Aphrodite Is Forced Back Into The Plot: House of Night, Chosen Chapter 8

So has everyone recovered from Zoey making out with her high school teacher yesterday? Or is that a sore subject?

House of Night: Chosen, Chapter 8

Zoey’s cat Nala “mee-uf-ow”s like it’s good old time when Zoey hadn’t made out with her teacher, but, alas, Zoey’s cat, all is not mee-uf-ow. Because now that Zoey is hanging out with all her friends, she’s freaking out about what she just did!

Erik’s arms were around me. […] “I’ve been looking forward to seeing you all day.”
“Well, I was in the library.” I realized my tone was way too abrupt and hateful (in other words, guilty)

It’s like in a sitcom where someone is made to promise not to tell a secret, and they’re super obvious about it, and it’s SUPER WACKY FUNNY, like, “Coke?! Pepsi?! I don’t know what I want! I don’t know anything! I don’t know anything about your girlfriend! Haha! It’s so hot in here! I need to go walk my dog!” Except this is still Cast-quality writing, so it’s not even as good as that shit I just made up.

“Hey, Z, nice scarf,” Damien said, tugging on the end of one of the snowmen and interrupting my guilty mental tirade.
“Thanks, my boyfriend gave it to me,” I tried a lame tease, but knew that I sounded all weird and overly perkly.
“By that little comment she means her friend who is a boy,” Shaunee said, giving me an eye roll. […]
“You two are completely incorrigible.”
“Twin, I forget, what does incorrigible mean?” Shaunee said.
“I do believe it means that we’re hotter and sexier than a whole herd of corriges,” Erin said, still bumping and grinding.

i can tell it's bullshit

Oh my God, I hate all these people. Damien won’t shut up about how he gave Zoey a present for her birthday, Zoey can’t even act weird in a way that’s even believably weird, Shaunee’s explanation of why Zoey’s acting weird doesn’t actually address what was weird about her behavior, and Erin’s fake definition doesn’t even play off of the context of the situation. She just shoehorned a compliment about herself into her joke. And speaking of shoehorning, don’t get me started on how Shaunee and Erin have to constantly address each other by their full, proper Twin titles regardless of how rigid it sounds. Can you imagine what riding the subway with these two would be like?

“Twin, I forget, where’s our transfer?”
“Why, twin, we transfer to the 6 at Union Square.”
“Twin, that can’t be right. Why would we take the local train?”
“Because it has a stop closer to the restaurant, twin.”
“But, twin, then we should take the express and transfer.”
“Then we lose time waiting on another transfer, twin!”

Otherwise no one else on the subway would know that they’re twins, so that’s PROBABLY accurate.

Even when Zoey’s narration breaks up the dialogue, there’s no escape.

And, yes, I realize how trifling and ho-ish it was that not long before this I’d been sucking Loren’s face and feeling all hot and tingly about him, but now I was practically suffocating in a wave of guilt.
Clearly I need therapy.

*nods so hard my head flies off and escapes the atmosphere*

They begin to set up for the circle, and Damien asks Zoey if she wants Jack to leave, because apparently Jack’s status as member of their friend groups was a point we were supposed to be actively wondering about.

“And,” he added in a voice that said he thought he was being totally naughty, “we’re also having imported beer.”
“Sounds good,” I smiled my appreciation at him. Yes, it sounds weird and vaguely illegal that minors were going to be drinking beer at what is basically a school-sanctioned event. The truth is that due to the physiological Change that was taking place inside all of our bodies, alcohol just didn’t affect us anymore— or at least not enough to cause us to act like typical teenagers (in other words we won’t get all wasted and use it as an excuse to have sex with each other).

Let’s talk about Zoey’s/the Casts’ hot take on debauchery for a second. Drinking alcohol and being promiscuous with potentially multiple people = bad. Being promiscuous with multiple partners = hey, have you heard how special Zoey is?

It's important to take note that 1) Zoey's promiscuity is not the problem, 2) Zoey's hypocrisy about promiscuity IS the problem, 3) I have no idea what's happening in this gif
It’s important to take note that 1) Zoey’s promiscuity is not the problem, 2) Zoey’s hypocrisy about promiscuity IS the problem, 3) I have no idea what’s happening in this gif

Zoey’s friends helpfully remind the reader about long-forgotten minor details and/or ask Zoey what students she’s selecting for the Council. True facts: I can’t remember how the Council and the Dark Daughters are different. Zoey confides in the reader that she hasn’t begun to think of who she’ll chose. Her friends helpfully encourage her that they’ll support whoever she chooses, which is great, because if Zoey needs anything at this point in her narrative of personal development, it’s a team of yes men.

