Life sucks when your friends are pissed at you. Just ask Zoey Redbird – she’s become an expert on suckiness. In one week she has gone from having three boyfriends to having none, and from having a close group of friends who trusted and supported her, to being an outcast. Speaking of friends, the only two Zoey has left are undead and unMarked. And Neferet has declared war on humans, which Zoey knows in her heart is wrong. But will anyone listen to her? Zoey’s adventures at vampyre finishing school take a wild and dangerous turn as loyalties are tested, shocking true intentions come to light, and an ancient evil is awakened.
The downward spiral into stupidity continues as Zoey and her friends prepare for yet more drama and chaos. At the start of the book, things aren’t happy go lucky in Camp Zoey, as her friends are still disgruntled about the many things she has kept from them. None the less, a darkness is covering the Tulsa House of Night and after having their eyes opened by none other than the hag from hell herself, Aphrodite, all things are forgiven (for the most part) and the nerd herd is reunited.
This book has some really good ideas floating around in it, but as a whole, it fails to deliver due to the immaturity of the characters and the constant need for teenage drama. I suppose it is hard to balance out teenage angst with serious plot lines. But at the end of the book, you’ve come to see Zoey as if she is one of two different characters and that’s frustrating. There’s the Almighty Zoey that is an unusually powerful fledgling who is doing her best to fight against a foe who is clearly stronger and better in every aspect. After all, let’s face it, Neferet has few faults and being intelligent, devious, manipulating and conniving are not any of them. And then you are stuck with what I like to call Idiot Zoey.
I know diehard fans of the series will despise that name. But allow me to explain the difference before someone starts plotting my demise over a piece of fiction.
Almighty Zoey might be gifted and blessed by Nyx, but she’s far from infallible. Even at some of her weaker moments, she’s actually the kind of character you can relate to. She’s powerful, but she’s flawed and clearly P.C. Cast collaborating with her teenage daughter, Kristin, helped to capture the inner turmoil all teenagers go through. She’s actually not the prettiest, nor the smartest of her group, but she is resourceful and willing to step back at times to allow those who are better suited for whatever task to step in.
Idiot Zoey is what ultimately destroys this series (well, there are other factors, but she’s a big part of it’s downfall). With everything going on in her life, the discovery of Loren using her, Erik completely turning his back on her and the loss of her imprint with Heath, Idiot Zoey cannot quit looking for the next guy to jump all over. A new cute guy joins the House of Night and after just one conversation (that ends in his death, I might add), she finds herself imagining the possibility of being with him. And while I believe having a support system is important for anyone, no matter how big nor how small, Idiot Zoey continues to manipulate her friends by guilting them into doing whatever she wants. Idiot Zoey thinks only of herself and the dangers that may or may not be meant for her and no one else. In fact, she’s worse than Aphrodite, whom she now considers a friend and yet, still calls her a hag, a ho and all sorts of other snotty comments behind her back.
As I reread this book, I found myself surprised that Stark and Kalona were introduced so early on in the series. I thought I remembered them coming into play later on, but perhaps it’s because I read the first five at once, that things kind of blended together.
Positives: Despite some eye-rolling moments, I really do enjoy the way the Casts try to incorporate Cherokee folklore, culture and mythology into this series. Sometimes Grandma Redbird is almost as annoying as Idiot Zoey, but for the most part, it’s an interest way to correlate human culture and vampire culture. I also enjoy books that show not only the discrimination of vampires by humans, but also the way some people are surprisingly accepting of them. This book for example has a set of nuns who are not only open to allowing Zoey and the fledglings to visit their charitable organization, but to volunteer there as well.
Negatives: Let’s face it, Idiot Zoey is a mess. Not only is she not able to focus on the greater good, she’s too busy with her own personal dramas and need for attention from boys to realize she is the biggest cause for why so many people are ending up dead. For the first three books, Zoey listened to her gut when it came to doing things or revealing things to people. But even as her gut gives her no indication that it is the wrong thing to do, she fails to do the single most important thing she can do: tell High Priestess Shekinah what is going on in the House of Night. Instead, she tries to manipulate Shekinah, making her just as bad as Neferet. A lie by omission is still a lie and had Zoey been forthcoming, perhaps Shekinah wouldn’t have met her end and Kalona wouldn’t have risen.
If you liked the first three books, I’d guess you’d probably enjoy this book well enough. Though it can get extremely heavy handed at times and then turn around and become a juvenile mess.