Previously in House of Night, Zoey is cheating on her boyfriend with a second guy. I’m genuinely confused how we’re supposed to find her to be a likeable main character. [Ariel says: I think we’re meant to find that Zoey’s flaws make her realer and more believable when in fact they’re just as bad as her allegedly good qualities. She’s somehow even the worst at being a Mary-Sue, which in a way just continues to make her super speshul. The worst Mary-Sue of all. Damn, girl.]
Zoey drinks Heath’s blood and the Casts sound like E L James.
The taste exploded in my mouth.
[Ariel says: Is this porn for 14 year old girls? What are the kids reading these days!] Man, after Fifty Shades I thought we’d never have to read sexual pleasure described as an explosion ever again. Maybe when Zoey finally does bang one of these three guys, her orgasm will erupt or detonate or something.
Zoey drinks Heath’s blood. Heath grabs her butt and her breast. Zoey rubs Heath’s erect penis over his pants. Look, it’s my job to summarize what’s going on for you. You can’t complain you’re not getting the full experience now. [Ariel says: Omg wut. Please stop this.]
I’m not gonna lie. This scene is incredibly confusing and frustrating to read. Zoey’s desires and feelings change so many times in this scene for unclear or nonexistent reasons that I’m honestly at a loss how to summarize this for you guys. Even the dialogue is a total clusterfuck of things that fall short of actually being coherent, although you’re probably not too surprised by that:
I turned my head and looked at him. “How the hell can you be so calm and normal-sounding?” […]
“Easy, Zo. Making-out with you is totally normal for me. You’ve been driving me crazy for years.”
Basically, Zoey tells Heath it’s not going to work, but he wins her over with the depth of his earnestness and love, and she agrees to try to meet up with him again. Yes, the same Heath that Zoey spent the entire first novel trashing for being stupid and denying that they had ever actually dated, and has literally never shown any indication she was actually romantically interested in him (much less likes him) until pretty much just now. [Ariel says: That one line about giving up drinking and drugs really was meant to symbolize tons of character development, huh, what do you know. The Casts really are as lazy as we make them out to be.] I guess the Casts were really desperate to make their protagonist seem desirable, and setting up a “oh my goodness, so many men like me, I don’t know what to do!” clusterfuck is a much easier way to do that than, say, writing a likeable character. [Ariel says: Just try to imagine a world where we like Zoey. See? It’s really fucking hard.]
Anyway, we now put Zoey’s out-of-control teenage love life to the side to instead focus on Zoey’s fake bomb threat to the FBI! This would be a seriously jarring shift in tone if either of these scenes could figure out what the fuck their tone is. As you’ll see, the Casts struggle with nailing the tone for this one too. Yes, they struggle with the tone of a bomb threat.
Guess which one the Casts went with?
“I want to report a bomb. […] My group, Nature’s Jihad (Shaunee came up with our name), planted it just below the waterline on one of the pylons (a word Damien had come up with) of the bridge that crosses the Arkansas River on I-40 […] We’re taking full responsibility for this act of civil disobedience (more Erin input, although she said terrorism is not actually civil disobedience, it’s… well… terrorism, which is definitely different) protesting the U.S. government’s interference in our lives and pollution in America’s rivers. Be warned that this is only our first strike!” […]
“What are you, ma’am, and where did you get this information?” [Ariel says: THE INTERNET!]
“Down with government intervention and pollution and up with the power of the people!” I yelled and then hung up.
Oh my god. Where do I fucking begin? Jesus, I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to make a list for this one. Thanks for fucking up with such great density, Casts.
- So the tone might not be hilarious, but it’s definitely not 100% serious because of how ridiculously Zoey is fucking up. “Down with government intervention and pollution and up with the power of the people!” Really?
- Nature’s Jihad. Seriously. I am pretty sure this is super racist? [Ariel says: And meaningless. You can’t fucking take any word and just add Jihad to the end unless you are Matt Stone and Trey Parker writing Team America World Police and are clearly satirizing people’s incorrect perceptions. You can’t just be like “GRILLED CHEESE JIHAD” or maybe you can and I’m the one that’s ignorant here. IDK.]
- Zoey’s constant, rambling asides have surpassed simply breaking up the pacing and have now actually gone into grammatical error territory. All those parentheses are inside the quotation marks, which would technically mean that Zoey is actually saying all of this to the person on the other end. I kind of want to pretend she did, because I like the mental image of this person having to suffer listening to Zoey speak like we do. [Ariel said: It would certainly help convince the FBI that she’s insane and a threat to society.]
Speaking of problems with tone, Stevie Rae enters the room and they immediately start talking about Zoey’s boy problems rather than the felony she just committed.
“I ran into my ex-boyfriend.”
“Ohmygoodness! Tell me everything.” She plopped down on her bed, eyes shining.
…why is this good news? Is Stevie Rae so desperate to live vicariously through Zoey that even her bad experiences are gossip fodder? [Ariel says: Yes. You nailed it in one!]
“Heath says he’s not seeing [Kayla] because of the crap she’s saying about vampyres.”
“See! We were right about her being the reason those cops were here asking stuff about you,” Stevie Rae said.
“Seems like it.”
What. No, that is a huge leap to conclusions there. Plus this leap to conclusions is “one high schooler without factual information was spreading a rumors which is obviously the single lead the cops acted on”, which is dumb.
“I still like him,” I admitted.
Well, this is the first we’re hearing of it, and we’ve been in Zoey’s head for a book and a half by now.
“I knew it! […] Man, you have like a zillion guys, Z.”
Conveniently, right as all of Z’s slut shaming from the first book has completely disappeared. [Ariel says: Being a slut is fine as long as you’re the one getting the attention from boys! When other girls do it, then it’s a problem. Life lessons with da Casts <3]
“What are you gonna do?”
“I have not got one clue,” I said miserably.
For those of you keeping score at home, Zoey wants to cheat on her boyfriend (or almost-boyfriend, depending on nothing in particular) with her teacher, and is cheating on him with her old high school fling, and Zoey sees nothing wrong with this. Aphrodite gives one dude one blow job and Zoey has never stopped slut shaming her. I realize I’m not the intended audience for this book, but is anyone on Zoey’s side here, or is everyone impatiently waiting for it to blow up in her face like I am? [Ariel says: It’s not the only thing that’s going to blow up in her face soon if ya know what I mean. I’m sorry, but it was just hanging there like the lowest of lowly fruit, and I had to take it.] [Matthew adds: Haha, “just hanging there” and “had to take it”. Like Heath’s dick.]