This is the part where I have to pretend there’s a plot to summarise… due to the machinations of Cyna and Mavrynthia and Merriska and I am doomed to reading 4 of these books, in 4 weeks.
There is not enough booze in the world
Ok, Zoey is feeling isolated with her friends turning on her – which is a problem because have several prophecies. One that predicts the rising of a dark and terrible force – and one which predicts Zoey’s death if she is alone
She needs to rebuild some bridges quickly
There’s another element of these books that is increasingly annoying me – the authors seem to think their readers are fools, blithering fool without a scrap of reasoning who need everything explaining veeeerrrryyy slooowly and veeerrryyy carefully and over and over to make sure it sinks in. This is why the book is so full of recapping, every element of the last book repeatedly hashed over not as Stand Alone Stuffing, but because the authors seem to have that little opinion of the intelligence of their readers. We see the same thing when the characters discuss a “cryptic” prophecy. The meaning of it is obvious, I mean really really really obvious. It’s impossible that any characters, especially purportedly intelligent characters, couldn’t have easily interpreted it in second. But instead the characters describe it and work it out in ludicrously excessive detail to explain it to the readers – there’s no assumption of even basic reader intelligence to work things out on their own or even realise the obvious. It had to be spelled out step by step in ridiculous detail.
It makes the book – already slow and lacking in any real development or action – even slower and more painful to read
And can we address that element as well? Nothing happens! Not until the very end of the book when Zoey and gang finally bravely run away. All through the book they just kind of hang around and mope. I would say they were developing their relationships or resolving conflicts or making plans – but none of that is true. Because they don’t.
It’s not like there AREN’T conflicts but they don’t take effort to resolve. All her friends hate her? That takes two paragraphs to resolve. Aphrodite doesn’t know where she stands? A paragraph. A prophecy to interpret? Takes pages but zero effort. We have a trip to a feral cat shelter which achieves… well… nothing, it’s just there. We have lots and lots and lots of circle casting with little achievement. Hand wringing about Stevie-Rae without any real advancement or thought. There’s no effort or drive or difficulty it all works out
Part of which is due to Nyx, the Irritable Bowel Goddess. Whenever Zoey has a choice to make or a question to answer or needs reassurance or surety then Nyx appears. Bodily manifesting this time along with all the feelings she gives Zoey whenever she has any questions. What’s hilarious is that this book also has Nyx talking about free will – but Zoey has no decision making agency of her own, she exists to be a puppet to the goddess who then draws the line about intervening elsewhere.
And while I’m on terrible plotting and this weird weird goddess and her idea of gifts – let’s look at Stark, Zoey’s newest love interest with his completely ridiculous archery power. His “gift from the goddess” giving him the magical power to always hit what he wants to. And by “want to hit” what it actually means “whatever cryptic nonsense that a malicious trickster can twist your words into.” Here’s an example – Stark wants to shoot the centre of a tree. Another word for centre is, kind of, “heart”. And in some mythology the “heart” of a tree belongs to a creature of being near it. So guess what he hits? That’s not a super power, that’s a bow possessed by Loki. Every time he draws an arrow it’s completely random whatever he will hit
For more hilarity - not only does he have NO CONTROL over what he hits since any passing thought can have his power decide "hey, you're hungry? You wouldn't be hungry if my arrow went back in time and KILLED YOUR MUM! MUAHAHA" or some other nonsense but he is also compelled to practice his archery. Not only is this sheer evil, but it's laughably pointless - if you have the woo-woo power to NEVER MISS then practice is redundant.
For added nonsense - Zoey keeps calling the forced love interest "mysterious." Despite the fact the guy info dumps his entire life story within 2 pages of meeting him. This is not mystery. It does mean the inevitable I'm-not-spoiling-but-do-you-care? tragedy that hits can be ALL ABOUT ZOEY'S FEE-FEEs. Oh screw spoilers, the man confesses his damn adoration for Zoey on his death bed after two days. Two. Count them! One, Two, Love, Dead. Gods give me patience because if you have me strength I'd break something