Before we start, I’m warning PCK that there’d better be a damn good explanation for how Heath found Zoey. I mean, only member of the DDs were invited to the ritual and they didn’t know where they were going on until they got there. So how the hell did Heath know how to find her? Maybe he jammed a GPS tracker in her when she was busy moralizing at her best friend. The only way I’ll buy it is if Neferet told him where to find her.
Zoey is shocked that Heath showed up and asks what in the hell he’s doing there. He wanders past everyone, completely oblivious to all the goings on around, and gives her a hug. He got concerned when Zoey didn’t call him back. Of course Zoey takes a moment to tell us his eyes are bloodshot and he smeels of beer. Well, he hasn’t been sleeping since you hypnotized him, Zoey, and can you really blame him for drinking? It’s the only thing that dulls the conversational hell you drag him through.
Aphrodite says that he should stay with the phrase “for dinner” going unspoken. PCK devotes more description to Aphrodite than they did to the museum. In short, she’s attractive and wearing a red dress that clings a bit. Oh, and she’s smiling meanly at him and the ghosts are also looking his way. Heath thinks that a vampire “chick” is cool and Zoey can’t believe that he doesn’t notice the danger.
Ok, Zoey, you’re not supposed to suffer from a head injury, are you? Because it’s been pretty clear for a while now that Heath has had some kind of spell put on him. Neferet said it was dangerous and she’d have to look into it. So even though his appearance is probably Neferet’s doing, Zoey should know why he’d being stupid. Erik tells him to go away and then Heath starts talking like he’s going to start a fight. Zoey says he’s both jealous and stupid which are two reasons he’s her ex.
But you said earlier that you guys were never a thing, Zoey. Does her mind operate on the Cast Uncertainty Principle of logic? That you can never know the state of Zoey’s bipolar state if you know that she’s about to have a fit and vice versa.
Anywho, Zoey shrugs Heath off and tells him they’re not together. He says she’s just saying that and I have to agree. Aphrodite intervenes and starts rubbing herself while telling Heath to come here so she can taste him. Zoey is suddenly concerned about a squishy human and tells him not to go. Then both of them grab Heath’s arms to stop him.
Then, because Zoey can’t be the only fast cycling bipolar in the cast, Heath turns on them both. He starts shouting about how she’s cheating on him and Zoey says they’re not together. Then someone says if he won’t come there, they’ll go to him. Then some spirits which have been “obviously” been possessing Aphrodite come forth and try to get to him.
Then Damien appears, riding Shadowfax and carrying the lance of Longinus. He spears the ghostly figures, banishing it back to the underworld and freeing Aphrodite. Then they all have a earnest talk about their feelings and go out for ice cream where they become friends for no reason. Ok, only a little bit of that’s true.
Damien does appear from behind a hedge and he yells at Aphrodite to control the spirits. How Damien knows this is possible or how it works is beyond me. I guess he’s supposed to be the Hermoine of the group. Aphrodite says if they want Heath they can have him and one of her cronies drops her candle and runs off. Because she’s used to seeing angry spirits show up—she’s had to of seen them before if Aphrodite knows how to summon them—but she’s terrified of party crashers.
Then all of Zoey’s friends show up and tell her that it’s all up to her. Zoey rejoices and says she’s not alone which is beyond unfair. She was the one that told them she had to do this on her own, they didn’t choose to avoid the ritual. So if they really hadn’t shown up as she asked she would be completely screwed and she’d deserve it.
So Zoey steps towards the circle where the spirits are leaking out of the circle. For no apparent reason these spirits are ignoring the easy prey that is Zoey and her friends and all the other fledglings nearby. Nope, they’re gravitating to Heath who’s not running away or even sashaying towards the nearest exit. They all head directly for Heath and begin slowly crawling up his legs. Zoey orders everyone to take their places and all I can picture is everyone yelling out their respective elements before summoning Captain Planet.
Zoey runs through the ritual and, once again, PCK doesn’t skip anything. Then Zoey turns to face the spirits and offers them the goblet with wine and blood. Instead of ignoring the empty headed bint they stop and start a conversation with her. They say they prefer the fresh young blood they’re nibbling on right now, thank you very much.
