It’s no secret that I don’t like vampires. I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it as necessary because I don’t want anyone accusing me of a hidden bias or anything. Still that doesn’t mean they can’t be used well. In the hands of a skilled author, they can still be actual characters. But writing vampires comes with problems that aren’t obvious at the outset.
For example, they don’t make interesting good guys most of the time. This is because they have all sorts of powers and the creatures—typically humans—who are serve as their antagonists are always weaker and/or dumber. They start at an advantage and only go up from there. Even when authors throw in other creatures of legend, like werewolves, they’re typically weaker and not as cool as vampires. Those same qualities that make them poor protagonists, lend them well to antagonists. Then they become the supernatural version of the blond jock football player from any eighties movie.
Also, they’re too popular. And I don’t mean that in a knee jerk, hipster ‘they were cool before they sold out’ kind of way. What I mean is that they’re public domain characters and, as such, there are certain things that culture expects out of them. Any changes made to the accepted template of what a vampire is happen very slowly, about once a decade or so. Sure, every hack in the world has their interpretation of vampire when they write one out but they only deviate so far. Not just because a vampire too far from the norm wouldn’t be accepted but also because most authors wouldn’t be comfortable going outside what they’re familiar with.
That makes vampires restrictive as you’ve already got too many rules and variations already out there. Which is great for hacks because they don’t have to worry about world building because everyone is already familiar. Again, there are things you can do with that but hacks don’t ever use that as a platform to jump off of. Instead, they swim circles around the same kiddie pool they’ve been treading water in for decades and going nowhere.
We rejoin Zoey leaving the library. Quite a shock, I know as after PCK spared us no detail about Zoey using the card catalogue I figured we were in for a wild ride. Would Zoey use the table of contents or the appendix? Would she read the foreword? Would she desecrate the book by using a highlighter to bold passages? Would she find a flask hidden in the center, put there by Loren to cope with being forced by the author to attempt statutory rape? Don’t spare me the details now, PCK.
PCK does tell us about Zoey carrying her cat out of the “media center” and how she was asleep. We also find out Zoey’s ass went numb from sitting for so many hours. Zoey only realizes that it’s been “several hours” after looking at a clock on the way back to her dorm. Most people either have a cell phone or that funny little invention called a watch. And those of us that use a computer for writing find the little clock practically every OS has, a useful tool. Oh right, but then Zoey wouldn’t have the “soul of a poet”.
When Zoey steps outside she decides to tell us how wonderful snow is. And by snow, I mean her. She starts off talking about snow and how nice it is. This lasts only as long as PCK can stand to not talk about Zoey which is about five sentences. Then it’s back to feeding the Unicus when Zoey tells us that even though she’s a fledgling she’s got some of the vampire immunity to cold. It used to freak her out because it reminded her of dead things that fed on the blood of the living.
You know, exactly like Zoey is. She’s both cold emotionally and physically and planning on drinking Heath’s blood. Did PCK forget she wrote that part last chapter? Because I certainly didn’t. Zoey is officially a monster, not one of PCK’s friendly little vampires that drinks wine and hides a flask of blood from polite company. She’s actively planning on taking advantage of a guy she’s hypnotized and nibbling on him. But I’m sure PCk will explain how it’s all just a silly misunderstanding and get fixed with an informative speech at the end.
Zoey claims that she’s been finding out it’s their metabolism that allows them to weather the cold so well and it’s the dirty humans who spread the lies about vampires. Again, PCK, science is not your strong point. If the vampires had a high metabolism, they would generate large amounts of heat. That would mean they’d need a larger intake of calories, not lesser. It would also make them vulnerable to heat exhaustion during warmer months like spring and summer. Not to mention all the possible side effects that might have on the body like malabsorption and hydration issues.
Zoey almost stops in her tracks when she realizes that she’s forgotten to buy some eucalyptus form the school’s “spells and rituals store”. Two things, they have one of those and Zoey has the money for it? Why do they have spells and rituals store if only the high priestess and the leader of the DDs do rituals? Secondly, I’m still curious how Zoey has enough money to keep her car, eat out and now buy stuff for her stupid rituals. I’m picturing her stepdad sending a monthly cash infusion to her in spite of how rude everyone was to him.
