House of Night (Hunted): Chapter 31
The chapter kicks off after Zoey has filled the others in on whatever her plan to escape is. Ordinarily, I’d criticisize this for being another instance of House of Night’s horseshit habit of switching between limited and omniscient narration whenever it’s convenient to how suspenseful it makes the plot, but the chapter kicks off with Aphrodite calling the plan insane and Lenobia openly mocking Zoey, so I’m ok with this for now.
“But how are we going to get Dragon and Anastasia in on it?” I said […]
“I don’t know if you’ve heard of this, but there is something many of us use, called a cellular telephone. Believe it or not, Dragon and Anastasia each have one.”
“Oh,” I said, feeling like a moron.
Lenobia announces that she’ll tell Dragon that “the diversion” will start in half an hour. Zoey complains about how Aphrodite’s wearing stilletos during their escape plan, and Aphrodite complains that they’re also clearly boots and therefore very appropriate, because this is what passes for inner conflict amongst Team Zoey by this point in the story. It’s also worth noting that for all the weird slut shaming that House of Night does, it doesn’t stop the Casts from writing a weirdly male-gazey description of the outfits all their female characters are wearing.
[Aphrodite] was wearing her cropped black designer tank (with the gold JUICY label across her boobs)
[The twins’] butts were snugged with spandexy tan English riding leggings (hee hees)
Honestly, the weirdest part of this isn’t that Zoey’s laughing about how her friends’ butts are rather on display, but that she describes it with “hee hees”, as in what I can only assume is a plural “hee hee”. One “hee hee” for each butt, I guess? That’s just how Zoey rolls.
What’s weirder is Zoey’s interaction with Damien about his problem with the plan: riding bareback. It’s surprisingly unclear if his complaint is about his inexperience riding horses or if, for once in its entire run, House of Night is dancing around making a joke about human anatomy.
“Here’s the thing – I don’t really ride.” […]
“you’re stressing about riding behind me on a horse?”
“Bareback. Riding bareback behind you on a horse,” he said. Then nodded. “Yes, yes, I am stressing about it.”
But whether the joke is “lol Damien can’t ride a horse” or “lol Damien’s balls”, Zoey’s response is… not exactly friendship material.
I started giggling and had to lean against Persephone because I was hurting myself. Okay, here’s the life lesson I’ve really been learning: If you have good friends, no matter how much life is sucking, they can make you laugh.
SHOULDN’T THIS LIFE LESSON INCLUDE A DISTINCTION BETWEEN LAUGHING WITH AND LAUGHING AT, THO? Damien, if you and/or your nuts get out of this alive, get some new friends. Not that the reader can tell how upset Damien actually is about Zoey maybe laughing at his very real possibility of testicular torsion, because the Casts’ struggles with conveying the stakes are so very, very real.
Damien was frowning at me. “Just so you know, I’m going to tell Jack you were laughing at me, and he’ll get mad at you. That means the next time I purchase a gift for you, he will go on strike and not supervise its tasteful wrapping.”
Yo, if your threat includes the phrase “the next time I purchase a gift for you”, you can probably consider that threat empty. If he’s even meaning to issue a serious threat. If he even considers it an issue that the next book might have to start with the gang casting a circle to cure his testicles. HARD TO TELL WITH THIS BOOK.
We interrupt Damien maybe or maybe not worrying about causing serious injury to his nuts and Zoey definitely not giving a shit about it for an update on everyone’s favorite subplot: Zoey’s love life.
“Okay, here’s the deal. Stark Changed. He’s the second red vampyre there’s ever been.”
“Whoop-de-fucking-do,” Erin said. “He’s still an assbucket.” […]
“[Zoey] loves him,” Aphrodite blurted.
“Aphrodite!” I yelled.
But, lo, a House of Night miracle: even the characters in this book are fed up with hearing about Zoey’s terrible taste in men.
“Well, someone had to clue the dorks in to your pathetic infatuation with him,” Aphrodite said. […]
“Zoey is in love with Stark? That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life,” Erin said.
Your words, book.
“Well, except for the whole graduated driver’s license law thing in Oklahoma, Twin. Let’s get serious. That’s the stupidest thing we’ve ever heard of in our entire lives,” Shaunee said.
Good share, Shaunee.
“[Kramisha’s poem] said I was supposed to save his humanity? And I did. I think. I hope.”
“Priestess, we caught him abusing a fledgling. How can you condone that?” Darius said.
“I don’t condone it. It makes me sick. But I remember when Stevie Rae was fighting to keep her humanity, and she was awful.” I looked at Aphrodite. “You know what I’m talking about.”
“Yeah, and I’m not one hundred percent sure you can trust her today.” […]
I expected the Twins and Damien to blow up at her, but they stayed very quiet.
But before we follow through on this and create any actual tension about this inner turmoil in Team Zoey, Zoey just explains her supernatural justification for why she’s right.
“Stark gave me his Warrior’s Oath. […] It was right after that he Changed.”
Darius sighed deeply. “Then Stark is bound to you until you release him from his oath.”
Maybe everyone getting kind of annoyed with Zoey’s questionable decisions will lead to any character development whatsoever in the next book. Lenobia, at least, is done with this shit.
“Can we not get on with more important things and leave the question of Stark’s trustworthiness until a better time?”
Lenobia, I already miss you.
Darius teleports/super speeds himself and Zoey to the wall around the school and initiate the first step of their escape plan, which involves Zoey going to a giant tree (which happened to be there the entire time), which has partially fallen down because of a recent storm (which happened to be the case the entire time), and then using the earth element to ask it to fall down and demolish part of the wall, so they can escape. For some reason this was the first part of their plan, before anyone on horseback even started riding over to this spot that would presumably attract unwanted attention now, so hopefully the teachers have one hell of a distraction planned.