In today’s chapter of Marked we finally meet some characters who aren’t Zoey. Thank God. [Ariel says: I hope we never see any of the characters from the first chapters again and that these new characters are somehow better than the people from Zoey’s high school or her family.]
Neferet continues giving Zoey her tour of the House of Night. Zoey’s impressed by the elaborate building, still in shock about becoming a vampyre, and handling accidentally walking in on someone giving a blow job about as well as you’d expect from someone who says things like, “Boob… hee hee”.
The last thing I needed was to have more to deal with than a new life and a weird Mark. So, blow job – forgotten.
Thankfully we aren’t left to dwell on how exactly someone Zoey doesn’t know giving someone else Zoey doesn’t know a blowjob is Zoey’s problem, because it’s time to meet Zoey’s new roommates! Neferet leads Zoey to her room, which shocks Zoey because while she was expecting something dark and creepy, it’s actually decorated in “soft blue and antique yellow” with “puffy pillows” and “several flat screen TVs” [Ariel says: this seems pretty superfluous given how hard it would be to watch one show when there are a bunch of others playing] and “soft gaslights”, which also shocks me because I’m confused how all of that together in one place is supposed to look nice.
Anyway, ready to meet Zoey’s first roommate? Hopefully not, because you should know by know that Zoey can’t describe anything without trailing off into a strange pop culture reference.
She was a tiny blonde and darn near perfect. Actually, she reminded me of a young version of Sarah Jessica Parker (who I don’t like, by the by – she’s just so… so… annoying and unnaturally perky).
I could criticize the irony of Zoey calling someone else annoying, but I’m mostly baffled by how Kristin and P.C. Cast’s choice for “darn near perfect” is Sarah Jessica Parker. [Ariel says: I had to read this part a few times because there were so many things about it that baffled me. It seems like they just wanted an excuse to talk about how much they hate her.]
[Ariel says: Everyone wants a shot at poor SJP. I couldn’t find the other Family Guy one where he says she looks like a foot.]
But it gets even fucking worse. This girl’s name is Aphrodite. And can you guess what else?
SHE’S VAMPIRE BLOW JOB GIRL.
Feeling like someone had punched me in the guy I realized that this girl – Aphrodite (in case you’ve forgotten who the one new character we’ve met in two chapters is) – had been the one I’d just watched with the guy in the hall!
OH NO. Describe the horror of the situation, Zoey!
Aphrodite’s laugh […] was as fake and cold as Pamela Anderson’s humongously huge boobs
[Ariel says: What I find really bizarre is that until the moment Zoey recognizes her as Blow Job Girl, she says that she seems really nice. Why this sudden realization that she’s the girl from earlier means that she’s fake and horrible is beyond me. I could imagine it might be slightly awkward for them, but why would Aphrodite be a bitch to Zoey about it?]
Amazingly enough, Kristin and P.C. Cast manage to write a character even bitchier than Zoey.
“It’s better than nice or really pretty here; it’s amazing. […] It’s amazing here mostly because of me.”
I glanced at her, thinking that she must be kidding, and met her cold blue eyes.
“Yeah, you heard me right. This place is cool because I’m cool.”
[Ariel says: This book is amazing because she is amazing. Also, I was almost on-board with Zoey’s reaction to that which is to just be like, “Is this girl for real?” But then she goes on to call her a slut in her head. All Zoey has to base this on is that scene from the hall. She don’t know Aphrodite!!!] [Matthew responds: Yeah, this is a good point. There is an astonishing amount of slut-shaming going on here for how little sluttiness has actually been in the book thus far. Actually, now that I think about it, wasn’t Zoey the one making out with a dude she didn’t want to commit to for a year? Let she who is without sin case the first “slut!”]
Guys, I kind of love Aphrodite. She’s like if someone said, “You know what the teens like these days? Teens like The Harry Potter and The Mean Girls. Let’s take the main character’s foil from each of those – Draco Malfoy and Regina George – and have someone who writes like a twelve year old trying to sound like a seventeen year old combine them into one character!” AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT WE HAVE. [Ariel says: It’s simply magical because it’s magical!]
