Zoey’s Friends Are Still Trying To Read A F***ing Poem: House of Night Untamed Chapter 24

Yes, we are on our fourth straight chapter of Zoey and co. trying to understand the prophecy that Aphrodite received in a vision. This is how slow this fucking book is.

House of Night: Untamed Chapter 24

Damien reads the second stanza and the couplet at the end of the poem again. This part:

Through the hand of the dead he is free
Terrible beauty, monstrous sight
Ruled again they shall be
Women shall kneel to his dark might

Kalona’s song sounds sweet
As we slaughter with cold heat

Even one of the fucking twins points out that spending a whole chapter analyzing this is entirely unnecessary.

“Sadly, most of the rest of it isn’t too tough to figure out,” Erin said. We all gawked at her. “Okay, I’ll admit— under duress— that I actually learned something last semester in Poetry class.”

Look, House of Night. We get it. Your characters are too kewl for skewl. But it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that “Women shall kneel to his dark might… As we slaughter” is a little on the goddamn nose.

i'll give you a hint

The gang goes over the “hand of the dead” bit. Damien thinks that the hand will cause something that’ll make the ground bleed. Aphrodite asks how something that’s already dead could cause anything to bleed, which doesn’t even make sense since “living things” are hardly the only entry on the “things that could make bleeding happen” list, but this prompts Zoey to have an epiphany anyway.

“Oh! Oh, no!” I suddenly knew what the prophecy had to mean […] “It’s Stevie Rae – she was dead, and now she’s undead. She bleeds. She bleeds a lot. Plus she has psychic powers, along with other major earth powers. What if she’s the queen?”

The others are skeptical, since Stevie Rae is decidedly not evil. Zoey wonders if one of the other “gross kids” (it occurs to me now that Zoey calls them “gross kids” way more frequently than she calls them “undead fledglings” or anything else, so I guess that’s the technical term now) could be the queen then. Aphrodite points out that the others don’t know that the dead students have been coming back as gross kids, which I totally forgot was where we were at in one of House of Night‘s eight zillion subplots. Thankfully, it doesn’t become a whole painful thing like it did last time.

Weirdly enough, it was sweet Jack who saved me. “You mean this is more stuff you couldn’t tell us ’cause you didn’t want us accidentally thinking about it and having Neferet, who really isn’t one of the good guys, listening in to our minds and finding out that you knew?”

Although this is House of Night, so it’s still incredibly painful for the reader.

“Jack, I could kiss you,” I said.
“Oh, hee hees!” Jack giggled

daniel radcliffe reading

Damien realizes that Neferet must be behind all the undead kids, which I seriously didn’t realize was still a thing that the main characters hadn’t all established yet. The gang also realizes that Aphrodite was Zoey’s confidant because she is immune to vampire mind reading, which is another detail I’ve totally forgotten. But things get straight up weird when everyone suddenly begins apologizing to Aphrodite.

“That must have been hard, especially when we were being so mean to you,” Jack said.
Aphrodite blinked in surprise.
“Yeah,” Damien said. “Sorry about some of the stuff I said. You were being a good friend to Zoey, even when we weren’t.”
“Ditto,” said Shaunee.

What? Everyone in this book realizes they’ve all been huge assholes to Aphrodite? What’s going on here? Am I still reading House of Night?

“So, instead of [taking Stark’s body from the morgue to wait and see if he comes back,] I got a nanny cam.”
“Oh, cool!” Jack said. “I saw that on Dr. Phil the other day. God, it was just awful. Some horrid and, may I say, fat, poorly dressed nanny was caught by one of them shaking the crap out of some poor little kid.”

lol nevermind everyone’s an asshole. This is totally still House of Night.

“But Zoey said the other kids are, well, gross,” Jack said. “They are,” Aphrodite said. “They’re like”— she paused, and then her eyes lit up—“ they’re like blue collar workers. Eesh.”
“Aphrodite, there is nothing wrong with blue collar workers,” I said, completely exasperated.

Oh, sure, say nothing when Jack fat shames someone, but Aphrodite says something and it’s Woke-As-Fuck Zoey to the rescue.

begging me to hate you

I know I’ve written this same criticism about House of Night a billion times by now, but 1) House of Night‘s selective social justice does it more harm than good, 2) especially when it plays it for laughs, 3) especially because its “diverse” cast are all terribly written stereotypes. You wanna talk about being exasperated, Zoey? Try reading the fucking book you’re in.

