So as you might know, I was in South Korea for a week and a half! While I was there, I got to see the English section of a public library and see what classics were represented!
And even stretching the definition of “classic” by Bad Books, Good Times standards:
Previously on House of Night, Neferet finally showed her first open signs of villainy by… taking credit for a high school girl’s ideas. Villainous!
But lest you worried that Zoey would have to face a problem for more than one chapter… well… I… I really don’t know why you would worry about that.
Before the ritual starts, Zoey muses on how the only person who would believe her that something was wrong with Neferet is Aphrodite. It’s a clever twist because in the first book they hated each other! Talk about contrast! Zoey gets nervous because a large number of students have shown up to see Zoey’s first Dark Daughters ritual, which we’ve previously understood to be a private event for an exclusive club, but I can see why the Casts would change that without really offering any prior explanation, because now more people can appreciate how Zoey is the best at everything. Speaking of more people:
“I thought I’d volunteer my services to you.”
Loren’s deep voice had me jumping and making an unattractive little squeaking noise.
Yay it’s Loren Blake, romantic interest and poetry teacher at Zoey’s high school. Our favorite. [Ariel says: Wow, you really do keep getting the chapters with him! AND you got a ritual. I take back my complaint from the last post about getting all the ritual chapters. Sorry, buddy 🙁 ]
He gave me a long, slow, sexy smile. “I thought you knew I was here.”
“No. I was a little distracted.”
“Stressed, I bet.” He touched my arm in a gesture that probably looked innocent. You know, friendly and professorially supportive. But felt like a caress, a really warm caress.
[Ariel says: It sounds to me like pedophilia. Really warm pedophilia.]
I like how the Casts have to constantly jump through hoops to make Loren not sound like a sexual predator. This would be like writing The Sound of Music fanfiction and constantly having to describe Rolf’s actions as “not Nazi-like”.
Loren offers to recite a poem during Zoey’s ritual, like he does for the High Priestess’s rituals. Furthermore, he implies that he’s going to “clear up” Neferet’s stealing Zoey’s ideas for the Dark Daughters reformation!
“Really? How are you going to do that?” I asked with just a hint of a flirty smile, very aware that the entire room was watching us and that the entire room included my boyfriend.
Wow, somehow the Casts wrote a scene where a future statutory rapist comes off as more likeable than Zoey. It’s almost impressive how badly the Casts missed the mark at writing a likeable main character. [Ariel says: I know, I just can’t let this go, but if you imagine the whole book as Ja’mie it is so hilarious and perfect. But since this wasn’t the Casts intentions, I agree, how could they possible think Zoey comes off as likeable and cool?]
Zoey looks around and determines that neither her boyfriend nor her friends thought her interaction with Loren looked weird, and then the ritual begins! Zoey prepares to dance as Loren recites a poem by William Blake and Jack (who is now Zoey’s sound guy for some reason) plays… Enya…
No, seriously, this is what’s in the book.
[Ariel says: Not going to lie, I’ve been listening to Enya as a kid, and I still love her music, so I am so mad right now. WHY WOULD THIS BOOK DO THIS TO ME??? It’s also really weird and out of place in this scene!]
The magical sounds of Enya’s orchestral song “Aldebaran” filled the room. […] When Loren’s voice began reciting the poem, he, too, echoed the cadence of the music, just like my body was, and it felt like we were making magic together.
“‘I have no name,
I am but two days old.’
What shall I call thee?”
How are these real words written in a real book. How the fuck do you read that poem in rhythm with that song? How did no one look at the line where the underage Zoey describes an experience with her teacher as “like we were making magic together” and not think “maybe there are a billion less creepy ways to word that”?
Zoey moves on to the part of the ritual that has appeared through House of Night more frequently than any given plot and/or subplot: another goddamned circle.
It is exactly the same as every other circle. There. Now you can read 5-7 pages of a completely different book. You’re welcome.
After the circle is cast and demonstrates Zoey’s talents and her friends’ talents but mostly Zoey’s talents, she begins a speech about changing the Dark Daughters “from the type of incense burned, to the abuse of our classmates” and fixing the Dark Daughters’ “old negative reputation”. She tries to clumsily work her “five ideals for the five elements” into her speech.
“My friend Damien is the most authentic person I know, even when being true to himself has been a hard thing to be.”
Wait, dang, that was actually a nice moment for the novel’s most sympathetic character! Maybe this won’t be so-
“My friend Erin’s beauty sometimes fools people into thinking she has great hair, but no brains. It’s not true. She is one of the wisest people I know”
Okay, the problem with this one isn’t – amazingly enough – Zoey insipidly bringing up something that would make her friend uncomfortable, but rather that this suggests that any details about Erin at all have been previously established.
The chapter ends with Zoey finishing her speech and with the audience cheering in awe of the Casts. I mean, Zoey.