HOW IS IT DECEMBER? I’ve only done like 1/6 of my new years resolutions.
House of Night: Untamed Chapter 8
We pick up directly from the end of the last chapter, learning that Aphrodite is concerned that mysteriously changing back into a human also means that she’s lost her affinity for earth.
“I can help you figure this out. I should probably cast a circle.”
Oh good. My favorite. By book four, even the Casts are struggling to figure out how to take this multiple-page, always-the-same event that happens three or four times per book and make it somewhat interesting.
[I] turned to my right, moving deosil, or clockwise
They don’t exactly succeed.
Zoey summons the first three elements (if you’re curious what they are, refer to the gif from a completely different story above), but summoning earth rejects Aphrodite’s involvement. The Casts have finally looked up “symbolism” on Wikipedia.
She dropped the candle as if it had stung her. It shattered against the wood floor at her feet. When her eyes lifted from looking at the ruined glass and candle mess, I saw that they were filled with tears. “I’ve lost it.”
Zoey decides to complete the circle (“trying to ignore the fact that what I was doing was making Aphrodite cry even harder”, which is just so Zoey, y’all) and ask the vampyre (and/or everyone’s if she’s really real? idk) goddess Nyx for help.
I prayed – not the way my mom and her husband, the step-loser, pray, all filled with fake humbleness and with lots of decorative amens and whatnot.
Nevermind the decorative candles and crystals Zoey uses, of course.
Zoey asks Nyx “from this place of power you have given me, I ask that you hear my prayer” (the wording of which… definitely also complicates Zoey’s “ugh, my stepfather uses religion to act special and that’s so gross!” stance…) and asks her to let Aphrodite know that she’s still with her. Nyx suddenly shows up to more or less tell Zoey to keep up the good work that she’s apparently been doing.
“You were right to call me. You should follow your true instinct more often, Zoey. It will never lead you wrong. […] Depend upon one another. Listen to your instincts. Trust the still, small voice within each of you.”
Wait, really? This is the advice that Zoey gets? Wasn’t the entire last book about Zoey making bad decisions that definitely have bad consequences? And that was, like, the theme? This is not exactly the best advice to give your chosen one, Nyx.
If Nyx’s insanely misplaced confidence in Zoey as her chosen one isn’t weird enough, Nyx turns to Aphrodite and pretty much tells her she doesn’t give a shit about her.
“I didn’t remove your Mark. It was the strength of your humanity that burned it away, just as it was the strength of your humanity that saved Stevie Rae. Whether you like it or not, you will always be more sublimely human than anything else”
Not that the Casts think that’s what they’re writing, but it doesn’t take a hell of a lot of reading between the lines to think that maybe Aphrodite should feel pretty used?
“I want you to understand that the earth affinity was never yours, daughter. You simply held it in safekeeping for Stevie Rae.”
Nyx moves on from assuring Zoey that she’s totally doing a great job as chosen one (new head canon: maybe there are other gods and Nyx is desperately trying to save face?) to talking to them exclusively in vague non-answers.
“But do not think that you are only a human now, my child. You are more than that, but exactly what that means, you must discover— and choose— for yourself.”
There are lots of them.
“But remember, what I have given I never take away.”
Unless you count when she gave Aphrodite an affinity for earth. And also vampirism.
“But if you don’t want the war, why don’t you just stop it?” […]
“Do you know what it is that is the greatest gift I have ever given my children?”
Aphrodite’s voice sounded strong and clear: “Free will.”
Nyx smiled. “Exactly correct, daughter.”
But then… why are like 90% of every narrative action taken in the last three books based on “trusting Nyx’s judgment”? And really diving into the themes from here… if the point is that Neferet is bad because she has used her free will to disobey her god, then doesn’t that contrast rather sharply with how Zoey’s stepfather is bad because… he obeys his god too much? Sure, the point is presumably intended to be that both Neferet and Zoey’s stepfather misuse religion to promote intolerance, but somehow the whole “be a good person!” message is a little miscommunicated when it accompanies the “BECAUSE I AM THE ONE TRUE GOD” message.
Nyx vaguely (of course) warns Zoey to beware of Neferet, because apparently she needs to hit book #3 of explicit warnings about Neferet before they start to sink in, I guess. As Nyx leaves, the whole thing ends fittingly: with a completely ramshackle mishmash of cliches, themes that have never been brought up until now, and characters explicitly pointing out the story’s faulty logic.
“It’d be a lot safer if you just told me what I need to know and what I should do,” I said.
“As with all my children, you must find your own path, and through that discovery, you will decide what each earth child must ultimately decide— whether she chooses chaos or love.”
“Sometimes chaos and love seem like the same thing,” Aphrodite said.
I’m like 95% certain that I’ve seen “sometimes chaos and love seem like the same thing” on a clothing or deodorant commercial.