Having just learned that Aphrodite is having a vision of Zoey’s grandmother dying, Zoey demands to know what’s going on. [Ariel says: Lady be getting old, is all.] During her vision, Aphrodite is uncharacteristically unnerved and dependent on Zoey to keep her calm. She spurts out snippets of her vision – a bridge, a fire, some little boys in a car – before suddenly her vision is over and the Casts decide, “Nah, let’s just get it over with.”
“The bridge her car’s on collapses and she crashes into the river and drowns,” she said flatly.
As absurdly exaggerated as Aphrodite’s sudden shift from vulnerable to bitch stereotype is, you should take a moment to appreciate how this actually objectively makes her this novel’s character with the most depth, because we’ve now seen her have two emotions.
Zoey wants to go to Neferet for help. Aphrodite doesn’t want to take her vision to Neferet, and will refuse to tell Zoey any more of her vision if she does.
Zoey reluctantly asks Aphrodite what she does want in return for her help.
“I just want you to listen to me so that you know that Nyx hasn’t abandoned me.”
Wow, that was surprisingly deep! Maybe there’s going to be some nuance to this story after a-
“And I want you to owe me.”
Oh, okay, back to this, I see. [Ariel says: They were so close to counting to three.]
“Someday you’re going to be a powerful High Priestess, more powerful even than Neferet. Someday I may need protection, and that’s when you owing me will come in handy.”
This does have interesting implications that Aphrodite knows way more about what’s really going on that Zoey or the reader does. I wonder if we’ll find out sometime in the next ten novels. [Ariel says: It’s annoying, though, that this interesting and tactical decision is again based simply on the fact that Zoey is Super Speshul. Come on Aphrodite, I thought I could count on you.] Aphrodite wants Zoey to make a vampyre promise, because when vampyres make a promise it is binding. Obviously.
“If you tell me how to save my grandma I give you my word that I will owe you a favor.”
“Of my choice,” she said slyly.
Wow, Zoey, you could maybe have thought this one through for more than two seconds. This is pretty obviously a trap. Zoey even noticed that she did this “slyly”! How much more of a red flag do you need? Could you imagine (say it with me!) if other novels were written this way?
- “I was studying in the restricted section when I came across a term I didn’t understand. I believe it was called a ‘horcrux’.” Tom Riddle said evilly.
- “My name is Tyler Durden,” Tyler said unreliably.
- “They’ve got you too!” Winston cried.
“They got me a long time ago,” said O’Brien plot-twistingly.
[Ariel says: At least so far the Casts have yet to write “I’m gay,” Damien said gayly. “And I’m black!” Shaunee said blackly. Though they have come really close.]
Now that Zoey has agreed to owe Aphrodite an unspecified favor of her choosing that vampyre magic will force her to do (great job, Zoey), Aphrodite explains the details of her vision. Aphrodite determines what turnpike the accident takes place on, but can’t specify what bridge. Aphrodite determines a time, but is only pretty sure it’ll take place that afternoon. Aphrodite tries to figure out what caused the accident in the first place, but has nothing. Good job making that unbreakable promise to help Aphrodite with literally anything in the future for this great intel, Zoey.
Zoey realizes that she can’t just tell her grandma to stay away from the bridge, because the accident will still happen, meaning everyone else Aphrodite saw dying in her vision will still die. Zoey points this out to Aphrodite, who doesn’t care.
“So you’re just going to let the rest of those people die?”
“What do you care? Your grandma’s going to be okay.”
“You make me sick, Aphrodite. Do you care about anyone but yourself?”
“Whatever, Zoey. Like you’re so perfect? I didn’t hear you caring about anyone else except your grandma.”
Um, she… literally just did care about people other than her grandma? That’s why you’re having this conversation at all? [Ariel says: How did Zoey suddenly start looking like the better one in this conversation? Everything I believed has been turned on its head right now.]
“You know, having crappy parents isn’t an excuse to be heartless,” I said. […]
“What would you know about it?”
Zoey tells Aphrodite that she has had parent issues since her mom remarried three years ago. Aphrodite tells Zoey, uh, that’s not even the same thing at all why are you talking?
“Try eighteen years of a lot more than just ‘pain-in-the-ass parent issues’ and maybe you’ll start to get something about it. Until then, you don’t know shit.” Then, like the old Ahprodite I knew and couldn’t stand, she slipped her hair and stalked away, wiggling her narrow butt like I cared.
…I got nothing. [Ariel says: This scene would be a lot more interesting if Zoey did care about the wiggling of Aphrodite’s narrow butt.]
Zoey pulls out her cell phone to call her grandma, but first goes on a quick tangent about Heath and how she accidentally imprinted him, to remind us that that’s still a subplot, I guess. Zoey tells her grandma not to get in her car today, and she reassures Zoey that she has confidence she can stop the accident from happening. I was going to write something like “I totally bet that will work out well”, except, well, we are only 30% through this book and it’s not like it has any narrative structure anyway, so it’s entirely possible this first thing that actually looks like a plot will get resolved in the next chapter or two, which is somehow worse.