26

Zoey raised a question two chapters ago that I thought was worth exploring. Why does she have an affinity with the five elements? It’s another one of those niggling questions we have to wonder about.

What does having an affinity with the elements even do for her? So far all it’s done is let her “feel” the elements when Neferet called them at the ritual earlier. Ok, it also let Zoey’s friends feel the elements when she did her circle. But does it let them sense things? Can they control elements? It’s all good for the characters to be impressed by it but if we don’t know why, it’s just empty praise heaped on Zoey for no reason.

I have a feeling that it’ll turn out to be like Eragon’s elf-yoga and sword skill. Though PCK might find a use for Zoey’s powers at some point. There are at least eight books in the series so there’s lots of room for them to just start pulling things out of the air.

So here we are in chapter 26. Only three to go, PCK. Will these last ones make up for the dragging, pointlessness of earlier or will it be a waste of our time? We start off with Zoey noticing Aphrodite hiding in a corner because a cat is hissing at her. So no, I don’t think these last few chapters will do anything to improve my opinion. Oh yes, and the cat warning her is Skylar the mean cat. He hisses at an alcove and runs off.

“What the hell was his problem?” I looked hesitantly into the alcove, wondering what would make a mean cat like Skylar puff up and hiss, and I felt a jolt of shock. She was sitting right on the floor, hard to see in the shadow under the ledge that held a pretty statue of Nyx. Her head was tilted back, and her eyes were rolled so that only their whites were showing. She scared the total crap out of me. I felt frozen, expecting any second to see blood pouring down her face. Then she moaned and muttered something I couldn’t understand while her eyeballs shifted around behind her closed lids as though she was watching a scene. I realized what must be happening. Aphrodite was having a vision. She’d probably felt it coming on and hidden in the alcove so no one would find her and she could keep her info about the death and destruction she could prevent to her hateful self. Cow. Hag.

Nice how Zoey leaps to conclusions so fast. Maybe  Aphrodite is having a seizure or she’s sick and wanted to die with dignity. Or maybe she is having a vision and her body is no longer on her control when they come on. This causes her to sleepwalk while she’s off in the land of clairvoyants looking for the winning lotto numbers. Better still, what if the visions had extremely negative side effects that were crippling or even just embarrassing. I’d probably crawl into a corner if I was about to lose bladder control during a future-gram too.

So Zoey gets her to her feet and drags her down the hall to Neferet’s office. Neferet almost immediately knows what’s been going on because Zoey’s narration is currently hooked to the PA system. They sit Aphrodite down in a chair and Neferet commands her to share her vision with them while Zoey comments how she can feel the power in her voice.

I’m getting sick of PCK using that description. How do you feel power, PCK? Is it like standing near a transformer and you can feel the thrum of electricity flowing through the lines? Or are you saying her voice was powerful like loud and obnoxious? The only other option I can think of is that she’s supposed to be Dovahkiin.

So Neferet commands Aphrodite to tell us what she’s seeing with the power of Nyx. Aphrodite’s eye open and she starts talking in faux prophecy. Aphrodite is extremely vague, saying that there’s blood coming out of “his body” and they’re all dead and it’s not natural. She starts waking up and Neferet orders her to go back into the vision to get more details, which she does.

Wait, can she do that? Then why can’t Neferet just order her to have a vision? Command her to look into the future and give her that week’s Lottery numbers. Aphrodite offers yet more vague words like “tunnels” and “they kill”. Zoey doesn’t understand and Neferet orders Aphrodite to awaken which, again, she does.

Then Neferet tells Zoey that, clearly, the death of Elliott has upset Aprhodite. Which is very thin pretense to send Zoey scurrying off. It does get Zoey out of having to tell Neferet that she bewitched or seduced, or whatever the hell PCK wants to call it, a human. And once she’s back in class, Heath remains forgotten while Zoey obsesses over what she saw in Neferet’s office.

Zoey remembers that Stevie said Aphrodite’s visions were always clear and full of detail. Hmm, do you think she could have been faking it then? Maybe saying things that would send an idiot looking someplace dangerous? Naw, that’s not her style. She’s the kind of person that confronts people directly and tells them when her feelings are hurt. Her thoughts are interrupted at the end of horse class when she sees her “friends” huddled together.

Their chatting stops as soon as she comes into view and Zoey asks what’s going on. They say they’re worried about Zoey and start to cry. It’s an intervention for her Unicus addiction. They’re afraid she’s far too much of a Sue and brought along a mean counselor or two who can help save her from the clutches of PCK. Or they tell her they all want to go along to the DD Halloween special. They know she’s had a hard time this week and might need their support.

