Previously, Erik returned from his Shakespeare competition, and Zoey felt guilty about her encounters with Loren and Heath. Given there isn’t really a plot to speak of, writing about what happened in the previous chapter [Matthew says: or the entire book] seems about as contextually relevant as telling you what happened on a previous episode of Spongebob before you sit down to watch it.
The chapter begins with Zoey and her crew prepping for the ritual that she’s been prepping for this whole book it seems. Why do I keep getting the chapters about rituals? It’s a travesty. [Matthew says: I keep getting the Loren Blake chapters. Shut the fuck up, Ariel.]
It was a big change to have me lead the Dark Daughters. Aphrodite had been leader for the past two years, and in that time the group had become a cliquish, snobby club where fledglings who weren’t part of the “in” crowd were used and made fun of.
Well, things were changing tonight.
Maybe I’d be more inclined to believe this if there was even a shred of evidence of how open-minded and welcoming Zoey is to people she doesn’t perceive as cool. Zoey’s version of being open-minded is to think something along the lines of, “He looked dorky, but not like one of those horrible dorks that no one wants to talk to, but a semi-attractive dork.” [Matthew says: Or that time Zoey thought, “Damien was cute. Not in the overly girly way so many teenage guys are”, because all outcast teenagers are equal, but some are more equal than others.]
I glanced at my friends. We’d all hurried to change our clothes before coming to the rec hall, and everyone had chosen to wear solid black to keep with the theme of the amazing dress Erik had given me. I glanced down at myself for the zillionth time. The dress was simple, but perfect. It had a round neckline that was low, but not as low as ho-ish Aphrodite’s ritual dresses had been. It was long-sleeved and hugged my body to the waist, from there down it swirled gracefully to the floor.
If you imagine Zoey as Chris Liley’s Ja’mie, everything suddenly makes a lot more sense. Especially her ridiculous hypocrisy. Seriously, one of the funniest things in Ja’mie Private School Girl is that Ja’mie is constantly saying how warm and kind she is and then in the next scene she’s antagonizing someone who isn’t in her group of friends. [Matthew says: That’s actually the most concise summary one of us has ever written of House of Night, and it was about a different show.]
Zoey observes Stevie Rae freak out while moving some candles with Damien, and Zoey proceeds to give us the most convoluted and unnecessary narration possible:
“Uh, Zoey, could you come here for a second?” Damien asked. He sounded normal again, and had I not been watching what had happened between the two of them I would have thought nothing more was going on than maybe they needed help with the candles. But I had been watching, which is why I didn’t yell from the center of the circle and ask what they wanted.
Good thing Zoey clarified that she’d been watching the scene that she’d told us she’d been watching and then explained why she didn’t do something I hadn’t been wondering if she would do. Otherwise that scene might have been really confusing.
Still looking wide-eyed, startled, and more than a little pale, Stevie Rae said, “Can’t you smell it?”
As you probably suspected, Stevie Rae let out a gigantic fart, so she called Zoey over to see if it was obvious.
But actually they somehow realized that Stevie Rae has an affinity for Earth and they’re smelling honeysuckle or some weird bullshit. Or Stevie Rae’s farts smell like honeysuckle, we can’t be too sure yet.
Zoey tells us how awesome it would be if Stevie Rae had been blessed with super special powers like Zoey. Does anyone actually believe that Zoey would be happy for Stevie Rae? I sure don’t. I feel like if anyone tried to dethrone her from her position as Queen of the Mary Sues she would secretly go ape shit.
Zoey gets one of her infamous “feelings” [Matthew says: No, really, it’s actually narrated in the book as, “Then it happened. I had one of my feelings.” Even House of Night is writing jokes about Zoey’s “feelings” now.] and has all of her friends stand in a circle. Shock of all shocks they each have an affinity for an element. WUT ARE THE ODDS OMG.
Erik has been lurking around for this revelation, and I’m surprised the Casts didn’t invent some new element for Erik to have an affinity for. Better yet, I wish Zoey had made up an affinity for him the same way you give a baby a fake key ring to chew on. “Erik you totally have an affinity for Hollister – don’t you smell their cologne in the air?” I just assume Erik wears Hollister cologne. Seriously, from what I can tell all having an affinity for an element means is that suddenly the air around you smells different.
I guess maybe Zoey can accept her friends’ elemental affinities because she’s still got an affinity for all of the elements, thus continuing her reign as Queen Mary Sue.