Zoey decides to reason with them and says that Heath’s life is not theirs to take and that they were called to be honored. They say they prefer death because it’s much closer to them. Zoey says she’s not asking and that the power of Nyx compels them and to put the lotion back in the fucking basket. A “magical wind” comes along and starts blowing the spirits back into the circle.
The story then degenerates into a parody of the Exorcist. Her friends are mildly nervous about the spirits but they assure each other they can’t be hurt as long as they’re part of the circle. Zoey keeps commanding them to get back in the circle because they’re not getting any more blood tonight. They drink the blood from the goblet and then vanish. With that pointless interlude complete, someone notices something is amiss.
“Zoey! Your Mark!”
Yes, it’s gotten even more special than before. The nameless bastard tells her to finish closing the circle and then she can borrow a mirror and look at it. Aphrodite asks why Zoey and not her—while PCK still tries to squeeze blood out of that stone and ignores Zoey’s mark—but she knows it’s because she doesn’t have a camera hovering over her shoulder. Everyone else though keeps oohing and aahing over how amazing Zoey’s mark is now. Stevie says it’s beautiful and hands her a mirror.
And I realized she was right. It was beautiful. My Mark had been added to. A delicate swirl of lace-like sapphire tattooing framed my eyes. Not as intricate and large as an adult vamp, but unheard of in a fledgling. I let my fingers trace the curling design, thinking that it looked like something that should decorate the face of an exotic foreign princess…or maybe the High Priestess of a goddess. And I stared hard at the me that wasn’t really me― this stranger who was becoming more and more familiar.
What’s awesome about this is that every time PCK calls it a tattoo she’s legally obligated to get smacked with a two by four. Even better is how she avoids telling us what it looks like beyond intricate and curling. And at this point PCK could run around banging saucepans together while screaming ‘Zoey’s special! Zoey’s special and you aren’t!’ and it would be more subtle than this.
It’s only made worse when Zoey notices her shoulder is also “tattooed” as well. Again, PCK, the word tattoo is very specific when it comes to markings and only refers to markings made with repeated needle piercings and ink. For example, no one calls that thing on Mikhail Gorbachev’s head a tattoo. Call the vampire markings anything else, vampmata, Nyx ink, or even something nonsensical like spit lick. Just stop calling them tattoos.
Oh and the vampmata on Zoey’s arms are more mystical and ancient and mysterious because they have “letter-like” symbols among them. Erik says that Heath needs help and Aphrodite says to leave him. Zoey starts yelling that that’s why Nyx chose her, because Aphrodite is selfish and snotty and blah blah blah. Says the girl who spent five minutes admiring her new skin art and reminding us how wonderful and special she is while Heath bled.
Zoey continues to yell at Aphrodite saying that it’s her fault and her friends suck. Oh, and apparently she’s stupid for not using sage because that’s just common knowledge. Funny thing about that, Zoey, you could have mentioned it instead of standing there like a moron. ‘Hmm, Aphrodite’s doing something that could be dangerous. Should I say anything? Naw, I’ll let her endanger everyone else then yell at her about it.’
Zoey says there are going to be some changes to the DDs like no more using fellow students as snacks. Aphrodite says that Zoey shouldn’t because she likes the taste of blood. Zoey says that they’ll just have to learn how to deal with it then Aphrodite says she can’t be ousted by anyone other than the high priestess.
“Convenient, then, that I am here, isn’t it?” Neferet said.
That’s how you want to close the chapter, PCK? Fine, let’s talk about the DDs practice of snacking on students then. Why does Zoey act like Aphrodite was the one that instituted it in the first place? That seems like one of those things that’s a much older tradition than Aphrodite. And what if Neferet doesn’t agree with it or the rest of the dark progeny? They can always just quit and form a splinter group and then they’re not under control of the high priestess. You know, like real people have done when they belong to a religious group they don’t agree with.
One chapter to go, no prologue and I’d bet that we’ll find out Neferet isn’t a villain. Damn it, PCK, can’t you give me anything?
I remember reading this and going “The main character is elementally bending away vampire ghosts like some messed up Avatar the Last Airbender AU and I’m bored out of mind.” I mean, that’s almost like a skill to write that horribly.
It takes immense talent to take something that would be exciting in real life and to make it no more entertaining than checking your inbox. If they ever come out with a story that’s dangerous because it’s too exciting, there are at least four authors I know of that can be called on to make it right.