Let’s talk about something more cheery than this series for a moment shall we? How about, eugenics? How did such a movement happen within the same universe as Zoey’s? This might seem like a preposterous question until you looks into it.
Aphro’s casual racism the last chapter got me thinking. How would there have been such a movement that could have declared any race inferior or superior in the presence of vampires? From what little PCK has said about it, it seems the percentage of people who become vampires isn’t affected by race. So, presumably, there is an equal representation of all nationalities among the vampire ranks. Meaning that no race is more or less predisposed to transforming into a perfectly attractive murder machine. It would make it hard for racists back in the day to say that race X was better over race Y when just as many of either of them turn into vampires.
Hell, vampires alone would change the field of racism. Could people really be bothered to hate one another the same based on skin tone when there is a separate caste of humans who are stronger, faster and prettier? Vampires actually might have reduced overall racism because, as different as people can look from each other, at the end of the day humans don’t drink blood. That alone would be a bit of a uniting factor.
It’s just one more reason why PCK’s vampires wouldn’t work operating in public like they do. Not without reshaping the entirety of the cultural fabric across the globe. That’s why almost all of these urban fantasy novels start off with either all their mystical creatures are in hiding or they’ve just revealed themselves.
Still with Stevie, PCK decides to reveal the poem which is a haiku. Wait, so why does Nyx share knowledge so stupidly? Why can’t she just have a mystical Twitter account or send anonymous emails then? Because that’s what she’s basically doing, just dropping little knowledge nuggets on the characters at random intervals.
The gist of it is that her and Rephy need to get back together and it’s all on him. He has to choose freedom. The freedom of being Stevie’s slave for the rest of her life. She thinks, and I use that term loosely, that it’s funny that he’s in an abusive relationship with his father. Also, that she’s bonded to him because of the promise she made to the black bull. Then she admits she like him and it’s only because of their bond that she knows there’s something good inside him.
Yup, all stuff we’ve known for a long time now, ladies. To change things up for the stupid, Stevie then hear someone crying and follows it to the gate. That’s when she sees the crying woman is her mom who’s come to leave an impromptu memorial for Stevie…at the gate. There’s a tearful reunion and some dead flat humor where Stevie’s mom mistakes her for a ghost.
Stevie says no, she’s not dead or a ghost that would just be fucking silly. Stevie says she’s not only back form the dead but the first priest of the undeadlings. She also offers a vague apology for not telling her that she was alive. She kind of a had a full schedule as soon as she was risen and wasn’t really herself anyway. Plus she just couldn’t get away on account of all the late night boning she had to do.
Now, how would a normal person react to this news? You go to the school where your child has died to leave a memorial at the gate. Apparently because the vampires can’t suffer your presence to allow you to mourn or see the body. Upon reaching the traumatic place you’re suddenly faced with your resurrected kid who didn’t bother telling you they lived. Anger at being misled by the vampires? Shock at being confronted by someone who you were just getting a handle on grieving over? Fear that you’ve begun to lose your mind?
“No, no, it’s fine. It’s fine. All that matters is that you’re here and you’re okay.” Her mama pried Stevie Rae off her so she could look her over while she wiped her eyes. “You are okay, aren’t you, baby?”
Or shedding a few tears and just saying everything is fine. Oh sure, she chides Stevie saying it’s not nice to lie to mom but she’s just here for the same reason Zoey’s friends exist. So they can dump off all their respective problem then get dime store psychology advice or affirmation that they’re doing the right thing and don’t you mind the critics.
Stevie instantly tells her mom all about Rephy and being imprinted. Stevie’s mom asks for details, like how and then asks Stevie two questions. Does she see good in him and does she feel safe around him? Stevie says yes to both and her mom says well then he can’t be that bad. Also, sure he did some bad stuff but it’ll be up to him to pay the consequences but that’s not on her.
I hate bullshit support characters like this. All they do is serve as the author’s personal mouthpiece to tell the characters how special they are, how wonderful they are and how everything will turn out all right. The only people that voice an opinion to the contrary are evil or just don’t exist. Then, as soon as the author is finished with them, they’ll go back into the box, neatly wrapped and carefully packed until they’re needed later.
