Untamed Chapter 1

From time to time, I like to stop and reflect on the cumulative mistakes a series makes. While I always manage to find things large and small in each book, there are the ones which stick out in my mind. These are the ones that might actually affect plot, characters and the shoddily built universe they’re forced to inhabit. The longer this goes on, the more mistakes stand out and begin to be cumulative and I’m forced to write it off as a hopeless pile. So I thought I’d write down the mistakes and dangling threads we’ve got so far.

For one, there’s the ever changing rules. From the beginning where Zoey was told death would be rebirth to witnessing a transformation in Erik has changed to the “imprint” crap. PCK avoids laying down how any of that works. Which is bad because these vampires are supposed to have a long history. You’d think one of them would set out to write a comprehensive medical/text book. It makes the vampires look incredibly stupid and inept. All so PCK can pull powers and explanations out of thin air.

Next, we have Zoey’s family. We’re told that she has a brother and a sister and other characters tell us Zoey’s compassionate. Those two things don’t go together as Zoey’s never spoken to either of her siblings in the entire series. No doubt PCK will drag one of them into the story when she’s wants to add more cheap drama but only if she can remember them. Zoey’s dad will most certainly appear and he will turn out to be special. A competent author would have him be a vampire slayer because of conflict. PCK will probably make him a vampire who left because he didn’t want to be around people who were going to die eventually because that would be sad. If her Unicus hungers enough, Zoey’s dad will turn out to be a high priest of some sort or maybe Bram Stoker in disguise.

Zoey’s mark and powers both show PCK is just winging it all. Why does Zoey’s mark keep growing? Because everyone else has “intricate” marks and Zoey’s must be the most intricate of all. Zoey’s ego won’t allow her to have anything that’s even close to everybody else. If they have marks, she must have one that’s twice as big and intricate. Also, she can do whatever with her powers which may or may not come from having magical underlings. It depends on how “independent” PCK wants her avatar to be.

Speaking of powers, what the hell happened to those two guys Zoey threw into traffic? I honestly expected Zoey to hear something about them on PlotNews before the end of book three. Just a little hand waving from the author, telling us that they were a little bruised but fine. The only conclusion I can draw is that Zoey killed them and she’s getting away with it.

This volume is titled “untamed”. Because Zoey’s been such a conformist up until now. Or is PCK just trying to remind us that no one tells Zoey what to do. Unless it’s Nyx but only so long as she keeps telling her what she wants to hear. We start off with one of PCK’s staples of writing, dull details.

The caw! caw! cawing! of one stupid crow kept me up all night. (Well, more accurately, all day—’cause, you know, I’m a vampyre fledgling and we have that whole issue of day and night being turned around.) Anyway, I got zero sleep last night/day. But my crappy nonsleep is currently the easiest thing to deal with since life really sucks when your friends are pissed at you. I should know. I’m Zoey Redbird, currently the undisputed Queen of Making My Friends Pissed Land.

Of all the advice I’ve ever read or heard, the most consistent piece is the beginning of your story should be a hook. I now know that everyone has lied to me and that the beginning can be as boring and dull as I want it. A professional author can start a book with the ostensible hero whining about her sleep schedule. Maybe next time PCK can start with her microwaving a Hot Pocket or comparing insurance quotes.

Zoey is out in the stables, talking to her horse. Sure the horse might technically belong to the school but ownership is only temporary. Once Zoey finds something she wants, it belongs to her. She tells the horse that she’s manage to avoid the “big confrontation” for two days but that she need to face it. She whines that it was for their own good and that now she needs to face them. She continues to talk to the horse though, filling the audience in on the events of the last book, and then reminding us she has a special mark around her waist.

Oh wait, did I say she was talking to the horse? Because that would be smarter than what PCK actually does. Instead, Zoey is looking at her reflection so she can describe herself and whine at us. ‘Boo hoo, I haz no boy toys anymore! And my friends are mad at me!’ This almost makes her cry but Zoey is strong and doesn’t even shed a single tear. She decides to go to the cafeteria and sweet talk her slaves into licking her boots.

The late December night was cool and a little misty. The gaslights lining the sidewalk that stretched from the stable and field house area of the school to the main building flickered with little haloes of yellow light, looking beautiful and old-worldly. Actually, the whole campus of the House of Night was gorgeous, and always made me think of something that belonged in an Arthurian legend more than in the twenty-first century. I love it here, I reminded myself. It’s home. It’s where I belong. I’ll make it right with my friends, and everything will be okay then.

It’s a good thing that these vampires don’t need oxygen to survive or else those gaslamps would poison them pretty quickly. Been rereading Anne Rice again, PCK? And how the hell does that place belong in an “Arthurian” legend? It was built by the “people of the faith” in the style of a monastery, not a castle. Unless Zoey is saying that, for all their other faults, the “people of the faith” have excellent taste in architecture. And come on, PCK, Zoey’s been there just over two months. That’s not exactly long enough for her to call it home.

