Why does it always have to be the end of the world? Is that the best motive that hacks can come up with? ‘Uh, how about the world will end? I wouldn’t like that because I live on the world.’ It’s like they can’t envision anything less because that takes effort. It’s easy to just raise the stakes to the world, call it a day and get back to having Zoey dish on her latest crush. The problem there is that when you put the stakes at world risk levels so early on, it weakens the motivation of the protagonist. Sure they might want to save the world because they’re altruistic and caring or it could be because that’s where all their favorite restaurants are.
I used to think that it was the sheer scale of world destruction that made it nonthreatening and that there’s nowhere else to go afterwards. That might be partially true but I’ve come to the conclusion that the goal of saving the world is, all too often, an impersonal one. Small goals tell us a lot about a character, what motivates them and how far they’re willing to go. In “A Simple Plan”, the main character wants to keep the drug money he found by accident along with his brother and friend. The lengths he goes in order to cover it up show us the depths of his greed while also displaying his, and his wife’s, cunning.
We start off immediately after the last chapter with Stevie saying that, yes, Zoey has to save the world. Stevie says not to worry, they’ll be right there with her. Zoey immediately begins weeping and wishes she had Mr Bean on her side instead. Aphro says that no, she’ll be there and Stevie will have to wait out there with her smelly friends. The word friends seems to puzzle Zoey.
“Huh? Friends?” I said.
‘Are those like, servants that you don’t pay? Because I already have those.’ Zoey asks what friends and then asks if Stevie is hanging out with the other undeadlings. Stevie says that Zoey doesn’t understand and Zoey demands that Stevie make her understand. Stevie says she thinks she needs to be around all the undeadlings to help them make the change. Their marks have all turned from blue to red but they havne’t filled in like hers.
Wow! I sat there, speechless, trying to take in the ramifications of what Stevie Rae was saying. It was utterly amazing that there was now a whole new type of fledgling, which, of course, meant there was a whole new type of adult vampyre, and for a moment it excited me. What if it also meant that everyone who got Marked would make some type of Change, so no more fledglings would have to die! Or at least not permanently. They’d just turn into red fledglings. Whatever that meant.
Which means there is absolutely no risk of dying as a vampire, whatsoever. That means there’s no reason to celebrate becoming an adult vampire because everyone does. Also, that Nyx allowed countless people to die instead of turning them into these secondary vampries because she sucks. And why do all the vampires worship her again?
Zoey says that they’re horrible though because they killed people. I have bad news for you, Zoey. Stevie killed people too. You caught Stevie forcibly donating a homeless lady’s blood to herself and she would have killed her if you hadn’t shown up. No doubt she’s killed someone in the month between the second and third books. Stevie says that, yeah, they’re still rude and evil and Elliott but they’re not as bad as they were.
Aphro says it would be easier to only deal with Stevie and she says that she doesn’t care, she’s going to stick by the undeadlings. Wait, how did Stevie turn into a more likable character than Zoey? Oh right, because she shows more compassion than a rock. When Stevie says that she won’t allow Neferet to use the undeadlings, it suddenly connects in Zoey’s brain that Neferet was building an army. Stevie counters that kids have been dying for awhile and Neferet only just declared war.
Yeah, it’s weird that Neferet began stockpiling vampires and then declared war. It’s like she anticipated it or something. I’ll bet Stevie was just lobotomized for making Zoey look stupid. Only Zoey is allowed to explain details of the plot. Zoey almost says something and doesn’t—exciting!—until Aprho asks what.
“Nothing.” I shifted the words in my mind so that they became something bearable. “It’s just that this whole thing makes me think that Neferet has been hoping there would be a reason to fight the humans for a long time. I really wouldn’t be surprised if she did create the undead dead kids to be her private army. I saw her with Elliott not long after he was supposed to have died. It was disgusting how much control she had over him.” I shivered, remembering only too clearly how Neferet had ordered Elliott around and how he had bowed and scraped in front of her, and then lapped up the offering of her blood in a disgusting and way-too-sexual manner. Watching it had been entirely nasty.
Nasty like gross or nasty as in sexy? I only ask because you’re clearly a child of the seventies, PC. If it’s the latter, does that mean Zoey was turned on watching Elliott make out with Neferet? Maybe Zoey’s a bit of a chubby chaser and she can’t yet admit it. Stevie says that’s why she has to go back, to help them finish their change so they can go back to being good like she is.
