When we last left off there was yet another long ritual. I guess rituals are to House of Night: Marked as cave tours are to The Host. Also, Zoey and Erik made out and she slut-shamed herself because for some reason this book is opposed to blow jobs and casual makeout sessions.
The next day started with what I looked back on later as suspicious normalcy.
That’s so weird because this chapter started with what I looked back on later as conspicuous foreshadowing. Also, what the fuck even is suspicious normalcy? Things can’t be so normal for you that they’re suspicious, it just doesn’t make any sense!
I’d just taken my seat between Damien and Stevie Rae when all hell broke loose, and everything vaguely resembling anything normal about the day ended. Penthesilea was reading “You Go and I’ll Stay a While Chapter Four” of A Night to Remember. It’s a really good book, and we were all listening, as usual, then that stupid Elliott kid started coughing. Jeesh, the kid was totally and completely annoying.
Just remember, Zoey is telling us this in hindsight. She was able to reflect on how the day had been too normal, but she doesn’t have the decency to be kinder about Elliot given that he’s about to die in this scene.
Yup, you guessed it, he’s gone the way of Elizabeth No Name.
When he finally looked up, bloody tears were running down his pale, round face, and blood was running from his nose like it was a faucet someone had left on. When he turned his head to look up at Penthesilea, I could see that there was a red stream coming from his ear, too.
“No!” Elliott said with more emotion than I’d ever heard him show.
“No! I don’t want to die!”
Now is a good time to remind you that Zoey has been here for about two or three days. I’ll let you be the judge of how much weight her “more emotion than I’d ever heard him show” actually carries. [Matthew says: Also, I really want to draw attention to how Elliott’s death suddenly contains more genuine emotion than anything else in this book:
“Drink this quickly, Elliott,” Dragon told him. When he started to weakly shake his head no, he added gently, “It will make your pain end.”
“Will – will you stay with me?” Elliott whispered.”
“Of course,” Dragon said. “I won’t let you be alone for even a moment.”
“Will you call my mom?” Elliott whispered.
See! Genuine sad feelings all up in here! For, like, one page, but given what we’ve read so far, you know the Casts didn’t write something this human on purpose. Just keep reading…]
Elliot’s mentor and another vampyre come to take him away to die in private, and Neferet gives a long speech to the class about how she could comfort them, but fuck that because one in ten of them is probably going to die.
On average, one out of every ten of you will not make the Change. Some fledglings die early in their third former year, as is Elliott. Some of you will be stronger and last until your sixth former year, and then sicken and die suddenly. I tell you this not so that you will live in fear. First, I want you to know that as your High Priestess I will not lie to you, but will help ease your passing into the next world if that time comes. And second, I want you to live as you would be remembered if you would die tomorrow, because you might.
It’s hilarious to me how many time she works in the fact that there’s a good chance they’ll die. So make good life choice, kids…while you still can. [Matthew says: She also begins this speech by saying Elliott “will die the permanent death”, which is really thorough.]
All the students are sad because usually deaths don’t happen so close together even though one in ten of them apparently dies. There’s a math problem somewhere in there, but I’m too tired to work it out.
Zoey and Stevie Rae have a deep conversation about how Elliot’s death is so hard for them on account of the fact they don’t care that he’s dead because he sucked.
“No one liked Elliott, and somehow I think that makes it worse,”
Stevie Rae said. “It was weirdly easier with Elizabeth. At least we could feel honestly sorry she was gone.”
“I know what you mean. I feel upset, but I know I’m really upset that I saw what can happen to us and now I can’t get it out of my mind, and not upset that the kid’s dead.”
I mean, is this really supposed to pass as an emotional and insightful conversation? [Matthew says: This is what I was talking about earlier. You made it to the Casts being shitty again! Woo!] I can understand that when you didn’t like someone who has passed away there is this weird feeling of guilt that you didn’t like them and now they’re dead, but I don’t see how this makes it harder than when someone you liked passed away. That’s just. I can’t even. Zoey should change her name to match Aphrodite’s horrible Trio of friends because she is just the worst. I would just give her the name “Worst” actually. If Terrible could just call herself that, then this is a legitimate new name for Zoey.
They start talking about the Dark Daughters ritual happening later that night (seriously rituals = cave tours. Why must they keep happening??) [Matthew says: Rituals are the new cave tours. Homophobia is the new heavy-handed selflessness. They happen in their respective books all the time!] and Stevie Rae tries to convince Zoey not to go.
“No, I have a bad feeling about it. You don’t have a plan yet, do you?”
“Well, no. I’m still in the reconnoitering stage,” I said, trying to lighten up the conversation.
Guess the plan to get a plan wasn’t a very good plan after all. But it seemed so infallible!
Stevie Rae tries to convince Zoey to invite her to the ritual so she can have her back in case something goes wrong, but Zoey is worried that Stevie Rae will judge her for wanting to drink blood or something. Again, this makes no sense because they are all vampyre fledglings. But honestly who gives a fuck about that because suddenly Zoey’s phone stars vibrating with tons of messages from Heath, and the Casts attempt to write teen texts is gold. To put it another way, if the amazingness of these next lines could be translated into actual gold I would never have to work another day in my life and most likely could end world hunger.
Zo call me I stl luv u
Zo call me plz
Got 2 see u
U & Me
Will u call?
I wnt 2 talk 2 u Zo!
Call me bak
I would point out all the reasons these are just hilarious and terrible and amazing, but I can’t stop laughing. I also want to give you guys something to tear apart in the comments because we have another Postscript coming up soon. [Matthew says: It’s even better when you realize these are much less believable as texts from teens and more believable as candy hearts.]
The chapter ends with Zoey lamenting her horrible awful no good day and heading off to talk to Neferet about Heath’s obsession. [Matthew says: Ariel, it’s Heath’s IMPRINT. God, you have no respect for their vampyre problems.]
I didn’t wait for Stevie Rae’s good-bye, but took off in the direction of Neferet’s room. Could this day get any worse? Elliott dies and I’m attracted to his blood. I have to go to the Samhain ritual tonight with a bunch of kids who hate me and want to make sure I know it, and I’ve probably Imprinted my ex-almost-boyfriend.
Yep. Today really, really sucked.
You know, at least you weren’t the one who died, Worst. There is always that, you stupid douche-hag.