We’re back with Zoey now and away from the wanton mannequin that PCK dubs the villain. Perhaps the worst thing about Zoey’s perspective, aside from coloring everything an odious brown as she slings shit everywhere, is her “teen speak”.
For the zillionth time I thought about what an amazing place Sgiach’s throne room was. She was an ancient vampyre queen, the Great Taker of Heads, uber-powerful and surrounded by her own personal Warriors known as Guardians. Hell, way back in the day she’d even taken on the Vampyre High Council and won, but her castle wasn’t a nasty-outdoor-plumbing-medieval-version-of-camping (gross). Sgiach’s castle was a fortress, but it was—as they say over here in Scotland—a posh castle. I swear the view from any of the sea-facing windows, but especially her throne room, is so incredible that it looks like it should be on HD TV and not in front of me, in real life.
Zillionth, uber-powerful and nasty-outdoor-plumbing-medieval-version-of-camping. That kind of talk sounds weird for the narration even for a supposed “teen”. I get that teens might not, generally, have the same command of language that an adult does but come on. Teens think in much the same way adults do and can articulate.
If this were being narrated in present tense, I might forgive it a little more but this is done in past tense. This means that Zoey is relating it after the fact. How far along in the future is hard to say but anyone who would sit down to tell a story is going to have a better command of language. They’re likely to know the difference between formal and informal, especially if Zoey is the one penning her experience. So she shouldn’t be using phrases like “uber-powerful” or “zillionth” and she should replace the stupid hyphen linked words with the right one. Especially since everyone is always telling us how smart Zoey is.
Because PCK insists on dropping slang into the narration like a handful of pepper, it comes across wrong. It looks like exactly what it is, a couple of old ladies injecting slang they hear in person and see on the internet into the prose. How else do you make something seem hip and cool? Aside from constantly referencing pop culture icons, of course.
It would actually be interesting of the narration was a bit more formal but the dialogue remained the same. Then future Zoey could comment about her younger self while watching this spoiled brat grow, knowing she becomes somewhat more tolerable later on. For example, Zoey could look at an outhouse and call it gross while the narrator talk about how she hadn’t learned to focus on the bigger concerns like Kalona or Neferet yet.
Zoey is talking to herself about how cool Sgiach is which summons her. Zoey then comments on how cool and wonderful and powerful she is. Sgiach says she’s been thinking about Stark and how daylight wounds and puts him to sleep. Zoeys not worried and says she can look after herself in direct contradiction to everything we’ve seen so far. The narrator tells us Zoey said this with a “sharpness” she doesn’t mean.
Sgiach’s green-amber gaze caught me. “Do not allow it to make you hard.”
Zoey isn’t sure what Sgiach is talking about so Sgiach says the fight against darkness. What has Zoey done to fight the darkness again and what would make her “hard”? Let’s see, she’s sacrificed exactly nothing to do so and did little more than give Kalona and Neferet a blessing. On the scale of things, that makes sanctions look like nuclear weapons.
Zoey then goes on to whine about how she’s just seventeen and she sucks at geometry and blah blah blah. I think PCK suddenly remembered that Zoey’s supposed to be a “normal” teen so they have to remind us too. Then Zoey whines about her soul being shattered and her “boyfriend” having just been killed. Wait, now you count Heath as a boyfriend? I see, when it’s convenient for dramatic effect. She asks if she doesn’t deserve a break. Sgiach says she can stay there.
“What about the fight against Darkness and evil and whatnot?”
“It will be there when you return.”
Wow, the author is giving her character permission to fuck off for awhile. I’m sure the forces of darkness wouldn’t use that free time to conquer the world or anything. Nope, the plot will just put itself on hold so Zoey can have a spa day and make out with Stark. Sgiach says she can stay until her conscience says otherwise, so forever.
McVampy shows up and says Stark is waiting for her in the grove. She pretends to feel worry about Stark being wounded so much for her. Then she wonders why she’s depressed in spite of her newfound “closeness” with Stark. She figures it must be the fact grandma hasn’t been rolled out of cryostasis in awhile. She wanders into the grove then and notices Stark.
Stark is hot and wearing vaguely Scottish stuff that involves a kilt and leather stuff because PCK just wants to show off their wank fantasy, ok? They babble a bit and Zoey pretends to feel bad about him getting hurt for her. It’s all good though, Stark says he knew what he was getting into and he’ll be fine with it fifty years from now. Oh Stark, as if you’ll live that long. They hug and kiss and Stark asks if she’ll do something with him. When Zoey says anything he makes a joke about changing his request.
Don’t worry though, Zoey won’t do that because only secondary characters ever have consensual sex outside of wedlock. Stark asks if she’ll tie “wishes and your dreams for the future” into a knot on the “hanging tree”. She says yes at the end of the chapter as if it’s a momentous occasion.
