This is it, the brilliant cap to this overblown book. I can’t wait for Loren to get his comeuppance for being a man-whore and nothing to happen to Neferet, as usual. And it’s longer than the rest of the chapters so I’m sure it’ll be packed with plenty of stupid.
We’re back with Zoey and her servants who are still in shock that Aphro is alive. No one told them that it’s not the bite of the vampire that kills but the exsanguination. Stevie says she’s sorry and wouldn’t want to hurt Aprho even though she doesn’t like her. Aphro says that it must have been Nyx’s plan all along. Erin digs out some tissue for Aprho and then they notice that “it’s” gone and they hand her a mirror.
Aphrodite sighed, clearly irritated. “Okay, I know I look like complete shit. Hello! Stevie Rae just bit me. Here’s a news flash: Not even I can look perfect all the time, especially when—” As soon as she focused on the mirror and got a look at the reflection of her face, Aphrodite’s words ended like someone had pushed her stop talking button. With a trembling hand she reached up to touch the spot in the middle of her forehead where Nyx’s Mark had been. “It’s gone.” Her voice was a hoarse whisper. “How can it be gone?”
Easy, PCK wanted to get rid of you because you offered too much resistance. Also, you’re blonde and as numerous angry hacks have taught me, blondes are evil. Damien says he’s never, ever heard of anything like that happening ever. I guess Aphro should count herself lucky that something special happened to her and it didn’t involve being crucified by Neferet. Plus she gets to make a clean exit out of the series while her reputation is in order.
Aprho, being shallow pathetic, immediately begins to cry that she’s just a human now. She runs through the trapdoor, crying and sets off the magical alarm Neferet put in place. They want to chase after her and Stevie says she’ll do it now that she’s all better. She’s back to being a groveling slave like she was in life. She says she’ll make sure Aprho is okay and then come back and thanks Zoey for fixing her. I’d say that Aprho, in sacrificing her vampirism, saved her but what do I know?
Zoey’s servants are still pretending they’re mad at her. They decide they’ll pretend they were out there consoling Zoey after her breakup and that Aphro ran away. Darius shows up and wants to know who broke the barrier, they tell him Aprho and he sends to faceless “warriors” off to find her. Then he tells Zoey that Neferet has called and assembly and their presence is required.
Zoey has a magic cramp on the way in, Darius catches her and says she should go to the infirmary. Zoey says no, she’s fine and that it’s just gas. Her servants confirm this and Zoey assumes they’re not covering for but making fun of her because they’re angry. They continue on into the auditorium and take their seats while Zoey continues to whine about being ignored. Neferet finally comes in and starts babbling about the evil humans.
She didn’t waste time, but got right to the point. “We have long lived in peace with humans, though they have insulted and ostracized us for decades. They envy our talent and our beauty—our wealth and our power. And their envy has been steadily growing into hatred. Now that hatred has shifted to violence perpetrated against us by people who call themselves religious and righteous.” Her laughter was cold and beautiful. “What an abomination.”
It’s so hard to be prettier and richer than all the smelly, ugly, dumb humans. Neferet says that if even one more of them dies they’ll declare war on the humans. Though she’s quick to add that it won’t be an outright war because numbers aren’t in their favor. Then she’s interrupted by Darius coming in to report that Loren is dead and his corpse has been nailed to the front gate. How awfully convenient.
“That was what happened to you,” Damien whispered, his face gone almost gray it was so pale. “You’d Imprinted with him, hadn’t you?”
How does Damien know so damn much about everything? Did he get to go to special classes that the other vampires were banned from? Is there a handbook and he’s not telling anybody? Or is he just supposed to be a Hermoine analogue and PCK doesn’t feel like fleshing out his character beyond that?
Zoey nods and Neferet describes the murder scene. There was a bible verse nailed to him as well and this time it says nothing about a witch. I know, I was shocked too. PCK can use google, it seems. Neferet repeat that it’s time for war and they won’t be subjugated by humans. Zoey decides she has to leave and runs out sobbing that she’s sure Nyx doesn’t want war but what can she do?
