Hunted (House of Night, Book 5)
SPOILER WARNING! I don’t give it all away, but if you’re new to the series, there are some issues discussed here, that you shouldn’t know about yet.
I was mowing through these books as if they were candy! I LOVE candy! But the series went from chocolate covered cherries to Sour Heads. Mind you…I kinda like Sour Heads too, I just don’t devour them as fast, and “squinch” my face every time they get to be too much. And this book, yes, at times, was just too much.
While I’m still technically enjoying this series (the suspense remains intriguing and is continuing nicely with each book), I have to say that this one (and book# 6) really upset me. In fact, I was so incensed that I took almost a week off, to reflect, and get used to the “new turn” the series took, before completing my latest reviews.
It started off promising…my adrenaline and love hormones were ringing with anticipation.
“Even after all that’s happened between us, you can say that?” My eyes were filling with tears, and I had to blink fast to keep them from spilling over.
I watched as Erik took a deep breath. He looked like he was a diver getting ready to jump off a high, dangerous cliff. Then, in one rush he said, “I love you Z. All that’s happened between us hasn’t changed that, even if I wanted it to.” He cupped my face in his hands. “I couldn’t be fooled by Neferet or hypnotized by Kalona because I’m already a fool for you, hypnotized by what I feel for you. I still want to be with you, Zoey, if you’ll just say yes.”
“Yes,” I whispered without one instant of hesitation.
But with this book, the author began her campaign to throw one of my favorite characters under the bus, and I still have no real idea why.
I reminded myself that Erik really was a great boyfriend. I’d been glad that he and I were back together. I was still glad we were back together, wasn’t I? Couldn’t I just stay glad and not let the good things we had between us be messed up because I was freaked that he was going to want more from me than I could give him right now?
My reaction to this was “Oh heeeeere we go, again…” I was disappointed that yet again, Zoey was second guessing her feelings for Erik, but I wasn’t expecting what came next.
I hoped as the downward spiral began that perhaps the issue would resolve itself in the next novel. When I finished this story, I immediately began book# 6, and my hope was squashed, when it was obvious this character was still (and suddenly) the group “pariah”.
Erik is still under the bus, but there is no way the author can convince me of his sudden personality change. She spent so much time building him up to her readers, gaining our sympathy by putting him through the ringer (when it came to Zoey’s indecisive *issues*). The author portrayed him as patient, understanding, and despite everything they’d been through, how badly Zoey hurt him (more than once for that matter) he continued to support her (even when she didn’t quite deserve it). Oh sure, he had a few choice words for her in his moment of pain, but that just made him more real to me.
Erik. You are sweet, romantic, gentle and accommodating and it seems you’re not into “playing games”. A true gentleman. Don’t think for one second that I’m fooled by the author’s sudden change of heart when it comes to you. I suspect she felt there needed to be a “message” in this YA book, and you were the sacrificial lamb.
The message being “Don’t stay with a possessive and controlling guy, just cause he’s hot” and “just cause I had sex once, doesn’t mean I wanna do it again”. The whole “your not the boss of me” syndrome ran rampant in these next two books.
No…no wait! Hold on! I agree with the message. It’s a good and important message for young girls and women alike to take notice of. Strong, confident women, who control their own lives and decisions = happier women. There should be no question about this. Women rule!
But in this case, I’m not buying it.
I saw Erik’s reactions to Zoey at the beginning of this book as natural, and understandable. From his insecurities, his insistence on connecting with her on a more intimate level (and I use the term “insistence” loosely – from what I saw he was just, well…getting close, nothing threatening), and his “alpha” stance on protecting her, I sympathized with him. So no. I don’t see a possessive jealous jerk. I see an insecure guy being played by a self-centered immature brat.
I don’t think she’s necessarily playing him on purpose. There are no nefarious purposes. She’s young. She doesn’t know what she wants, or she simply wants it all. Either way, Zoey plays games, and now we’re all supposed to be mad at Erik cause he’s developed a backbone.
To make matters worse, as Zoey was yet again, walking out with another male despite Erik’s immediate concern and mistrust (in a time of severe danger no less- when she SHOULD remain in hiding), the author insisted on having us believe that he was a controlling, self-centered, arrogant bully.
Sidenote –> In the quote below, the word “sucking” refers to Zoey drinking blood from her human ex-boyfriend
“Look, Erik,” Ahprodite sneered. “We get that you’re Mr. Jealous and that seeing your girlfriend sucking on another guy is probably not cool with you, but you’re just going to have to learn to deal.”
Erik completely ignored her. Instead he met my eyes and I saw that he had, once again, reached into his acting bag of tricks and pulled out the character of a stranger. As I studied him, I saw absolutely no trace of the guy who wanted me so bad that his passion had gotten kinda scary. I couldn’t even find a trace of the possessive Neanderthal who had wanted to kick Heath’s butt and boss me around. He was able to cover all of those versions of himself and his emotions so effectively that I was beginning to wonder who the hell Erik was.
And it just gets worse. The author, however isn’t doing a good job at vilifying him (at least not in my opinion). Instead I just feel bad for him and want him to find some adults to hang with. These kids, albeit powerful, can be jerks!
And when it comes right down to it, Zoey, he was right, you nit-wit! You walked out too soon, (with your fragile human, no less, and for no reason other than to “talk about your feelings” for each other, yet again, even though you just yet again pledged yourself to Erik). You should have stayed in hiding, and now look at the mess you made! You’ve been forced to re-bond to Heath, rip Erik’s heart out, and perpetuate the author’s “emphasis” that Erik’s a brute.
“Yeah, I see what you can do for her. I might have to put up with it, but I don’t have to have it shoved in my face.” Angrily knocking the blanket aside, Erik left the room.
Okay so anyway – back to the book. Kalona (the gorgeous fallen angel that’s obsessed with Zoey – yes ANOTHER perfect male that “appears” to want to do anything for her) has come back to earth. He wants to rule (and he wants Zoey by his side).
“What do you want?” I said the words quickly so he couldn’t hear my voice shaking.
“You know what I want, my love. I want you.”
“I am not your love.”
“Of course you are.” He moved this time, stepping so close to me that I could feel the chill that came from his unsubstantial body. “My A-ya.”
A-ya had been the name of the maiden the Cherokee Wise Women had created to trap him centuries ago. Panic spiked though me. “I’m not A-ya!”
Zoey’s High Priestess mentor Neferet is bad, and is his partner in crime. They rule the school, turned everyone into drones of sorts (teachers and students). Zoey and crew come out of hiding, and return to school (Zoey needs healing), and it gives them a chance to evaluate the situation, plan stuff etc etc… Zoey recruits yet another guy, more bad stuff happens. You know how it goes. I’m not giving it away, I promise. Lots of stuff happens. New characters become integral to the grand scheme of things, the “new red vampires” get more air time (and what’s up with them, anyway?), surprising imprints and unlikely alliances etc etc.. It’s would have been good, had I not been so annoyed and insulted.
Wow rereading this, I giggled. Apparently, my week off didn’t help. I just want to make it clear – I know these characters aren’t real 😉 I promise.
Okay, you might argue that the romance factor is but a portion of the story. The series is one of action danger, and good vs. evil (plus daily teenage woes). That may be true, but Erik was a big part of it for four whole books, and the sudden shift (and woe is me, he’s a big meanie, do I love him, do I not?) simply distracted me too much to be able to properly appreciate the rest.
This series runs hot and cold, from adult worthy issues, to absolutely childish eye-rolling moments, and while overall, there is more good than bad, this book had more bad then good.
Interested in the series? Here is the P.C. Cast – House Of Night Series Reading Order