Burned (House of Night)
By P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast
Genre: Young Adult
Published 2010, St. Martin's Griffin
Hardback, 323 pages
When friends stop trusting each other, Darkness is there to fan the flames….I liked this book a bit more than the previous book in the series simply because it looks like some of the characters are maturing passed some of their more annoying tweeny quirks and developing some depth. Stevie Rae always bugged me in previous books for her cliche hick-like speech and tastes in clothes, etc., but in this book, she starts to discover that the lines between good and evil are sometimes much harder to discern as she tries to juggle her relationship with Rephaim and still be what everyone else in her life wants her to be. She does this by lying, lying, lying, which is very bad, but at least she is taking risks to truly do the right thing, even if she is going about it the very wrong way. What did bug me was that the way she was caught between Dallas and Rephaim felt like the authors were attempting to make her be some kind of Zoey copycat, and the way Stevie Rae was handling the situation so poorly pretty much made it a forgone conclusion that whomever she hurt more would be the one going evil, making her the responsible party, even though the guy making the choice should be responsible for his own decisions.
Things have turned black at the House of Night. Zoey Redbird’s soul has shattered. With everything she’s ever stood for falling apart, and a broken heart making her want to stay in the Otherworld forever, Zoey’s fading fast. It’s seeming more and more doubtful that she will be able pull herself back together in time to rejoin her friends and set the world to rights. As the only living person who can reach her, Stark must find a way to get to her. But how? He will have to die to do so, the Vampyre High Council stipulates. And then Zoey will give up for sure. There are only 7 days left…
Enter BFF Stevie Rae. She wants to help Z but she has massive problems of her own. The rogue Red Fledglings are acting up, and this time not even Stevie Rae can protect them from the consequences. Her kinda boyfriend, Dallas, is sweet but too nosy for his own good. The truth is, Stevie Rae’s hiding a secret that might be the key to getting Zoey home but also threatens to explode her whole world.
In the middle of the whole mess is Aphrodite: ex-Fledgling, trust-fund baby, total hag from Hell (and proud of it). She’s always been blessed (if you could call it that) with visions that can reveal the future, but now it seems Nyx has decided to speak through her with the goddess’s own voice, whether she wants it or not. Aphrodite’s loyalty can swing a lot of different ways, but right now Zoey’s fate hangs in the balance.
Three girls… playing with fire… if they don’t watch out, everyone will get Burned.
I also like the maturity that James Stark reaches in his quest to save Zoey. While it is cliche to say that love conquers all, his love for her forces him to grow up and be a man, instead of just a petty, jealous, hormonal teen. The lengths he goes to save her could put a few grown men to shame, and if she ever rejects him in future books for any reason at all, she does not deserve him.
On the flip side, Zoey's other friends, i. e. Damien, Jack, and the twins are barely even mentioned throughout the entire book, except to provide color for the background or some comic relief. I don't really miss them, either, as their antics are so formulaic as to make me cringe every time I read about them.
I am undecided as to whether I like Aphrodite's character. While she does not seem to be growing in maturity very much - as in losing her bitchiness - she does seem to be coming to terms with how she appears to others. At the same time, she is learning to wield her arrogance with purpose as she gains the title of Prophetess and show some true emotion for her friends.
I really hope that this series wraps up soon, as this plot feels like it is spiraling out of control with all of the loose ends, unexplained pieces, and growing cast list that simply can not be given enough attention to detail in every single book, even with the random deaths of several characters in a single book.
The Cover: I think the cover is pretty cool, since it deviates from the previous covers by putting someone else besides Zoey on the front, namely Stevie Rae. I would have liked it better if Aphrodite were also included on the cover, since she has a role equal in prominence to Stevie Rae's in this book.
First Line: "Kalona lifted his hands. He didn't hesitate. There was no doubt whatsoever in his mind about what he had to do."
This is so ridiculously redundant that I don't know what else to say. Bad first line, bad, bad, bad.
Favorite Quote: "Oh, please, if its ass is feathered and waterproof, its a duck. Hello, pictures with little word balloons makes it a comic book. They're dorky comic books for nerdy antisocial, nonbathing people. End of discussion."
Read For: Pages Read Challenge, Support Your Local Library Challenge, Speculative Fiction Challenge