Awakened Chapters 1 & 2

But first the…


Wherein PCK continues to blame othere for the blight which they’ve unleashed upon the world. To be fair, I supposed they’re not even patient Omega at this point let alone patient zero. Once again they take pains to remind everyone that Meredith Bernstein is responsible for this mess and that any rotting goat shit should be sent to her and not their private villa in the Cayman Islands. I may be paraphrasing. Who’s to say?

They also say thanks to their fans for allowing them to purchase luxury sedans in twelve packs and call them the “smartest, coolest, Best Readers[sic] in the universe” Why “best readers” is capitalized as if it’s a proper noun I have No Idea. We know it’s a lie because only a well read individual would recognize such empty pandering.

Also, a horrifying fact, there is a “House of Night Tulsa Tour” which PCK thanks their home town folks for making it such fun. To all the folks who live in Oklahoma, I’ll be sending you pneumatic stake launchers as soon as possible. Your target: anyone who pays money(or time) to go on the House of Night. Don’t worry, they’ll be found to have died alone and in their apartment, surrounded by hundreds of mummified cats, weeks ago.

We heart Stephen Schwartz, for allowing us to use the lyrics of his magickal song. (Jack hearts you, too, Stephen!)

I don’t know how you approach writing, ladies, but you’re published authors. I expect a bit of god be damned professionalism out of you. I tolerate morons and their shitty grammar, spelling and neologisms in informal settings like chats and social media as that’s where people are expected to be themselves and casual. I don’t like seeing an author, in a printed acknowledgement, telling someone they “heart” them. You don’t have to sound stiff as a starched oak plank but c’mon. Something as simple as “we were so thrilled..” or “we can’t thank you enough…” would suffice.

Oh and thanks for dragging one more person’s legitimate work into your own and tainting it. Anything else you want to ruin for the world or are you good, PCK?

Chapter 1

Well look at that, we’re not with Zoey to kick off the book. Instead, we’re behind Neferet’s eyes for once. I still hate how late in the game PCK decided that Zoey wouldn’t be the focus of everything in the world but any chapter away from her, even partially, is a blessing. She’s waking up and being irritated so she reaches for Kalona. She realizes it’s not him when she touches warm flesh though and wakes up the guy next to her.

“My Goddess?” His voice was husky with sleep and the beginnings of renewed desire.

He annoyed her.

She’s angry because he’s not Kalona. Though that doesn’t stop her from going on about how hot he is. Mind you it’s done far more tastefully than when Zoey or the slaves do it. It’s almost like Neferet has some sort of distinct voice. That or generic villain voice just stands out enough from the rest. She tells the guy, Kronos, to leave her alone now. He asks if he’s done something to displease her and Neferet says breathe.

The problem was that Neferet had been bedded by an immortal, thus she knew all too intimately just how much of an imposter this Kronos truly was.

Neferet tells him he was a pleasant distraction but for now to leave and go back to worshipping her. He goes to touch her and this angers her. Neferet has a flash or remembering her drunken molesting father from her childhood and recoils. She makes the darkness, I guess it’s sentient now, reach out of the corner and slash him arm for touching her. She send him away with a reminder that she’s Nyx incarnate though she says she aspires to more.

Soon she would be ready to take her next step, and Neferet knew some of the Sons of Erebus would be manipulated into standing beside her. Oh, not enough of them to actually sway a battle with their physical force, but enough of them to fragment the Warriors’ morale by setting brother against brother. Men, she thought disdainfully, so easily fooled by the masks of beauty and title, and so easily used to my advantage.

Ah yes, the X so easily fooled by Y line. Does that mean the ‘you and I are not so different speech’ can be far off? In case there wasn’t enough evidence that she was a villain, PCK keeps referring to shadows and darkness as Neferet goes deep underground where Kalona is. Are you sure it’s clear, PCK? Why not staple a few spike to her dress, maybe have her do a maniacal laugh and refer to everyone as fools?

