Since the beginning of this series, there’s been a very strange undertone. It’s one I’ve been dancing around and wondering if it was just shadows in the corner of my mental eye. Not the vampires are better than people, that’s familiar ground and was old even when the first book was published. I’m talking about the odd religious themes in the book. Mostly, it’s the fact that this is written like religious or political fiction.
When I say that, I don’t mean things like Narnia where it’s allegorical or drawing parallel themes. I mean the fiction that’s thinly written to proselytize at the audience. I think of is as the difference between Tom Clancy’s writing and Glen Beck. One might contain themes or a subtle message while the other is blatantly trying to scream a “message” at you and everyone who agrees with it. The further along I go in this series, the harder it is to ignore.
For example, PCK’s characters just all convert to Nyx and are expected to. It’s not even lightly questioned by anybody, it’s just the right thing to do while everyone else is wrong. The only source of power all comes from Nyx, no one else. Whenever something is going wrong, Zoey just says they have to have faith in Nyx. She’s also quick to remind everyone, repeatedly, that Nyx hasn’t given up on them. I’m starting to wonder which one of these books comes with a robe and complimentary head shaving.
Zoey and Aphrodite head back to the school. Aphrodite says they shouldn’t be seen together and Zoey asks if she’s still embarrassed. Aphrodite says that if Neferet thinks they’re friends or even just on speaking terms that Neferet will suspect they’ve talked about her. Which is paranoid but a lot smarter than anything Zoey’s ever said. Can we trade Zoey for Aphrodite, PCK? They both agree Neferet finding them out would be “majorly bad”.
Zoey says that Neferet will see them together because of her earth powers. Aphrodite says she won’t and Zoey says that she will unless she wants to defy Nyx’s will. I’d really like ot know when Zoey decided she spoke for Nyx. I don’t remember the vampires having a conclave and making her the pope of all nibblers. Aphrodite says, grudgingly, that she’ll do Nyx’s will and Zoey says that means she’ll be at the full moon ceremony.
Aphrodite says that might be difficult since she’s no longer a member of the DDs. Zoey says fine, she’ll just rejoin as long as she can follow the new rules. Aphrodite doesn’t like it and calls it lame, Zoey doesn’t like that but Aphrodite counters that the new rules say she has to be “authentic” and she truly believes the new rules suck. Zoey then asks why she memorized them if she hates them.
“Know thy enemy,” she quoted.
“Who said that, anyway?”
She shrugged. “Someone back in the day. The ‘thy’ gives it away as from the olden back in the day.”
So how does Zoey know it’s a quote? I mean, this is her narration. So when she says “she quoted” that means Zoey know it’s a quote without being told. So why wouldn’t she know? Aphrodite starts looking off into the distance and Zoey worries she’s about to seize and have a vision. Aphrodite says that it’s more like a feeling she gets but is heading inside anyway.
She shook herself, reminding me of a cat coming in out of the rain. “I’ll be okay. I’m probably just imaging things. See you tonight.”
So Aphrodite mewled pathetically, clearly unhappy to be wet? I doubt that Aphrodite gave a full body shake like a wet pet. Then again, this is the same author who can’t figure out what irony means. Which is, in itself, ironic. While Aphrodite goes inside, Zoey just sits there because she has feelings sometimes. Y’know those ethereal “feelings” that are one part lazy writing and two parts plot convenience?
Aphrodite screams and then starts puking. She yells at Zoey to go get help while all Zoey can do is think about the pleasant scent in her nose. She asks Aphrodite what’s wrong and Aphrodite points at the wall. She’s not sick, just that there’s something there that’s disgusting. Then Zoey figures out what it is.
And I knew what the sweet, seductive smell was. I fought against falling to my knees and puking my guts up beside Aphrodite. I smelled blood. Not ordinary human blood, which is delicious enough. What I was smelling was a lethal shedding of a full-grown vampyre’s lifeblood.
Wait, why is an adult vampire’s blood more disgusting than a dying fledgling? Oh, I get it. It’s because they’re more special than the kids who have no powers. Also, we all know how beautiful people are inherently more valuable than everyone else. Zoey confirms this by saying that it’s the most horrible thing she’s ever seen.
Watching a fellow classmate spray like a Rainbird on high? Zoey tunes it out like a commercial advertising wearable blankets. Seeing Heath get snacked on by the undead? Upsetting, but only because that’s her blood, damn it! Watching her “best friend” die? That was worth shedding a few tears for. But seeing a adult vampire has been killed? That’s the worst thing ever.
Zoey describes the scene without any real emotion. Basically someone crucified a female adult vamp and put a notice on the stake driven through her heart and cut her head off. This is supposed to make us believe that Stepdad, or some of his friends, have finally decided to kill some local vampires. We know better because all vampires come with super strength and someone would notice twenty villagers chasing someone down a lone vampire.
Zoey says they need to go get help. Yes, quickly. The sooner the mortician can get to work on her, the better she’ll look for the funeral. Aphrodite, not having the blessing of the author, says she’s going to be sick again and Zoey tells her no, she won’t.
“No, you’re not.” I couldn’t believe how calm I sounded. “Breathe. Center yourself. Draw strength from the earth.” I realized I was automatically doing what I was telling her to do, only in my case I was drawing strength from the five elements. “You’re okay,” I told her as I channeled energy from wind, fire, water, earth, and spirit to keep back the hysterics and shock I wanted to give in to. “We’re okay.”
So Zoey uses her powers to knock her friends around and steady her nerves. And here I had the nerve to say she was frivolous with them. Clearly I was mistaken. Aphrodite panicks, wondering who they will tell because everyone is gone. Zoey says the horse trainer because she never leaves the horses. Then Aprhodite asks how they’re going to explain what they were doing outside. And when the perennial bad girl needs help thinking up excuses from the chaste, stupid and clueless protagonist you’re in trouble. Aprhodite you are hereby demoted, once again, to Aphro.
Zoey says that they weren’t together. She’s say she was visiting her grandma and Aprho had gone home. Then Zoey was driving home and notice Aprho walking and offered her a ride. Along they way they ran into Ally Sheedy and asked for her autograph but she didn’t have a pen so they went to her car to get one but along the way they were stopped by five Scientologists who offfered them all personality tests which were offered in Denver until 10:45 at which time they accidentally boarded the wrong bus home and ended up in Rancho de Burritos Rojos, south of Castle Rock, and finally got a ride home with a man who was missing his left index finger, named Bram Rice, arriving home at 11:46.
Aphrodite says she’ll remember and they, finally, get inside. Immediately they run into Neferet because plots are hard to do without contrivance. Zoey babbles on about dead bodies and being horrible while Neferet acts concerned. She demands to know what happened and Zoey finally blurts out that professor Nolan is dead and she’s out by the trap door by the east wall and someone killed her. Ok, PCK, we know it was Neferet. How long are you going to pretend otherwise? Probably until Neferet starts her evil monologue near the end.
Can’t wait to see Zoey use her powers to give her stepdad a righteous beat-down all the while screaming about how intolerant he is.
Hopefully she won’t forget to gripe about how cruel and vicious his religion is while she barbecues him and drops boulders from on high.