Life at school becomes more tense and Zoey and her friends insist on parading a murderer around the grieving loved one of his victims and Nyx insists on not intervening with the super evil Neferet still in control
With ties of family and honour, Dragon and Kalona face hard choices: while the new being Aurox must decide exactly what he is.
Time to open another bottle of the Good Booze because it’s another House of Night review (or, as I’ve come to think of it, my penance for the terrible evil I must have committed in a former life).
The first point that struck me about this book was that I realised why Zoey’s mother died last episode – because Jack and Anastasia died. These two deaths could never ever be about Zoey. Even after a series of making everything about Zoey, this was too much a stretch. So Zoey’s mother died – and the other deaths are pushed quickly into the background. Damian gets to be occasionally “soggy” but now all deaths are eclipsed because now we have Zoey pain to focus on
I have ranted about this in so many books but the redemption/forgiveness themes in this series are truly and utterly awful.
Take Dragon. Dragon’s wife of several centuries was murdered by Rephaim the bird boy who was magically redeemed last book. Dragon is incessantly shamed and demonised in this book because this terribad evil man will not forgive his wife’s murderer when said wife’s ashes are not even cold. The idea that Rephaim should stay away from school and give this poor man a little space so he wouldn’t have to see his wife’s murderer every day (it’s not like he’d lose out on an education – this school has a terrible curriculum and Rephaim himself is over a thousand years old so how much of a high school education does he need?) is considered outrageous. Rephaim’s desire to experience life as a “normal teenaged life” outweigh’s Dragon’s soul crushing grief
Which, again, is presented as a terrible character flaw. Dragon is losing himself, losing his way – and no-one (not Thanatos and certainly not the useless goddess Nyx) bothers to do anything to try and comfort this grieving man. No they talk about how terribad he’s becoming, how he has to forgive and play nice with Rephaim. And it’s only made worse by the ending and what Dragon has to do to redeem himself. Yes he has to redeem himself
In fact – SPOILER WARNING (really if you care. And if you do, look at your life, look at your choices).
Yes spoilers, scroll over to reveal: Dragon dies, sacrifices himself to protect Rephaim. That is his “redemption” for grieving for his wife – protecting his wife’s murderer at the cost of his own life. This is what redemption looks like in this series – a man shamed for not forgiving his wife killer having to then martyr himself for that murderer.
On top of that we throw in the joy of Becca (remember her? She’s the woman who Stark tried to rape) being even further demonised because she has a “Mean Spirit”. Y’know, even if Becca is a reincarnation of Hitler, it STILL wouldn’t make it ok for Stark to try and rape her – stop trying with this demonising, sex shaming bllshit.
But now we have the utter culmination of redemption – I said it was coming and here it is. Kalona ended this book as team good guy. Yes, Neferet is the biggest of big bads (because we all knew we were going for a female villain) and Kalona, the evil, raping, murdering Kalona, is now being brought back into the fold.
Because of a great big act of redemption? Hah, no, of course not. Like Stark and Rephaim, he did nothing to actually earn his redemption – he’s just declared Redeemed. Yay good guy, everyone forget the victims (who, you’ll note with all three of these men, the victims were primarily female) and embrace them.
There is not enough booze in the world.