Following my gut feeling I motioned for Erik to come back to the center of the circle, which he did with a huge grin on his face.
“That may be the coolest thing I’ve ever seen,” he said.
“Just wait. If I’m right, and I think I am, there’s more.” I gave him the blue candle. “Now take this one to Erin.”
“Your wish is my command,” he said with an old -time flourish. If anyone else bowed like that in public they would have looked like an utter dork. Erik looked like an utter hottie—part gentleman, part bad boy pirate.
Where in God’s name did “bad boy pirate” come from? The Casts shouldn’t be allowed to describe a person’s level of hotness anymore the same way 50 Cent should not be allowed to throw a baseball.
After all the girls realize they have an affinity for the elements, it’s Damien’s turn to see if he does too (hint: he does). It’s also time to see that even the elements can’t stop equating Damien’s sexuality to femininity (newsflash that will blow your mind: gay men are still men):
In Soc class I’d learned that it was unusual for a gift as strong as an affinity for an element to be given to a male. Nyx gifted men with exceptional strength, and their affinities usually had to do with the physical, like Dragon, our fencing instructor, had been gifted with exceptional quickness and visual accuracy. Air was definitely a female affinity, and it would be nothing short of incredible for Nyx to gift Damien with an air affinity.
“Superb! Glorious! Wondrous!” Damien made use of his large vocabulary while his brown hair lifted and his clothes flapped crazily in the sudden wind that surrounded him. When he looked at me again happy tears were running down his cheeks.
“Nyx has given me a gift. Me,” he enunciated carefully, and I knew what he was saying in that one word—that he realized Nyx found him worthy even though his parents didn’t, and even though much of his life people had made fun of him because he liked guys.
I like how each of the last two paragraphs emphasize Damien’s only two character traits like his large vocabulary, which isn’t even that large in this example. Superb/glorious/wondrous are somewhat fancier compared to a word like “awesome” or “woah,” but not really all that impressive. [Matthew says: I gotta be honest here, I actually kind of liked Damien’s surprise that something good happened to him. Taken with a considerable grain of heavy-handed salt, of course. But Damien’s the only character I’ve come to give any degree of fucks about, between the Casts intentionally giving him homophobic parents and unintentionally giving him homophobic authors.]
Not positive, but it also seems like we may finally have confirmation that Damien likes guys! I haven’t been an English major in awhile, so it’s hard for me to do an accurate close reading of this scene.
Neferet takes this moment to stride in and praise Zoey and her friends…before telling everyone of Zoey’s plans for the group but kind of making them seem like her ideas and stealing Zoey’s thunder. Wow, someone who is a bigger asshole than Zoey! She’ll definitely be a solid enemy for Zoey in the future.
“I have also decided that it would behoove our fledglings to become more involved with the surrounding community. After all, ignorance breeds fear and hatred. So I want the Dark Daughters and Sons to begin working with a local charity. After much consideration I decided that the perfect organization would be Street Cats, the rescue charity for homeless cats.”
There was good-humored laughter at this, which was the reaction Neferet had had when I’d told her my decision to have the Dark Daughters involved in that particular charity. I could not believe Neferet was taking credit for everything that I had told her that night at dinner.
I still find it fucking hysterical that in order to foster more positive feelings between humans and vampyres they’re helping a homeless cats charity. At least the book kind of acknowledges that it’s pretty funny, I would have thought it would take itself way too seriously as usual.
Also, for once I’m with Zoey, Neferet is a total cow. [Matthew says: Yep, Neferet has truly established her position as a secretly evil antagonist by doing something so dastardly as stealing credit for a teenager’s ideas for a school club. Fuck your social prejudice and quest for eternal life and reign over humanity, Voldemort! Neferet’s pretending she came up with an idea to help stray cats!][Ariel says: I just hate idea stealers so much! They’re in an evil category all of their own. Can you imagine if Voldemort had also taken credit for Harry’s, or more accurately Hermione’s ideas? A truly terrifying thought.]
Neferet then brings in some wet cement so the prefects can all leave some handprints.
Neferet: Zoey, this was totally your awesome idea!!
Zoey: Thanks for giving me credit for the one idea that was actually Damien’s. [Matthew says: Fuck your horcruxes, Voldemort! Neferet has second grade art projects!]
Neferet: Great idea, Damien!
Damien: I’m both the gay which means I like guys AND the gay which means I’m happy. LOOK AT MY VOCAB SKILLZ.
Tune in next time to see what words Damien will use next!