House of Night (Hunted): Chapter 9
Nope, you didn’t read today’s post title incorrectly.
Okay, taking a group shower with girls who had affinities for water and fire was an experience that went from awkward to interesting to pretty darn funny.
In case this was somehow too subtle, Zoey breaks down exactly what this means in excruciating detail.
At first it was awkward because, well, even though we’re all girls, we’re not exactly used to communal showers. […] No, there weren’t any doors or shower curtains or anything. […] So it was awkward to be naked with my friends at first. But we are all girls, hetero girls at that, so we really weren’t interested in each other’s boobies and such, no matter how hard that is for guys to comprehend, so the awkward part didn’t last long.
I stared at this paragraph for like ten minutes trying to figure out some kind of joke but I just can’t top how unintentionally hilariously weird this is. Except perhaps for sharing that I read for the blog on the New York City subway, but that’s a joke less about this book and more about how uncomfortable I felt during my commute last week.
I guess the best point to make about this passage is, as is the norm for House of Night, just how stilted everything sounds. You know, beyond how Zoey only ever refers to breasts as “boobies”, regardless of whether she’s joking around, in an uncomfortable scenario, or literally assisting surgery. It only gets less natural-sounding as Zoey begins to delve into the incredibly exciting mystery of “Boy, there’s a lot of steam in here”.
“Hey!” I stuck my head over my stall trying to see the Twins in their showers. “Are you guys doing something to the water? […] All of this doesn’t seem like it’s happening without some help from certain someones who know how to manipulate fire and water.”
We’re now a quarter of the way into this book and absolutely nothing has happened to progress the plot where a brand new villain suddenly appeared at the end of the last book, endangering the free world and forcing our heroes into hiding with the prospect of an uncertain future, but, sure, let’s spend some time talking about how there’s just so much STEAM in the shower.
Speaking of stilted writing, get ready for a lot of “TWIN?” “TWIN?” “TWIN!” “TWIN?!” “TWIN!”
“Us? Miss Fire and Miss Water?” Erin said. I could barely see the top of her bright blond head through the steam. “Whatever could she mean, Twin?”
“I do believe our Z is implying we’d use our goddess-given affinities for something as selfish as making thick, warm, sweet-smelling mist to help relax all of us after we’ve just had a day that was ever so horrible,” Shaunee said with mock Southern Belle innocence.
“Would we do that, Twin?” Erin asked.
“We absolutely would, Twin,” Shaunee said.
“For shame, Twin. For shame,” Erin said with mock severity. And then they dissolved into twin giggles.
I like how they genuinely thought “twin giggles” was a detail that helped describe this scene. Like in the first draft, it just said “dissolved into giggles”, and the Casts were like “but what KIND of giggles?” and then were like “ONLY THE GIGGLES THAT CAN BE PRODUCED BY TWINS” and their editor was like “yes, this is clear now”.
You might be asking yourself why Zoey is making such a big deal about this. Thankfully, Zoey suddenly realizes she isn’t sure either.
So here’s where the interesting part came in. I decided that there was not one darn thing wrong with the Twins using their gifts to make us feel warm and clean and comfy.
You and I have very different definitions of “interesting”, Zoey.
They joke about how they’re not bothering to use any of this magic to do the same thing to the boys’ showers. Zoey pokes fun at them and the Twins begin – and I say this without hyperbole – the saddest play fight I’ve ever read.
“Get her!” Erin yelled, and she flung her hands at me, causing water to pelt me from all sides.
Of course it didn’t really hurt, so it made me giggle even more.
“I’m heating her up, Twin!” Shaunee said, flicking her fingers at me, and my skin was suddenly very, very warm.
Zoey uses her wind powers to send all the water and heat that Erin and Shaunee are sending her right back at them. I get that this is supposed to be a comic relief sort of scene, but Zoey has to describe the events as “a hilarious version of a pillow fight-water fight”, which isn’t so much explaining the joke as begging for a joke to be somehow willed into existence.
Zoey gets the others to surrender (because Zoey is always the best, do not forget this) and then I guess actual important things happen in this chapter. But seriously, let it be known this was the sexy shower fight chapter of House of Night. But a hilarious one. Just not in the way it intended.
Zoey goes to sleep.
