Neferet continues to be evil – and has decided the next step in her evilness is to kidnap and sacrifice Sylvia Redbird, Zoey’s grandmother. Naturally Zoey and the gang run to the rescue, even though the Vampire High Council is providing no support for their efforts. They also need to be careful with their public persona as Neferet is starting to launch a public relations battle with the human authorities.
It does give Aurox a chance to make a choice about who he wants to be and which side he is on.
We need to take a moment to look at the overall story arc of these books – because I’m on book 10 now and it’s not quite holding together.
The overall meta is that Neferet is a big bad evil who must be stopped. And if you preserve your thinking to that very shallow depth (understandable since deep thinking and the House of Night Series go together like Canadians and tropical weather) then that kind of holds together. Neferet does evil things, Zoey and co then respond to stop her. But what does Neferet actually want? And, no “evil” is not a motive. So we have Neferet rather belatedly acquiring a motive: she wants “control” rather than just power (which I’m taking to mean no accountability. Which I’ll let pass… except all of Neferet’s power now seems to come from her having to repeatedly bleed and beg for help from her Evil Cow. How does she have more power than she had before?). And to get this power she’s going to make humans and vampires fight each other and then she can swoop into the ashes and be confident she’ll take over
Ok, let’s suppose for a moment that this plan has a chance of working when she’s pretty much setting herself up as a number one target in the giant war she’s planning on starting. Let’s let that go for now and instead ask:
WHY THE HELL ARE YOU IN TULSA?!
Look if you want a global conflict, it’s not going to start in Tulsa (no insult to Tulsa, the same applies to my home city or most cities on the planet). In fact, her attempts to manipulate humanity have netted her some shaky control over the mayor of Tulsa. I paused a moment to see if she meant the Governor of Oklahoma. Or a senator. State senator? No, the Mayor of Tulsa. That’s the extent of her power. It’s not even the state capital or the biggest city in Oklahoma! It’s the 47th biggest city in the US. It doesn’t have a significant vampire presence – the most important vampire in this city was Neferet herself.
Even in Tulsa, Neferet ignores the one target that could actually make a difference in this conflict – Thanatos, High Council Member. Thanatos may as well not be there as far as Neferet is concerned – why ignore one of the most influential of the vampires’ leaders? But then, the feeling is mutual! Because facing indisputable proof of Neferet’s evil murderous ways the High Council of Vampires decides the appropriate response is to Not Talk To Her Anymore, so there. I suspect they may also have given her a nasty look. That’s it. Meanwhile Thanatos continually pokes Zoey and co to grow up and be ready to face the big bad evil Neferet and how can you be such nattering children?!
Really, Thanatos? How about you not rely on teenagers to save your entire civilisation? How about you actually DO SOMETHING?
Because this whole broken story comes down to one thing: centring Zoey. So Neferet, rather than actually do anything to further her wicked plans, instead decides to target Zoey again and again and again. She’s killed Zoey’s mother (and if she’d just chosen ANY OTHER HUMAN, she wouldn’t have been discovered by Thanatos) and the entire plot line of this book revolves around Neferet kidnapping Zoey’s grandmother to get a sacrifice to KILL ZOEY, despite KNOWING that Sylvia Redbird is an impossible sacrifice because she isn’t a person, she’s just a collection of Native American mystical stereotypes, a couple of handfuls of feathers and a good cry over environmental destruction from a full trope collection. Neferet has literally paused her entire plan to attack Zoey again. She repeatedly sabotages herself because she must attack those meddling kids!