House of Night, Chosen: Chapter 5
At the local IHOP, Zoey reflects on last chapter’s conversation with Stevie Rae. As some of you may or may not recall, Stevie Rae is undead, Damien is gay, and Zoey is not a lesbian or a slut and is also more special than anyone else who has ever lived OR UNLIVED. These facts are important if you want to have any clue what is going on in these books!
I wondered if she’d burst into flame if sunlight touched her. Crap. That would definitely be bad, especially since we’re meeting at 3:00 A.M.,which was only a couple hours before dawn. Crap again.
Some might even say double crap. #AnastasiaSteele4Ever.
Just in case it slipped your mind,
I had to keep the knowledge that Stevie Rae was undead versus dead dead from everyone.
Zoey goes back to campus where she prays to Nyx and reminds us that she is really special:
I smiled in satisfaction. I hadn’t been exaggerating to Stevie Rae. I had been practicing calling the elements during the past month, and I was getting really good at it. (Not that my awesome, goddess-given power would help me soothe my friends’ hurt feelings, but still.)
Man, no matter how special Zoey is, she sure does have some normal girl problems! Don’t cha just wish there was an affinity for friendship womp womp. [Matthew says: Ariel, I know you’re joking, but I have a new theory that the reason everyone in House of Night is an awful person because they don’t have goddess-given affinities for friendship, for tact, for not saying offensive shit, etc. IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW.]
Speaking of normal girl problems, Erik shows up and is really butt hurt, presumably because of Heath’s note that revealed Zoey hated all the Christmas/birthday presents she got. Also because she’s been distant since Stevie Rae’s death? You’d think he’d cut her some slack for that one.
“Stevie Rae’s death has really shaken you up, hasn’t it?”
I jumped and let out an unattractive squeak. “Jeesh, Erik! You scared me so bad I almost peed myself. Do not sneak up on me like that.”
“Fine. Sorry. I shouldn’t have bothered you. Later.” He started to walk away.
“Wait, I don’t want you to go. You just surprised me. Next time rustle a leaf or cough or something. Okay?”
He stopped walking and turned back to me. His face was guarded, but he gave me a tight nod and said, “Okay.”
Can you imagine if every time someone startled you they acted like you’d just told them to never show their fucking face around you again? My husband would have had to move out of our apartment ages ago. Well FINE if you don’t want me to appear behind you silently and terrifyingly than I’ll just get out of your hair forever! [Matthew says: Just scatter some leaves around your apartment. That’s the Zoey way.]
Zoey apologises for not warning her friends earlier that getting her Christmas themed birthday presents would be a bad idea. Well done, Zoey! When she tries to explain how things have been hard for her since Stevie Rae, the narrative goes back to making no sense:
Then I added lamely, “Plus, you’re right. Stevie Rae has really shaken me up.” Then I clamped my mouth shut because I realized I had (again) talked about the supposedly dead Stevie Rae as if she was alive, or in her case I guess I should say not dead.
I feel like that wasn’t talking about Stevie Rae like she was still alive (I MEAN UNDEAD), that’s a completely normal way to phrase it whether you’re talking about the fact that she died or the fact that she is undead. In case you forgot she was not dead dead, but dead.
Erik offers to give Zoey some space, but she says that’s not what she wants and actually there’s a lot more stuff going on. Surely, a dead friend could be enough of an explanation here, especially when you explicitly can’t talk to Erik about the rest of the stuff.
Of course Erik implores Zoey to tell him what the other stuff is because he’s good at fixing problems, which I guess we’re supposed to believe because he’s handsome, and this somehow just leads to Zoey and Erik telling each other how intimidating and cool and perfect the other one is. It’s also the perfect opportunity for Casts to remind us how awkward they are about gay people, as though we could have forgotten:
I rested my cheek against his chest. “Are you kidding, of course you’re good at fixing problems.You’re good at everything. Actually, you’re freakishly close to perfect.”
I felt his chest rumble as he laughed. “You say that like it’s a bad thing.”
“It’s not a bad thing—it’s an intimidating thing,” I mumbled.
“Intimidating!” He pulled back so that he could look at me. “You’ve got to be kidding!” He laughed again.
I frowned up at him. “Why are you laughing at me?”
He hugged me and said, “Z, do you have any clue what it’s like to date a girl who is the most powerful fledgling in the history of vampyres?”
The Casts must have had a scoring system they use when they wrote this shit to make sure every conversation covers as many of their favourite topics as possible. Awesome, we managed to talk about how Zoey is the most powerful and special of all the vampyres that ever existed! Now, lesbians:
“No, I don’t date girls.” Not that there’s anything wrong with lesbians.
He took my chin in his hand and tilted my face up. “You can be scary, Z. You control the elements, all of them. Talk about having a girlfriend it’d be best not to piss off.”
HOLY SHIT WE MANAGED TO TALK ABOUT LESBIANS AND HOW COOL WE ARE WITH THEM AND THE FACT THAT ZOEY CONTROLS ALL THE ELEMENTS!!
Zoey’s all-knowing “deep-gut feeling” makes a return and prevents her from opening up to Erik more. It’s a good thing it stopped her because two seconds later he’s like, “Oh, I know you’d rather talk to Neferet cause she is cool as shit and not evil at all.”
This mention of Neferet causes Zoey to pull away from Erik’s sweet sweet embrace, and this is where things go from silly bad to rage-inducing bad.
