Back a couple of years ago when we started this blog, we reviewed
the first book in the House of Night
. The review was mostly positive, praised the characters, and ultimately ended in a recommendation.
We deeply, sincerely apologize for that.
So, to atone for our sins, we've decided to re-read and review the entire House of Night
series from the beginning - all nine books, both novellas, and five comics - so that we can take a look at and discuss exactly what makes them so awful.
Like before, we're going to start the review off with our protagonist, Zoey Redbird, a character who possesses just the right balance of Divine Special and Unrepentant Asshole to make us want to constantly punch her right in the face. As obnoxious heroines go, Zoey blows every other irritating character we've ever read about out of the water like a fucking hurricane.
Allow us to
elaborate: Zoey is a raging Mary Sue. Sure, lots of protagonists are, in some way or another, but Zoey ticks nearly every box on the Mary-Sue checklist, and then ramps it up to eleven. She's beautiful, "exotic", supposedly smart, virginal, doesn't drink, smoke, do drugs, or even *swear*, and is at fault for absolutely nothing. Anything bad going on in her life or around it is wholly because other people who are out to make her life miserable - her stepdad, the mean girl at school, etc. From the word "go", she is a super-speshul "vampyre" snowflake, in large part due to her Cherokee heritage, and she is literally the only vampyre in the history of FOREVER AND EVER to be as magically gifted as she is. Boys fall at her feet in waves, everyone important loves her, and the ones who don't are canonically evil.
Yet despite having these super-special magical powers, Zoey really doesn't bring a whole lot to the table. In practice, she's not particularly smart, insightful, charismatic, or physically adept, and as a heroine, her agency is almost nil. Zoey may be super special awesome, but she doesn't do
a whole lot - bad things happen, eventually the fix magically presents itself, and Zoey somehow winds up being the hero.
This alone would be enough to make her an eye-rollingly annoying heroine, but as usual, Zoey turns it up to eleven by eschewing any semblance of a likable personality.
We don't even have to go past the first chapter before Zoey's showing us just how stuck up, snobby, and pettily judgmental she really is. In fact, it's probably her defining personality trait. You can't go two pages without Zoey spouting out some snide comment about a group or individual that she finds inferior to herself; one of the first things she says about anyone
is that her best friend is shallow, dumb, and prone to "annoying K-babble". This is her best friend
, okay, and yet both Zoey and the book waste no time in showing us how this is going to play: our heroine is better than everyone.
From there, nearly every character we meet is treated similarly. Here's a short list of the people Zoey encounters and/or mentions throughout the first chapter, and the impressions we're given of them:
- Kay, her BFF - stupid, shallow, and - it's implied - promiscuous
- Heath, Zoey's ex - a dumb, alcoholic pothead
- Dustin and Drew, Heath's friends - closed-minded hillbilly rednecks
- Zoey's mother - weak-willed and dependent on her husband
- Zoey's step-father - a controlling religious zealot
- Zoey's nameless older sister - a "slut" and "Barbie", whose supposed promiscuity Zoey uses against her mother in an argument
- Kevin, Zoey's little brother - lovingly* deemed a "troll"
*sarcastic tone implied
Yeah. It's always a good sign when a book has to turn its supporting cast into cartoonishly awful caricatures of human beings to drum up a little sympathy and source of angst for its heroine. Zoey is probably supposed to look like a saint in comparison, but all we saw was a judgmental asshole who liked to talk a whole lot of shit. A whole lot of misogynistic shit, at that.
The misogyny is one of the most infuriating aspects of House of Night
. These books take a laundry list of every awful, misogynistic idea that women have about each other, and gleefully perpetuate a world in which they are true...
Read full review at You're Killing.Us
Part Two: ALL THE -ISMs
Part Three: Plot? What Plot?