They begin to cast a circle. You know how a lot of people cite Quidditch as one of the most boring parts of Harry Potter, because it’s always the same thing, appears multiple times per book, and doesn’t actually add anything to the story aside from saying, “BTW MAGIC PEOPLE DO MAGIC THINGS”? The circles are like that, because they’re always the same, except imagine that there’s not even the benefit of a modicum of suspense in the game of Quidditch, because once they do the same motions every single time, it’s done.

Although the Quidditch scenes arguably still have this problem
Although the Quidditch scenes arguably still have this problem

Seriously. This shit boring:

“Water is a perfect balance to flame, just as Erin is a perfect Twin for Shaunee.” […]
“I do love me some water,” Erin said happily.

Zoey feels like something is off as she goes to light the earth candle, where Erik is filling in for the undead and gone Stevie Rae. Not content with how he’ll inevitably find out that his girlfriend is making out with her teacher as well as her ex-boyfriend, the narrative decides to further shit on Erik by deciding, nope, no elemental affinity for Erik!

I took the long match and touched it to the wick of the green candle. Erik’s reaction was instant. He cried out in pain as the green candle flew from his hand away from the circle and into the thickening shadows behind the tree.

It unexpectedly hits someone on the head.

“Dammit! Ouch! Shit! What the—”
Aphrodite emerged from the shadows holding the unlit green candle and rubbing a red mark on her forehead that was already beginning to swell.

Lest we forget that characters unexpectedly appearing out of foliage for some reason is a House of Night tradition as old as casting circles.

“Oh, wonderful. I should have fucking figured. I’m told to come out here in the”— she paused, looked around at the tree and the grass, then wrinkled up her perfect nose—“ wilderness, all surrounded by nature”

The irony is that none of this scenario feels natural.

Ignoring [my friends and Aphrodite’s] bickering I said, “Who told you to come out here?”
Aphrodite met my eyes. “Nyx,” she said.

Zoey makes Aphrodite take the earth candle and discovers that with her, she can successfully complete the circle. Which means…

Aphrodite spoke softly. “Nyx decided I needed more shit in my already crap-filled life. So now I have an affinity for earth. Ironic enough for you?”

Has anyone read more of these books? Do the Casts ever figure out what what irony is?

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5 comments

  1. Cwarmi

    Maybe Nyx will also grant Aphrodite the ability to kill Zoey and absorb her powers.
    Or like, an affinity for plot hole repair.

    1+
  2. Lougoober

    Hey at least the Quidditch matches did tend to end differently – dementors showing up, Draco and pals dressed as Dementors, Harry falls off the broom in at least two different matches. The stupid circles pretty much go the same way every time. “I lit the candle for air and then I smelled air. I lit the candle for earth and smelled freshly cut grass.” WE GET IT. The circles are like the second chapter in all the Babysitter’s Club books where they said essentially the same thing in every book, only the circles happen MORE THAN ONCE in EVERY BOOK.

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    • Jennifer Layton

      That’s one of the many reasons I had to quit the series after this book. If you took out all the circle-casting, you’d have a pamphlet. Also, I’ve actually attended Pagan rituals where circles are cast, and they are done as preparation for the actual service. It’s part of an actual prayer practice. Here, they cast the circle, read poetry and dance around, and that’s it.

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  3. malcolmthecynic

    Who do you know who disliked the quidditch matches? They were some of my favorite scenes in the books!

    (I would have cut them out of books five and six entirely, true, but that’s more a symptom of late series bloat then dislike of quidditch).

    They all serve some specific purpose.

    Book one: Worldbuilding, mostly

    Book two: Dobby!

    Book three: Dementors, and a subplot ongoing for three books being completed

    N/A for book four, except for the quidditch world cup match at the beginning (which again, despite being entertaining I would have cut for bloat’s sake).

    Book five: Continuation of Umbridge’s malevolence. Turns Harry’s life into more of a Hell.

    Book six: Character development, for Ron specifically. Connects with the romantic subplot. Also, Luna Lovegood announcing.

    Book seven: N/A

    They were actually generally pretty well-used, and I always had fun reading them.

    1+

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