By P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
Genre: Young Adult
Published 2011, St. Martin's Griffin
Hardback, 325 pages
Zoey is finally home where she belongs, safe with her Guardian Warrior, Stark, by her side, and preparing to face off against Neferet—which would be a whole lot easier if the High Counsel saw the ex-High Priestess for what she really is. Kalona has released his hold on Rephaim, and, through Nyx’s gift of a human form, Rephaim and Stevie Rae are finally able to be together—if he can truly walk the path of the Goddess and stay free of his father’s shadow...I was pleasantly surprised in the improvement of characters in this book, as my expectations of this series have dimmed over the course of the series. This book was better. Both Dragon and Lenobia's character are shown more insight as their back stories are revealed, which I'm sure is further explored in the books, Dragon's Oath and Lenobia's Vow. Also, one of the "twins" shows some backbone and stands alone in her beliefs - about time, I might add. Those two drove me nuts every time their dialogue appeared on the page.
But there are new forces at work at the House of Night. An influx of humans, including Lenobia’s handsome horse whisperer, threatens their precarious stability. And then there’s the mysterious Aurox, a jaw-droppingly gorgeous teen boy who is actually more—or possibly less—than human. Only Neferet knows he was created to be her greatest weapon. But Zoey can sense the part of his soul that remains human, the compassion that wars with his Dark calling. And there’s something strangely familiar about him...
Will Neferet’s true nature be revealed before she succeeds in silencing them all? And will Zoey be able to touch Aurox’s humanity in time to protect him—and everyone—from his own fate? Find out what’s destined in the next thrilling chapter of the House of Night series.
Rephaim also continues to battle with his origins and his new lease on life, thanks to Nyx's forgiveness. Though Rephaim himself does little to progress the plot, his presence serves as a major catalyst for both sides and drives Kalona to make some interesting choices.
There is also the addition of a new fledgling to the mix, whose addition answers one question about the red fledglings, but brings up many new questions as she has a new gift of True Sight. From the descriptions, she can see auras, though the word is never used for whatever reason, which I also found annoying. One other addition is another adult to the Tulsa House of Night, a major supporter of Zoey and company, who brings a good dose of sanity and maturity that it so desperately needs. I have renewed hopes in the continuation of this series.
The Cover: This cover features Neferet's supposed creature, Aurox, with a hint of his true nature in the shadow of the bull.
First Line: "I think my mom is dead."
This is certainly a shocking way to begin the book, and it reminds me of what happened in the previous book.
Favorite Quote: “The question of what we are can only be answered by ourselves. We each decide what we are by the life choices we make. How we were made, who are parents are, where we are from, the color of our skin, who we choose to love, all those things do not define us. Our actions define us, and will keep defining us until even after death.”
Read For: Young Adult Challenge, Finishing the Series Challenge