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Stranger Than Fiction

Untamed - Kristin Cast, P.C. Cast I wonder how much longer House of Night will keep up with this time frame. The time between 'Marked' and 'Betrayed' was one month, another month passed between 'Betrayed' and 'Chosen'. It's been 2 days since the events of 'Chosen' and we're shown that Zoey's friends still haven't forgiven her. In the horse stall, she mutters to herself that all her friends were being so judgemental. Keep the 'Judgemental' part in mind for later.

They're totally shafting her with every conversation starter when Aphrodite stumbles in latched onto Daruis' arm and it's like we're back in anyone of the previous novels all over again. Her tattoo is back and The Twins rip into her instantly with the same things they've repeated over and over for the last 3 books. What's awesome though, about this scene is how Aphrodite takes a seat anyways and throws back some pretty witty remarks without stooping to using words like 'Ho', 'Hag' and 'slut'.

The next few chapters are filler; James Stark is introduced, Stevie Rae returns with her Earth affinity and proclaims herself leader of the Red Fledglings, Nix Assures Aphrodite that she still loves her. Wouldn't you know? Her friends finally forgive her, I'll add to this later.

Things cool down after the highest of all priestess' strolls into school and nullifies Neferet's war plans and shoves her to the side. Stark and Zoey have 'a moment' out on the fields and he dies in her arms. This triggers her emotions and she winds up mourning him like a lover more so than anything else. We get this weird chapter where Damien and Jack fall deeper into their stereotype and the twins do nothing more than the usual 'Aphrodite's a slut and OHHAI CUTE BOI!!!'

It's in this chapter that Aphrodite proves to be more caring towards Zoey than Zoey's own friends. I didn't get many good 'bff vibes' from her group. They seem to be place holders for all the Dark Daughters meetings, but with Zoey being able to call all the elements by herself, I find myself being bored with Shaunee, Erin and Damien’s role in the book. I think I'd find the 'House of Night' series more interesting if Aphrodite, Zoey and Stevie Rae had this tight knit threesome thing going on instead of this forced cardboard cut-out I'm spoon fed by the authors.

'Untamed' marks the 'beginning' of the overall 'story' of the 'House of Night' series as we're quickly introduced to a prophecy, ravens and a Cherokee demi God named Kalona. Personally, I feel that the middle of this book felt a little 'talky' to me and perhaps this is why it took me so long to read. The characters spend a lot of time on a singular experience, whether it be the death of a friend, the reappearance of one or when Aphrodite has a vision. We spend a lot of time gathering the 'Nerd Herd', filling them in and then having them decide to act like things are business as usual so that Neferet wouldn't catch on. Sometimes I feel it'd just be easier to cut out the Twins, Damien and Jack as they just lead to so much 'filler' that just seems so unneeded. That fight would have been a good reason to have them out of the way and safe, but they were quickly written back in with a vision and a half told story. Much of the bulk could have been cut back.

The ending happened in quick succession and wasn't at all that bad. It almost made up for the slowness of the middle chunk of this book. I was ready to haul it in with this series but that ending has honestly made me want to continue with this story. We leave off with a cliff-hanger. Zoey calls the Nun-Grandma-Sitter, Heath and her parents and tells them to get underground just before heading underground herself.


Discussion?

One thing I do like about 'Untamed' is how NONE of the former boyfriends were so quick to forgive Zoey. Sometimes their reactions were a little harsh, but I'm glad that they didn't come back with open arms the second she apologized. It was a nice touch considering a lot of YA novels have the boyfriend coming back into the girls life quite easily, no resistance is met.

On the topic of forgiveness, her friends forgave her way to fast. I know it's 'for their safety' that they weren’t in the 'know', but they were just as misinformed and just as used as the boyfriends were and it leaves me wondering why they were so quick to to leap back on the Zoey band wagon. Granted, Zoey has been spending most of her time with Aphrodite and even at 4 books in, Aphrodite has more character development then Zoey's three bffs. Damien, Shaunee and Erin just seem to be there to fill time when needed. Demons attack? Summon help from Damien to channel air to blow them away. However, when you can control ALL the elements, why do you need your friend’s ability to do the same thing. I rarely see the others use their powers outside of Zoey's circles or whenever Zoey needs them. Aside from Steve Rae's exploring her Earth Powers, the other three just seem to laze around waiting for Zoey to cry 'Avengers Assemble'.

Zoey brings up the 'Can't believe I'm not a virgin' topic way too much.

Character Rundown

Damien: 'They're gay. My friends and I, along with anyone who's not utterly judgemental are cool with that.' P.8, 'Untamed'.

A quote from Zoey a few pages after saying her friends are judgemental.

Right after Stark dies, Aphrodite proves to be the better friend. She makes sure that Zoey is bathed, clothed and fed after Starks death while Damien and Jack comfort Starks dog and the twins babble on about another beautiful loss. I'm torn between who would make a better friend, a rapist who's shown more depth and character growth in the past 4 books or 3 stereotypes that are shallow and vapid with each new twist and do nothing more than ass pat Zoey when she does well.

Neferet acts more like a teenager then an adult, no wonder the older vamps encourage the next generation to figure things out on their own. Their leader can't seem to keep it together long enough to make a mature plan. Instead she stoops to scheming behind her students backs.

Boyfriend Count: 0
For a while, I thought Zoey would be adding Stark to that list, but he dies shortly after his arrival and is used against them in the end. Heath shafts Zoey, Erik humiliates Zoey multiple times and no other boys fill the role of boyfriend for the duration of 'Untamed'. Mrs. and Ms. Cast, I applaud you for this decision and how it was handled despite how cruel the boys had seemed, they were hurt and it felt justified.

Tattoo Count: 5 New: 0
Crescent outline: Appears at school.
Filled in Crescent: Receives later that day at Grandmas
Facial: Appears during Halloween ritual.
Shoulders: Appears during Halloween ritual.
Back: After saving Heath from the underground.
Waist: Acquires after saving Stevie Rae.

Could it be that Zoey's powers have tapered off? Maybe just for 'Untamed' but it's a nice break from Zoey inheriting ALL the powers.