Remember how at the end of the last book, Aphrodite willingly chose to make a sacrifice with unclear consequences, which turned out to be the apparent loss of her vampirism? And this was very dramatic and by far the most interesting consequence we’ve seen in House of Night so far?
Ready for all that to be completely undone the literal moment Aphrodite shows up in this book?
House of Night, Untamed: Chapter 2
Okay, I’d thought she’d turned back into a human, but even from where I was sitting I could see that Aphrodite’s Mark had returned.
Not only did House of Night apparently totally undo the story that happened to Aphrodite in the last book, but it also apparently undid all of her character development too:
[Aphrodite let] her hand linger on the big warrior’s chest. “It was ever so sweet of you to walk me to the dining hall. […] since you say you’ll be stationed at the door of our dorm, that is definitely the most safe and attractive place to be.” She practically purred at him. Jeesh, she was stank.
Since this apparently needs to be said every single book, just a reminder for how the House of Night version of the Madonna-Whore complex works: flirting with men = “stank”; performing varying degrees of sexual acts with three different guys at the same time behind all of their backs = NOT A PROBLEM. ZOEY IS THE GODDESS’S CHOSEN ONE. EVEN HER GOD IS LIKE “YEAH, GIRL. GET SOME.”
“It is a pleasure to serve you.” [Darius] smiled at Aphrodite [and left].
“And I’ll just bet it would be a pleasure to service you,” Aphrodite said in her nastiest voice as soon as he was out of earshot. Then she turned around to face the gawking, silent room. […] “What? You look like you’ve never seen gorgeous before.”
I like how apparently every single student at the House of Night apparently had to stop and watch this, like literally no one could turn away from a characteristically flirtatious acquaintance flirting with someone.
Juuuuuust in case the Casts weren’t quite on the nose enough while reminding you who Aphrodite is:
“Remember me? I’m the gorgeous bitch you all love to hate.”
Rather than spending any time wondering how the ending of the last book apparently just undid itself of its own accord in between books, Zoey and her friends more or less go along with it without question. And without a firm grasp on the English language.
“Nyx’s ways are mysterious,” I said, trying to sound wise and High Priestess in Training-ish.
“I’m thinking Nyx’s ways are another M-word, Twin,” Erin said.
“Can you guess it?” “Majorly messed up?” Shaunee said.
“Exactly,” Erin said.
That was two M-words. She didn’t say “I’m thinking Nyx’s ways are an adjective clause starting with M, twin.” It’s two words that add up to one concept, much like how the twins as a whole are two characters that add up to one character.
Aphrodite sits down next to Zoey, further angering Zoey’s already pissed-off friends. Or, as the Casts would write this:
to say that they were shocked and not very pleased when Aphrodite walked directly to our booth and sat down beside me was an understatement almost as big as that knight in the Indiana Jones movie saying “He chose poorly” when the bad guy picked the wrong goblet to drink out of and his body disintegrated.
I’m pretty much out of words to say about what terrible writing this is by this point, but I think it’s safe to say this is maybe the worst HoN reference yet??? If you need to take ~30 words to describe another story to explain what’s going on in your story, maybe consider whether your calling is writing novels or Wikipedia summaries.
Aphrodite and the twins fight as predictably as they always have, and it’s really not worth subjecting you guys to any of their dialogue that could just as easily have been written for one of the three previous books. The only thing that’s new this time is that everyone is angry at Zoey too now.
Did they really hate me as much as they looked like they did?
It takes Zoey exactly two sentences to go from this brief moment of self-reflection to “IT WON’T MATTER WHEN I AM QUEEN.”
If I completed the Change to vampyre, I would someday be their High Priestess, and that meant they had damn well better listen to me.
Zoey Redbird: Someday my friends will HAVE to like me!
Suddenly, the entire proceedings of the chapter are interrupted by a bear-sized dog chasing dozens of cats into the cafeteria.
A dozen cats streaked into the cafeteria, hissing and spitting like crazy. […] Something that resembled a large yellow bear more closely than a dog burst into the cafeteria. The bear-dog was followed by a kid who was being followed by several uncharacteristically frazzled-looking professors.
We are then introduced to this mysterious new character, who is immediately of the book’s few characters more insufferable than Zoey.
“It’s Stark, not James,” the kid said. “And like I was trying to explain to you earlier— the dog has to stay with me. It’s just the way it is. If you want me— you get her, too.”
I decided that the new dog kid had an unusual way about him.
Is it that he’s a rude, self-absorbed asshole? Because that is the least distinguishing trait possible among the characters in House of Night.
Neferet arrives and talks with Stark and Dragon (the only House of Night professor who seems to ever have lines). We learn that Stark is a transfer from the Chicago House of Night (but don’t learn why! Mysteriessssss), and that he’s an archery wunderkind. Stark briefly begins to insist that he won’t compete in archery competitions anymore, but Neferet explains that she doesn’t give a shit about “banal archery competition” and just wants him to not “waste your Goddess-given talent”, which is a reminder that Neferet may or may not have begun a war on humankind, which is a pretty great detail to leave totally unclear for your readers.
Neferet brings Stark over to Zoey and co., partly to ask Damien to help show Stark around, and partly to have a super vague power struggle with Zoey, which is actually so insubstantial that I don’t even know how to summarize it. But Zoey does give us this gem:
[Two days ago], we’d had words. She’d been Loren’s lover. So had I
Zoey also explains to Neferet (and also to all her friends) that Aphrodite is back on the Prefect Council. None of this is interesting, so I guess we’re just left with one important question.