“What about the ones who were never okay? Remember the Elliott kid Zoey was just talking about? He was a loser alive and he’s a loser undead. He’ll still be a loser if he manages to Change into a red whatever.” Aphrodite gave an exaggerated, long-suffering sigh when Stevie Rae glared at her. “The point I’m trying to make is that they weren’t normal to begin with. Maybe there’s nothing for you to save about them.”
Now I get it. Aphro is there to say all the mean things PCK is thinking but doesn’t want coming out of Zoey’s mouth. This way she can be obnoxious and avoid tainting her avatar’s image. Too bad. Without any opinion, even a bad one, Zoey has less of a personality. Stevie says that Aphro doesn’t get to pick who gets saved and Zoey says that Nyx does.
Really? So why did Nyx let all those countless kids die before all this? Why did she all of a sudden decide that dying meant they got to turn into a different kind of vampire? This doesn’t sound like the kind of deity who’s earned blind worship. Aprho whines that she forgot about Nyx and she doesn’t want much to do with a human. Zoey turns into Preacher Zoey and says that signs of Nyx’s hand are evident in Aphro’s life still and blah blah blah.
Zoey asks why Aphro stayed away for two days and her explanation is the verbal equivalent of having a drill inserted into your frontal lobe. Because she wasn’t sure if she wanted to come back. Aphro spent a couple of days helping the undeadlings out, which she complains about, then decided she would come back. Aprho says they need to clean up, Stevie says they aren’t used to having company over, APhro says except for the people they eat and Zoey has something to say about the wanton murder.
“Stevie Rae, you really can’t let those kids eat people. Not even street people,” I added.
Whoa there, Zoey. I don’t think Stevie deserves a finger wag for that. I mean, her friends are just straight up murdering people but they’ll get over it. It’s just a phase they’re going through that all the undead have to pass on the road to maturity. Stevie herself murdered a few people and she didn’t get a finger wag, Zoey. So don’t be so hard on all the other undeadlings or you’ll scar them for life.
Stevie says she won’t let them eat any more people. Unless they sneak out for murder when she isn’t looking. She says that they need to stay underground though and they start talking about their abilities. Stevie says she can almost merge with stone like when she climbed the wall but that might be her earth powers. Zoey reminds Stevie that she can activate a cloaking device which Stevie says is cool. Don’t forget your ability to throw people into traffic, kill them and not let it bother you. Then Aprho whines that they get the cool powers while all she has are lame plot visions.
Stevie says that she still can’t go out in the sun or else she’ll get fried. Zoey asks if she’s sure and Stevie rolls up a sleeve to show a burn. Aphro says it was charred until she drank blood which causes Zoey to worry that she killed another homeless person. Stevie says no, she borrowed, stole as Aphro says, blood from the nearest blood bank. Stevie explains she can do this by exerting mind control over humans. She made a nurse open the door and get her a blood bag.
Stevie continues to list her powers by saying she’s strong and that she no longer has to do a will save check every hour. She says she would hate to go without blood but that it wouldn’t drive her crazy. And yet those dumb human would dare fear vampires and perpetuate myths about them. They only fear things that can control their minds and over power them because they’re ignorant.
Stevie says that she has to go, Zoey whines that she doesn’t want her to and Stevie says she has the phone and will visit when she can. Stevie then says Aphro can come with and stop pretending to be a fledgling. Aphro declines, saying that she needs to stick around because she doesn’t trust the other servants to watch out for Zoey.
After Stevie leaves, Aphro breaks down in front of Zoey. She’s sad and doesn’t want this, Zoey says Aprho must hate her and Aphro says that she used to but mostly hates herself. They bond over doing stupid things and now they’re friends. Aphro is no officially no longer an antagonist. Zoey says that they’ve both changed. By that I must assume outfits because they’re the same obnoxious bastards from before.
Aprho then says that, speaking of changing, that power changes people. Zoey asks what’s her point and Aphro says that Stevie is different. Zoey says that, yeah, she died and all. Aphro says that maybe Stevie invited Aphro along because she didn’t want her to spend time with her friend. Zoey snaps and says that Stevie’s not like that, Aphro says that Stevie’s not like she used to be and Zoey says she knows because Stevie died in her arms.
Zoey says she doesn’t want to talk about it and they decide to go to the meeting. Zoey asks if Aphro isn’t worried about them being seen as friends. Aphro says it doesn’t matter because then Zoey’s servants will be thinking about Aphro and not Stevie being alive. That’ll work, just as long as Neferet didn’t pluck it out of their minds already. Zoey thinks that’s funny and is laughing when she opens the door and runs into her servants. What a shocking development.