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BEFORE I BEGIN, PLEASE REMEMBER THAT THIS IS THE 6TH BOOK IN THE SERIES AND THEREFORE THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN INFORMATION REVEALED IN THE BOOKS LEADING UP TO THIS POINT - I'LL TRY NOT TO SPOIL TOO MUCH, BUT IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE TO REVIEW A BOOK WITHOUT REFERRING TO STUFF THATS HAPPENED PREVIOUSLY!
What Is Zoey Up To Now?
It feels like Zoey and gang have come a long way from the very first (cringeworthy) books in this series, especially since, when you look at the timeline a bit closer, she could only have been in the vampire school a mere couple of months!
Zoey has had to deal with a great deal in this time frame, and despite sending Neferet and kalona away from the house of night (and it appears out of the Country) Zoey and her fledgeling gang are far from safe.
THis story picks up mere few minutes after the drama ends in the 5th book and Zoey and friends are left exhausted but relieved but knowing the war is still on. The Cherokee legend continues in this book and remains its central focus, with Zoey coming to terms with the fact that she is the reincarnation of A-Ya (created by the Cherokee women out of clay to trap Kalona). With this knowledge comes a problem not even Zoey thinks she can fix - due to her ties with A-ya, she isn't sure how long she can resist him, as A-ya was created to love Kalona as well as trap him.
With Kalona getting into her dreams and with him teaming up with Neferet to take over the world (oh so cliched baddies but it works!) how will Zoey sort this mess out?
Oh, Zoey Et Al, How You Have Grown!!
One of my first thoughts when reading this book was how far the character development has come along in some places. Now that we are on the sixth book in the series, there is less need to return to previous plot lines, spending pages at a time going over the characters personalities, their relationships and plot lines. By this point, it is a given that by reading this book, most people would know the basic storyline and the majority would have read most of the books leading up until this point. It is a blessing, as the two writers have in the past had a cringey way of going over the old story lines, pulling out cliches and stereotypes about Zoeys friends that could be quite hard to read at times and had me embarrassed that I was reading this series at all!
Mother/Daughter Duo Wisen Up to Criticisms?
For those who didnt know, the daughter part of this duo was brought on board to make sure that her mother was writing authentically enough about teenagers and that the language was sufficiently "cool" enough. By this point in the series, I felt like there was a slight change in writing tactics and It makes me think that the writers have actually listened to (reluctant) fans of the book like myself and realised how far the characters in the book contradict themselves in terms of what they say.
Despite some grown-up dialogue about sex and dealing with world - affecting issues (in the vampire world that is!) the language and attitude of Zoey is often embarrassingly childish. This book is a bit of a departure from that, perhaps to do with listening to the fans but also because of the serious nature and action filled plot line that has developed over the past two books.
Some of the characters have developed quite successfully during this book too, showing sides that we hadn't previously seen and opening up the book to different avenues. Firstly, there is Eric. With Zoeys never-ending trail of admirers, the two authors did well in sewing the seeds of Eric downfall in the last book. Without down-right turning him to a baddie , they did enough to successfully make the reader care very little about him which doesn't damage a fans point of view of the characters in the book, careful laying of these foundations were important to make sure there was no backlash!!
Secondly, Aphrodite's softer side has flowered even more and continues to become a good draw to this series, eclipsing almost the role of the rest of Zoey's gang (excluding Stevie-Rae). Perhaps not featured a huge amount in this book, her influence and story lines are still the important ones in Zoey's journey, and there is no doubt that this will continue in the rest of the book.
Stevie-Rae is a character that is hard to fathom, but I appreciated her full return to the series in this book. At first confused by the way in which the books blurb makes out she is a baddy, I wasn't sure if I was disappointed or pleased to find that her secrets in this book served a genuine purpose and is further proof of her humanity despite first being dead, and then "un-dead".
The Usual Love Life Dramas But With An Explained Twist
As for Zoey's love-life, this continues to be a drama, but at least in this book, partly to do with Erics relationship with Zoey, it doesn't become the main focus of the book. The continued presence of Kalona in Zoey's dreams add a new and dangerous dimension to Zoey's man issues but I liked the development of her relationship with Stark, her new warrior. More than this, my affection for her human "consort" , heath has grown immensely. Heath must be the most unrealistic teenager on earth, coming across as almost perfect when it comes to anything to do with Zoey, but still he is one of my favourite characters of this series after reading this book. The whole love circle that Zoey finds herself in with all of the men who like her is almost explained away as normal by this book, again, the authors having sewn the seeds of how zoey can have so many relationships in the previous book.
As for the plot, well it is successful and readable because, having got to this stage in the series, all of us readers just want to see how it pans out. The last book was pretty action packed, and this book takes us on a journey out of America, but I would say it is not as jammed full of action as the previous book. The ending of this however, makes me believe that in the next book, we are in for a treat...at least that is what I hope