PCK can go a step better, Neferet also thrills at how she startles the guard by seeming to appear from darkness before dismissing him. When the guard hesitates, she decides to do something tragic to his “mate” in the next couple of days. After that, it’s time to round up the stray puppies to make a coat out of.

Neferet sits down by Kalona’s body and does a bit of exposition about how he knows he can’t come back until Zoey is taken care of and blah blah blah. The darkness touches her and reminds Neferet of her oath which stands even if Kalona fails. Her oath was to sacrifice an “innocent” who hasn’t been corrupted by the darkness. So, not Zoey?

Kalona wakes up, it’s very flashy, and demands to be taken to see the sky. Neferet seems to be under the assumption that everything went as planned. Like most Saturday Morning villains, she clearly hasn’t bothered to read the handbook. She orders the guards to help them to the roof and then leave them. She says she should notify the council that he’s awakened but it doesn’t matter because Zoey is dead.

Chapter 2

We’re still with Neferet who’s asking Kalona to tell her everything. At this point I think PCK has to be trolling everyone. I mean, even a hack who was imitating mediocre works would know that’s the scene you skip to. Where Neferet has just gotten the news from Kalona of his failure. Then she can lash out and be both evil and dramatic as the scene demands. Instead, we’re going to have to sit through the characters talking about what we know happened.

‘So, tell me all about Zoey’s death,’ Neferet said.

‘The what now?’ Kalona blinked at the light surrounding them as his eyes adjusted. He swayed slightly even once he was sitting.

‘Zoey’s death,’ Neferet said. ‘That errand I sent you on, remember?’

‘Zoey who?’ Kalona steadied himself by taking deep breaths and holding onto the bench.

‘The Zoey, Zoey Redbird.’ Neferet crossed her arms and glared at him. Perhaps spending a week laying on a stone floor with his soul removed that was throwing him off. ‘My nemesis? The foil to my plans?’

‘I thought reality was the foil to your plans?’

‘Besides reality.’

‘Oh, you mean the avatar of god.’ Kalona’s eyes focused on her for a moment before clouding up. ‘Yeah, no, that didn’t work out.’

‘Curses! Who could have foreseen that the same girl who has thwarted me before would do so again?’

‘Maybe we should call a psychic,’ Kalona said. ‘Or maybe a pizza place. Do they have pizza delivery in Italy? Hell, I could do with some bread sticks and a bowl of pasta. What say you and I knock off for a hearty dinner, some cannolis, a bottle of vino? Then we’ll tackle this whole Zoey thing first thing in the morning.’

Neferet asks how Kalona could fail in his quest. You mean besides authorial intervention? There are the friends of Zoey’s which you could have killed off to make sure Zoey was alone. What’s funny is Kalona’s response is almost as flippant as mine.

“It was your quest, Neferet. Never mine. You forced me to return to a realm from which I’d been banished. What happened was predictable: Zoey’s friends rallied about her. With their aid she healed her shattered soul and found herself again.”

Neferet still can’t believe it until Kalona says that Nyx intervened. Neferet is, predictably, angry and says that Kalona now owes her the “subservience of” his “immortal soul”. Does that mean he can keep the mortal one then? He wants to know what will happen next and Neferet explains her stupid plan. She’ll lure Zoey back to Tulsa to kill her. Also, Kalona will have to go separately because she’s going to tell the council Kalona woke up and confessed to murder. Don’t worry though, Neferet will say she had him flogged and banished for a century.

Kalona asks if he’s really to stay away for a century and Neferet says no. They’ll just keep their bedroom shenanigans private until his wounds heal. Kalona asks how long will he be pretending to heal from fictional wounds and Neferet says they’re not fictional. She bleeds a bit for the darkness and then tells it to beat him one hundred times but not to mar his beauty. Because, as Paolini knows, scars are worse than death.

To be fair, at least it’s the villain who thinks that way in this series. Neferet mutters to herself about how she has so much to do and then walks inside while the darkness beats, or maybe slashes, Kalona. She spots the outline of a “massive bull” watching her with “approval and pleasure” and smiles to herself.

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