House of Night, Chosen: Chapter 14
As they arrive back at the school, Aphrodite insists on being dropped off by the trapdoor in the wall so that nobody knows they’re hanging out. Zoey – who totally doesn’t want to be friends with Aphrodite – argues that it doesn’t matter if people do know that, but Aphrodite points out that they have actual, legitimate enemies in common who would probably get suspicious.
Zoey also checks that Aphrodite will be part of the Full Moon Ritual that night, which Aphrodite points out that Zoey has to reinstate her into the Dark Daughters in order to do so. This is awkward, because Aphrodite used to be in charge of the Dark Daughters. This is awkward too, because Zoey has instituted some seriously dweeby rules during her brief reign, like being “authentic for air”. Aphrodite’s on our side:
“I said, yeah. I’ll swear to your new lame-ass rules.”
“Aphrodite, part of the swearing means that you don’t believe the rules are lame.”
“No, there’s nothing in the swearing that says I can’t think they’re lame. I just have to say that I’ll be authentic for air, faithful for fire, wise for water, empathetic for earth, and sincere for spirit. So I’m authentically saying I think your new rules are lame.”
As Aphrodite exits the car, she pauses, saying that “something feels wrong”, and also that “I do get feelings about things sometimes and don’t have a full-blown vision”, which just sounds like a normal thing that happens to everybody when you put it like that. I learned today that Taco Bell is going to sell tacos with “crispy chicken shells”, and I definitely got feelings about that thing sans full-blown vision.
Aphrodite leaves the car, assuming she’s just “imaging things” [sic] and walks onto campus and screams. Zoey helpfully explains what she does next:
Sometimes I don’t think. My body takes over and I just act. This was one of those times.
Zoey runs over to Aphrodite, who is doubled over and puking, and also helpfully describes what’s going on:
It was the most horrible thing I’d ever seen. At first my mind wouldn’t even register what it was. Later I thought that must have been some kind of instant defense mechanism. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long. I blinked and peered into the darkness. Something looked slick and wet and—
And I knew what the sweet, seductive smell was.
Just so we’re clear, it took Zoey a whole paragraph to not describe what she saw, and then another whole paragraph to describe how the thing she saw that she wasn’t describing describes another thing now that she knows what the thing is that she hasn’t described yet. Not to mention that whole “Sometimes I do things. This was one of those times.” thing.
7 billion words later, Zoey gets around to explaining that a vampire (their teacher Professor Nolan that a previously unseen character was looking for a few chapters ago, because plot twists) has been beheaded, nailed to a wooden cross, and had a wooden stake plunged into her heart.
Which is somehow not as fucked up as how the Casts felt the best way to up the drama was to have Zoey describe describing the scene for a hundred or so words first.
Zoey and Aphrodite run off in search of help, and also quickly come up with a lie to explain why they were together (spoiler: they seriously overthink this situation). They cross paths with some teachers… including Neferet! Who is evil! Except right now, where she and Zoey very conveniently forget that their last conversation was a little too much like this:
To go like this:
she’d become the mother I wished I’d had, and in my panic seeing her sent a rush of incredible relief pouring through my body.
Tonally awkward is the word, here.
House of Night, Chosen: Chapter 15
Vampire warriors show up to provide protection while everyone investigates the scene. Zoey also points out that the two or three vampire warriors “and Loren made me feel about a zillion times safer”, because, yes, when I fear for my physical safety, I want to be sure the poet laureate is there.
Meanwhile, the gruesome hate crime has created some kind of truce between Zoey and Neferet, which is handled ok enough:
Neferet’s voice was kind and understanding, and I wished with everything inside me that she was still one of the good guys.
This somehow almost immediately segues into a tender scene between Zoey and Loren, her teacher who made out with her and wants to bone her, which is handled less than ok.
“Loren, take Zoey back to the dorm. There’s nothing more she can do here. As soon as we’re properly protected, I’m going to call the human police,” Neferet said […]
Loren helped me back to the SUV […] “eating will make you feel better.” His hand slid down from my elbow to hold mine. “Let me cook for you, Zoey.” […]
“Can you cook?” I asked him, grabbing at any subject that wasn’t death and horror.
“Yes, but not well,” he grinned, looking like a handsome little boy. […] “Don’t worry, I’ll be gentle with you.”
Loren offers Zoey some blood-laced wine, and suggests he knew she’d like it because he’s guessed she’s imprinted Heath. Surprise, this turns into speech about how Zoey should totally just bang him.
“It happens. Sometimes we accidentally Imprint.”
“Fledglings don’t. We’re not even supposed to be drinking human blood,” I said.
Loren’s smile was warm and filled with appreciation. “You’re not a normal fledgling, so the normal rules don’t apply to you.” His gaze held mine and it seemed he was talking about much more than accidentally drinking a little human blood. […] “You’re not like the rest of those fledgling children. And I happen to adhere to the belief that some rules were meant to be broken.”
I seriously feel really, really bad for all the people who genuinely enjoyed the first House of Night book, and then eagerly picked up the second only to discover it suddenly went in a “so, just hear us out here: statutory rape” direction.
I mean, really. It’s disgusting how hard the Casts are actually trying to legitimize Zoey and Loren as a totally okay couple. Which is extra bad because the Casts struggle with the “okay couple” part to being with:
He rummaged around in a cabinet until he made a little “ahha!” noise and turned around to pour a big ol’ pile of nacho cheese-flavored Doritos on my plate.
I smiled. […] “Doritos! That’s perfect.”
Wherever your expectations are right now, you still need to lower them:
“Since when are you and Aphrodite friends?” “We’re not,” I said around a bite of sandwich (which actually was very good— so he’s ridiculously handsome, sexy, smart, and he can cook!).
Loren made her a ham and cheese sandwich. I shit you not. We went from a ham and cheese sandwich to “and he can cook!”.
They talk about the murder itself, which is good, since that part was actually interesting. And as an added bonus is not about a high school teacher trying to sleep with a high school student. They discuss the note that was found near the victim reading, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. Exodus 22:18”, which they immediately connect to the local cult, The People of Faith. Loren mentions that “it’s been decades since there’s been an open attack by humans on vampyres” which “will change things”, and then shit gets serious when he clarifies “We will not suffer insult without giving insult in return.”
Which, unfortunately, prompts Zoey to reflect that revenge-crazed Loren “was honestly the hottest thing I’ve ever seen”, and then they make out. Loren quotes Romeo and Juliet. Zoey wonders if he loves her.
Zoey goes back to her room, reflecting on how increased security after the incident will make it much harder to sneak blood out to Stevie Rae. She also calls her mom to try to figure out if her zealot stepfather could maybe be connected to the attack. It goes nowhere. Much like this book.