Zoey waits for Neferet to leave before asking Stark if he’s hungry. Now that’s a chapter hook. ‘Are you hungry?’ ‘Yup.’ ‘Let’s get some food then.’ Luckily for Stark he showed up at the exact same time as they were all having dinner. If he hurries, Damien can show him his room before they go to the “Council Meeting”. PCK really needs to get her keyboard looked at if it keeps randomly capitalizing letters like that. It’s probably shorting out from all the harpy bile it’s drowning in. Then this happens because why not?
“Stark, this is Jack. He’s Damien’s boyfriend.” I decided to get the introductions and the possible Oh, no! He’s a fag! issues out of the way.
While that’s incredibly obnoxious, I expect this from Zoey. She’s at that age where she thinks that she is among the elite few who has reached enlightenment while everyone else is clubbing each other and grunting. Though this feels like more of a product of PCK’s personal attitude and less Zoey’s. Stark is, of course, fine with it because of course he is. Though I’m wondering why Damien is perfectly fine with this being blurted out like that. It just feels kind of rude. She wouldn’t do that if he were a furry, would she? ‘Oh and this is Jason, he likes to dress up like a fox and dry hump Cheryl who dresses like a squirrel.’
Zoey makes the standard round of introductions. The “twins” both give him a look because they’re desperate for someone whom Zoey hasn’t claimed. Stark makes a sarcastic comment when he’s introduced to Aprho because it’s funny that she has a pretentious name. This is what PCK counts as “humor” in her books.
…”So you’re the Goddess of Love. I’ve heard a lot about you.”… “Hi. I like it when I’m recognized.”… “It’d be hard not to recognize you—the name’s pretty obvious.”
That’s their conversation with the crap removed. Isn’t is hilarious? Maybe it’d help if I told you that Stark was being sarcastic, both times! Why aren’t you laughing? Oh, because it has to be funny first. Who knew that sarcasm isn’t automatically amusing? I’ve got so much to learn. Stark tells his dog to sit before heading to the lunch line and says that she will do as she’s told. You know, just like she was before he chased her into the room. Zoey assures him there won’t be trouble with her cat while he’s following Damien.
“Nala will be good,” I said, hoping she would. I really had no control over my cat. Hell, who actually had control over any cat?
How about this guy, Mark Harden? He’s a professional animal trainer who’s done a lot of work with cats for movies. I hate that pervasive myth among cat owners that they’re just so independent and uncontrollable. That’s cat owner speak for ‘I’m too lazy to teach my cat anything because it’s not the same as teaching a dog.’ Zoey’s servants make some lame jokes about dogs and Aprho gets bored and leaves. Then Shaunee asks if Zoey doesn’t want to sit around flirting with the new guy. Of course she does but she doesn’t want to look like a slut so she won’t do it in front of you. She’ll wait until he corners her in the library, alone, and quotes poetry at her. It’ll also help if he calls her “baby” a lot. Then they get back to their favorite pastime, bitching about Aphro.
Blah blah blah, she’s a horrible person and they know why some women have drowned their babies, blah blah. Yes, they actually said that. I know they’re supposed to have reasons why they don’t like her this much but I wish we were privy to them. So far the only thing we’ve seen is Aprho gave Erik a blowjob and Zoey didn’t like that. Which is pretty thin grounds to form a vendetta but when Zoey commands, the servants listen. With that out of the way they now turn the topic at hand to boys.
“But on to a much more important topic,” Erin said.
“Yeah, the new hottie,” Shaunee said.
They go on to say he’s attractive and they don’t say anything they haven’t said about other boys Zoey’s interested in. I’m starting to be convinced the only reason they do this is to assure Zoey that she’s got good taste and should totally date that guy she’s mooning over. Though they do drop a reference to sagging about how it’s so 90s and uncool. Zoey almost cries because they’re talking to her again and then quickly agrees, in narration, that Stark is hot.
Zoey runs down his individual traits and says they’re okay but not great. She says that what really makes him attractive is his “intensity” which is like “he was a part of the world, and at the same time he was flipping it off”. Which is good, because the last character who wasn’t part of the world just made everything awkward when they got deported back to “Matched”. And how wonderful that we have another rebel without a cause, James Dean must be so happy for Zoey.
And, yes, it was weird that I got that about him so quickly.
Yes, Zoey. You’re ability to look at people and deduce simple things from the attitude they project is astounding. You have the very rare ability to read body language and social cues. Do you know what this means? You could don a cape and fight crime! Now go out and try to stop bullets with your chest. Suddenly, Jack realizes who Stark is. He’s Stark! Whom no one has ever heard of.
“No, no, no. You don’t get it. He’s the James Stark who is the best archer in the whole world! Don’t you remember reading about him online? He kicked butt in the track and field Summer Games this past year. Guys, he competed against grown vamps, actual Sons of Erebus, and he beat them all. He’s a star . . .” Jack ended on a dreamy sigh.
‘So he’s like Green Ar…’ ‘No!’ ‘Or Hawke…’ ‘Nor him either! He’s a master archer and the best in the world because Zoey can’t like anyone who’s second rate. Just like how Erik was the best at monologing or Loren the best at poetry, because that’s something you can do.’ ‘Yeah? Well that still leaves one question.’ ‘What’s that?’ ‘What is this “online” thing you speak of? Is it a new newspaper? I’ve never heard of it.’
Erin’s memory is suddenly jogged and she then “remembers” hearing about him. What she really means is that the knowledge just appeared in her brain covered in overnight PlotEx stickers. Shaunee says that she knew his “hotness” was of major proportions and Erin says that she’ll try to like his dog. Because Labs are the hardest dogs to get along with in the world. That’s why they recommend never allowing them near children without a cattle prod and mace.
Stark then returns. ‘Oh hey. Everyone done talking about me? Cool.’ They talk to him about his archery and Stark is incredibly humble. For a guy who seems to be giving everyone the finger, he likes to keep quiet about his achievements. He says that it’s just something he’s been good at since he was marked. He then turns the conversation back to that perennial favorite, Zoey. He says that he heard she has all those extra marks. Which isn’t the same as archery because having more markings isn’t a talent but I might be nitpicking again.
Zoey says that she hates talking about herself, first impressions and how it’s not like the real her at all. Yeah, you don’t talk yourself up nearly as much as you do with people you know. So she asks if Stark likes horses, he says he likes most animals except for cats which he calls bitchy. Damien then stands up for the author and starts talking about how cats are independent and been worshipped by ancient cultures. If you have to defend your favorite animal with cultures that worshipped rivers and turned people into jerky, you might be a bit insecure.
Zoey says she needs to check with Aprho before the meeting. They bid her an apathetic goodbye which Zoey is glad to get because it means they’re almost back to being normal servants again. On the way back to her dorm, she runs into a bunch of “warrirors” who all call her priestess and salute. Perhaps Zoey is just missing the sarcasm in all of this. She stops one of them and asks for a list of those who will be guarding the girls dorm because that will make them feel more at him. He says that’s “quite considerate” of her and will get right on it. Then she walks across the courtyard, complaining about being watched.
Nothing flapped or chilled the air, but I couldn’t get rid of the frightening feeling that someone or something was watching me.
That’s just an audience that hates you and wishes you harm. You should probably focus on that instead of where you’re going. Don’t mind the woven reeds in front of you that look like they might be covering some sort of hole. Just walk stupidly over it, fall onto the spikes and wait for the sweet release of death. We won’t allow you to die but you can wait for it, Zoey.