Erik immediately thinks that Zoey has pulled away because Heath is coming back in two days (I forget where Heath is off to. I guess characters in these books are just constantly disappearing off to conferences and football highlight clubs or something in order to keep them out of the “plot” for awhile. I bet Erik will suddenly announce he has a Nicholas Cage acting competition coming up in which everyone just has to recite monologues from Cage’s movies.) [Matthew says: Already sounds better than this book.]
Zoey tries to tell Erik he hasn’t done anything wrong, but he isn’t satisfied. No, he has to talk about Imprinting and sex. For some reason reading about sex in this series skeeves me out, and we’re also reading Grey.
“I can’t compete with an Imprint. I know that. And I’m not trying to. I just thought you and I had something special. We’ll last a lot longer than some biological thing you have with a human. You and I are alike, and you and Heath aren’t. At least not anymore.”
“Erik, you’re not competing with Heath.”
“I researched Imprinting. It’s about sex.”
I could feel my face getting hot. Of course he was right. Imprinting was sexual because the act of drinking a human’s blood turned on the same receptor in the vamp’s brain and the human’s brain that was turned on during orgasm. Not that I wanted to discuss that with Erik. So instead I decided to stick with the surface facts and not get into the deeper stuff. “It’s about blood, not sex.”
He gave me a look that said he had (unfortunately) been telling the truth. He’d done his research.
Naturally, I got defensive. “I’m still a virgin, Erik, and I’m not ready to change that.”
“I didn’t say you—”
“Sounds like you’re getting me mixed up with your last girlfriend,” I interrupted. “The one I saw on her knees in front of you trying to give you another blow job.”
Leave Aphrodite out of this, you asshole. Also, being a virgin wasn’t the point at all – think of all the boner rubbing Zoey’s done with Heath! Erik isn’t way off base being insecure and worried about his place in her life. I mean, why he wants to be in her life is unclear beyond “she controls all the elements!” What Erik did before he was Zoey’s boyfriend also has a right to make her insecure, but the situations are completely different because that happened before he’d even met Zoey.
To her credit, Zoey does realize after she says it that she unfairly brought up that moment and hadn’t even known Erik then. She then claims this whole fight is actually about Erik pressuring her to have sex, which is weird because I did not get that vibe at all. Erik says he just wants Zoey to stop physically pulling away from him all the time. A man’s got cuddling needs! Erik presents some flawless logic:
I heard Erik’s deep sigh. “Well, you’ve already said you don’t date girls, so that should mean you would like it when I touch you.”
Can you guys hear my deep sigh? All that’s preventing the women of the world from liking every man’s touch is the fact that she is actually probably a lesbian because otherwise Erik’s logic is wrong, and there’s no way Erik could be wrong! He’s the hottest guy in school!
I looked up at him. “It does. I do.” Then I decided I was going to tell him the truth. Or at least as much of the truth as I could. “It’s just hard to let you get close to me when I’m dealing with, well, stuff.” Oh, great. I called it stuff. I’m a moron. Why does this kid still like me?
“Z, does this stuff have to do with figuring out how to deal with your powers?”
“Yeah.” Okay, that was pretty much a lie but not totally.
Zoey tries to convince us that everything that’s been happening is because of her powers so it’s not really a lie. Sure. But how is that the conclusion Erik jumped to and not just, “Wow, your friend just died, it must have messed with your head on top of how your life has gone through a really big change and your parents hate you.” Like it would have been way more reasonable if he was like, “Oh, is your birthday hard this year because of your awful family?”
Once Zoey has affirmed that it isn’t touching Erik that’s the problem, they have a “hot make-out session.”
We’re treated to inner-monologue gold like:
I mean, I’m no ho like Aphrodite, but I’m not a nun either.
For someone who is most definitely not a lesbian, Zoey sure does think of very sexual times to think about Aphrodite. I am fully onboard if that’s the direction the series goes.
“You feel so good,” he whispered against my lips.
“So do you,” I whispered back. Pressing myself against him I deepened the kiss. And then on impulse (ho-ish impulse at that) I took his hand from the small of my back and moved it up so that it was cupping the side of my breast. He moaned again and his kiss got harder and hotter. He slid his hand down and under my sweater, and then back up so that he had my breast in his hand, bare except for my lacy black bra.
I love how the Casts are like, “We need Zoey to be sexy but not a ho! Over the bra boob touching is the way to play this one.” I’ve tried to give Zoey’s slut-shaming the benefit of the doubt from a character perspective. [Matthew says: Which is very much not a stance I’ve taken.] I’m like, okay maybe her step-father’s insane views have gotten to her and she’s got these complicated feeling about sex that she’s not even fully aware of, and these books are her coming of age story where she’s going to just accept her desires and not have to call them “ho-ish impulses.” But then I think about the Casts’ writing abilities and there’s only so much I can polish a turd in my mind. Because this line happens next:
Okay, I’ll just admit it. I liked him touching my boob. It felt good. It especially felt good that I was proving to Erik that I hadn’t rejected him.
The Casts have given me 0 evidence that I should believe that this was a deliberate, character-defining moment. That a major part of Zoey’s pleasure in this scene is “proving to Erik that [she] hadn’t rejected him.” You know what’s better than having a guy touch your boob? Proving to him that you will let him touch your boob. [Matthew says: You know what’s better than having a guy touch your boob? Having a guy touch your boob, but not like you’re a ho or anything!]
Zoey winds up sucking a bit of blood from Erik’s lip and really enjoying it when suddenly they’re interrupted by none other than Loren Blake! The Poet Laureate and sexy professor!
One thing that came up in this chapter that I didn’t mention was that Erik is 19 – can you believe that? Zoey is 17! I keep forgetting they aren’t all 14. It’s a relief, but it was the only way I could excuse how immature all of these characters are.