Stevie’s mom also points out that Rephy seems to be standing up to his father already. Stevie thinks about it and realizes she’s right, because he warned her about Kalona. Because how terrible would it have been for Stevie to figure that out on her own? How horrifying to watch a character use their brain rather than have their thoughts delivered by authorial post?
PCK is working the in media res gimmick again by having Kalona say he can’t believe Neferet is doing this. Neferet says it is the right thing to do and Rpehy laughs at the use, saying it’s ridiculous as Neferet’s not a “creature of light”. This causes her to bristle and raise her hand like she’ll do something cruel. Because evil means you have poor impulse control.
Kalona calms her down saying they’re both just surprised is all. Neferet says that by doing this, whatever it is, it will make Zoey look stupid if she speaks out against Neferet. Kalona says it would probably be better to just kill Zoey. Neferet says she can’t because not matter how she arranged it, they would all suspect Neferet.
Oh, I don’t know. Have Zoey drown in a kiddie pool of “brown pop” and I think everyone would buy it. Though, if I were evil and had mind control I would do it very simply. I’d exercise my memory altering powers on Erik and set it up to look like he killed her. Though you’d have to establish a motive, something like being a jilted boyfriend, beforehand so I guess that’s right out.
The conversation turns to Stevie and Neferet says she plans to reveal what she really is. Rephy asks what that is and Neferet says a vampire who has known, gasp!, and even embraced darkness. Rephy says she chose light and Kalona says the touch of darkness changed her forever. Neferet says she needs to watch Stevie because Stevie reveled in darkness and she wants to see what’s beneath her nice façade.
Neferet then says that she senses a change in Rephy and gives him a good looking over. Damn, what clue could have tipped her off? Was it his smell or the way he defended Stevie? Who can say? Rephy says he was close to death before and maybe that’s it. Neferet says sure, why not and then wants to know where the other ravens are. She wants them to be at the school to hide during the day so she can command them at night. Kalona says they’re his sons, he controls them and Neferet asks if he can get them there. Of course he can.
“Well, summon them or have Rephaim herd them here, or whatever it is you do. I can’t be expected to take care of everything.”
Neferet then says she’s going to go abase herself before the lesser beings and reminds Kalona why he obeys her, because he failed to trap Zoey in vampire heaven. Rephy then whines at Kalona for letting Nefert control him like this and attempt to control his brothers. Kalona doesn’t get angry, he’s just sad that Rephy has turned on him.
Rephy says he hasn’t and Kalona ends up telling Rephy about the events in the last book. Everyone remember how he killed Stark and then Zoey got mad? And then god showed up and made Kalona take it back? Good. You’ve all suffered far less memory problems than fans of this series. Kalona then says that he had to do as Nyx asked and even Neferet still fears her.
Kalona then suggest that they find a way to control Stevie. Rephy says that it might be better to leave her untouched, hastily adding that Nyx might see her as special and be paying close attention to her. Kalona agrees and thinks on a way to distract Neferet. He says that he might be able to get Stark to convince Zoey to stands against her publicly as he can now enter Stark’s body. Rephy can’t believe it when he hears it.
Rephaim gasped. “How?”
Still grinning, Kalona shrugged his broad shoulders. “I do not know. I have not experienced this ever before.”
‘How?’ ‘I don’t know. It’s probably important to the plot or else it wouldn’t work.’ Never mind we already know this is a side effect of Kalona giving a bit of himself to save Stark. And being as it was ordered by Nyx, she had to have known this would happen. So Nyx is being a bitch, yet again. Kalona figures this will distract her enough that he can work on breaking his bond with her.
Rephy then asks for the oath that binds him to Neferet. He repeats it and a condition of it is that, when he failed, he was to serve her as long as he was immortal. Rephy says that by giving a piece of himself to Stark he’s not entirely immortal and may not be bound. Kalona says there’s only one way to be certain and Rephy says that’s by openly defying her. Kalona says that will be a pleasure and laughs while Rephy worries about Stevie.