Still with Zoey, Stark has asked her to tear a strip from her cashmere scarf. Stark says that he got the instructions from McVampy and said Stark didn’t know his “arse” from his elbos and he called him a fanny .
“Fanny? Like a girl’s name?”
If that’s supposed to be funny, then why do I feel like dying, PCK? Do you have any jokes that don’t end with your eggs hatching in my chest? Stark says that it has to be from something special to both of them. Which means that they’ll need a strip of her scarf for Zoey and a bit of Zoey’s hair for Stark. Instead he’s going to use a bit off his kilt. Zoey whines that his kilt didn’t cost him eighty Euros and Stark says no, it cost him blood. She decides she’s being like Aphro and then agrees, asking what they do now.
“Pick a branch. Seoras said I’m supposed to hold my piece, and you hold yours. We tie them together, and the wish we make for us will be tied together.”
“Really? That’s super romantic.”
Is that anything like super hot? Also, does that really matter as they’re bonded together? Isn’t that more romantic because it’s tangible for them? Or is PCK just grabbing at anything they can to show us how they’re tied together and it’s true love?
Also, how many pseudo-marriage ceremonies will they go through before the consummate already? They’ve been bonded as “warrior” and “priestess”, then “guardian” and “priestess”/”queen” and now they’ve made a magic wish asking they stay together forever. Is this normal for vampiric courting? Are there seventy more ritual they have to go through before Zoey will let Stark get to second base?
Anywho, they Stark says he has to show her something and takes her over to see a glowing tree. Zoey thinks it’s incredibly beautiful. Zoey asks what it is and we get a glimpse into the mind of Stark.
“I’m sure there’s a scientific explanation—probably something about phosphorous plants and stuff, but I’d rather believe it’s magick, Scottish magick,” Stark said.
Yeah, and I’m sure there’s a scientific explanation for why the sky is blue but I’d rather believe it’s the result of Smurf shit poisoning the atmosphere. They babble a bit and Zoey tells him how hot he looks wearing a kilt. Stark is surprised that a “wooly dress” can look “so manly”. Zoey dares him to say that at the other vampires. He promises that nothing, other guys or consorts, will ever come between what they have.
They start making out then and Stark apologizes for coming on too strong. Zoey then says it’s not him coming on strong and she’ll show him. So Zoey gets naked then strips him down and they bone. Only it’s supposed to be very romantic and they spend hours in the grove having sexy time on the grass. Which means at least one of them probably has grass stains on their back which will take a bit of scrubbing to get off.
It never gets graphic, just a lot of hinting that there’s sex going on. Does this mean that Zoey will finally stop acting like Aphro is a slut because she enjoys sex? Probably not. Then we skip forward to the afterwards and the narrator sounds completely wrong.
We didn’t leave the grove for hours. Later I would remember that night as one of the happiest of my life. In the chaos of the future, the memory of being wrapped in Stark’s arms, sharing touches and dreams, and for that moment in time being completely, utterly content, would be something I cherished, like the warm glow of candlelight on the darkest of nights.
Ok, PCK. That paragraph doesn’t sound like it was written by the same lady who uses the word “zillionth” and adds “uber” to anything. That’s why your slang sounds forced because you mix it among real attempts at writing in between the condescending garbage.
They run into Aphro and Darius who ask if it’s true that Zoey isn’t leaving with them in the morning. Zoey says yes, Aphro says she’ll need to explain to Jack because she’s sure he’ll cry. Jack calls Aphro then and says they’re going to have a party/ritual for the DDs—remember them?—in celebration of Zoey getting her shit back together.
Zoey says they’ll have to postpone it because she’s going to rest on the island. Jack says not to worry they can wait and it’s wonderful that Zoey’s back and since when did the plot require the protagonist anyways? Then he tells Aphro that she shouldn’t have worried that he was going to cry.
Aphrodite frowned at the phone. “How the hell did you know that’s what I assumed?”
“I’m gay. I know things.”
That sound you heard was the blood vessel in my forehead snapping. Either Jack is terrible for living the stereotype of gay best friend that populates pop culture or PCK made him that way because they’re lazy. Aphro then wonders how “she” will take it and Zoey thinks Aprho is referring to Damien. Zoey says that’s not nice because Damien isn’t “a fluttery gay”. Aphro, probably wondering when Zoey turned into an ignorant homophobe, says she was talking about Neferet. Aphro then takes Zoey to task, telling her that Zoey needn’t worry as she can just hide on the island while everyone else in the world gets on the business of participating in the fight of good versus evil.
Zoey looks up at a flag and sees the “image of the goddess” blanked out by the image of the white bull. This makes Zoey shiver but she’s not going to get too concerned and do anything like change her mind. She gives Stark a hug and tries to forget about it.
“I’m gay. I know things.”
By the Force, this is painful. Not to mention how apparently misgendering people is just fine as long as they are “fluttery gay”. *weeps*