One of the things that amuses me about hack writers like PCK and Paolini is how much baggage they give their characters. Take Zoey and the many, many special things she owns. Every chance PCK gets, Zoey is given a new gift, power or friend. Things happen to her and they’re always unique and world changing. This has two major consequences.
First, it leaves the author with too much to remember. Eragon is a better example of this than Zoey. He has all sorts of skills and tools at his disposal. Eragon learned things that seemed like they should affect the plot later on considering the focus they got at the moment. Then, when the time came, those skills were completely forgotten. And that’s because it’s hard to keep a that large of a list in mind when your character is heading towards the climax.
Seocndly, it leaves a lot of room for hilarious plot holes and contradictions. This is something that Zoey is an excellent example of. Remember Zoey getting “marked” in the first book? How the “tracker” talked about Zoey’s death being her rebirth at the house of night? What does death have to do with becoming a vampire? Erik changed right in front of Zoey and it was over faster than a drag race. I bet PCK forgot how Zoey complained about “the people of the faith” who were coming over to her house when her parents called them, how they were all fat women and their “pedophile husbands”. I didn’t and it makes it more hilarious that Zoey slept with one. Oh wait, it’s okay because Loren’s attractive. Those other guys are in their mid forties and people that old are just gross.
We left off with Erik asking Zoey why. Which, although cliché, is fair and a common response. Erik’s hurt and he wants answers. They won’t help, but he wants to know because he’s just as confused as he is hurt and only one of those will go away. It’s the only believable thing PCK has had a character do in this whole series thus far.
My body felt frozen as I looked up at Erik. His Mark was still a surprise. It was unique and incredible and made him look even more handsome.
‘It was unique and incredible and, damn it, don’t ask for details because I’m not that creative. Also, he’s still super hot.’ Erik repeats himself and Zoey says that she didn’t mean to hurt him. She would have preferred to string him along for awhile longer. At least until she’d found a few replacement servants who were happy to take his place. She says she didn’t want him to find out like that.
“Yeah,” he said coldly. “Finding out my girlfriend, who has been playing oh-so-innocent with me, is really a slut would have been no problem if you’d, I don’t know, advertised it in the school paper. Yeah, that would have been way better.”
I flinched at his hateful tone. “I’m not a slut.”
Wait, is his tone hateful or cold? And you take that back, Erik. Zoey’s not a slut, Loren received no oral sex from her. Just because she engaged in a secret relationship with one of her professors and then boned him like his dick was the cure for common stupidity, doesn’t make her a slut. Zoey tries to defend her actions, stating that they’re really in love and they couldn’t help it. Erik, who’s starting to sound like a human being, says that guys like Loren only want one thing and when he’s got his fill he’ll leave her. Zoey says that Erik doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
“You know, you might be right,” he said in a cold, hard voice that made him sound like a stranger. “I sure as hell didn’t know what I was talking about the whole time I was saying you and I were going out, and the whole time I was telling everyone how great you are and how happy I was that you were with me. I actually thought I was falling in love with you.”
Is it wrong for me to like this new version of Erik? He actually sounds like an adult. He’s lashing out but he seems to know that which is more than I’d expect from a seventeen year old. Maybe this was all a setup to follow the adventures of Erik as he runs away from the school and becomes a hard bitten detective who solves vampire crimes.
My stomach twisted. I felt like his words were stabbing me in the heart. “I thought I was falling in love with you, too,” I said softly, blinking my eyes hard to keep from crying.
‘But then Loren came along and he had a windowless van! And candy! Loads of it! What was I supposed to do?’ Erik goes to leave and Zoey whines that she didn’t want it to end this way. Blah, blah, blah, the breakup dialogue from every drama ever televised. Erik storms off and Zoey feels much sadness, yes. She keeps it inside though and heads to the only person she wants to talk to. Her feet magically carry her toward the faculty apartments and towards Loren’s room. She figures he’s out looking for Erik and she can wait on his bed for him to come back.
As I approached it I could see that the door was cracked and I heard Loren’s voice trickle out from inside. He was laughing. The sound brushed against my skin, washing through the pain and sadness the scene with Erik had caused. I’d been right to come to him. I could already almost feel his arms around me. Loren would hold me and call me “love” and “baby” and tell me that everything would be all right. His touch would wipe away Erik’s hurt and the terrible things he’d said and make me stop feeling so broken. I put my hand flat against the door so that I could push it all the way open and go in to him.
Why is it that bad guys never close the door? And do so many heroes have bad hearing that they can’t hear a conversation through a door? It’s not like modern doors are made of acoustic foam, wrapped in a wood veneer. But no, the door is cracked so Zoey can hear, without trying, Neferet.
Then she laughed, low and musical and seductive, and my world stopped.
