I hope you enjoyed the double dose of misogyny we provided yesterday! It wasn’t a planned theme; then again, when isn’t misogyny a theme? [Matthew says: Because of the patriarchy!]
When we last left off, Zoey finally had a conversation with none other than Erik Night, and he was actually a pretty nice dude. He even kissed her wrist. If that doesn’t the “insides of your thighs” tingle, then you’re obviously made of stone. [Matthew says: Or have spider webs.]
Still upset about unknowingly drinking blood, Zoey returns to her dorm room and debates whether or not she should tell Stevie Rae what happened.
I didn’t know what I should tell Stevie Rae, and what I shouldn’t. The blood thing was just so confusing—and so gross. Would she think I was awful? Would she be scared of me?
She’s got a point. Maybe she shouldn’t tell a fellow vampyre who is fully aware of the fact that part of being a vampyre is drinking blood that she accidentally drank blood and kind of enjoyed it. That would probably be the end of their friendship immediately! Just like that time Frodo was afraid to tell Sam he had hairy feet for fear he would be mercilessly judged.
But, come on, why talk about that when you could talk about boys?
“Erik Night walked me home.”
“Get out!” She bobbed up and down on the bed like a country jack-in-the-box. “Tell me everything.”
I’m not entirely sure what a “country jack-in-the-box” is. If Stevie Rae had been from anywhere else, would she have become a different kind, like say a Swedish jack-in-the-box? We get it, Casts, Stevie Rae is a country gal (and apparently jack-in-the-box). [Matthew says: “Swedish jack-in-the-box” makes me think of IKEA. I don’t really have a joke here, I guess I just wanted to remind everyone that IKEA exists.]
Zoey then recounts everything that happened last chapter. Why the fuck do we have to read the same scene we just read about again? Just write, “I told Stevie Rae everything that had happened from Elizabeth’s ghost to Heath and Kayla showing up,” and then if Stevie Rae has any responses worth noting, include relevant dialogue. Like here,
“…They must have heard me trying to settle Nala down after she completely freaked at Elizabeth’s ghost, because they came running up.”
“Nala saw her, too?”
Stevie Rae shivered. “Then she must have really been there.”
Well if you say that the cat says so, Zoey, I guess it must be true!
Not to mention you just fucking met this cat, Stevie Rae, how do you know if it’s reliable or not? We’ve complained a lot about how this book is offensive to all kinds of people, but we haven’t complained enough about how Stevie Rae is portrayed as the dumbest of dumb country girls. It is an outrage. [Matthew says: She’s not the sharpest country tool in the country shed.]
It’s still not as much of an outrage as the fact that the conversation continues to just be a recap of what happened last chapter. It would be like if Girls had a flashback episode simply about scenes from the previous episode under the pretense of Hannah telling her friends what happened yesterday and the only new footage was Shoshana cutting in to make insipid comments like, “Well, like, if a cat thought your boyfriend was cheating on you, it must be true.” God I love Girls. It would never play me over like that.
But it wouldn’t be a chapter of Marked without slut shaming now would it? Here are some of the highlights:
“Apparently. Oh, and then Kayla, my ex-best friend, made it obvious that she’s after Heath!”
Stevie Rae gasped. “Slut!”
This one is fair enough because sometimes you just say that shit when you’re backing a friend up. [Matthew says: Yeah, I actually flagged this one, and then realized, “Wait, I think this is actually a pretty applicable use of the word ‘slut’, here.” But the book throws around “slut” so often that it’s stopped having any meaning. Which is… slutty. Ironically.] The only problem here is that ZOEY DOESN’T EVEN LIKE HEATH! And it was implied that Heath had hooked up with Kayla, so where is his dose of the shame?
“Aphrodite did basically what Neferet did, but she looked like a ho.” […]
“Yesterday, right before Neferet took me here to the dorm I saw Aphrodite trying to give Erik a blow job.”
“No way! Jeesh, she’s disgusting.”
It’s not specified that it’s gross she was doing that where anyone could see, which I can get behind. Instead, it’s implied that she’s disgusting for the whole blowjob thing. Erik, on the other hand, is a saint in their eyes for refusing.
In case you weren’t convinced that Aphrodite and her beloved friends Wasp, Terrible, and Warlike weren’t evil enough, it turns out they’re actually murderers! See, Aphrodite’s “affinity” is that she gets visions of future tragedies, but she only tells people about these visions when anyone outside her group catches her having one and asks what’s up.