While Zoey is telling herself to practice with the eucalyptus so she doesn’t fail in front of the crowd, she sees something. It’s a shape that’s not a bush or a cat. It’s a person wearing a cloak with their hood pulled up like a cowl. Thanks for making sure I wasn’t confused on whether it was a cat or a bush, PCK. I can see how I might have gotten those mixed up if you’d said it was someone wearing a cloak. And where the hell does one get a cloak anymore? Ok, I guess Ebay has them but unless you’re cosplaying, there are better and less conspicuous pieces of outerwear than a cloak.
Zoey wants to follow him for no reason so she does. Then this person—now they’re ambiguously sexed whereas prior they were a man, damn face dancers—starts moving at inhuman speed. Zoey’s eyes widen in shock. Who would have thought that someone on the vampire campus could or would move at inhuman speed? It’s like they’re all a bunch of metahumans or something.
There’s a moment where Zoey debates heading back to her dorm and calling it a night, or a day I suppose. Then she remembers that she’s the protagonist and everything that she can see or hear is her business. So she continues on and ignores the thoughts that the vampire killer might be right in front of her. Then Zoey stumbles upon them meeting up with Neferet and having a conversation.
She looked mysterious, and powerful with her auburn hair flying around her and the snow covering the long black dress she was wearing. She was facing me, so I could see that her expression was stern, almost angry, and she was speaking intently to the cloaked person, using her hands expressively. Silently, I moved closer, glad I had on a dark outfit so that I blended well with the shadows near the wall. From this new position pieces of what Neferet was saying drifted to me on the snow-filled wind.
You know, back in school, if I finished my assignment in class I was allowed to sit quietly and read. Can I do that now, PCK? I mean, we already know that Neferet is talking to Loren. I’m sure it’s supposed to come as a big surprise that he’s in league with her. But he’ll be forgiven because he’s attractive and Neferet was the one in charge.
Though Zoey has the first level of cold resistance, she has yet to take any levels in super hearing. She can only hear the words that would arouse suspicion and leave big gaping holes where something interesting should be. This is supposed to keep us interested and curious but it’s just an excuse for the author to hide information while furthering the plot. I’d rather have Zoey come across the info because she’s clever or smart. As she possesses neither of those traits, Zoey has to count on the guiding hand of PCK lest she go off the rails and get stuck under the couch.
Oh, though we find out who’s talking to Neferet and it turns out I was wrong. It’s not Loren, it’s Elliott and he’s whining that Neferet promised. She points at an open trapdoor and tells him to leave and that he can’t have anymore. Also, she reminds him that she commands the power of the goddess and not to invoke her wrath. Wow, she really is the perfect mentor for Zoey. She tells him she doesn’t want to be angry with her “children” as they’re her greatest joys. Then she caresses his face and kisses him. I guess Zoey’s hearing has suddenly improved as not a word of that was lost to the wind.
Zoey is disgusted but not because Elliott is dead, more because Elliott is still Elliott. Then he begs for something and Neferet says ok. She lifts up a sleeve and nicks herself so he can drink from her. Neferet is leaning back like it’s “a sexual experience” and Zoey can’t figure out why she’s suddenly thinking of Heath. Or rather, she’s thinking about taking someone and slicing their skin open Then she freaks out and says she won’t become a monster before fleeing to her dorm. It’s a little late for that, Zoey.
heyeah! Elliot gets him some! Even if it is wrong on many levels.
I’m not crazy about vampires, either. But I do like elves (the Tolkien-style ones), and the super-human advantages you mentioned do tend to apply to them also. So–do you think there is any substantive difference between elves and vampires? Are they equally dislike-able?
Generally, yes vampires and elves are equally detestable. I will say that Tolkien’s are better but because they end up being subversions of modern interpretations. For all their power and immortality they best use of their time that they can come up with is singing songs and whining about humans. Meanwhile their technology is just barely ahead of the other races.