Wow, what a surprise. There are six tubeworms reading this who didn’t see it coming. They’re getting ready to go online and protest in their favorite forums. Of course they’re talking about Zoey, because the whole universe revolves around her. Neferet calls Loren her darling and says she hopes it wasn’t too hard for him but now they know what Zoey knows.
“She’s easy to lead around. A shiny present here, a pretty compliment there, and you have true love and a popped cherry sacrificed to the god of deception and hormones.” Loren laughed again. “Young girls are so ridiculous—so predictably easy.”
That sounds like a guy who has experience in the matter. How many girls have you seduced, Loren? Is the number more or less an eternity in jail for statutory rape? Eternity plus one, perhaps? This all makes Zoey very sad so she decides to get close to the crack so she can see what’s going on inside. Naturally, this gives her an unobstructed view of everything which would be excused by an omniscient narrator. But then PCK couldn’t write like it was her diary.
Loren is naked on the bed and Neferet it almost naked but wearing a robe that covers the ol’ nips. She says she’s surprised by Loren’s imprint and says she can smell the blood on them. Loren says that he was too and his acting must be very good but that it’s not a “true” imprint. Then he says he was surprised by how strong the imprint was with “that boy” even though she’s not an adult. Neferet says that’s just more evidence of her power. Only the stroking of Zoey’s ego doesn’t stop there, no. Unicus needs more praise.
“More proof of her power!” Neferet snapped. “Even though she has been ridiculously easy to lead astray for a Chosen One. And don’t pretend to complain that she Imprinted with you. You and I both know it just made the sex more pleasurable for you.”
So not only is Zoey special but now she’s a “chosen one”. A pity this won’t lead to Zoey punching a hole in some guy’s chest. That’s probably because she’s just a “chosen one” and not “the chosen one”. Loren says it was inconvenient that Neferet sent Erik when she did and wish he had a few more minutes to finish up. Wait, she was laying on him and they’d finished. Is this PCK trying to say that Loren didn’t “finish” so she doesn’t have to explain vampiric birth control? Neferet says she can send for Loren’s “lapdog” so he can finish if that’s what he wants.
Loren sat up. Leaning forward he grabbed Neferet’s wrist. “Come on, baby. You know I don’t really want her. Don’t be angry with me, love.”
Neferet says she isn’t angry. I’d hope so, as it was her idea for him to sleep with a student. She says that it’s not like the bond is permanent anyway and it’ll break when she changes or dies. Neferet says that maybe Loren doesn’t want that and he says he’ll prove he wants only her using the only method he knows how. He fetches a van, a picture of a puppy and lures her inside for some frantic groping powered by the fear of getting caught. It’s only once they start boning that Zoey has any reaction.
I pressed my hand against my mouth so I wouldn’t sob out loud.
Zoey’s not upset that Loren used her so much that he’s also getting his candle waxed by Neferet. Then, in mid bone, Neferet looks at the door and sees Zoey. Zoey then runs away because she’s sick and needs to dry heave. She says that Erik had been right but he’d underestimated Loren, blah blah, stuff we knew all along. Then she throws the earrings away and Aphro shows up because the author dropped a vision on her.
I turned around slowly, like my body might shatter if I moved too fast. Aphrodite was just coming out of the sidewalk that led to the dining hall. She was carrying a weird fruit in one hand and a bottle of Corona in the other.
Aphrodite says she likes mangos and they adults won’t miss one from the kitchen. Then she says that the beer may be tacky but not to tell her mom because she’ll freak out. Wait, why is Aphro drinking a beer? If fledglings can’t get drunk, then it’s not for the slight buzz so it must be for the taste. You’d think if she was drinking beer for the taste, Aphro would at least pick a better one. Maybe PCK is telling us what she takes to get through writing this drivel.
Aprho asks what’s wrong, Zoey doesn’t want to talk to Aphro and runs off. She then runs into Darius—the potential love interest for the next book, I presume—and he wonders what’s wrong. She says she just wanted to talk a walk, he says she wasn’t walking, and she says it’s just an expression. Then he says it’s no wonder he was drawn to “this place” because it’s a place of power. “this place” turns out to be the east wall of the school near the trapdoor exit. She asks him to leave her alone for a bit.
“I will allow you privacy, Priestess. But do not stray far from here. Remember that Neferet has bespelled the perimeter, so if you use the trapdoor and cross the line of her spell, in moments you would be surrounded by Sons of Erebus.” His smile was grim, but kind. “And that would not help you concentrate on your prayers, my lady.”
Thank you, generic fantasy character reject. For sooth, the spell doth be triggered upon egress. He salutes her and leaps out of sight so Zoey can sit there and whine. She whines about being stupid and saying how it’s terrible that she gave him her virginity and imprinted with him. She decides she wants to talk to her grandma but doesn’t have her phone with her. Then her cat shows up and she end the chapter saying she “messed up so bad”.