Burned Chapter 31 & Final Thoughts

Chapter 31

Over to Stevie now and away from the ingratiating first person narrative for a bit. I imagine this is what it’s like during the breaks in a water boarding session. Sure you’re still tied up and in the process of being tortured but those pauses while the water isn’t being poured on are a welcome respite. Yet, deep down, you know more is coming no matter how much you protest.

We join Stevie who’s waking up just as the sun goes down. I think I need to start a national accreditation for all creative writing courses. From now on, any student that leaves thinking an awakening is a necessary transition needs to have their fingers sawn off and stapled to their face.

Stevie wakes up next to Rephy and asks why he’s there. Why the hell not, Stevie? What else was Rephy going to do anyway? It’s not like he can go out and catch a matinee while you’re napping the day away. The folks down at the local grocery store might freak out if a half crow man walked in to do some afternoon shopping.

Rephy says she’s vulnerable while she sleeps so he wanted to protect her. Stevie says it’s a little creepy that he watched her sleep. Then Stevie checks her phone and finds she has six missed calls and two voice mails. An author who hadn’t opted to replace their brain with a hidden money pocket would have had Stevie listen to them, then relate the important stuff to Rephy. Meanwhile PCK, who decided that their skulls are better used housing the souls of their victims, make us listen to every god be damned word in the message.

People checking their phone is not interesting, PCK. Especially when they’re talking about events we already witnessed first hand. Even worse is the one from Lenobia where she says she hopes Stevie is doing well and that she’s praying for the undeadlings. Whoop-de-do! Not only was that vital to the plot but it shed more light on so many characters. At least Aphro tells Stevie to call her about a vision she had regarding Rephy.

Stevie gets up and wanders out into the street with Rephy behind her. She feels sorry for some of the people in the surrounding houses as most of the power is still out. She feels like they’re being watched a bit and then Rephy says her people are going to find out about him.

“Some of them already have.” Stevie Rae reached down and touched the top edge of the fountain, breaking off an icicle that was suspended there and letting it fall into the water in the basin below.

Shit like that is how you know the author has given up. They have no idea what to do or where things are going. They’re just certain that their characters need to be doing something or else the audience will lose interest. It shows up in amateur films too where characters will be flailing about pointlessly because the director’s scared of having them stand still—valid because it looks stupid—but can’t actually block a scene to save their life.

Stevie asks Rephy what he wants to do. Because I’m sure that the newly resurrected spirit of a half-man will have all sorts of wisdom. He says he wants to stay with her and Stevie says she does too. Rephy says that they’ll try to kill him and Stevie says she won’t let them and that they’re bound together. Then they stare into the water of that fountain.

As he spoke, the water rippled, as if Nyx herself had breathed across its surface, and their reflection changed. The image revealed in the water was Stevie Rae holding the hand of a tall, muscular Native American boy. His hair was thick and long, and as black as the raven feathers that were braided into its length. His chest was bare, and he was hotter than an Oklahoma blacktop in the middle of the summer.

I guess it’s cold enough for icicles but they fountain isn’t frozen. Damn all these localized cold snaps. Stevie remarks on how pretty he is and he says the same about her. I have to laugh at the implications there. That not only does he look beautiful in a reflection but that it looks nothing like him. I guess at least Stevie has something to picture while they’re boning with the lights off, blindfolded and with her eyes closed.

Rephy then feels his father return to his body and Stevie senses Zoey return as well. Rephy says that means they can’t be together and Stevie argues that’s only if that’s what he chooses. Rephy says that it’s not up to him or his heart. They part and say they’ll miss each other.

Back over to Zoey, she’s examining the “hanging tree” that Stark somehow used to follow her to spirit land(The Deadest Place on Earth!). Stark is certain that somehow Zoey will be able to use a ribbon that’s tied to it to take them back. Action heroes don’t posses a quarter of the confidence Zoey and friends have even when they’re dodging gunfire sent their way by blind henchmen firing backwards.