While Zoey’s wandering the grounds and letting her overclocked hamster brain think, she gets distracted by a flapping noise. But not just any flapping noise, an ethereal flapping noise which sounds dark and malevolent. She wanves her hands in the air and it chills her hands. Now that’s how you fail at foreshadowing. Why not just have a black cat walk past Zoey as she walks under a ladder while opening an umbrella indoors which knocks over a mirror? Zoey’s hands touch nothing, of course, but she runs inside and slams the door behind her. Then she tells fire to warm her up because she’s uncomfortable.

What had just happened?

Well your author figured that she could steal a lot more from Harry Potter and avoid copyright infringement because she’ll call them something else.

My stinging hand drew my attention from the window. I looked down. Across the back of my hand there were red welts, as though something with claws, or talons, had scraped across my flesh. I rubbed at the angry-looking marks, which stung like a curling iron burn.

Just go ahead and call them dementors, PCK. Go right ahead, you fucking hack. Zoey then says her sixth sense, which is the first time it’s been mentioned, tells Zoey the place is colder and tainted and Zoey is afraid. She says that she wasn’t afraid for anyone but herself but feels the need to list all the people she’s not afraid for. I always knew you were a sociopath, Zoey. She then says she needs her friends and runs to the cafeteria, stopping outside only to lament how special she is and how she wished she was “normal”.

I wasn’t normal. I wasn’t like anyone else, fledgling or vampyre, and it was wrong of me to wish otherwise. And part of my not-normal-ness was telling me that I had to go in there and try to make peace with my friends. I straightened my spine and looked around the room with eyes that were clear of self-pity, and easily found my special group sitting at our booth.

Oh, the unsung pain of Zoey. If only Loren had lived, he could have written many, many sad poems about his Lolita. Zoey gets herself a salad and a glass of bubbly farts—what she calls brown pop—and goes to sit next to them. Unfortunately for her, Erin spent three weeks in juvenile hall and learned how to make a shiv. She buries a sharpened toothbrush in Zoey’s ribs and they walk away while she bleeds out.

Zoey says hi and they try to banter around her, expressing their anger in passive-aggressive ways. Zoey tells us about the “twins” and their history. It’s slightly better because PCK compresses it into a paragraph this time. They glare at her, Zoey doesn’t like it and Zoey tries to change the tone of the conversation by talking about the “ghostlike, flappy weirdness”. This draws Damien into the conversation because he’s Hermoine.

Damien’s a tall, really cute guy with excellent bone structure whose brown eyes were usually warm and expressive but were, at this moment, wary and more than a little cold. “A flappy ghost thing?” he said. “Sorry, I have no clue what you’re talking about.”

Wow, PCK actually managed to describe him without telling us he’s gay in a clumsy and insensitive manner. Oh wait, yes she does. Jack shows up and says he’s sorry he’s late because he found a stain on his shirt which causes Damien and Jack to banter about how Damien hopes it wasn’t the Armani one and Jack says no, he loves that and would never get anything on it. Then Jack notices Zoey and that’s when PCK makes everything awkward.

“Hi, Jack,” I said, smiling at him. Jack and Damien are together. Hello. They’re gay. My friends and I, along with anyone who’s not narrow-minded and utterly judgmental, are cool with that.

Way to tell, not show. It’s not like we could infer that by the way nobody bats an eye around Jack and Damien, no. We have to be shown because we’ve all just been recently frozen. To us, the little boxes that make fire are magic and mirrors steal souls. If it were not for your plain narration, Zoey, we would be adrift in an abyss, void of details.

Zoey asks if he thought she was hiding in her room, Jack nods and Zoey says she’s done doing that. Are you sure, Zoey? It’s only been two days since the end of the last “book”. She makes it sound like she’s been cloistered for a decade and finally gotten over the trauma which put her there. Her friends start to make fun of her but they’re stopped by the sound of a “sexy” laugh as Aphro enters the room. Zoey reminds us what happened with her lack of mark and PCK ends the chapter by saying that “somehow” Aphro had gone back to being human.

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5 Responses to Untamed Chapter 1

  1. maeverin says:

    I’d like to call PCK out on their crap and ask why they didn’t make Zoey gay or at least bi? they clearly have a statement they want to make, so make it already and spare us the awkward bigotry.
    Either that or rename Damien to Token.

    • vivisector says:

      Or she can take the Dr Suess route and call him Token one while Jack can be Token two, based on their order of appearance.

      And I just can’t wait until she decides to tackle the topic of racism with the same deft hand she handles sexuality.

  2. Vanessa says:

    If you want to learn all about what happens to a fledgling vampire in PCK’s universe, might I suggest: http://tinyurl.com/bxgxuzw

  3. Jenn says:

    Actually, IIRC, even before the “Hello, they’re gay,” paragraph, Zoey mentioned Damien was gay twice in 2 very short paragraphs, the first of which has her saying that Damien is most likely to stop the silent treatment because he’s gay and gays love gossip too much to keep their mouth shut, and the second of which has her lament that the Twins, and not gay, and therefore more sensitive and considerate Damien answered her. No lie, I read rhat part to a girl in the bookstore who had never heard of the books and she was immediately turned off by that.

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