House of Night, Chosen Chapter 7
Erin and Shaunee can’t fathom why Zoey is up and at ’em so early, so she lies and says she has to go prepare for their ritual tonight. This excuse is believable as there is always a ritual coming up at any given time in these books. Little do they know that Zoey is actually looking for ways to revive Stevie Rae – or, more eloquently, “I was actually talking about a ritual to make poor undead-dead Stevie Rae un-undead.”
Zoey also asks the twins to let their friends know that she wants to meet before the ritual so they can practice with Erik stepping in to take Stevie Rae’s place in the ritual, representing earth. Everyone is sad about Stevie Rae until Zoey remembers happier things:
“Good, then we’ll go watch 300 after that,” I said.
That really made them grin.
Nothing takes your mind off a dead friend like 300. You know, with all the man-titties.
At the library, Zoey runs into none other than Loren. By “runs into” I of course mean he’s very clearly stalking Zoey and being creepy as fuck, except he’s hot so Zoey just swoons instead of calling the vampyre police. [Matthew says: Which is a good time to remind everyone that Loren Blake is a teacher at the high school. And a good time to remind everyone that Zoey is a student. And a good time to remind everyone that P.C. Cast has said in interviews that Zoey is based on her daughter, Kristin Cast. And that P.C. Cast is also a high school teacher. What the even fuck is going on here?]
I turned around and almost banged dorkishly right into Loren Blake.
Who I can only assume was just standing behind Zoey, breathing heavily, waiting for her to turn around. [Matthew says: How does one dorkishly bang? There are questions here we’re not getting answers to.]
“Combating Evil, huh? Interesting choice of reading material.”
His nearness did not help my nerves. “You know me” (which he really didn’t). “I like to be prepared.”
His brow wrinkled in confusion. “Are you expecting an attack of evil?”
“No!” I said way too quickly. So I laughed, trying for a gay, carefree tone (gay, hee-hee), but was sure I came across as totally fake.
For just one chapter can the Casts refrain from making weird comments about being gay or even just weird comments about the word ‘gay’! Zoey’s reaction to using the word gay in a completely different context doesn’t even make sense. It’s not like when you say “duty” and you’re like, “Hee-hee DOODY. Because poop!” Sexual preferences, har har!
Zoey lies and tells Loren that she’s embarrassed she’s studying for when she becomes a High Priestess.
Loren smiled. “Why would that be embarrassing to admit? I wouldn’t have imagined you as one of those silly women who think being well read and well educated is an embarrassment.”
I felt my cheeks start to get warm—he’d called me a “woman,” which was way better than him calling me a fledgling or a kid. He always made me feel so grown, so womanly. “Oh, no, that’s not it. It’s embarrassing because it sounds kinda conceited to assume that I’m going to actually be a High Priestess someday.”
“I think that assumption is just good common sense and justifiable self-confidence.” His smile warmed till I swear I could feel the heat of it against my skin. “I always have been drawn to confident women.”
God, he made my toes squidge.
“You don’t have any idea how special you are, do you, Zoey? You’re unique. Not like the rest of the fledglings. You’re a goddess among those who think themselves demigods.” When his hand caressed the side of my face, lingering on the tattoos that framed my eyes, I thought I’d melt into the bookshelves. “I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright. Who art as black as hell, as dark as night.”
That has to be a new record – he told Zoey how special she is in four different ways. In one piece of dialogue no less!
Zoey asks what he was quoting, and Loren explains he’s quoting Shakespeare and uses this as a not-at-all-creepy segue to tell Zoey this:
“It’s from one of the sonnets he wrote to the Dark Lady, who was his true love. We know, of course, that he was a vampyre. But we believe the true love of his life was a young girl who had been Marked and who died as a fledgling without completing the Change.”
“I thought adult vampyres weren’t supposed to have relationships with fledglings.” We were so close that I didn’t have to speak much above a whisper for him to hear me.
“We’re not supposed to. It’s highly improper. But sometimes there’s an attraction that happens between two people that transcends the vampyre-fledgling boundary, as well as age and propriety. Do you believe in that kind of attraction, Zoey?”
He was talking about us!
No shit, Zoey! Also that all happened so smoothly that I feel like Loren is just manipulating the situation in any way he can to be like, “I want to bone you, girl.” Of course, Zoey is too distracted by how handsome he is to pick up on this.
He was so insanely handsome and so much older that he made me feel at the same time incredibly attracted to him and scared to death that I was playing with something so far beyond what I’d ever experienced that it could easily spiral out of control. But the attraction was there—and if he was right, it definitely transcended the vampyre-fledgling boundary. So much so that Erik had even noticed how Loren looked at me.