Zoey also fills in the others on their plan to reveal Stevie Rae and the rest of the red fledglings (which I guess is their name now?) at the ritual tomorrow. Aphrodite also reveals that she no longer has her earth affinity because she’s still a human. You would think that this would get a huge reaction from the group. Maybe they do. The writing in this book is so terrible it’s impossible to tell.

“Okay, that’s majorly freaky!” Jack said.
“It’s totally queer,” Shaunee said.
“And she doesn’t mean that in the gay sense,” Erin input.

We interrupt this dramatic revelation to bring you a gay joke! btw don’t make fun of gay people

I looked at my friends. They all seemed frightened and unsure, and I knew this would not do. We had to be strong. We had to stick together and believe in each other.
“I don’t think it’s scary.” When I started saying it, it was a big fat lie. But the more I spoke, the more I began to believe. “Change can be weird, or even queer.” I grinned at Damien and Jack, and they smiled hesitatingly back at me.

Seriously, what the fuck is with this book?

They all come up with a plan to make sure the rest of the book has some sort of plot. Jack is going to sneak into the morgue to set up the nanny cam (because he’s “good with technology”, because nanny cams basically require engineering degrees to get going apparently) while Aphrodite and Damien plan a diversion. Zoey is going to go talk to Shekinah about her grandma staying at the House of Night because of the threat. Finally, Shaunee and Erin are going to get more materials for the smudging rituals, because even House of Night has realized that the twins are fucking useless.

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11 comments

  1. Bellomy Reply

    See, the thing about the whole “making gay jokes” thing is that it isn’t even inherently bad.

    (Hear me out here, I can explain)

    If all House of Night was doing was trying to do was record how actual teenagers speak, yeah, you’re going to hear gay jokes, not only when but especially when gay kids are apart of your social circle. You just will. It’s how teenagers act.

    Now, HoN’s dialogue is infamously, atrociously awful, so it’s not as if this would be a good excuse anyway. But in theory, recording how people speak, even if its offensive, is not bad writing.

    The problem is that HoN is clearly making an attempt to be progressive, a very, very obvious and obnoxious attempt. And they’re so bad at it. They think they are being progressive while apparently not even realizing that they’re using lazy stereotypes. And not only that, they’re using them in the most stupid, over the top, obvious ways you can imagine.

    Remember when Hermione was so upset about the house elves that she tried to force them all to rebel without actually asking them first? This was charming, because we knew Hermione, knew she meant well, and knew that when given information that conflicted with her assumptions she would change her mind, since she is not a close-minded bigot.

    Do you know what Rowling did not do?

    She did not have Hermione say “Of course, I think it’s horrible that house elves are slaves. Anyway, Dobby here is my best friend, or as I like to call him, Uncle Tom. lol, it’s a joke I am allowed to make because I am friends with Dobby!”

    And you know what that storyline was presented as? A storyline. Rowling didn’t stop and tell us what to think. She actually made what could gave been obnoxious entertaining and amusing because she recognized that her characters were supposed to act like people, and had them act that way. She didn’t force anything, and as a result Hermione comes off as mildly endearing, and the plotline pays huge dividends later on.

    The Casts don’t do this, because they’re not good enough to do it. Their characters are far less fleshed out, their dialogue is atrocious, and they don’t understand when a message fits into your story and when you need to stop to tell people how you feel about certain issues (PRO TIP: Having the main character go on a mini-diatribe about how because she is totally into gays and okay with gays and thinks gays are cool she will screen you by outing them publicly and putting you under some bizarre public show trial is not an organic, story-driven way to go about exploring issues).

    TL;DR: The Casts fucking suck at writing.

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  2. Utsutsu Reply

    I was going to try and leave a clever comment but this chapter just made my brain hemorrhage all of my intelligence.
    Do you think a smudging ritual could make me forget this book was written?

