Last chapter, evil spirits possessed Aphrodite, and Zoey was the only one who could save the day. Despite this fact, Zoey’s friends popped out from behind potted plants to support her. Now Nefert has also emerged from her hiding spot (“the shadows”) to restore order. [Matthew says: Basically, if you forgot what happened in the last chapter, just imagine the characters throwing a surprise party for the plot.]
[Matthew has a real quick interruption: Also, a new website I also write for called Abstract Magazine just launched today! It’s run by my friends from uni when I studied abroad in England, and the site has culture, life, and politics pieces written by just-graduated twentysomethings discussing what just-graduated twentysomething life is like. If you like my writing (can’t imagine why), you should check my piece out, and also just read everything else that’s up there. Okay! Cool! Go do that! And now back to our regularly scheduled programming: vampyres!]
We’ve somehow made it to the end of this book and we still have no idea what the plot is, but that’s okay because maybe this chapter will set up plot for the rest of the series? [Matthew says: WRITING PRO TIP: It’s okay to write an entire book that doesn’t tell a story so long as you set up goddamned eleven sequels.]
Neferet goes to check on Heath and Erik to make sure their ghost-related injuries aren’t fatal. She Men in Blacks Heath to make sure he doesn’t remember what happened tonight. Because apparently it’s fine if he knows the existence of vampyres but not of evil spirits? [Matthew says: Well, everybody in this book knows that vampyres exist. Not even people reading this book are allowed to know that evil spirits exist until they show up suddenly, though.]
“He will recover, and he will remember nothing of this night except that he got drunk and then lost trying to find his ex-almost-girlfriend.” She looked up at me as she said the last of it, her eyes kind and filled with understanding.
It’s hard to choose which of Neferet’s powers is more exciting. Is it the ability to brainwash humans or her deep connection to cats? Impossible decision! [Matthew says: I think it’s her power to tolerate Zoey’s inane relationship labels.]
Neferet confronts Aphrodite and strips her of her high-priestess-in-training status.
Neferet rips Aphrodite’s necklace off of her, and maybe this super special necklace has been mentioned before, but I can’t for the life of me remember it. [Matthew says: I don’t even remember that this happened, so… no?]
“Zoey Redbird, I knew you were special from the day Nyx let me foresee that you would be Marked.”
Every other line in this book is about Zoey being special. Jesus, give it a rest, Casts. [Matthew says: It’s especially awful in this chapter, as you might imagine:
“Tonight you showed the wisdom of the Goddess’s choice in gifting you with special powers […] through your compassion and wisdom.”
Compassion? Wisdom? Zoey craves not these things. If anything, Zoey would actually make fun of me right now for making a Star Wars reference; we have a very specific precedent for this.]
All the teens bow to Zoey, the new leader of the Dark Daughters (so I guess that was the plot of this book all along?), and Zoey thinks this:
But even in the midst of such perfect happiness I felt the shadow of confusion. How could I have ever doubted that I could tell Neferet anything?
Lest you, like many of us, missed the hint to Neferet’s evil nature, Zoey reminds us of this presumably so we understand this might come up again in future books. And now you’ve learned all about foreshadowing thanks to the Casts!
Everyone starts sneaking back to school even though Neferet was just there. This would be like if you snuck out of the house as a teenager to go to a party, your parents showed up at the party and declared you were the new King or Queen Drunkster of Drunksville and that they couldn’t be more proud of you, and then after they left you went out of your way to sneak back into your house.
Group hugs are shared by the gang in celebration. Erik shows up and says, “Hey, can I get in on this?” Yuck. [Matthew says: I still have no idea if we’re “supposed” to like Erik Night or not. Zoey slut shames him all the time, yet she’s super proud of him for risking his life for Heath. I don’t get it! It’s like Zoey has complicated feelings that aren’t black-and-white! What the fuck is this shit? Casts, you’ve been outlining how we’re supposed to feel about everything so clearly thus far! Why do you abandon us in our time of need?]
Somehow there is only a page or so left of the book and yet a bunch of…”plot” or whatever you want to call it is shoved into one scene. This means I’m going to tear this fucking ending apart.
Zoey hears Nala making her weird cat noises, and she goes to find her only to have Aphrodite “step out of the shadows”. What is it with everyone stepping out from fucking shadows or from behind potted plants? [Matthew says: Not just potted plants. “Ornamental hedges”. The bourgeoisie of the potted plant world.]
“You might have won tonight, but this isn’t over,” she told me. She made me feel really tired.
“I wasn’t trying to ‘win’ anything. I was just trying to make things right.”
“And that’s what you think you did?” Her eyes darted nervously back and forth from me to the path that led to the gazebo, as if someone had followed her. “You don’t really know what happened here tonight. You were just being used—we were all just being used. We’re puppets, that’s all we are.” She angrily wiped at her face and I realized she was crying.
“Aphrodite, it doesn’t have to be like this between us,” I said softly.
“Yes it does!” she snapped. “It’s the parts we’re supposed to play. You’ll see…you’ll see.…” Aphrodite started to walk away.
A thought drifted unexpectedly from my memory. It was of Aphrodite, during her vision. As if it was happening again, I could hear her say, They’re dead! No. No. That can’t be! Not right. No. Not natural! I don’t understand…I don’t…You…you know. Her scream of terror echoed eerily through my mind. I thought of Elizabeth…of Elliott…the fact that they had appeared to me. Too much of what she said made sense.
Too much of what she said made sense???? What part exactly made “too much” sense? Was is all the vague, ominous statements? Was it all the ellipses? Was it the part where she gave you no concrete information whatsoever? [Matthew adds: Was it the part where you reflected on Aphrodite predicting something that hasn’t happened yet where you realized everything makes too much sense?]
“Aphrodite, wait!” She looked over her shoulder at me. “The vision you had today in Neferet’s office, what was it really about?”
Slowly, she shook her head. “It’s only beginning. It’s going to get much worse.” She turned and suddenly hesitated. Her way was blocked by five kids—my friends.
The fact that the Casts try to briefly infuse suspense into this moment but acting like the identity of these “five kids” is mysterious is amazing. It’s not even like the scene itself was all that tense. Like if Zoey was about to be killed by a serial killer and she was like, “Suddenly, a man approached – it was Travis Maddox” I would be surprised as shit. What a sweet reveal/crossover combo that would be!
Zoey informs us that she’s going to find out what Aphrodite knows about the zombie ghost teens, but until then she goes home with her friendz. I guess this is meant to convince us there is still more story worth telling and to let us know this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Aphrodite. Get ready to find out if the next book has a plot because we’re starting Betrayed tomorrow, and I have a feeling someone will be betrayed.