So how will PCK resolve the new tangles they’ve added to this awful ball of twine? So far Nyx is coming across like one of the worst gods you could pick. Zoey and the rest are constantly harping about how everyone needs to just trust Nyx and listen to her. But it was Nyx who judged Kalona worthy enough to be her sword slinging gopher and, clearly, she was wrong. And instead of fixing it, she just banished him to earth and let humans deal with him.
And why in the hell can’t Nyx take people’s powers away? PCK’s defense would be “free will” parroted so fast they’ll get poached and sold off in a lot of African Grays. Free will only goes so far, PCK. You’ve already demonstrated that Nyx is willing to move powers around. Like that time that she tooks Stevie’s earth magic and gave it to Aphro for awhile. Why not take Kalona’s and Neferet’s powers and give them to someone else until they turn back to good side? And if they never turn back, then they don’t get the powers back.
Did you know Venice is seven hours ahead of Oklahoma time? You do now and so does Zoey. Yes, they’re not just going to show up in Venice and start wrapping things up. We’re going to have to sit with our “heroes” while they get on a plane. Please say that you’ve transcribed the seat belt instructions for us, PCK. At the very least the in flight movie has to be some pop culture bomb starring some actor who you’ll declare a vampire or I won’t know what to do with myself.
Lenobia says that the high council has been told about Stark and that they’ll make sure he’s shielded him from the sun. Wait, what? If you’ve talked to the high council already, then what’s the point of going again? Why not just tell the council that Kalona is the fallen errand boy of Nyx who’s trying to trick them?
Lenobia also says they’re eager to see this new kind of vampire. Stark wonders if that means something like experimenting on him. Darius says they won’t let that happen. Because there’s no way the leaders of the vampires could force them, nope! Lenobia says not to worry about it though.
“I think you should keep in mind that the High Council is comprised of seven of the wisest and most ancient High Priestesses alive today. They do not behave inhumanly, nor are they rash,” Lenobia said.
Right, which is why they’re so afraid they’ll be corrupted by Neferet and Kalona. Am I the only one seeing the cognitive dissonance here? This is written so stupidly that I’m starting to feel like the crazy person here. PCK and their audience are all on the same page while I’m left to shout and rave at the bars of my cell.
One of the characters says they should be smart enough to not be fooled. Whew. Maybe there is a ray of light and hope…nope. Aphro just countered that, saying that it’s not smarts that they need to be worried about but choices. What? So if they’re smart enough not to be fooled and that’s a given, apparently, then why will they decide to follow him? ‘Durr, he’s the bad guy and evil but I’m going to follow him because he promises brownies! And bad people never lie!’
There’s a brief moment when it looks like Jack won’t be allowed to come along, for some reason. Then he’s allowed because he also has a gift from Nyx, an affinity with technology. All the characters go, ‘oh, I thought he was just good with AV equipment. Now I’s a gift?’ Fuck you, PCK. Why can’t anyone have a talent that they’ve cultivated? Why does it always have to come from Nyx? So he’s going, as is Heath.
Lenobia then says there are rules which must be followed or they’ll be escorted out. She says that a local will meet them at the airport and brief Zoey, saying that the rules are an ancient system developed to ensure they get a fair hearing. She’s also not sure if Aphro will be allowed in, as she’s a human now. But don’t worry, even the humans who aren’t allowed in will get a fair hearing. Vampires are strong believers in separate but equal.
Blah blah blah, nobody will stop fucking talking and just get on the plane already, blah blah. Let’s see, Lenobia says she told the council that they consider Zoey their priest now, Zoey call grandma and gets reassurance and they get on the plane. They pick seats, Beavis and Butthead talk about shopping with Aphro and then Zoey goes to sleep.
I hate when author’s kick off a chapter by dropping you in the middle of a conversation. At least, I hate when it’s done with characters I don’t like. I guess you could say that about anything, really. I hate when a movie features an assassin when it sucks or when a terrible artist is singing about love. I don’t really hate the subject matter as much as the presentation. If PCK was a chef, her presentation would be a Snickers bar in a diaper.
We’re back with Stevie, finally, who’s being told, by Lenobia, that she doesn’t like it. Stevie says it’s her choice and she’ll do what she wants. We learn through an, almost, natural sounding conversation that Stevie is going back alone to deal with the undeadlings. I really do think that Cast junior writes all the Zoey shit while senior—who’s still not very good but can at least keep the pen in her beak—wanted to write something that wasn’t a stained mattress tag.
Stevie says she needs to help them because it’s hard to be anything but evil when you’re an undeadling. Lenobia then declares Stevie a high priestess, because that’s how easy it is in PCK’s world. They also talk about where the undeadlings will go. Lucky for them, PCK just invented a basement for the school which has, conveniently, gone unused for a long time.
Stevie then segues into talking about the ravens and asks if Lenobia has ever heard of them. She says no but she recognized them as evil because she fought evil before. Stevie says that they’re half human and Lenobia says half immortal and that half is evil. So the sins of the father carry over in this universe, eh, PCK? Stevie then has the audacity to suggest that maybe Kalona wasn’t always that way and that maybe there could be good in them. Lenobia says no, because they were fathered by evil and conceived by rape.
Look PCK, I’ll allow this as long as it turns out that everyone else is just ignorant and stupid. If it comes to pass that Rephy or any of the other ravens can’t become good because of their lineage, then I’m going to put your characters in the timeout box with one of mine. And let me tell you, Zoey being able to make the place feel moist or smell like a meadow won’t stop brass knuckles.
Stevie then texts Nicole, the leader of the bad undeadlings. PCK is terrible at text conversations as they have keep saying “she texted back”. Also, their text talk is painfully trying to remind us they’re “teens”. Spelling tonight as “tonite”. If they’re being lazy, why not just go whole hog and have them put in “2 nite”?
Quibbling aside, Nicole was a mean girl before who’s gotten worse. Stevie asks what they’re doing and Nicole says looking for food. Stevie doesn’t try to tell her that hunting people is wrong and says she’ll see them at six.
Pagebreak over to Rephy we get to learn Nicole’s plan to kill Stevie. They’re going to lure her up in one of the towers, have a metal grate chained over the top so she can’t escape, then lock her in before dawn. That way she’ll disintegrate when the sun comes up.
They’re going to tell Stevie that they beat Rephy and mostly drained his blood and left him up in the tower. He’ll pretend to be hurt, she’ll come to save him and get locked inside. Then, when she’s dead, they’ll let him back inside.
Nicole asks if he’s going to cooperate then reads his mind to make sure he’s not lying. Rephy hides his uncertainty by getting very angry. He says as long as he can keep Stevie’s body, as Kalona asked for it, he’ll go along. Then Nicole wanders off after telling him to rest. More stuff happened in this one chapter than most of the book so far.