One of the things that’s driven me nuts through the series, and will continue to do so for the remainder, is the perspective change. Not the regular hopping back and forth, that’s something I can tolerate when it’s done right. This Is PCK we’re talking about and that means if anything is done right, it was accidentally inserted by the editor after a long night of boiler makers.
So PCK is always changing perspectives which should be a tool to build the world. Telling the story from someone else’s viewpoint can add richness and details you can’t get from a single character. If you’re not going onmicient narrator, it’s a very handy tool. PCK just uses it to repeat shit we already know. The only thing they do with it that could be interesting is having Zoey in first person perspective.
So what wrong with it, you may be asking, knowing that I won’t mention anything without having something specific to bitch about. It’s the fact that every time we get to see the world from her view, her name is printed at the top, like everyone’s, so we’re warned ahead of time which flavor of drywall mud we’re going to be eating. My problem is the fact that Zoey gets the same announcement. She’s the only one that gets first person narration. Just by the perspective, we know who it is. Telling us is insulting our intelligence.
Stark calls out to Zoey, saying that now is not the time to be hiding. She starts to protest and then asks herself what she’s doing hiding “out here”. Not knowing where here is, that adds nothing to the story. PCK could have had Zoey retreat to a place that she’s done so before, it would be showing us how the stress is affecting her. Maybe have established early on that Zoey like visiting the temple and she ends up retreating there to hide from Neferet. Though that would have taken planning and thought.
Zoey is recapping the doings from the prologue. Naturally, Zoey is shaken by the death of her former friend. It reminds her that, even facing a long and disease free life, the specter of death awaits us all. No ammount of life can ever fully prepare someone for the approach of the end. At least that’s how you’d think she would feel if you believed this were penned by a human being.
The pair of crows with the heads of barking chihuahua’s sewn to them tell us Zoey is annoyed. See, the death of Erin caused a bunch of the humans to gossip about the vampires. How horrible that the humans talk about the vampires and misunderstand them. Won’t the just avail themselves of manuals and reference materials that all the vampires publish on a quarterly basis in hardcopy and make available online in a weekly post.
For some reason they’re also talking about how that must have been the vampires sending a message to Neferet. Zoey is enraged that they’d feel any pity for Neferet. She mentally complains about how they don’t know Zoey had to rescue Grandma from Neferet. Which is, again, all your own fault, Zoey. You could always work with the humans rather than just keeping them in the dark and resenting them.
After whining, we finally learn she’s hiding out at the stables. That’s the kind of detail that should have been mentioned right away. Instead, it’s buried down past the bitching and moaning. Stark tries to tell her that things won’t always be this way. Zoey isn’t sure as Neferet is immortal and keeps coming back. Which would mean something if Zoey kept trying to kill Neferet.
Which would have been a better overarching plot. Have Neferet reach immortallity and have Zoey’s crew keep trying to stop her by killing her. Each book could have them trying different rituals or weapons and ultimately failing. Then the last book could be them discovering a way to turn the immortality against Neferet. With the grand moral being that violence isn’t always the best solution.
All of Zoey’s slaves are seeing to the details of Erin’s death. We can’t trouble Zoey with any of those these days.Stark let’s her know that once the slaves started their duties in herding out the humans and cleaning up, he came looking for her. Zoey complains that she might be going crazy after fighting Neferet so much. Zoey is reassured by Stark who says he’ll stick by her side even if that means he’s crazy too.
Luckily for us, they hear something off in the distance. We don’t hear it but we’re told that it sounds like someone being hysterical. It’s coming from across the school and they decide to investigate. I’m impressed that they just have a character tell us they heard something. It’s way lazier than just telling us or even showing the audience.
They come upon a woman wearing nice clothes and being hysterical. We already know that it’s Aphro’s mom though PCK wants to wring a little bit of tension out of the moment. Zoey is simply relieved that the screaming is a human and not another vampire dying. The nun Angela tries to calm her down, saying that she knows it was upsetting seeing a vampire die.
Aprho’s mom is upset that someone would assume why she’s upset. Aprho steps in an says that her mom is making a bit of a scene. Aphro’s mom says that “they” killed “him”. By using a pronoun, Aphro is forced to ask who “him” is. Aprho’s mom has to shout out that it’s her father, the mayor of Tulsa. Lenobia tries to rush in and perform damage control by saying there must have been a mistake. She’ll see to it that everyone gets to their cars safely.