“Yep. Last week she had a vision during lunch, but the hags closed ranks around her and started leading her out of the dining hall. If Damien hadn’t run right into them because he was late and hurrying in to lunch, making them scatter so that he could see that Aphrodite was in the middle of a vision, no one would ever have known. And a whole plane full of people would probably be dead.”
See, Aphrodite and her friends hate humans, so they were like, “YAY plane crash!” If you’re wondering how Damien bumping into Aphrodite translated into the day being saved, it’s because he went and got Neferet, and she was able to get to the bottom of things.
The Casts quickly realized they needed more reasons than attempted blowjobs, pot smoking, and sightly bitchy remarks to make Aphrodite actually come across as an evil character. I love that they had to jump from the above reasons to murder. [Matthew says: I’d also like to add a general complaint about how fucking messy the world of House of Night is now that they’ve opened the can of worms that is predicting the future. Because it’s not just predicting the future that’s been added to the mix; once you do that, you’re effectively saying, “Guess what? Time is nonlinear in this story!” So people can see the future. And change the future. So did they see the future? OH GOD PARADOX. Maybe this isn’t a huge deal, but one of my favorite parts of LOST was how Desmond got “flashes” of the future, but – significantly – there was nothing he could do about them. Even if he did interfere with what he saw, it would still happen anyway, and he spent half a season constantly saving one character from dying. And I’m not saying that every story has to do that, but I guess my complaint is that this story is taking a very complicated concept and using it as a throwaway detail without really bothering with the implications of it.]
Zoey makes the point that they should tell Neferet that Aphrodite is genuinely evil, but they decide against it because tattle-tales are somehow worse than someone who would let people die in a plane crash. There’s also the what-if-she-doesn’t-believe-us reason, which is even worse than the tattle-tale reason because who the fuck cares if she doesn’t believe you?
Furthermore, two lines above this, Stevie Rae says that it’s impossible to lie to a vampyre when they ask you a direct question, which is why Aphrodite had to tell the truth about her vision to Neferet. If that’s true, Neferet could ask very few questions to find out if Stevie Rae and Zoey are right about Aphrodite. I think the whole thing would take her about ten minutes tops to sort out. Plenty of time to do more of her sexy ritual dancing after that!
Zoey briefly flirts with the idea that she’ll take Aphrodite’s place as head of the Dark Daughters and become the next high priestess. She asks Stevie Rae if she ever feels anything weird when they do their rituals, and, omg what do you know, Zoey is really fucking special!
“So you’ve never felt a breeze when wind’s called, or smelled rain with water, or felt grass under your feet with earth?”
“No way. Only a High Priestess with a major affinity for the elements would—” She broke off suddenly and her eyes got huge. “Are you saying that you felt that stuff? Any of that stuff?”
I squirmed. “Maybe.”
“Maybe!” she squeaked. “Zoey! Do you have any idea what this could mean?”
I shook my head.
“Just last week in Soc class we were studying about the most famous vamp High Priestesses in history. There hasn’t been a priestess with an affinity for all four of the elements for hundreds of years.”
Oh Christ, and now Zoey’s this super amazing High Priestess? All she does is talk about poop and Erik Night! This is bull shit. I’m on team Aphrodite and blowjobs!
Stevie Rae tells Zoey the reason she hates Aphrodite is that she got tricked into being one of their blood donors at a ritual. [Matthew says: Although she refused because she was smart enough to know they were just using her, so I guess her big, dark, secret beef with Aphrodite isn’t that she actually did something to her, just that she insulted her. How interesting.] Zoey realizes that she’s been bamboozled as well! The Dark Daughters wanted her to get freaked out and leave, so now she is determined to join them because this isn’t Mean Girls at all.
The chapter ends with Zoey getting a letter:
Inside, written in a beautiful, flowing script on expensive bone-colored stationary was one line.
Skylar told me she was coming. It was signed with a single letter: N.
If you’re like me and your first thought was, “Who in the fuck is Skylar?” that’s a totally normal reaction. For a book that had to remind us that Erik was Erik Night, you’d think Zoey would clarify that Skylar is Neferet’s cat. Who apparently told Neferet that Zoey’s cat Nala was coming. Oh my god the vampyre powers in this book are so unbelievably terrible! [Matthew says: So some random kid gets the ability to see into the future, and the high priestess in charge of everyone can talk to cats. Yes. Yes this makes sense. Yes.]