There's something about 'House of Night' that's so strangely addictive and while it would appear by my reviews so far that I'm not overly fond of the writing style and many of the characters, I can't seem to put these books down. 'Chosen', the third book in the series, is no exception and it, quite frankly, is the best so far.
We kick off 'Chosen' with Zoey lamenting her Christmas Eve Birthday. Sucks to be Zoey Redbird marked with the affinity for ALL THE ELEMENTS. Zoey is reminded of how well her friends don't know her and everyone is feeling pretty low about themselves. She meets with her Grandma and we get the customary three pages of Step Loser cramming his beliefs into Zoey's ears. It's the usual Harry Potteresque beginning, hanging out with the verbally abusive parents that I've become used to over the three books. She accepts her Grandma's presents heartfully, because Grandma knows best, but shuns her mother’s gift of the Faiths Bible complete with the family tree. Honestly, despite the whole religious undertone, I found the whole 'You're still part of the family' thing touching, right up until Zoey storms out of the coffee shop to confront her 'Step Loser' and throws the gift in his face.
She makes amends with her friends, on her Grandma's advice, all of who she kind of offended at the start of the book and Zoey and Erik share a private moment where they make out and he feels her breast. I find it interesting she'll only use her 'big girl words' when she's sexually liberating herself. Like when she's with Loren she's feeling turned on or attracted to him, she'll admit to feeling womanly, grown up and sure of herself, able to flirt with the best of them until he walks away and she's back to saying 'Boobie' and 'Poopie'.
Speaking of Loren We get to meet up with our poet again, who flirts shamelessly with Zoey, admits he 'came home for her birthday' and the two have a make out session and thus officially begins the start of boyfriend number 3.
We're treated to more banter between the group of friends and you can feel the growing rift between them, Zoey just feels so empty when conversing with them. This seems to drives herself closer to Aphrodite who she fully confides in about the whole Stevie Rae thing. Aphrodite really grows on me in this novel, becoming the ONLY person willing to stand as a decent foil to Zoey, actually seeming to ground that large ego Zoey has. even if it's jealousy, she's quick to point out that Zoey still has A LOT to learn and it's evident in all the relationships Zoey has with friends, teachers and everyone she plays off of.
I'll bring this up now. It's said that Neferet can read minds, much like every other full-fledged Vampyre. If not read minds, then have a very strong intuition when it comes to their students, I've read it hinting at both. The only two people Neferet can't read are Zoey and Aphrodite so it sort of sticks them on the same sinking ship. If Zoey or Aphrodite relate what’s going on to anyone, the gig is up as Neferet can just read the minds of their friends. In short, we're supposed to believe that Zoey was doing the right thing by keeping them ignorant to what was going on and in truth, Zoey did make a wise choice, but if I were in any of her friends shoes I'd be pretty pissed too. Forgiveness wouldn't be far out of reach, really, with some explaining, but I wouldn't be completely understanding when finally being told what was happening.
The rest of the story seals Neferet as the greater evil here. A teacher is killed. Neferet reveals her evil intentions and tries to start a war between humans and vampyres while copping an attitude similar to the teens. Erik changes to full on vampyre. Its revealed Neferet is working with Loren and the two form a plan to isolate Zoey by, get this, making Zoey fall madly in love with Loren who will then ditch her, SCANDEL. Zoey has been debating the whole boyfriend thing for the last three books and keeps telling herself that 'Loren is too old; Heath is too human, Erik is the right choice.' But we're focusing on Loren here, so her and Loren wind up in bed together and Zoey decides 'this must be love!' There’s a messy bit involving her friends, Neferet being more evil and Zoey being 'FOREVER ALONE'. The book ends with Zoey counting her loses: her friends, her boyfriends, her mentor. Over all, the feel is rather grim as we've just spent three books with a steady incline with Zoey in the hot seat.
Character Round Up
Something I'd like to bring up, finally, after reading three full books from this series.
As I’ve said in my 'Marked' Review, I didn't feel as if I could genuinely make an opinion of a character on my own. I had to think of Aphrodite as a slut because the characters kept jamming the word down my throat. When it comes to Damien, it feels like 'Stereotypically Gay' is all there is to his character.
When I think of Stevie Rae, I think of her love of all things country and her momma bearness. When I think of Aphrodite, I think of a girl who's comfortable with her sexuality and a little misunderstood, despite what the other characters have told me. Zoey Redbird is just coming into her powers of sorts and is very confused of almost everything but loves her grandma. Even though I've said that I feel like I'm not allowed to form an opinion on the cast, I clearly just did. However, as Most of the characters do follow a set cut-out, all I feel or think about Damien is that he's nothing more than the resident homosexual. It's a 'Show Not Tell' thing when you boil it down. Very rarely do you see him reacting like a 'boyfriend' to his boyfriend, who's only purpose seems to be verbally reminding people that 'Yeah, we're gay' and to provide the group with tech support for ceremonies. All I'm getting is this mindless banter between the twins and Damien. I get it; the boy is gay, move along. Also a nit pick in the Damien department, I fail to see his vocabulary as anything special. The words he chooses don't seem poetic or out of range for a 17 year old, like saying 'Flatulent' instead of 'Gas', just seems like the boy got hold of a thesaurus because other than a word that seems 'out there' his sentences are rather basic and common for a teenager.
Touching base on the 'Twins' matter, their constant banter is starting to grate on my nerves and other than that, they still seem too in the background for me to care about them otherwise. Whenever a 'fiiiiine' boy walks in, there’s a lot of suggestive grinding and eyebrow wagging. The only other point they serve is to point out the obvious.
Erik. Thank god for an actual decent guy in YA fiction. He could have easily been written off as 'the most understanding guy in the world' when he found out what happened between Loren and Zoey, going back to her after shit hit the fan. Instead, he calls her out on her shit, 'You make Aphrodite look like an angel!'. Slut shaming is bad folks, no matter how you slice it, but Erik had it right when he called Zoey a hypocrite. Even if they get back together in future books, this just proves that he's not willing to stick around with Zoey if she's not ready to commit to him. He points out, right to her face, that Loren was using her and to not come crawling to him when it falls apart. Even when he found out that there was more to the problem then originally stated, he still flat out said 'This changes nothing.'
You know, I have reason to like this book the best out of the first three. It shows real consequences to common teenager problems. If you constantly shaft your friends, even the ones that stroke your ego ALL the time, they're bound to show some animosity towards you even if your intentions are pure. Your completely understanding boyfriend isn't always going to be around forever when you cheat him for a second or third time. Sometimes the truest and most valuable friends and help come from the most unsuspecting places. Sometimes the wisest people dress in the trashiest clothing. I actually LIKE how Zoey made attempts at standing up for Aphrodite. One could say that it was all forced, but come on, BOTH girls met each other with the same attitudes. I liked how Stevie Rae progressed in her fledgling tattoos, showing that Zoey isn't the only one who deserves congratulatory pats on the ass for being so unique.
Boyfriend Count: 0
Heath: Imprint broken when Zoey made 'love' to Loren.
Erik: Ends things when Zoey made 'love' to Loren.
Loren: 'Love' was all a ploy, died at books resolution.
Tattoo Count: 5 New: Waist
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.