So in Stevie’s death chapter I completely overlooked a detail which a commentor helped bring to the forefront. Specifically the part where her friends speculate on Stevie’s current ride on her menstrual cycle. They asked if that means that these vampires can breed. A superb question which I should have asked myself but nonetheless it doesn’t bode for humanity.
There are three possibilities I can see and none of them have good outcomes for the walking blood bags that Zoey views humanity as. First that the vampires go the route of Twilight and can’t have kids, period. This means that the race of vampires is entirely dependent on humans for both food and new members. This creates a sort of hate/need relationship between the vampires, fledglings and humans. Humans would fear the growing number of vamps waiting to eat them while the vampires and fledglings would ultimately be competing for food.
Second would be if that, once they’re fully vested vampires, they can’t breed. That would probably result in vampires encouraging fledglings to have children before they turn in order to guarantee that children would be born who carry the vampire gene. That would means all sorts of awful and probably a bunch of children raised as wards of the collective vampires or fostered while their parents finally get to vampiric adulthood.
Third would be if vampires could breed at any point regardless of vampiric maturity. I think this is the route PCK will go and it’s the worst. It means that you have a race that does not age, remains in sexual maturity for the duration of their life and has no motivation to abstain from having children. Even if only half of them ever decide they want to have kids, there’s a good chance they’ll keep having them every generation or so as they can just spend a few decades “retired” once their youngest children are grown up and repeat. Then if you get a couple like those famewhores on TLC that try to have as many kids as possible, so many that their children have to help raise the others. Can you imagine the impact of just one family like that? Having a kid every year for centuries at a time would be a nightmare without ending as they’re all potential little vampires just waiting to feed off of humanity. That would quickly reach a point of critical mass that would probably lead to war between humans and vampires.
You’d think PCK would want to skip ahead and move on to the meat of the story. The sad truth is that there isn’t any left. What little scraps there were after Stoker’s property was done have been gnawed off by the ever hungry audiences and so she forced to use a lot of filler. Leaving us with a sort of loaf of story comprised of one part vampire story to thirty seven parts Sweet Valley High drama.
What I’m trying to say in my own ham handed way is that we’re still wasting time dealing with Zoey’s nearly non reaction to Stevie’s death. She gets out of the bathroom and finds those godforsaken “twins” sitting on her bed holding a bowl of soup. Good dogs, now lay down on your bed and you can have a treat later.
When I came out of the bathroom Shaunee and Erin were sitting on Stevie Rae’s bed. They had a tray between them that held a bowl of soup, some crackers, and a can of brown pop, nondiet. They had been talking in low voices, but as soon as I entered the room they stopped.
This is why your characters feel flat, PCK. Yes, it makes sense that Zoey is reacting—albeit dumbly—to Stevie’s death. The problem is that no one else is. It’s like they’re all empty headed androids, programmed with one thing in mind, the well being of Zoey. They don’t feel anything about Stevie’s death when they damn well should.
They tell Zoey that she needs to eat and probably take the stuff that Neferet gave her and that it might make her feel better. Seriously, PCK, you could show us what this stuff that Neferet is or at least what’s holding it. Is it in a jar? An evenlope? The hastily hollowed out skull of Stevie? That’s what I’m going to picture from here on. Oh, and Zoey says she doesn’t think she’ll ever feel better.
Erin’s eyes filled with tears that spilled over and dripped down her cheeks. “Don’t say that, Zoey. If you never feel better that means none of us will, either.”
‘Yes, Zoey. We are all dependent on you for everything, including feelings. Your happiness is our happiness. We live to…ERROR! TAPE FEED FAILURE! REQUEST FOR IMMEDIATE SERVICE SUBMITTED TO MAINTENANCE!’
Knowing that the world might sink into an everlasting depression without her good cheer, Zoey attempts to eat some soup. Then they talk about Stevie, or at least try. ‘Hey, remember how she said “ya’ll” a lot? And how she liked country music?’ ‘Yeah, and how she had an accent and wore boots?’ ‘Man, she was some stereotype. I mean! She was some friend or something.’ ‘I’m glad she’s dead.’ ‘Erin!’ ‘What? She sounded like Fran Drescher impersonating Hank Williams junior on helium. Plus she owed me seventy bucks.’
Let’s see, there won’t be a funeral at the school as there never is. Stevie’s hometown is small and her high school was home of the “fighting hens”. This makes Zoey ask if hens fight or just cocks. Then she laughs because she said cock and says Stevie would have found that hilarious.
They hand Zoey the hollowed out skull of Stevie and tell her to drink it. Ok, PCK finally tells us it’s a vial of milky liquid but it’s a little late to describe it now. So I’m still picturing Stevie’s head fillwed to the brim with a green liquid that’s giving off noxious fumes. Before they leave they ask if there’s anything else they can get Zoey because they promised Stevie they’d take care of her and they keep their promises.
Wait, what? When and why did they promise that? Maybe they’re just saying that to make Zoey feel better. But Zoey’s not quite done having the whole world stop to cheer her up, not by a long shot. Guess who had a dream Zoey was in trouble, woke up and called her? It’s Zoey’s grandma, brought out of storage for this very special occasion.
And of course we’re forced to read through the part where Zoey tells her grandma all about Stevie’s death. Was this written for goldfish? We just watched it happen, PCK! You could simply say, ‘So Zoey told her about Stevie’s untimely death’ and we’d be okay. I don’t need to know exactly what she said to grandma.
Grandma tells her that it must have been a great comfort that Zoey was there at the end and that she needs to get over this. Grandma tells Zoey that she should honor Stevie’s passing contrary to the school’s policy. Zoey thinks it’s a great idea and is planning on doing it in spite of the school. What a rouge you are, Zoey. Once grandma is done agreeing with Zoey it’s time to say goodbye.
Immediately Zoey gets a text from Heath saying that something’s wrong. Zoey whines that her friend died, again. Heath says his friends have died too because there’s no better time to start a one up contest than during grieving. Though it does make Zoey stop and think for a second.
I closed my eyes. How could I have forgotten that two of Heath’s friends had just recently been killed?
‘Could it be that I just don’t care about people? Am I really only concerned about the people who do things for me while I delegate everyone else to the lesser role of “minor characters”? Maybe it’s time…oohhh! Count Chocula! Om nom nom! It’s ironic that I like it…somehow.’
Heaths and Zoey exchange condolences and Heath asks if she wants to meet. She says no and Heath reminds her of their date Friday. She decides that it’s too much trouble to try and figure out how to break the “imprint” with Heath and agrees before going to sleep. But Zoey can’t sleep because the room is too empty.
Luckily all her friends have been reading ahead so they’re on it. They decide to have an impromptu slumber party—a slumber wake perhaps?—so Zoey isn’t so lonely. Apparently school’s closed because of the snow even though they live on campus so they can stay up late talking and making lame jokes about Damien not wanting any of them. None of them can believe Stevie died after being gifted and they say that no one’s safe. Then they all promise to look after one another and not to forget one another if they don’t make it through. At least until the end of the book they die in.
We can’t feel good if you don’t feel good. Wow. what did they ever do before Zoey got there? I guess they walked into walls a lot.
They moped quietly in a corner while the weakest of all the vampires killed themselves. That’s why Shakespeare, in spite of being a vampire, isn’t around anymore.