Condensed review here on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/575294174
Well, here we are again, another YA paranormal romance. This one was chosen because I’ve seen a lot more reviews of it recently, and it’s a little different from the others I’ve reviewed. Those others were clearly headed for the bandwagon immediately, but this one tries to bring something new to the table.
And, from what I’ve heard, utterly fails.
But be prepared for what passes for a ‘strong female character’ these days!
Some dead guy shows up to ‘mark’ our heroine, Zoey, with the symbol of a crescent moon. And you know what that means, my fellow children of the 90s!
MOON! PRISM! POOOOOOWEEEEEEER!
Haha, no—it means she’s a vampire and has to go to vampire school or she’ll die, what a bummer. Well, at least it’ll get her away from her gossipy friend Kayla, who any sane person (and most insane) will immediately want to see decapitated with a chainsaw.
Wait, did I say ‘vampire school’? I did? Well back up a bit—I obviously meant vampyre school. Which will henceforth be known as ‘vampire school’ because that’s what spellchecker is going to change it to anyway.
Zoey fears a fate far worse than death though, she fears turning into a goff, or worse—an emo!
At any rate she’ll no longer be able to interact with her schoolfellows, though since she appears to have nothing but contempt for all of them, I’m not sure why she’s upset. Oh well, I’m sure she’ll make some new friends among the pure and good freaks of her new school.
First though, she stops to admire herself in the mirror and notes that her Cherokee blood… rejoices? So… Cherokees really love vampires?
Zoey goes to visit her sort-of boyfriend Heath, who seems mentally challenged he’s so stupid, and who she has nothing but contempt for. I can see why they get along!
His friends take off as soon as they see another YA paranormal romance coming for them, knocking Heath onto the pavement. He scrapes his hand, and Zoey gets all mesmerised by the blood. Yum, yum. Yummy blood.
Then Heath’s friends come back for him and end the scene. Narrow escape, guys—you were almost characters in the book!
Zoey goes crying to mommy, but she’s unsympathetic because she’s a parent character. Also because Zoey has an evil Christian fundamentalist step-father, who reigns terror over the whole house by… uh… being a Christian fundamentalist.
Apparently Zoey’s family is falling apart. Her elder sister and younger brother pretend to like the evil step-father, but secretly the sister is sexually active, and the brother plays violent video games! OH THE HUMANITY! THOSE POOR CHILDREN!
Zoey goes to pack up her blackest clothes, but then the evil step-father comes to talk to her.
The ‘step-loser’ (Dawn: Lol, that’s a good one, freak!) is called John Heffer, and for some reason that’s a terrible name. Well, I guess it goes with him being a terrible one-dimensional character. Zoey tries to explain vampires with science, but it’s so ridiculous that somehow, Christian fundamentalist!step-dad doesn’t listen.
They suggest calling the family shrink, but Zoey has to get to vampire school right now! Even though in the last chapter she wanted to wait a few days before going!
But the parents say no, and it’s the worst thing ever!
Zoey whines about how fat women are coming over, because all Christian fundamentalist women are fat, apparently, and they bring their paedophile husbands, because all Christian fundamentalist men are paedophiles. Apparently.
Look, I’m not a major fan of fundamentalists of any kind, but this is going a bit far—don’t you think?
Ah, what’s too far, amirite?
Anyway, Zoey instead escapes, sounding more and more annoying along the way. Then she goes to the house of her Magical Cherokee grandmother!
Vaguely racist mumbo jumbo ensues, (the best kind of mumbo jumbo!) and then some ghosts show up… or something. Zoey trips up like a spaz and knocks herself out.
But she wakes up in order compare her not being afraid of what happens to girls who sleep around and get pregnant and STDs. Great analogy! (maybe the ‘House of Night’ will be camp monster from Born at Midnight, I feel Zoey and Kylie would get along well).
Actually, rather than waking up Zoey seems to be having an out-of-body experience, so she can talk to Nyx, goddess of vampires, who tells her she has a great magic destiny. Yes, really.
*Sigh*. Having ToG flashbacks here.
Zoey wakes up for realz this time and tells her many woes to Grandma Stereotype, who has taken her to vampire school in the meantime.
Grandma gives her the important news that her crescent mark has changed colour, which means she’s super-special of course, and some absurdly beautiful vampire shows up to greet her. She’s high-priestess Neferet, and she’ll be the mentor character for the book.
Neferet and Grandma talk like some characters from old-timey land, without contractions and the like, while Zoey is her usual obnoxious self, letting the reader know that vampires are soooo much better than stupid old humans.
Then it’s time to introduce Zoey to vampire school!
First of all, Zoey meets Nerferet’s cat, and the cat likes her right away even though he usually hates everyone. What a surprise. Neferet say she thinks you can tell what a person’s character is like by how cats react to them, which I guess means that everyone in the school except her is horrible.
Unless cats only react well towards evil people, which—knowing cats (and I’ve had several!), is more than likely.