This bothers Zoey. She says it’s because she doesn’t want them to see her drink blood. So she asks them if they remember how she’s going to be a high priestess. They say yes and she tells them they need to listen to her and stay away because this is something she needs to do by herself.

Why, PCK? Zoey’s not an independent person. She doesn’t spend time alone, she doesn’t make decisions alone. She’s always discussing the latest goings on in her life with other people. That’s okay but this sudden turn just fit with the character you’ve been building up, PCK. So Zoey storms off but feels bad about being a bitch later. And Zoey just will not stop whining about drinking blood though she finally seems to come to an understanding with herself while talking to her cat.

“When the alternative is death, blood drinking doesn’t seem so bad. Right?”

That’s the phrase that ushered in the duh heard ‘round the world. With that tiny dilemma out of the way, Zoey is ready to get changed and go to the ceremony when the cat growls. Can we stop using the cats as an early warning device, PCK? I’m getting sick of Zoey wandering around with tunnel vision that can only be broken by the hiss and spit of an animal. Why not just have her notice things like an observant human being?

Anywho, she sees Elliott and that’s a shock because she saw him die. He looks thinner though and Zoey can detect that same musty smell from earlier in the book when she thought she saw Elizabeth. Elliott turns to face her and his eyes are glowing red and he has fangs. This causes him to stumble towards the cat because PCK wants us to hate even his dead body. Zoey yells at him to learn her alone and then he turns towards her.

Zoey’s “intuitive voice” speaks up and says that he’s an abomination and that it’s wrong. And what, exactly, is this that is an abomination? PCK is staying quiet on that one for now. Elliott speaks and says that he will have her and then Nala attacks him.

Alright, this is a special message to all the cat loving authors out there. Cats are not that dangerous. I know that Mr Whiskers clawed the hell out of you when you tried to give him a bath but they’re not deadly aside from the infection they can leave you with. So when she claws at the dead Elliott’s thighs, I fully expect him to grab the cat and kill it. Instead he just kind of tosses it to the side but then he runs away and hops over a wall.

Being as Zoey has the survival instinct of a fornicating teen in a slasher movie, she doesn’t go and get help. Instead she looks around for the cat, finds it and examines it. Nala has blood on her paws but it’s not hers and Zoey says it doesn’t smell tasty. It smells musty and like old basements and blah blah blah, we get it already PCK. These undead smell like they were once premiered on the Antiques Roadshow.

Then Zoey goes looking for her friends and can’t find them. So she stops and wonders what just happened. Well, I’d say you came face to face with a real vampire. Albeit any monster that can get run off by a housecat is pretty toothless. Zoey asks she was attacked by a ghost but then reminds us that believing in ghosts is silly.

Zoey then wonders what to do. Isn’t this exciting, folks? Sitting around and watching a character debate with herself about what’s happening and what she should do? Especially since there’s no threat to her whatsoever. That really adds to the tension.

Zoey finally decides she has to go to the ritual though I’ll be damned if I know how she came to that conclusion. She reminds us, for the hundredth time, that she has an affinity for all five elements and she’s very special. Oh, yes, and Grandma is now Uncle Ben because Zoey says that she told her with great power comes great responsibility. So Zoey goes off to the hall where the ritual is, hoping she won’t run into Aphrodite.

Next chapter: climax. Last chapter: boring wrap up that will waste our time. One final thing, for some reason Zoey said she felt she had to go to the ritual and couldn’t tell Neferet about Elliott. Which can only mean that Neferet is the real villain. I can’t wait for her to tear off her mask and explains her evil plan before Zoey obliterates her with a happy thought.

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6 Responses to Marked Chapter 26

  1. Vanessa says:

    I hope that when I get a pug, it gives a snort/fart of warning every time there is danger. That is my only hope to survive.

  2. chocolatesamus says:

    Wait… ELLIOT?!?
    *checks freezer* Omigod, it’s true! HE LIVES!! Fulfill your destiny and DESTROY THE SUE, my child!

    The only other option I can think of is that she’s supposed to be Dovahkiin. Hey Neferet, want a bounty? The target is someone you know. Do it and I will teach you the Exit Story shout.

  3. redclause says:

    You know, the idea that the change doesn’t kill you as much as it splits you into a different type of vampire is pretty interesting. If you pass you become a modern (coughbastardizedcough) vampire, if you fail and die you rise as a more traditional corpse like vamp. Yet somehow I know PC is going to go somewhere with this that’ll suck, hard.

    In the hands of a better writer this concept would have been cool. 8/ oh well

  4. 13thscorpio says:

    Maybe Elliot’s just like your average 1st Level Adventurer and can be taken out by a common house cat.

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