Hunted Chapter 23

What is with these hacks and scars? Not the first time I’ve asked that and probably not the last. The thing that confuses me most is how they react more to the scar and not to the moment that caused it. Eragon lamented and whined about his back scar but very rarely, if ever, recalled the fight with Sam the Shade. Zoey has spent more time complaining about how her body looks with a scar than she has remembering the raven attack.

The problem here is that it’s the scar that causes them distress when it should be the trauma. If the scar is important, it’s that it makes them remember the moment. If PCK wanted Zoey to feel something when she saw the developing scar, have her flashback to the attack. That would make sense as it happened only a few hours ago. Then we’d see that Zoey isn’t an emotionless robot.

Kalona makes an appearance because how spooky it is that he’s in Zoey’s dreams. He says that Zoey called him there rather than the other way around. He says that Nyx is odd, letting Zoey come to “this place” because of how dangerous it is. Zoey says she didn’t call him to her and Kalona disagrees.

“Of course you did.” He was intimate and flirty, like he was my boyfriend and I was being kinda shy about admitting how much I liked him.

How was he being “intimate and flirty”? Was he laughing at her, grabbing her by the shoulders and hugging her? Just being “intimate and flirty” is not really enough to tell me what he’s doing, PCK. Zoey repeats that she didn’t call him and Kalona says, of course she did, how else did he get in her dream? Well you could have forced your way in like last time. Or am I overthinking this again?

Zoey describes Kalona after resisting his magic charm. He looks young and he’s wearing only jeans. Also, his wings are awesome, apparently, and flawless bronze skin. Zoey says that his appearance reminds her of the otherworldly look of Neferet and this makes her sad but we’re not told why. So Kalona asks her so Zoey can explain. Zoey says she’s a sad panda because she doesn’t think he was always the way he is.

Kalona went utterly still. It seemed the perfection of his features solidified and turned him into the statue of a god.

So no change there, wark wark. Kalona says so what and asks what would Zoey do if she knew him, save or entomb him? Zoey says she couldn’t do either one without his help. I bet you could, Zoey. That’s one of those things you should probably use your powers for. Then Kalona starts talking about “this place” having an ancient power and blah blah blah. Zoey says he has to know she’s not “a-ya” and Kalona says he knows no such thing.

He kept caressing my hair as he answered me, “A-ya had been gone for centuries, dissolved once more into the earth that made her. You are simply she, reborn through a daughter of man. That is why you are different from the others.”

Goddamn it, PCK. Does even the villain have to gargle Zoey’s balls? Can no one escape the curse of having to compliment her on every little thing she does? Zoey says that’s not true, she didn’t know him when he rose and he argues she did. He says she was made for him and thus belongs to him. That makes Zoey mad, shouting that she doesn’t belong to anyone but herself and Nyx. This makes Kalona mad because she always goes back to “that wretched goddess”. Then he does that thing the devil does in religious fiction where he demands to know where her god is now.

Now it’s time for Zoey to talk about free will and she does it with all the elegance of a pinball machine dancing with a truck. ‘Durr, free will is good.’ ‘Blargh, worship me and life is easy!’ ‘Derp durr, but then I’d be a slave, dur.’ Good thing Zoey is at the forefront of this battle and is utilizing her superior intellect to debate Kalona into submission.

Zoey then changes the subject by asking Kalona what he wants. He says he wants her and Zoey says that can’t be all. She asks if he really fell from what people would call heaven and Kalona says yes. He says it was his choice that brought him here, he fell willingly I guess, and Zoey asks, again, what he wants.

“Everything!” he cried in the voice of a god. “I want everything!”

Pop quiz, PCK, what does the voice of a god sound like? How about saying his voice shook the ground or echoed across the land? That conveys power without saying “it was very powerful”. But that takes effort and creativity. It’s far easier to assure the audience that he sounds just like a god and hope they’ll fill in the blank. Kalona then asks if Zoey is sure she couldn’t love him and kisses her and it’s amazing and wonderful. Once it’s over though, Zoey forces him away and shouts protests that she’s not “a-ya”.

“No!” I was shaking my head back and forth like a crazy woman. “I am not her! I am Zoey Redbird, and if I love someone, it’s because he’s worth loving, and not because I’m a piece of dirt that’s been brought to life.”

Ah, so only crazy women shake their heads back and forth. Or is that just a terrible simile? If only PCK could see the irony of a character created to live their fantasies whining about not just being made to serve a purpose. And that part about loving some guy because he’s worth it? Definitely one of the best jokes you’ve ever written, PCK. Pepper this book with some more of those and I might start forgiving the terrible prose.

Kalona looks angry and starts towards her, causing Zoey to scream no. She “jolts awake” to her cat hissing and start throwing wild punches. An unnamed man tells her it’s okay, calm down and wake up. Zoey screams at him to get away then grabs both her wrists in one hand. Whoa, either this guy has huge hands or Zoey’s wrists are made out of pipe cleaners. He uses his free hand to snap on the light and the big reveal is that it’s Stark.

Wait a second, PCK. I thought Zoey had enhanced perception that let her see perfect in the near dark? Here I thought that was a passive perk, now it turns out it has to be activated. That or PCK has forgotten the traits she’s written into her vampires. But that would only happen if PCK wasn’t very good and their editor had a drinking problem.

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