Zoey then calls spirit to her, closes her eyes and asks it to take her back. Damn magic is easy in Zoey’s universe. Even in Harry Potter it at least required a little bit of wand waving and some mangled Latin. A magic spell kind of loses its gravitas when it’s just “fire, burn that thing” or “wind, blow the mosquitoes away from me”.

Zoey wakes up back on vampire island. Everyone is happy she’s away and someone says she needs “food and drink”. Then Zoey sees Stark being cut like a turkey and says they need to stop. Sgiach says that while she sent Stark over, it’s up to Zoey to bring him back. Zoey stops McVampy from cutting Stark anymore then tells water to “wash this from him” referring to the blood. That way she can touch him without getting icky. Sure she love him but bleeding people are just gross.

I think that’s part of what makes these characters seem so unreal. It’s how clinical and neat they are about everything. Yes, I wouldn’t like to touch a stranger who was bloody and a mess but if it was a loved one I’d probably ignore the ick factor to check on them and start bandaging them up.

Zoey notices how his cuts all looks like things, like a broken arrow and feathers. She’s also holding the thread from the spirit realm, somehow, and wraps it around Stark’s wrist. It turns into a bracelet covered with arrows, one of them broken. Then Zoey leans in and kisses him, telling him thanks and it’s all over.

As his eyelids fluttered and opened, I heard Nyx’s musical laughter fill my mind, and her voice saying:

No, daughter, it’s not all over. It’s just beginning . . .

That’s right, this series has only begun to suck the bilge water out of a rusty garbage scow. Though it is the end of the book itself.

Final thoughts

Back to the tangent about magic for a bit. I think I have hit upon why their powers are so aggravating in the House of Night series. It’s just way too easy to do. It’s the kind of magical system that works in a D&D campaign because people aren’t actual wizards—‘I cast magic missile’—but even that requires a dice roll.

Because it’s so simple, it’s hard to be impressed by anything Zoey does. Being a high priest isn’t that hard if making the elements behave is as simple as asking your friends for help in moving on Thursday. It begs the question of how colossally stupid the other priests have been if everyone is so impressed with Zoey.

Mind you, I can understand wanting to avoid the tropes of magic that so many fantasy hacks use without thinking. Everything from magic circles to magic words which often seem trite, silly and tired. There is a point to it though and that is that magic should be a skill that takes some mastery. Otherwise, why wouldn’t everyone just do it?

Even worse is, considering how easy it is, the only barrier in Zoey’s universe is whether or not Nyx likes you enough to give you the power. Not whether you’re a good person, she gave Neferet power and won’t take it away, but whether or not you belong to the exclusive clique called vampires and even then you have to be favored by her.

Nyx caused all the problem by handing out powers on a whim. She’d do more for the world if she’d just stopped assigning vampires gifts from the bag of second string X-Men powers. In fact, if she did absolutely nothing, it would prove more net good than anything she’s done in this entire series.

Also, let’s go back to the glowing marks that Zoey has so many of again. Why, PCK? If they signified Zoey gaining new powers, I could sort of understand that. I would still want her shoved legs first into a mattress shredder but at least that would make sense. Instead it’s just something that happens with each passing series. Zoey doesn’t get any stronger or learn new things about her powers. The marks just grow so that other vampires will be impressed and Zoey stands out more from them.

Yet this is the best of the series so far. If only because it features the least of Zoey we’ve ever had. If this trend continues by the eighth book Zoey will be no more than a mythical being who’s only spoken of but never seen.

This entry was posted in House of Night, Recap, Spork and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Burned Chapter 31 & Final Thoughts

  1. maeverin says:

    you mean like Zoey becomes Nyx’s heir? that would make a lot of sense. she has all the powers, she decides who is worthy and has a visible disconnect with human relations. Pray now, people, and get a head start!

    • vivisector says:

      I’m still waiting for the scene where Zoey hands out her first blessing/ability. I’m pretty sure that’s a sign of the end of days in her universe.

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