I assure you, we’ve heard about the gender-swapped Twilight. Serious question, though: are people actually interested in us reading that? Apparently it isn’t even the whole thing (at least Meyer has a better grasp on the art of the gimmick than E L James does) and we’ve said we’ll never do Twilight because it’s been done… but maybe IT IS TIME?
House of Night: Chosen Chapter 25
Making matters even worse, Zoey’s friends show up. This sounds like the sort of thing that would make a situation better, but Zoey’s friends… If Zoey were Luke Skywalker, Zoey’s friends wouldn’t be Han, Leia, etc. They’d be the stormtroopers who miss all their shots.
“Well, crap, Aphrodite, you were right. She does look majorly like shit,” Shaunee said. […]
“I do not think it’s particularly appropriate to give accolades to Aphrodite for her being right that something is seriously wrong with Zoey.”
“Damien, I really wish,” Erin began.
“You’d stop with the damn Sylvan Learning Center vocab bullshit,” Shaunee finished for her.
“Would you two cease and desist, and perhaps get a dictionary?” Damien said primly. […]
They’re discovered their friend crying, and who wouldn’t shittalk their friends at such a time for, uh, not having a dictionary. Wow, I really miss how little the House of Night C-listers were in the book up until now.
I know it’s weird, but their bickering sounded wonderful.
Shut the fuck up, Zoey.
Zoey listens to them bicker and make terrible jokes for a little bit longer (even Aphrodite can’t manage anything better than “Die Dorkamese Twins”, which barely even seems like words), then decides to tell them about Loren and Stevie Rae, “before my lies and my secrets pissed them off so much that I lost them”. Which is a good time for Jack to pull Erik out of thin air, because apparently all my chapters this week are about teenage boys slut-shaming their girlfriends.
[Erik’s] deep, expressive voice was a sneer.
“You want to tell them, honey, or should I? […] Our Z’s been fucking Loren Blake.”
Zoey’s friends behave like totally real human people in response to this news.
“The guy we’ve been talking about eating like he was a Dove chocolate bar all semester?”
There’s a lot of bad writing in House of Night, but every now and again something is so jarringly unnatural that I have to wonder what was going on in the Casts’ writing room:
Cast #1: Hey. So what should Zoey’s friends say about learning that Zoey has been cheating on Erik.
Cast #2: With Heath?
Cast #1: No. The other one that they didn’t already know Zoey is cheating on Erik with.
Cast #2: Their teacher?
Cast #1: Yeah.
Cast #2: So they also just learned that their friend is a victim of a sexual predator who lives on campus with them?
Cast #1: Yeah.
Cast #2: Hm. Tough one. Maybe a joke about how good a very popular brand of chocolate is?
Cast #1: Perfect!
Cast #2: Hey, should they also seem at least partly concerned about how Erik’s taking being cheated on?
Cast #1: What?
Cast #2: Nevermind. That was dumb.
Speaking of Erik’s reaction, obviously this isn’t a black and white issue. Sure, he has every right to be angry, but there’s something especially nasty about the way he’s expressing his anger. Which in true House of Night fashion, is the emotional nuance of “just call everyone a slut”.
“Yeah, and your word is something they can really trust,” Erik said. “She’s a lying slut. She used all of you just like she used me.”
“All right, time for you to shut up now,” Aphrodite said.
Erik laughed, “Oh, that’s perfect. One slut standing up for another.”
So there was a lot of discussion on the blog yesterday about this! Everyone pretty much agrees Zoey is awful and Erik is awful (good job, readers!), but a lot of people wanted to emphasize that this wasn’t an unrealistic fight, especially for two teenagers. And that’s a very good point. And realistic characters have not been one of this series’ strengths, to put it mildly.
But that praise aside, once you pan out to the bigger picture of House of Night‘s long history of slut shaming, you have to wonder what Erik’s nastiness is really doing in this story. Let us continue.
Aphrodite puts her foot down and uses her earth powers to threaten Erik to shut up or she’ll beat him up with a tree.
I heard the warning sounding cracking of wood.
At least I think that’s what “warning sounding cracking” means.
“You do not want to piss me off anymore,” she said. “You claim to care so much for Zoey, but you’ve turned on her like a mangy-ass dog because she hurt your little ego.”
So on the one hand, House of Night just called out a male character for being angry in a sexist way, which is good! Just because someone is entitled to be angry, they’re not entitled to be sexist about it.
But at the same time… Zoey’s fucking awful? And 99% of people in this situation would turn against that person, regardless of their emotions? Because it’s possible to care about someone and be angry at them at the same time? And the “little ego” quip kind of feels more about Aphrodite than it does about Zoey? And nobody else seems to have any kind of reaction to how Erik isn’t really retaining the moral high ground with the poisonousness of his reaction?
And nobody seemed to care when everybody, including Erik, knew Zoey was already cheating on him with Heath? Seriously, why does nobody in this book remember that? Does nobody else think it’s weird that Zoey’s sustained cheating with one person was received with, at absolute worst, grumpy acceptance, but now OMG ZOEY CHEATED? When you weigh the two scenarios against each other, you kind of have to ask… in the world of House of Night, is it cheating that’s bad? Or is it sex that’s bad?
Erik leaves, but suddenly things get even worse as undead Stevie Rae makes a surprise appearance underneath the trapdoor! Zoey quickly tries to explained to her flabbergasted friends why their friend who died a month ago is standing in front of them.
“Stevie Rae isn’t dead,” I told them.
“Yeah, I am,” Stevie Rae said. I sighed.
“Stevie Rae. We are so not going to have this argument again.”
I mean, after she argues with an undead person about what their personal experience is. Priorities.
Stevie Rae explains that she’s there because she got a text from Zoey to meet her there, which makes Zoey realize she made another huge mistake. Although she seems to have figured out way more than it is possible for her to actually know about said mistake:
Loren. He’d taken my phone. He’d text messaged Stevie Rae. Or more accurately, Neferet had probably done the actual texting.
On top of that Zoey worries that Stevie Rae must have triggered the alarm, but Aphrodite and Damien point out that Neferet’s spell only applies to “any human, fledgling, or vampyre”, none of which apply to Stevie Rae. Zoey does not begin arguing whether Stevie Rae is alive with them, however.
The chapter ends with everyone hugging Stevie Rae. This book also ends next week, so if anyone has any prediction for what on earth could possibly happen to wrap up the narrative, your guess is as good as mine.