My super awesome friend Liz got me this for Christmas.
So, uh, I guess we’re going to introduce a cooking feature sometime?
We rejoin Zoey and her gang of pale imitations of Mean Girls characters, discussing their dislike for a pale imitation of a different Mean Girls character.
“I keep thinking that hubris is eventually going to bring Aphrodite down,” Damien said.
“Hubris,” Stevie Rae explained, “having godlike arrogance.”
“I actually know that one,” I said […] “We just finished reading Medea in English class.”
OH MY GOD I’M SO BORED.
Cady Zoey doesn’t want to accept Regina’s Aphrodite’s invitation to join The Plastics The Dark Daughters, but her friends Janis Stevie Rae and Damien Damien tell her she needs to do it.
I shook my head. “Oh, nu uh. (Also, this is how “nuh uh” is spelled in this book. I honestly thought it was a sorority the first time I read it.) I’m not going to their full moon thing.”
“I think you have to,” Damien said softly.
“Neferet okayed it,” Stevie Rae said as Erin and Shaunee nodded in agreement. “That means she’ll expect you to go. You can’t tell your mentor no.”
Although it stops ripping off Mean Girls at the “take them down from the inside and we’ll all learn we’re actually not so different from each other” conflict and goes into a more contrived “create conflict” conflict, because the plot was definitely the worst part of Mean Girls. Looks like Zoey’s stuck hanging out with the secondary antagonist! And she certainly can’t stand up for herself, like in the super subtle implied incident in Stevie Rae’s past!
“Uh, Stevie Rae, I might already be scared of them.”
“Don’t ever let them know.” Stevie Rae looked down at her plate, trying to hide her embarrassment. “That’s worse than standing up to them.”
“Honey,” Damien said, patting Stevie Rae’s hand, “stop beating yourself up about that.”
[Ariel says: I hope she pooped her pants in front of them. Since Matt said it yesterday, all I want is to title one of these posts “Vampyre Poop”.]
Zoey contemplates her unfortunate circumstances and Kristin and P.C. Cast continue to get “show don’t tell” backwards.
“I don’t like their kind – the kind of people who control others and make them look bad just to feel better about themselves. […]” I said firmly, thinking about my stepfather and his buddies, and how ironic it was that they seemed to have so much in common with a group of teenagers who called themselves the daughters of a goddess.
Okay, see, I get that this is vampire young adult fiction, so it’s not really erudite high art we’re working with here, but when you explain the irony of a story in the story, you kind of ruin it. Once again, BUT WHAT IF OTHER BOOKS WERE WRITTEN THIS WAY?
- “Dell,” said he, “let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep ’em a while. They’re too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And, wait, now thinking about it, you sold your hair to buy a chain for my watch! How ironic it is that we both sold our most treasured material good to buy something for each other that is now useless!”
- “Oh, comfortable friar, where is my lord? I do remember well where I should be, and there I am. Where is my Romeo? What? Dead! How terrible, thinking about how ironic it is that he killed himself when he thought I was dead, although I was not really dead!”
- “If you’re not with me, then you’re my enemy,” Anakin said to Obi Wan, not thinking about how ironic it was that he only turned to the dark side to save the people he was now trying to kill.
“Only a Sith deals in absolutes,” Obi Wan said to Anakin, not thinking about how ironic that was either.
Then they spend like ten pages talking about the symbols each class wears and what they mean again. [Ariel says: I can’t tell if this is worse than when we have to read pages and pages about how the dining hall looks.] Why do I keep getting the chapters where they talk about this crap? Maybe I’d care more about this book’s symbolism if I didn’t just write a few hundred words criticizing how we had our hand held through this book’s irony. Instead, let’s talk about how homophobic this book is. You might remember that Damien is gay:
“You’re really prudey, Damien,” Shaunee said.
“Especially for a gay boy,” Erin added.
HAHAHAHA. BECAUSE ALL GAY PEOPLE ARE PROMISCUOUS. But wait. It gets better.
“Damien’s sweet, and really smart. I just feel bad for him sometimes, though. […] he had a roommate when he first got here about six months ago, but as soon as the guy found out Damien was gay – hello, it’s not like the boy tries to hide it – he complained to Neferet and said he wasn’t going to room with a fag.”
I grimaced. I can’t stand homophobes.
Hey, remember that time we were talking about irony? Because this is irony.
Okay, so here’s the counter-argument you might think could defend this book. “But this isn’t homophobic! She’s talking about how opposed she is to homophobia!” Yeah, while perpetuating gay stereotypes.
“There are a few [gay guys] besides Damien, but they’re mostly too weird and girly for him.”
Let’s revisit that great moment from the last chapter where Zoey can’t stand homophobia.
he was cute. Not in the overly girly way so many teenage guys are when they decide to come out and tell everyone what everyone already knew […] Damien wasn’t a swishy girly-guy
See, just saying you’re not prejudiced doesn’t count. You have to actually, you know, not be prejudiced. It’s not really much of an improvement to not openly hate a person for predefined reasons if all you’re going to do instead is force a person into predefined narrow boxes. And by subscribing to these social constructs, House of Night is objectively being offensive. And what’s awful about this book is that it thinks it isn’t being offensive, and it’s so fucking proud of itself for it. [Ariel says: I keep getting these images of P.C. and Kristin Cast highfiving each other every time they think they’ve accomplished something whether it be sounding like a teen or battling homophobia one unintentionally offensive comment at a time.] House of Night is like a dog that knows better than to take a shit in your house, but doesn’t realize it’s still in trouble when it takes a shit on your doorstep. [Ariel says: Or the dog that takes a shit in your house but thinks it doesn’t matter because it’s so damn adorable.]
The chapter ends with House of Night continuing to contradict the messages it’s trying to convey.
“Hey, do you want a pop or something to take upstairs with us? […] What do you want?”
“Any brown pop is fine,” I said.
“This stuff is for all of us,” she said as she handed me two Diet Cokes […] “They’re kept full all the time, but the vamps are pretty obsessed with us eating healthy, so you won’t find bags of chips or Twinkies or stuff like that.”
Then why the fuck was there soda in there? [Ariel says: Somehow this was the most compelling part of the whole chapter. Seriously, why the fuck is there soda there??]