Hidden Chapters 25 & Final Thoughts

Chapter 25

Still with Zoey, she’s yelling at Kalona to grab Aurox before he falls to his death. Kalona does exacrtly that, catching him before he hits the pavement. No one saves Neferet though because she’s evil. Mostly Zoey wants to see if the series villain can be killed without her intervention. The sooner Neferet’s dead, the quicker Zoey can get back to stuffing her face with cereal and being ironic.

Neferet hits the ground and looks like she’s dead. Then her body begins to flop around and dissolves into a bunch of black spiders. They spell ‘fuck you’ on the ground before dissipating. Zoey looks at Thanatos and says Nefert’s not dead. Thanatos says she’s not sure as she’s never seen anything like that. Weird that she has the confidence to say immortals don’t believe in luck but is overcome by doubt the moment she sees a lady turn into spiders.

Zoey then says she thinks they need to get ready because her gut tells her Neferet will come at them again. That’s some world class prognosticating, Zoey. What clued you in first? The fact she’s an episodic villain or the way she shouted that she’d get you and your little cat too before disappearing into a cloud of smoke?

Personally, I still don’t understand Neferet’s hate of Zoey. I mean, I understand hatred of Zoey, don’t get me wrong there. It’s more her obsession with defeating Zoey. There seems to be no real reason other than the fact Zoey is the protagonist and Neferet is the villain. Personally, I’d be leaving Oklahoma and seeing if there’s a vampire school to take over in someplace tropical like Hawaii or the Caribbean.
Zoey tries to convince Grandma to go to the hospital but she refuses. All she needs to do is to go home. We all know how the elderly are especially resistant to starvation and torture. Stark then says Zoey has to do something first and hands over her seer stone. The stone is back to normal now, for some reason, and Stark says she has to look at him and say the spell again.

Being as PCK is conducting a war on trees, they have the “spell” printed again rather than just saying ‘Zoey repeated the incantation’. The stone turns back into a mirror and she points it at Aurox. Everyone is shocked and agape that Aurox’s reflection looks like Heath. Aphro says that’s the weirdest thing she’s ever seen.

Does that not include the time she saw Stevie brought back from the dead as a ravenous monster? And really, what about this is really weird at this point. There comes a time when souls being passed around like the village bicycle isn’t a surprise or even mildly shocking. Considering how many of their classmates resurrected, it’s actually less of a surprise to see Heath. Now if his reflection was Dom Deluise that would be a different story.

“I knew I was right to believe in you, tsu-ka-nv-s-di-na,” Grandma told him. “Thank you for saving me, child.” When she leaned forward he bent and she gave him a soft, mom kiss on the cheek.

A soft mom kiss on the cheek? Are there other kinds of cheek kisses? Is there a pornstar cheek kiss that I’m missing out on? Because I was under the impression that a cheek kiss was a rather chaste sign of affection by default. Now PCK has me wondering if there’s an acceptable kind that involves tongue.

Aurox asks for confirmation that, yes, that’s Heath looking back in the mirror. Stark says yes, which makes him a friend. You know, in that lose, PCK sense of friends where they get along because that all want to stuff their sausage in the Zoey roll. Not because they actually get along and have shared interests together.

Aurox then asks Zoey what Heath was to her. Zoey runs through a host of descriptions. Among which she pegs him as her lover and “forever boyfriend”. I don’t recall them ever being lovers but maybe there was a moment we missed as the audience. She then says that he was her humanity and that’s what Heath is for Aurox now. Grandma then says not to worry, because that always have love. You know, except when you don’t.

Final thoughts

Wow, just wow. I go into every one of these books thinking that PCK can’t stretch it out any further. And, always, PCK manages to surprise me. I mean, the main thrust of the plot this time around dealt with press releases and interviews. That’s not exactly world shaking things in a world of vampires.

Because PCK couldn’t make things interesting, she had to make Neferet take Grandma hostage. The thing I hate about the relative/significant other hostage is that it’s lazy as hell. Look, PCK, a hero should be written so that they’re vested in doing the right thing. If not, that fine to have conflict in there over that. But unless you’re writing a simplistic, black and white moral story, they protagonist shouldn’t need to be coaxed into stopping the antagonist because it’s personal.

There’s a deeper problem in this series which that illustrates. Zoey is a horrible protagonist. She’s completely reactionary to everything. She doesn’t act with any agency of her own. At no point it she trying to use her magic to hunt down Neferet and stop her. Zoey is stationary until someone else puts her in motion. Until she sees Neferet on TV, Zoey was perfectly content to leave her alone.

This doesn’t just stick to the plot either. Zoey’s love life is one broken amusement park attraction. Everyone has always had to come to her. Zoey doesn’t seek out romance or love, the boys just fall into her lap. Then she whines about how complicated things are while doing nothing to resolve it. If Heath hadn’t gotten killed, she probably would never have decided that Stark was her soulmate. Being as he’s back, she’ll probably go right back to waffling about that too.

I’m also getting worn out on all the boring tropes PCK trots out. Not because they’re tropes but because they don’t seem to know how to use them. Having a villain who taunts people about their faith only works if the central theme of the story is faith. Having a character babble about choice only works in a story where characters actually make decisions.

On the upside, there’s only one more book in the heart of this pestilent collection. I can’t wait to see how PCK wastes time in the next two books while dropping references to pop culture that doesn’t exist in her universe. Then hastily wrapping up all loose ends with some mumbly jumbly magic. This will be followed by god stopping by to tell Zoey how proud she is and how amazing Zoey’s talents are.

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