And then I remembered the familiar pain that had seared around my waist. I glanced around, making sure I was alone, then I lifted the hem of my dress so that I could see my skin. They were there! My beautiful filigreed Mark had appeared around my waist. I closed my eyes. Oh thank you, Nyx! Thank you for not leaving me!
‘Thank you for not making me normal! I don’t’ want to stop being a protagonist!’ So Zoey then cries about everything, especially Loren. She says she knows she didn’t really love Loren but his death still bothers her. She says that he didn’t deserve to die at the hands of those “religious freaks”. Being the genius she is, I’m honestly surprised that it hasn’t yet occurred to Zoey that it wasn’t Stepdad. Neferet herself can’t believe how slow Zoey is so she walks up and tells Zoey flat out that she murdered Loren. But only after Zoey accuses Neferet of crying to put on a show.
“You’re wrong. I loved him, and he adored me in return. But you already know that, don’t you? You watched us like the little sneak you are,” she said. Neferet glanced quickly over her shoulder at the doors and raised her index finger up, as if saying she needed a minute. I could see the warrior who had been about to come out to her stop and turn his back against the doors; obviously his job was to keep anyone from interrupting us. Then Neferet turned back to me. “Loren’s dead because of you. He could feel how upset you were, and when the perimeter was breached he assumed it was you running away from the little scene I orchestrated between you and poor, shocked Erik.” She said it with a sarcastic sneer. “Loren went out to find you. And because he was looking for you, Loren was killed.”
Zoey says that Neferet caused all this and Nyx knows it. Neferet says that she’s been threatened with Nyx’s name repeatedly and she’s still in charge and Zoey’s alone. Zoey feels sad for a moment but then remembers the new and expanded marking she just got. This is a clear sign that she’s not been abandoned and Neferet is wrong. I still say it’s just evidence of a rogue tattoo ninja testing their craft while everyone sleeps. Zoey gathers her strength and decides to try and hurt Neferet.
I straightened my spine. Focusing on the five elements, I raised my hands, palms out, and without touching Neferet, I shoved. The High Priestess was thrown backward, stumbled, lost her footing, and fell smack on her butt. As several warriors burst out of the auditorium to help her to her feet, I bent, pretending like I was making sure she was okay, and whispered, “You might want to reconsider pissing me off, old woman.”
That’s right Neferet, or you might find yourself in front of a truck. PCK still hasn’t sold us on Zoey being any better than Neferet. They both abuse their powers and they both hold humans in contempt. At least Neferet doesn’t do a very good job hiding her intent to be a complete tool. Neferet says this isn’t over, because it never is, and Zoey agrees. Neferet leaves, Zoey’s servants show up and Zoey ignores them and then Erik steps out of the shadows.
Conveniently, Erik saw the whole exchange between Neferet and Zoey. He’s shocked that the evil overlord of theirs is actually evil. Zoey confirms that she’s “an evil bitch” and Eirk says that doesn’t change what she’s done. Being the mature one in the relationship, Zoey tells him “I know” like the long suffering teen she is telling her parents that she knows she shouldn’t be drinking. Erik leaves and Zoey starts to make list of pros and cons because PCK can’t trust us to remember what’s been happening.
Zoey says that the positives are that Stevie isn’t an undeadling anymore, she had no more boy troubles and she wasn’t imprinted with anyone anymore. She then lists the downsides, saying that she has not boytoys, no friends and she’s not a virgin. Then her cat shows up so Zoey has someone to talk to and complain. Then PCK speaks directly to Zoey.
Believe in yourself, Daughter, and get ready for what is to come.
I’ll admit, that’s the laziest way to interact with your characters. Pretending to be god and dropping words into their brain? Completely pointless. Zoey whines that she doesn’t like the sound of that then asks Nala when she thought having a “sucky” birthday was terrible. The cat sneezes on her and Zoey says that sums up her life; kinda funny, gross and messy. Not funny or messy but definitely gross. Then we get the acknowledgements and thus ends shitty book number three.