I had a crazy idea last night. I decided that I would go to the library and read Hush, Hush, House of Night, Fallen, Evermore and its sequels, and Shiver. After hearing several bad reviews for each of these books, I avoided them. But curiosity got the better of me and I couldn't very well complain about how much the standards for YA novels have fallen without reading some of the alleged best sellers. My plan was foiled and the only book they had available was the third book in the House of Night series, Chosen. Maybe I should be grateful. If the quality of those other books are anything like Chosen, I fear for my sanity.
I have not read the first two books in the House of Night series, but I could gather what was going on. Zoey's best friend Stevie Ray is undead or something and she tried to kill Zoey's boyfriend/Imprint, Heath. Zoey's rival Aphrodite (who is much more likeable than Zoey despite being her rival) saved him. All this is told to me within two pages. The book starts off by Zoey trying to see how many times she can say suck while complaining about her awful birthday. Her birthday is near Christmas, which means that everyone does the cliche thing and gives her Christmas themed gifts. Zoey whines to her kitten about how she'll have to put on a fake smile while people give her lame presents she doesn't like. She makes a few stereotypical remarks regarding her gay friend Damien while she opens her presents. There's a notable scene when Zoey's boyfriend Erik gives her a really pretty necklace and she's estastic until she sees it has snowmen on it. That just ruins the present. Then Zoey's first boyfriend Heath gives her a bracelet and she's happy. Erik and her friends get mad that Zoey acted like an ungrateful bitch, and she has the audacity to say that it's not her fault. Zoey, it is your fault, sweetie. You didn't tell your friends you didn't like Christmas themed gifts for your birthday. You were too busy whining about having sucky birthdays to mention this fact. Just say casually, "I don't like Christmas themed things for my birthday!" Make light of the fact! There's no need for you to make it into a scene where y
you confessed you were abused.
So Chosen follows Zoey's struggle to help her best friend Stevie Ray regain her humanity. I can tell Zoey just misses Stevie Ray so much. Without Stevie Ray, Zoey has to have bad birthday presents! You see why she needs Stevie Ray in her life? Saving your best friend from a bad birthday- that's a real friend. The whole thing with Stevie Ray goes back and forth. Zoey insists that she hasn't changed, Stevie Ray says she isn't human anymore, blah,blah,blah. What's Zoey's reason for Stevie Ray to be human? The clothes are better. That's right. Never mind that her best friend is losing her humanity and chomping down on humans- the important thing is that Stevie Ray looks gross as a feral vampire and her victims might have lice. Teenage priorites. Gotta love them. There's also tension with Zoey's rival Aphrodite joining Zoey's group of friends because she has an affinity for earth. I liked Aphrodite.I liked how she was trying to make up for past mistakes. I liked her bitchy attitude, her insults towards Zoey showing not everyone worshipped her, and the fact that she gave Zoey a dose of reality. Not every girl who has sexual desire is a ho.
Now, that brings me to my next issue. Zoey is fond of using the word ho. The words ho and slut are tossed around a lot these days, and not in the right context. Zoey seems to think that having any sexual desire whatsoever makes you a ho. Zoey is a filthy hypocrite. One of her other problems is that she has three boyfriends. There's her old boyfriend Heath who she imprinted on and now shares some sort of sexual bond. There's her current boyfriend, Erik, who understands her. There's her Professor Blake, or Loren, who is a man that makes her feel like a woman. For a good bit of the book Zoey goes around kissing Loren and then feeling guilty and whining about it. Of course she never does anything to stop it. Then she still has feelings for Heath as proven when she basically humps him in public. But she's not a ho. Just saying.
But the clincher comes at the end of the book. Zoey's crying because Erik's been Changed and it reminds her of when Stevie Ray died. I'm not too sure on the details, at that point I only had thirty pages to go. Anyway, Zoey runs into Loren and he comforts her. He takes her to his dorms- apartments- I don't know, nor do I care. The main thing is that they form an Imprint, which overrides Heath's imprint. Imprints make you feel sexual desire and she and Loren have sex. Zoey wakes up the next morning and describes herself in the most vain way ever. The little issue of Erik crops up, not to mention that she still hasn't dumped Heath, but Loren goes all possessive and says Zoey belongs to him. That's what I like to see! Possessive boyfriends! If I wanted to read this "you belong to me" crap, I'd go read fanfiction. There's plenty of that possessive mates/bond crap floating about. But oh no, Erik comes and see Zoey naked with their Professor. What follows is my favorite moment of the book and Erik's crowning moment of awesome to me. He calls Zoey a slut, accusing her of playing all innocent and virginal while she's been seducing her Professor. He calls her out on being a hypocrite and then says what a fool he was to have fallen in love with her. Then Zoey finds out that Loren was using her and he's in love with the baddie, Neferet. Who didn't see this coming? I've read the same plot in countless fanfictions.
Some shit happens, something about Stevie Ray and some people who are supposed to combat the threat of religious fanatics. Zoey's friends find out that she cheated on Erik. Do they reprimand her for it? No, they just talk about how fiine Loren is. When Erik is still understandably upset, Aphrodite makes a remark that people take an incredibly long time to get over things that happened before. Yes, Erik, how dare you not forgive your girlfriend for cheating on you within an hour? She can get away with that shit; she's a main character. Stevie Ray comes, it's a trap, I don't know. At this point I just wanted the fucking book to end. Stevie Ray is back to normal(which means she can plan decent birthday parties for Zoey, yay!) and Aphrodite is human. The stereotypical religious group that Zoey's stepfather runs, kills Loren, so the vampires are declaring war. I was going to go into a mini-rant about how parents are the worst thing ever next to Christians, but I don't have the energy. There's a wonderful scene when Neferet tells Zoey how much she sucks. I hope Neferet kills her. But since this series is twelve books as far as I'm aware, nothing can kill Zoey. To quote Yugioh the Abridged Series- she's a main character! Everyone else can go right ahead and die!
Zoey is a horrible main character. She's whiny, unsympathetic, hypocritical, and shallow. She doesn't even seem like a real character. She's more like a mouthpiece for the authors to rant about what they dislike. Unless it fits in with the story, I don't need to listen to the authors rant about how smoking pot is bad, and how any girl who has sexual desire is a ho. Zoey's asides were really annoying. They were like author's notes in the middle of a fanfiction. I hate author's notes in the middle of a fanfiction. I don't give a damn what they had in their fridge. Those asides just interrupt the flow of the story. Maybe the asides were an attempt to show a bit of Zoey's personality, but they fell flat. For example, Zoey makes a sarcastic comment about Hogwarts, then mentions she's a Potter nerd because she's seen the movies. What does that have to do with anything? It's not like she mentioned Harry Potter anywhere else in the book.
This book sucks. I suppose I could write down some creative similes, but I don't have the energy. My brain still has to recover. I will say that I couldn't believe that this is a bestseller. But after reading an informative book on the publishing world, now I can. Best-seller does not mean quality. It just means that the publishers haven't lost any money on this book. I don't know whether to weep for the future of YA books, or feel confident that my novel might have a fair shot.