I think I wouldn’t be so skeeved out by all this if Zoey was a more mature person, but she thinks like a 13/14 year old still, [Matthew says: Damn, that’s generous. I was gonna go with maybe 7?] because I didn’t feel like this about Angel and Buffy even though Buffy was 16 and Angel was a vampire who was older than she was! But Loren comes across as such a gross predator. If you don’t believe me, wait till what I have in store next.
First, Zoey starts feeling guilty about Erik until she doesn’t:
“Yes. I believe in that kind of attraction. Do you?”
“I do now.” His smile was sad. It made him look suddenly very young and handsome and so vulnerable that my guilty thoughts of Erik evaporated. I wanted to take Loren in my arms and tell him it would be all right. I was just getting up the nerve to move even closer to him when his next words surprised me so much that I forgot about his little-lost-boy smile. “I came back yesterday because I knew it was your birthday.”
Aw see, he’s a little sheepish about his attraction, so everything is kosher here. And he came back for her birthday, this can’t possibly go in a creepy direction, Ariel! But wait, person who is clearly a fucking idiot, it can get worse. Because Zoey and Loren start talking about how he “didn’t like seeing [Erik’s] hands all over [Zoey].”
Damn it, Ariel, he’s just passionate and jealous, what’s so wrong with that! Well, person who probably has no place reading this blog, READ THIS SHIT:
“I know. I don’t have any right to be angry at you for being with Erik. It’s not even my business.”
Slowly, I touched his chin, turning his face back to me so that he could meet my eyes. “Do you want it to be your business?”
“More than I can tell you,” he said. Then he dropped the book—he’d still been holding it—and framed my face in his hands, so that his thumbs rested close to my lips and his fingers splayed back into my hair. “I believe it’s my turn for a birthday kiss.”
I think I can safely assume that we are all super nauseous and sad right now. I’m sorry I had to put you through reading that, but that one dick in the audience just kept pushing me.
They kiss, and it blows Zoey’s mind because he’s a man and she’s a woman now when she kisses him. Has she mentioned he’s a man and she’s a woman? Do you become more convinced of this the more Zoey says it? By golly, I sure do!
Loren says that he shouldn’t have kissed Zoey, but he’s glad he did, but things are going to be complicated. I guess technically Loren won’t be boyfriend number three, more like manfriend number 1 😉
He then gives her fucking diamond earrings for her birthday. How funny would it have been if Zoey had squinted and it turned out the diamonds were shaped like snowmen or some shit. Not agaaaaain!
They go to stand in front of a mirror together so Zoey can admire her new earrings, [Matthew says: Which you would think someone comments on right away, since this is maybe kind of obvious, but as of tomorrow’s chapter, no one’s said shit yet.] and Loren cuts to the chase:
“I think you’ve done enough studying for one day. Come back to my room with me.”
I watched my eyes become all heavy-lidded as he kissed my neck, following the path my tattoos took down to my shoulder. Then I realized what it was he was really asking and a jolt of fright bolted through my body. He wanted me to go back to his room and have sex! I didn’t want to do that! Okay,well, maybe I did. In theory anyway. But to actually lose my virginity to this incredibly hot,experienced, man—right now? Today? I gulped for air and stepped kinda awkwardly out of his arms.
So to recap: Loren is a man, Zoey is special, Stevie Rae is undead, Damien is gay. Are you following the story so far? [Matthew says: Wait, I’m confused. Is Stevie Rae undead or undead-dead? Is Damien gay?]
Also, I know Loren is obviously terrible, but I thought he would have more tact than to immediately try to bone Zoey. I took him as more of a sleazy type who was in it for the long game. Well, the slightly longer game anyway. [Matthew says: Actually, yeah, real talk. How do the Casts actually think we’re supposed to feel about Loren at this point? Are we supposed to think he’s a manipulative pickup artist attempting statutory rape? Or are we… not supposed to think he’s that 100% literal description?]
Zoey explains she has a ritual she needs to start practicing for, and Loren believes her because 1) it’s true and 2) even if it was a lie it would be believable because rituals are happening round the clock at the House of Night. [Matthew says: I don’t know if you guys remember this from the first two books, but I honestly think we read like nine rituals in two books? It’s as repetitive as it sounds. And now I think that number might be low?]
I don’t know why, but suddenly Loren starts talking to Zoey like she’s his kid or something:
“You are a diligent little leader of the Dark Daughters, aren’t you?” […]
“Don’t worry, my little High Priestess, I will come to you.”
I’M worried! As soon as a love interest starts talking like a cartoon villain, I get a little nervous. Or maybe I’m the only one reading those last two lines in that kind of voice.
The chapter ends with Zoey telling herself she’s turning into a ho. I was all for Zoey dating different people and doing her thing, but she’s a cheating jerk at this point. [Matthew says: Also, that’s not Ariel paraphrasing. The chapter literally ends with Zoey putting “my face in my hands and [saying] miserably, ‘I think I’m turning into a ho.'” I know nobody’s reading House of Night for the pathos or anything, but Jesus H Christ.]