“Okay, here’s the deal, Zoey. You have this weird Mark, so everyone’s talking about you and wondering what the fuck is up with you.” She rolled her eyes and clutched her pearls dramatically […] “Oooh! The new girl has a colored-in Mark! Whatever could that mean? Is she special? (Clearly you aren’t familiar with the concept of the Mary Sue, Aphrodracogina George. [Ariel says: If that were easier to type I would make that her official name in this book. Oh hell, it’s worth it.]) […] “Here’s what’s what. I’m it here. Things go my way. You want to get along here, then you’d best remember that. If you don’t, you’ll be in for a world of shit.”
Admittedly, that’s not her worst dialogue, but just give it a chapter. It’s going to get “OMG like totally real teen speak” faster than you can say “hamburger phone”. Because we’ve met our Draco, now it’s time to meet our Ron. (I would make a joke about how we’ve met our Regina, so now it’s time to meet our Damien, but I shit you not we actually meet a gay kid named Damien in the next chapter because I guess they watched Mean Girls right before they wrote this book) [Ariel says: They took copious notes I’m sure.]. Aphrodite takes Zoey to her room to meet her roommate (Although I thought she was her roommate? Maybe they’re in a quad? Man, if only we had some idea what the room looked like aside from how it had flatscreen tvs and big fluffy pillows.):
I turned to Stevie Rae, who was still pale.
“What’s with [Aphrodite]?” I asked.
Even though I didn’t know her at all, I could tell that Stevie Rae was struggling with how much she should or shouldn’t say. So I decided to help her. I mean, we were going to be roommates. “She’s a bitch!” I said.
Zoey and Stevie Rae laugh over how awful Aphrodite is, and Kristin and P.C. Cast try to capture the subtle nuances of characterizing a character from the South.
The first thing I saw was the life-sized Kenny Chesney poster
[Ariel says: Nailed it.]
Stevie Rae has been there for three months. We learn a little bit about her, like her mom wasn’t that freaked out when she got Marked, thinking “anything that gets you out of Oklahoma”, and, hey, any port in a storm, right? [Ariel says: It was that or stripping.] Zoey’s grandma has also conveniently gone to her parents’ house and moved Zoey into the House of Night. Stevie Rae also talks about how their school uniforms aren’t boring because they can add stuff to make them unique and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz whoops sorry, I skipped the next three pages where they talked about decorating their uniforms. [Ariel says: All they had to tell us was that they bedazzled them and I would have been satisfied.] Now I’m at the part where Zoey is judging people based on labels again.
Tucked into her countrified jeans was a black, long-sleeved cotton blouse that had the expensive look of something you’d find at Saks or Neiman Marcus, versus the cheaper see-through shirts that overpriced Abercrombie tries to make us believe aren’t slutty. [Ariel says: Zoey throws around the word slut like Travis throws around the word bag…and slut.]
I’m pretty people knowingly shop at Abercrombie because it’s slutty [Ariel says: I was about to be contrary, then I realized the only tank top I ever bought from there was because it made my boobs (HEE BEEEWWWBS) look nice and it wasn’t $100.] They go to dinner and Stevie Rae explains how each class has their own sign and what they represent and, guys, I’m pretty sure this is supposed to be important at least on a symbolic level, but I give so few shits about reading this and summarizing it, I just can’t. [Ariel says: Also, you can just read Harry Potter instead and pretend each class is just one of the houses from HP.]
Instead I’ll tell you about the part where Zoey asks Stevie Rae why she hasn’t asked her about her Mark yet and Stevie Rae explains that she figured Zoey would explain when she was ready and she wants to be friends and then they smile and talk about what great friends they’re becoming and what a stuck-up jerk Aphrodite is and- wait a second. Zoey has a mark on her forehead. Just like…
Ready to go one level deeper? Everyone in this book has a mark on their forehead. And Zoey’s is still the special-est. This is how much of a Harry Potter formula + Mary Sue author insertion we’re dealing with here. In a world full of Harry Potters, Zoey is the greatest Harry Potter of them all.
[Ariel says: I bet there’s crossover fanfiction out there with even more Mary Sue action. We’re talking new Mary Sues in a fanfic about a book that already has one as its star. We should write about them here.] [Matthew adds: This makes me think of movie trailers. “In a WORLD… where EVERYONE is a MARY SUE…]