Well, this is entirely expected. We’re nearing the end of the book, they’re about to escape the school on horseback and there’s no climax in sight. So I can only wager that some gossamer threat will appear in their way, Zoey will tell it to piss off in the name of Nyx and everything will be fine.
Zoey and slaves are getting ready to ride their horses out finally. PCK has to stop and tell us which of them is riding as a passenger and who’s controlling the horses. And then they have to tell us why. Apparently Butthead has the reins on her horse because she learned to ride in prep school before she became a vampire. Damien is riding with Zoey because he’s still scared of horses, I guess. She has him touch the horse before hoisting him up.
“Oooh, she’s soft and warm,” he said.
And I can’t be the only one imagining Damien making a mental note to order a prosthetic mare’s vagina after that. Lenobia then tells Zoey, no one else, to follow her heart and she won’t go wrong. You mean the same way she’s been so successful in romance? Following her heart has gotten Zoey four obsessive boyfriends which she refuses to trim. I’d rather not leave the fate of the world, or even Oklahoma, in the hands of Zoey’s fickle heart.
Lenobia also tells Zoey to “make him flee”. I assume she’s talking about Kalona and don’t doubt Zoey will manage that fairly easily. I get that Lenobia is supposed to be talking quite proper, or at least what PCK imagines to be proper anyway. It just comes across as silly, because Kalona isn’t an iterant house guest who’s overstayed their welcome after eating the pantry bare. He’s lord of the murder crows and a rapist who thinks he’s god. You’d think Lenobia would manage something stronger, even without cursing, than “make him flee”. How about, “seal him in a tomb” or “shelter him in darkness”? I’d think vampires who worship a night goddess would have a few death threats like that.
As you can well imagine, I was pretty concerned about having a raging case of nervous diarrhea. Thankfully, I didn’t have enough spare time for my body to give it much thought.
What? No seriously, that passage is just dropped on us like a pallet of these books upon unsuspecting tweens. Lenobia opens the gate for them, Zoey says there’s nothing between them and freedom and then Zoey starts talking about crapping herself. Maybe one of the members of PCK has IBS and they think it’s perfectly normal. That’s why all of Zoey’s emotions are translated to how her gut is doing. PCK would scoff at the idea, no doubt, but if Zoey did suffer from that it would make her twice as interesting as she is now.
Zoey yells back at Lenobia to reconsider leaving because it’s not safe. She also says that if they don’t, to get underground because it would be safer there. They go over the plan one more time, reminding Butthead that she needs to light the stalls on fire then focus it on the horseshoes. Lenobia says not to worry, she’ll get all the horsies out in time.
They do just that and gallop out only to see the ravens not quite distracted by the fire. Dragon is near the entrance though and he’s fighting them with his mad fencing skills. Only a vampire could assemble pickets so fast that the ravens are convinced they’re homeowners in suburbia and give up the fight. He tells them to go and blesses them as he continues stabbing birdmen. Once they’re away from the school, the rest of the town is empty and icy and has no power. PCK spends some time describing the place until they hear the flapping of wings. Zoey yells at Darius that there are ravens and then this happens.
He looked behind us and up, and nodded grimly. Then he did something that completely shocked me. Out of his jacket pocket he pulled a black gun. I’d never seen any of the Sons of Erebus carry modern weapons, and it looked completely out of place in his hand. He said something to Aphrodite, who was pressed against his back. She slid to the side a little, allowing him to swivel around. He lifted his arm, sighted, and squeezed off half a dozen shots. The sound was deafening in the frozen night, but not half as eerie as what followed it—the screams of wounded Raven Mockers and the thud! crash! of bodies as they fell from the sky.
Wait a god be damned second, PCK. They have guns and they’re effective? How the hell did these things terrorize the people of Oklahoma again? Hell, how did they bother the Native Americans before them? Bows don’t have the range of modern firearms but they still pack quite a punch. And what kind of gun is Darius using, PCK? You don’t have to get specific and tell us it’s a Spike’s Tactical lower with a customer barrel but it’d be nice to know if it was a revolver or a semiautomatic.
I know I’ve mentioned guns before and how so many hacks, Patterson for example, just say gun and leave it at that. And it might seem like a stupid detail, one not worth grousing about. And you’d be right in a general sense. But what would the story look like if PCK applied that same cavalier attitude to everything else? Instead of driving back to school in a hummer, it would just be called a car. Zoey would just attend generic classes and all of Zoey’s friends would just be people without any defining traits. Though that last one might be a good thing in retrospect.
As they ride, they spot some candles. Zoety’s not sure if it’s the abbey because it doesn’t look like one. So she uses her “feelings” to see if it’s really a place of power. It is and they stop right before trampling Angela. She heard they were coming, somehow, and is waiting for them. I hope that somehow involves a cell phone and not just a mystical feeling bestowed on her by the author. Zoey’s thrilled to see her, of course, and Angela says they might want to wait on the formalities.
“As I am glad to see you, too,” she said. “But, child, perhaps we should put off our hellos until we’ve dealt with the dark creatures filling the trees behind you.”
I love how casual she is about it. I don’t mind when certain characters do that, it implies a certain laxness that comes with strength. Typically, that’s the attitude you expect out of a badass who knows the threat in front of them is easily extinguished. Unless Angela is packing a rifle under her cloak or has a couple levels of Holy Bolt, the ravens could easily kill her. Zoey looks behind her and says “well, hell”. I’m sure we’re all worried that Zoey will be torn apart.
Again with the diarrhea references! I quit reading Marked when PCK ended TWO chapters in a row by having Zoey say she hoped she didn’t get diarrhea. Seems like PCK has an unhealthy obsession with excretion (I also remember a reference to “urine from my urethra”) as well as a fixation on junk food.
They also have some weird thing about every emotion Zoey has correlating to a sensation of some sort in the gut. I still maintain one of them has irritable bowel syndrome.