More bull about cats and how awesome vampires are ensues, followed by some nice empty reassurances. Then Neferet leaves to see to some dumbass who broke their leg because she has healing powers.
Zoey wanders around until she comes upon a girl trying to give a guy oral sex while he begs her to leave him alone.
Okay… I’m not sure what—
Oh, it’s here so Zoey can judge other people for having sex. I forgot that she was pretty much Kylie from Born at Midnight. Hmm, I wonder which book was written first…
Then Neferet comes back so Zoey can go on some more about how vampires are awesome and humans suck, and are totally jealous of the awesome artistic skills of vampires. Huh, it’s a pity we couldn’t get one of those artistic vampires to write this book.
Zoey is taken to her new common room to meet her fellow vampires, including one who looks like Sarah Jessica Parker. Zoey then proceeds to give us her opinion of ‘SJP’ because it’s something we really cared about.
This girl’s name is Aphrodite, and Zoey judges her for having this name, because it’s ‘not normal’. Yes. Really. Aphrodite offers to show her around, so she can reveal that she’s the Dawn character of the book, and Zoey can compare her to Pamela Anderson’s fake breasts.
Aphrodite also gives us this line:
“It’s amazing here mostly because of me. Yeah, you heard me right. This place is cool because I’m cool.”
… I think I’m in love.
She tells Zoey not to get any ideas about becoming popular or anything and takes her to her room, so she can make fun of her new roommate’s Oklahoma accent. That’s my girl!
But unfortunately she leaves after that, and we’re stuck with Zoey and her new roommate, Stevie Rae. Her personality seems to be that she’s from Oklahoma; maybe we should set her up with Russell from ‘Inescapable’?
They celebrate their new friendship with a boring conversation, interspersed with descriptions of clothes and furniture.
Our new dynamic duo go to the ‘dining hall’ for dinner, and to celebrate getting to the quarter-way point in the book, Stevie introduces Zoey to her friends Erin and ‘token gay’ Damien. Well, they call him ‘token guy’ but then say that since he’s gay, he doesn’t really count as a guy.
Damien responds by saying he’s actually two guys, so while he is indeed a guy, he sure as hell can’t count.
Since their group was missing a token black, an ‘African princess’ shows up to be… a character in the book. Her name’s Shaunee, and with her presence the conversation ceases to be simply boring bullshit. No, now it’s boring annoying bullshit.
A lot of talk centres around the ‘Dark Daughters’, the sorority-type thing that Aphrodite is head of and how they’re big meanie poo-poo heads!
Then Aphrodite pops by to invite Zoey to their secret sorority ritual and to call the others ‘trash’.
I have to say—I can see her point.
After a boring discussion about whether or not Zoey should go to the ritual, we have an equally boring discussion about what the different symbols they wear mean. I can smell the unmistakable stench of ultimate irrelevancy on these symbols…
Then Zoey and Stevie leave so they can talk about poor widdle Damien and how horrible homophobia is.
Zoey wakes up the next day for a bowl of Count Chocula with blood instead of milk.
No, not really—but she does mention that she loves Count Chocula, so I do see that in her future. She also mentions that Aphrodite was blow-job girl, which I must have missed earlier.
Then she gets her schedule, which is all arty and elite. No maths or sciences for our girl, it’s fencing and horse-riding instead! Then Aphrodite pops by to remind her about the ritual and this pretty much entirely superfluous chapter ends.
For her vampire sociology class (yes, really) Zoey meets up with Damien, and proceeds to describe the hell out of what Neferet is wearing.
Today they’re learning about the Amazons, who were apparently vampires, and from whom their society apparently sprung. Neferet tells the class that vampire society is still matriarchal, but they respect and appreciate the men as ‘protectors and consorts’.
Yeah, can you imagine a professor in regular old sociology addressing the class ‘today our society is still patriarchal, but we respect and appreciate women, and consider them our supporters and wives’? Rather than; ‘today our society is still patriarchal, despite the efforts of Anita Sarkeesian and Andrea Dworkin, and we must all work together to put an end to the patriarchy’, or whatever it is they teach in Sociology these days?
Hmm, I wonder if there’s a male vampire with bright red hair out there who screams ‘MATRIARCHY’ at random passersby?
Then Neferet proceeds to give the ‘coolest lecture ever’—so cool, we don’t get to hear anything about it.
Zoey then goes to drama class to hear a monologue by that great vampire playwright Shakespeare (yes, really—incidentally, it’s a serious pet peeve of mine when authors use time travel or alternate history to suggest that their characters are responsible for the greatness of other more famous authors. Seriously, have some respect.)
But the monologue is read by Erik, who was blow-job guy from before and incidentally appears to be Zoe’s Generic Love Interest.
One more massive clothes description later we enter the joys of vampire history class, from which we learn that the Titanic… happened.
Oh wait, we already knew that.
One guy doesn’t do any work and gets a scolding, reacting with epic apathy until Damien passes by and he switches to epic homophobia.
Another pointless chapter!
(CONTINUED IN PART TWO)