Aphro’s mom says they can’t possibly be safe any longer. Who would have thought it would be dangerous to live in a city full of vampires? Zoey calmly steps forward and says that it sounds like Aphro’s dad has been killed. The discussion of death takes place with the same dull, tone PCK’s characters use to read off the ingredients of a cake mix.
Aprho’s mom point to where his body is and Darius goes and inspects the body. He covers it with his jacket and confirms that, yes, the man appears to be dead. Then he gives Aphro a hug before she can process what’s going on. Zoey then takes charge and tells Aphro to take her mom into the school while Darius is to call nine one one and tell them the mayor is dead. It takes a special kind of author to try and convince us the protagonist is the smart one because they call emergency services.
Aphro’s mom begins screaming how she won’t be going into that building because the vampires killed him. Aphro, being as dumb as the rest, tries to say they don’t know that. She says her dad had high blood pressure and could have died from a heart attack. Look, PCK, this denial would be tolerable if we hadn’t seen Neferet tear his throat out. It might even be acceptable, not good writing mind you, if Neferet had simply leeched him dry.
Lenobia says if it was a vampire attack, and she won’t admit it until someone leaks pictures on the internet, they will find the attacker and punish them. Lenobia then whispers to Zoey that she’s going to kick the humans all out. Zoey is to get Aphro’s mom under control. How dare someone who lost their spouse be upset? He was only human anyway. He was going to die in less than fifty years so it wasn’t that much of a loss.
Zoey knows just what to do. She tells Stark to use his undeadling hypnotism to shut her up though she can still cry. Zoey and them approach Aphro’s mom who’s demanding the human police investigate. Zoey says they’re calling the human police but, in the meantime, Stark has a few questions for her. He looks at her and does his best Lugosi impression at her. He tells her she should go sit in the courtyard and cry but not shout. Aphro’s mom repeats his instructions back at him and wanders off to cry under the direction of hypnotic suggestion.
Zoey and Aphro sigh with relief. Zoey asks if Aphro is okay. Aphro says they were horrible and never liked her but they were her parents. Zoey says she understands as she hated her mom but still felt sad when she died. Don’t worry, Aphro. The feeling will last for about a week or the length of one novel and then you’ll completely forget about him.
There’s a transition to the police arriving and detective Marx once again joins the series. Zoey is glad to see someone who’s biased towards vampires. Aphro’s mom begins screaming for someone to be arrested. Marx says he’ll be investigating and arrest whomever that leads to. When she says his throat was ripped out and his blood drained, Thanatos chimes in and says that’s reason to doubt a vampire killed him.
Thanatos’ reasoning is that there’s no motive for a vampire to kill someone right outside the school. Because vampires are perfectly logical and would never kill anyone, I’m sure. There’s a lot of back and forth between Aphro’s mom and everyone as they all argue against the possibility that the death was done by a vampire, including Aphro. They say it must have been Neferet.
Aphro’s mom says that Neferet was a friend to them and wouldn’t have hurt dad. Zoey and pals tell Marx that’s not true, Neferet hated all humans and advocated violence against them. Marx says if they knew she was violent, they should have gone to the police. That would require the vampires see humans as more than cattle and a source of new members of their kind. Aphro’s mom says they haven’t heard the last of her and gets ready to leave.
Before she goes, she demands that Aphro come with her. Aphro says she doesn’t hav to go with her. Aphro’s mom then asks Marx if she can do that. He says she doesn’t have a mark but she was emancipated when she became a vampire so that probably still stands. Being as Marx is a judge in Megacity-One, he has the authority to make interpretations of the law on the spot.
Having no flair for the dramatic, Aphro’s mom disowns Aphro right then and there. She says she wishes she never gave birth to her and Aphro had better never call her mother ever again. With her gone, Marx asks about the other vampires and why they’re talking about a bus. When he learns that some of them live in a different location, he asks them to have everyone stay put while he investigates. Thanatos says no problem and that, until the investigation concludes, all the vampires will be living on campus.