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  3. AJ Reply

    Can I just imagine that the poem is really talking about Stevie Rae having period problems? Heavy period problems? By this point just about anything would be better than the HoN canon. /is deliberately ignoring the book’s by-this-point-repetitive attempts at diversity

    @Utsutsu: Only if it involves candles. >.>

    But no, really, the Casts just LOVE their Wiccan (?) rituals. I’m currently reading one of P. C. Cast’s older books–Goddess of Spring, to be exact–and the event that kicks off the plot is a candle ritual complete with a rather cheesy-sounding invocation. Leaving aside the confusion that I feel over the Italian protagonist supplicating Demeter rather than her Roman counterpart Ceres, I’m annoyed by the obvious Author Appeal that the ritual provides. Is anyone going to read her novel and think, “Ah yes, this green candle ritual is beyond a doubt a historically and culturally accurate depiction of how to invoke an agricultural deity from antiquity”? Oh wait, of course not. That’s clearly for fools obsessed with overthinking things, like me. /rolls eyes

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  4. wordswithhannah Reply

    Yes, we are on our fourth straight chapter of Zoey and co. trying to understand the prophecy that Aphrodite received in a vision. This is how slow this fucking book is.

    This is the drawback of having high school-aged protagonists, I suppose. Not enough experience doing critical literature reviews.

    Weirdly enough, it was sweet Jack who saved me. “You mean this is more stuff you couldn’t tell us ’cause you didn’t want us accidentally thinking about it and having Neferet, who really isn’t one of the good guys, listening in to our minds and finding out that you knew?”

    “Gee, thanks for explaining this plot point in explicit, agonizing detail, Jack! Now our readers will surely grasp what’s going on and I don’t have to take the time to organically weave these details into the narrative! Also, my readers are probably as slow as I am and thus require multiple reminders of these things.”

    Also, the way Jack speaks bugs the crap out of me. No one talks like this! NO ONE. No one with friends, anyway. Funnily enough, I hear that gay people talk like everyday normal folk do! Will wonders never cease?

    “Jack’s sooooo gay, right, Mom?”
    “So gay, darling.”
    “How will our audience understand that he’s gay? It’s super important that people never, at any point, forget that he is a gay, gay, gay boy.”
    “Be prepared to call me a genius, daughter: I’ve recently been watching this delightful program called ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’…”

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  5. Anonymous Reply

    Ok…WHEN DO THESE KIDS STUDY? OR ATTEND CLASS? What kind of a stupid school is this? Harry had to deal with attempted murder every year But you didn’t see him skipping potions. Can our Eastern European Communist AntiChrist just wipe them all out now?

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  6. Anne Reply

    Why doesn’t Nyx just blast Neferet with a lightningbolt? Or take away her affinity for cats? Since we are reminded in almost every chapter that all their powers are a blessing from Nyx anyway it should not be that big of a problem. She could even make Neferet human again. Aphrodite is human again, so for a goddess like Nyx it cannot be that hard to do something similar to Neferet.
    My main problem is that the Casts have not given us any reason why Nyx cannot do that.
    Nyx interferes all the time by giving Zoey special powers just when she needs them or to protect her from something. In most other books I have read that deal with gods, the gods are either only interested in some kind of long term plan or not interested at all in what happens to people.
    These books aren’t great when it comes to tension, but every problem up until now has been solved by some kind of Deus ex Machina (special powers, Zoey’s gut etc.). The only way the Casts can make this more obvious is if Nyx came down from the sky via some kind of crane.
    They could have caused some kind of tension if Kalona was the opposite of Nyx. Perhaps some kind of sun-god. In that case there would have been a reason why Nyx could not help all the time, but nope. He is part of a weird mix between native American mythology and Christianity, with raven mockers and angels and who knows what else. I don’t believe the Casts have even tried to link those religions to Nyx. Is she a strong goddess compared to them? Did Nyx personally fight with Kalona? Right now the biggest threat that comes from Kalona is that he might end up as Zoey’s Nth kind-of-but-not-really-it’s-complicated boyfriend. (Please don’t tell me that it really happens. I don’t know how much more stupidity I can take)

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    • Utsutsu Reply

      “So Grandma, Kalona’s a guy, right?”
      “Well, yes.”
      “I’m in love with him.”
      “Zoeybird, he’s an evil rapist monster god.”
      “Oh, well that’s not a problem because I’m not a slut, and only sluts get raped.”
      — Zoey’s next phone call with Grandma Redbird

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