Among genres, “urban fantasy” has a few distinct problems that crop up rather often. For one, it attracts incredibly lazy authors who want to write fantasy but don’t go in for all that world building that high fantasy employs. So they cheat and write what they know, or at least the only setting they know, and stuff fantasy elements into it.
That alone isn’t the problem, it’s when they don’t build the world proper. Let’s use the “house of night” series as an example. In it, vampires have been around just shy of forever. They have a god, named by the Greeks—presumably—and vampires are open with their identities while frequently occupying positions of influence and power all in a world just like ours. See the problem yet?
It’s supposed to be exactly like the world we live in, down to the same celebrities and cultural phenomenon, but it can’t be. And not just because vampires don’t exist. The mere presence of known vampires changes everything. These aren’t vampires, living in secret and trying to protect the masquerade so they can keep hidden. They’re out, about and have charter schools which are free to attend. Just look at how that would affect movies.
Say you have a vampire actor who got into the business early just shortly after the invention of film. So he starts off in the business being cast for his looks, making hearts throb and panties drop the world over. But unlike a regular actor, he doesn’t age or ages very slow. Now we have a vampire who can be cast as a character actor forever.
Do you think movie culture would be the same if girls today were swooning over the same actors as their great grand-mothers? How would it look if Hollywood was making movies with the vampire market in mind? Wouldn’t there be certain trends which wouldn’t have died out because the audience themselves hadn’t? Like panoramic westerns or gangster pictures? How does that leave room for new movies to appear that have a new style or theme?
How would that affect society and laws? Sure vampires might be in the minority, population-wise, but they have a large amount of funding and power and aren’t afraid to use it, in PCK’s world. What about the vampires that were born owning slaves and were fine with it? What about the older British vampires who still can’t get over all of those colonies thinking they can try to bring sunset down on the Empire? Would they have fought against change and slowed or stopped it completely?
What if some of the old Romans were vampires like Ceasar? Could he have held it together better, preventing the fall of the empire? What if he just delayed its fall by a couple of decades? How about some of the Egyptians? How would Egypt look if there pharaohs had the lifespan and powers to claim the godhood they did?
Even if just one of those were true in the HON universe, it would look a lot different from modern day. The problem here is that all of those could happen so some of them should have and completely changed the path of history. That they didn’t, indicates PCK has given these stories as much thought as a bowel movement before they flush.
I know how it happened though. PCK was writing yet another vampire novel and probably imitating one of those where vampires live in secret. Only they decided that one of their changes were going to be having them live in the open rather hiding. And that’s all the thought they’ve ever given it. The rest we’ve learned is just hasty additions made so shoddily that the whole place would be condemned if PCK weren’t mayor of Idiot’s township.
It would be quite easy to dismiss all of this with a simple argument, that these are casual books not made for to be analyzed. And that’s fair, people can enjoy things that aren’t great or good or even passable. What I’m trying to do is pin point where a shitty book like this goes wrong. And the more of these I do, the more I learn that it’s never a single element. It’s bad decision atop stupid mistake that creates an unstable tower which tumbles under its own weight.
On to the book. There isn’t really a prologue again. Which is nice because it’s one less place for PCK to spray their idiot juices all over. There is a terrible dedication to all of the people who bear responsibility for forcing this shit onto shelves. Thank you for listing them out, PCK. That way I can prioritize the torture when you all get to hell.
PCK has taken to telling us which character’s POV we’re behind after the chapter number. Which just demonstrates how stupid they are and how little respect they have for their audience. They focus on, what, maybe six characters? Zoey, her slaves and a couple of Zoey’s boyfriends. Martin doesn’t start every chapter off telling us which character’s viewpoint we’re reading from.
We start right off where the last book ended, with Zoey being thankful that Kalona and Neferet are gone. She hears godly whispering telling her to “listen within” and she’s certain there’s yet another magical marking. Somehow this indicates that she’s following Nyx’s path. Meaning that vampires with only a singular mark, like Darius, are not following Nyx’s path.
Darius yells at everyone to go check the perimeter, including Heath. Zoey panicks that Heath is only human and would get killed by a raven in seconds. This gets Heath riled up and Erik as well. Because PCK only knows how to write guys that are caricatures of eighties action heroes. Specifically the kind who only leak testosterone when they get shot.
Stark is still there as well and Erik says he’ll usher him inside to get some rest. Stark asks whether Erik or Heath is her boyfriend which sparks a stupidly fresh argument. What’s even funnier is that, throughout all this, Zoey sits there passively listening to it all. You could solve this shit real quick, chosen one.
Stark starts to laugh and nearly collapses and Darius catches him. They take him inside, finally, Stevie tells Zoey to go in as well, she’ll take care of the boys and make sure the ravens are gone. Zoey then sees Stevie’s mark has grown as well. This makes her feel uneasy as it means someone else it trying to be special, making her less so. Stevie will have to be staked out on the lawn, ready to greet the sunrise.
Zoey just stares at Stevie while she tells her not to worry, that grandma is already back inside. Zoey silently frets and worries that there’s something wrong with Stevie and all the undeadlings. You know, apart from them returning from the grave and all that. Stevie says they’ve got to hurry because they can’t be out in the sun. Zoey says she remembers.
The problem was it was getting harder and harder for me to forget Stevie Rae wasn’t what she used to be.
Really? You were able to forget at any point? I shouldn’t be surprised that Zoey forgets silly things like people being undead. This is the same girl that forgets people’s feelings when she starts screwing someone else then can’t believe they have the audacity to get upset.
Immensely glad you’re back to PCK. Been waiting for this forever!
And I was putting it off forever because it’s PCK and I worry that they’ll just do the same stupid crap they’ve done before and I’ll be stuck repeating myself. Lucky for me, PCK is more than wiling to plumb the depths of hack writing.
Oh no, someone else is trying to be special! xD