Hopefully you weren’t interested in the story progressing in this chapter or anything.
House of Night (Hunted): Chapter 5
The gang finally takes a moment to eat something after this disastrous night. Zoey has an aside where she goes “yea for brown pop!”. Not to any of her friends or anything. Just narrating that to the reader for some reason, in case we were worried, I guess.
Jack passes out sandwiches for the gang of survivors. For some reason he passes out a sandwich that’s “my personal gourmet Top Chef concoction: mayonnaise, peanut butter, and lettuce on wheat bread”, which is maybe the most weirdly ham-handed way House of Night has tried to push a message of staying open-minded for quite a while now.
“Have you lost your damn mind?” Erin said.
“Gay white boy is weird,” Kramisha said […]
Jack looked mortally offended. “I think they’re good, and you guys should try things before you disrespect them.”
JUST SAYIN’ maybe you’re kinda diluting your message of open-mindedness when your story’s second (I think) named character of color ever speaks in pidgin? In the 21st century? JUST SAYIN’?
Most of the chapter focuses on the gang catching Darius, their new vampyre warrior friend, up on everything they know about Kalona. So it’s another summary chapter. Hunted is off to just a little bit of a slow start.
“Tell me what you know of the creature that rose from the earth and the bird beings that followed him.” Darius’s words made the whole just-hanging-out façade crumple like a house of cards.
“Sadly, we don’t know as much about him as I wish we did, and what we do know comes from my grandma.” I swallowed down the tightness in my throat that mentioning her caused. “Grandma’s in a coma, so she can’t help us right now.”
Yes, that’s right! A character who’s integral to the main character doing the things they’re doing right now being inconveniently stuck in a coma is a thing that’s happening in both of the books we’re reading right now! Both the vampire young adult novel and the… erotic romance. Ideas are hard, you guys.
Zoey and the gang explain:
- Kalona is an “immortal being that walked the earth in ancient times” and sex addict (seriously the plot) who was trapped in the earth by “a group of Wise Women called Ghigua” who made A-ya, “a maiden out of the earth”, to trick him into going into a cave (where they were able to trap him because of his weakened state when underground)
- The Raven Mockers – “the beings that came out of the earth” – are Kalona’s children, “what happened after he raped the women of my grandma’s people more than a thousand years ago”
- They explain that they know this because they’re creatures from Cherokee legend, but also because Aphrodite’s latest vision was a prophecy about Kalona’s return
Aphrodite drunkenly recites the prophecy, prompting Zoey to note “to keep an eye on her drinking” because “the last thing we needed was Vision Girl to turn into Drunk Vision Girl”. Maybe the last thing you need, Zoey. I’m ALL FOR THIS.
They begin to go over Neferet’s role in all of this. And Darius summarizes the summary, because this will never end.
“So we are to think of Kalona as a dangerous immortal and the Raven Mockers as his servants. Who is the other creature mentioned in the prophecy and also by Damien, a Queen Tsi Sgili?” Darius said.
“According to Grandma, the Tsi Sgili are really awful Cherokee witches. Don’t think cool Wiccans or Priestesses. They’re not good at all, but more like demons, really, except that they are mortal and known for their psychic abilities, especially the ability to kill with their minds,” I said. “Neferet is the queen the prophecy was talking about.”
“But Neferet announced to the House of Night that Kalona is Erebus on earth, and her consort, as if she had become the literal incarnation of Nyx,” Darius said slowly, as if he was reasoning through it aloud.
“She’s lying. Really, she’s turned from Nyx,” I said. “I’ve known it for a while, but acting openly against her has been pretty close to impossible. I mean, look what happened tonight. Everyone saw Stevie Rae and the red fledglings and they didn’t turn on her. Except for Shekinah, they barely even blinked even after she ordered Stark to shoot.”
Zoey also reveals what she knows about Stark’s goddess-given gift to never miss, so they can infer that Stark intentionally didn’t kill Stevie Rae, which must mean he isn’t totally under Neferet’s influence.
“He did say your name,” Erik said. His piercing blue eyes seemed to see deep inside me. “I remember that distinctly. Before he shot Stevie Rae he definitely recognized you. He even said he’d come back to you.”
“I was with him when he died,” I said, returning Erik’s questioning gaze and trying not to look as guilty as I felt for being attracted to yet another guy besides him.
Aren’t you two not together anymore? I think this might be fair game now.
Speaking of attraction…
“I definitely noticed how almost everyone acted awestruck and even a little disoriented when Kalona appeared.”
Venus snorted, sounding very much like Aphrodite at her most sarcastic (and least attractive). “Everyone except us.” She made a gesture that took in all of the red fledglings. “We knew he was evil and totally full of bullshit from the second we saw him.”
“How?” I asked abruptly. “How did you guys know? All the other fledglings, well, except us, actually fell to their knees at the sight of him. Even the Sons of Erebus warriors didn’t move against him.” I’d felt drawn to him, too, but I didn’t want to admit that in front of Venus. Venus shrugged.
“It was just obvious. Yeah, he was hot and all, but come on! He exploded from the ground after Stevie Rae bled all over it.”
I watched her closely, thinking that maybe the reason she recognized Kalona’s evil was that she was too darn familiar with evil.
I like how the actual conversation that’s happening is seriously just “How did you know he was evil?” “Uh, because HE EMERGED FROM A POOL OF BLOOD AND THAT’S EVIL AS SHIT?” and Zoey thinking “Hmmm only an EVIL person would know that….” It’s so funny how this chapter started with a message about not judging others before you get to know them!
Everyone else reveals they also found Kalona crazy hot, but weren’t attracted to him because they knew he was evil. They determine that everyone is susceptible to Kalona’s powers, but they “can control the effect he has on them if they have to”. The plot is seriously just “yeah, he’s hot, but we have to the power to… IGNORE THAT”. This is the plot now. This is the really, real plot.
They also comment on how the red fledglings’ hideout in the tunnels looks a lot nicer than it used to, and we learn it’s because Aphrodite has been using her rich parents’ money to furnish it.
“What can I say? I’ve become the poster child for do-gooders. Thank god I’m attractive,” Aphrodite said and then belched like a guy. “Oops, scusa,” she slurred.
“Scusa?” Jack said.
“Italian, dork,” Aphrodite said. “Broaden your gay horizons.”
Seriously, House of Night. This is why I call bullshit on your “you guys should try things before you disrespect them” calls for compassion and understanding because this isn’t even the first time this chapter you contradicted that message with your ignorant jokes.
The chapter ends with another reminder that the red fledglings have mid-control powers over humans, which they promise they’re only using for good. It’s not very subtle.
“That sounds a lot meaner than it is,” Stevie Rae assured Darius quickly. “I just tweaked the delivery guys’ memories. I didn’t mind-control them. We don’t go in for using our powers to be all hateful and stuff.” She gave the group of red fledglings a look. “Right?”
The group muttered “Right,” but I noticed Venus didn’t say anything, and Kramisha glanced around the room guiltily.
It’s very not subtle.
So today’s post may have ended on a bit of a bummer, since it’s kinda hard to make jokes about how House of Night tries to be progressive but constantly relies on cheap stereotypes to get laughs. If you’re feeling a little bummed out about that, Travis McElroy of the My Brother, My Brother, and Me comedy podcast (which I CANNOT recommend enough) is selling buttons for #IAmHoldingYourHand for which – and this is the important part – all proceeds are donations to the ACLU. You get an uplifting button, AND your money goes towards protecting civil liberties.
— Travis McElroy (@travismcelroy) November 11, 2016
Check it out! You could be a better poster child for do-gooders than Aphrodite and Zoey; that’s gotta be worth something too!