I smiled at [Stevie Rae] and, clean and warm and very, very tired, fell instantly to sleep.
But wakes up!
Then I’d had that horrible dream, which brought me back to current time.
Or… wait, what tense is that in? Maybe she wasn’t able to sleep at all?
I’d hoped replaying everything that had happened in the past several hours would be like counting sheep and maybe help me drift back into a hopefully dreamless sleep. But it was no use.
Ok, so she didn’t get any sleep.
[I checked] the time: 2:05 P.M. So, great, I’d gotten a whopping three hours of sleep.
Zoey, if I can’t tell whether you’re saying you slept or didn’t sleep, how the fuck am I supposed to follow what you’re thinking about your romantic prospects?
Speaking of her romantic prospects, Zoey goes to relieve Erik of his watch shift. This is probably much more important to recap than the fucking shower fight, but what does “important” really mean anyway?
She decides she won’t get back to sleep while she’s consumed with worry about Kalona (when I was Zoey’s age, I couldn’t sleep if I had a chemistry test the next day, so this is totally fair) and her weird dream where he insisted that she was A-ya (the woman made of the earth who tempted him into his underground prison). She wanders to the kitchen to get a snack and decides she needs some blood, which for some reason she is still defending her usage of in book five of story about vampires.
It was delicious and electrifying, like drinking rare gourmet honey mixed with wine (if you like wine) mixed with Red Bull (but better tasting).
Oh. Yes. I get it now.
She finds Erik and – because nothing is too on the nose for House of Night – they start talking about Dracula. Like, the book. Not kidding.
“Well, yeah, Dracula is supposed to be a monster and all, but I always feel sorry for him.”
“You feel sorry for him?” Erik was obviously surprised. “Z, he’s pure evil.”
“I know, but he loves Mina. How can something that’s pure evil know love?”
Zoey then proceeds to tease Erik by spoiling the ending of Dracula, which he hasn’t read yet. Coincidentally, I’m halfway through reading it the first time myself. Right now. Guess I can’t say I don’t deserve it. Touche, Zoey.
“Want me to tell you how I wish the book ended? […] I wish Dracula hadn’t let everyone come between him and Mina. He should have bitten Mina, made her like him, and then taken her away so they could be together forever— and lived happily ever after.”
Ok, admittedly, I haven’t finished reading Dracula, but I’m super skeptical that this is a valid reading of Dracula’s motivations. Much less Mina’s. Seriously, though, can we talk about how Zoey’s ideal romantic version of this story is that he makes a woman love him? Zoey. Girl. Get your shit together.
“Because they’re the same and they belong together,” he said.
I looked up into Erik’s amazing blue eyes and saw that all the kidding had gone out of them.
“Yeah, even if bad things happened in their past. They’d have to forgive each other for the bad stuff, but I think they could have.”
Okay, Erik Night, you’re really not talking about the book anymore.
Obviously Erik and I weren’t talking about fictional characters from an old book.
But were they ever? Someone who has read Dracula please tell me if Zoey’s wrong about it. I know this is usually my job. Today I need your help.
They start making out again, and Zoey gets uncomfortable once Erik starts getting “too aggressive, too insistent”. But this time he seems to actually pick up on that and stops. She says that she also needs to try to make a phone call to Sister Mary Angela to see if she was able to take her comatose grandma into safety. The storm’s finally cleared, so Zoey’s able to make the call, but the signal is so bad that she doesn’t get a whole lot of information.
“Grand . . . is conscious. We’re under the abbey, but . . .” There was static and then suddenly I could hear her clearly. “Are you influencing the weather, Zoey?”
“Me? No! What about Grandma? Are you guys safe in the abbey basement?”
“. . . fine. Not to worry, we . . .”
And the line went dead.
Things get worse when Zoey (and presumably everyone else) gets a text message from Neferet!
All fledglings and vampyres are to return to the House of Night immediately.
To recap, this is primary antagonist Neferet’s plan right now:
Zoey and Erik decide they obviously can’t go back yet and need to find out more “before we make our next move”.
Suddenly, Zoey’s human ex-boyfriend Heath shows up out of nowhere. Tune in next week for what will presumably be a great explanation for how the hell he was able to do that.