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Stranger Than Fiction

Betrayed - Kristin Cast, P.C. Cast Betrayed

Let’s start off with a refresher: drugs and sex are still bad. Doing drugs means you're dirty, to be sexually active means you're a slut.Before we jump back into 'House of Night' let me just say that Zoey gives us WAY to much 'refresher' in 'Betrayed'.

When a character we've met last book walks in, Zoey launches into an introduction based on what that character did in the last book.

We open to parent’s day at House of Night where we meet her bigoted 'Step Loser' and mom who doesn't love her and they pretty much exit stage left again shortly after getting into a verbal fight with Neferet. Now with her parents gone, it's all about Zoey and her cool new substitute mother, Neferet, who seems to become more and shiftier as the novel progresses.

As the new priestess in training, Zoey must commit to creating a new image for the 'Dark Daughters and Sons' and much of the novel surrounds this. Sometimes you'll see her hanging out with her friends, but most of the time she's planning for 'Dark Daughters' or sneaking around campus.

Honestly, like in 'Marked', not a lot happens in 'Betrayed'. It's mostly just two large plots, in this case it's with the 'Dark Daughters' and a couple missing teens with a few sub plots that will be picked up in future books I reckon. There's a romantic sub plot with Loren, but it's really only two times that they have heavy flirting. Zoey has developed a further imprint with Heath after drinking his blood for a second time, this secures his safety later on the book as he too is napped and Zoey finds him via their bond.

'House of Night' is heavy in foreshadow and blatantly shows us a lot of stuff before it happens. In 'Marked' we're introduced to the concept of the '1 in 10' survival rate and get to witness the death of one character off screen and one on screen. In 'Betrayed', we watch as

Stevie Rae becomes increasingly ill. Zoey chalks this up to her friend being stressed for her, but with what's been sent our way for two novels, it's not hard to see what's happening to Stevie Rae. When she bites the dust, Zoey seems to be the only one who's surprised. I'll wrap this up quickly as the ending is kind of lack luster for me and I saw most of it coming a mile away. Heath is kidnapped and Zoey finds him underground with their telepathic bond through imprinting, she finds Stevie Rae amongst a bunch of other 'Dead' fledglings, Neferet erases Heath and Zoey's memories and the two wake up on the street outside the building where Zoey found Heath. Neferet gives her a nice little 'A Challenger Appears' moment, more or less. It's no surprise that Zoey gets her memories restored and reveals her tattooed back to Neferet with a 'Challenge Accepted' speech.

Up for Discussion:

Zoey Redbird appears to be more 'Understanding'. Whenever her friends bring up Aphrodite in conversation, they're quite likely to toss out 'Slut', 'Dirty', 'Nasty' and 'Ho'. Zoey, on the other hand, is a lot quicker to say 'I don't know you guys... She's still nasty as fuck, but let’s give her some credit'. Her friends seem to have become more antagonistic towards Aphrodite, becoming no better than Aphrodite and her old friends. This does include Zoey herself, but she's a bit more likely to stand up for Aphrodite when she deems it fair.I know that Zoey SAW Aphrodite’s parents giving her shit, and then Neferet giving her shit, but when relating both incidents to her friends, they shrug. Well, hell, we all have issues, but her friends seem like the biggest group of twats that ever graced any sort of high school setting, going as far as to remind Zoey that 'Hey, your parents are mean to you, you're all right... well, that and your special.' That's what I feel it always comes down too, just how special Zoey is. Zoey, who's more 'advanced' in the fledgling race seems to gain a new understanding of those around her and I can bet that in later books, this becomes something of a Vampyre power. Empath of sorts? Zoey is the ONLY one who wants to include Aphrodite to some degree and I feel this is a vast improvement over 'Marked' Zoey. I like it when two 'enemies' can work together and get the job done and become sorta friends in the end. It's only been a month and it feels like the two girls are just melting into the roles. Though, she still acts more of a bitch towards Aphrodite every now and again.There's also Zoey's little dilemma of 'Which Guy Will She Choose?' Heath has cleaned up his act in this book. I sort of get this as he was scared shitless in 'Marked' during the final show down, but it still doesn't change the fact he's an asshole who willingly cheated on Zoey despite the two never really being 'together' during that time. Again, this is where Zoey's new 'more understanding' nature steers her wrong. I can get behind her wanting to forgive Heath, but it wasn't just 'Stank Ho Kayla' who caused their falling out, it is as Zoey keeps telling us 'Heath likes to drink, do drugs and party.' She reminds us that she's not attracted to people who do drugs and party excessively. That, folks, was their falling out. No 'ex best friend' came between them, that happened well after Zoey decided she didn't want to be with Heath if he continued the lifestyle he was on. It's just plain irritating that she keeps going back and forth between 'We're not together because of the drugs and partying' and 'We're not together because of my Ex Best Friend'. But since he's quit those things, he's an eligible bachelor, let’s not forget he gave up 'Nasty Kayla'.

With Erik, whose gone most of 'Betrayed', we don't get to see a lot of one on one action, but if I had to choose one guy for Zoey to Endgame with, it'd be him. He's the least knob headed out of the two possible candidates and seems like a decent human being/fledgling. He even mentioned to Zoey that if she wanted to make them work, she'd have to put the past in the past which in this case that would be the exes. Like I said, he seems like a level headed individual and patient when dealing with Zoey. Best guy to endgame with.

I almost don't WANT to include the final bachelor because he just DOESN'T seem to be part of the whole love whathaveyou-angle. Not yet anyways, still have many more books to stomp through. Loren is the poetry teacher, looks to be 20-something and makes Zoey feel like a woman with his touches and free rhymes. We get two events with him, one where he touches her face in the library, the second behind the school where he asks to see her tattoo's and proclaims her his muse. Personally, I feel it's nothing to sing home about, even if it was flirting.

Somewhere in between the banter with her friends and planning for the Dark Daughters meeting we have a couple of Zoey's old party friends go missing which kicks off a sub plot of bringing Heath back into the picture. In town, Zoey and Heath have a nice meeting and things go off really well to the point where I thought 'Hey, maybe Zoey isn't such a dick with guys hearts after all.' Heath wiggles his eyebrows, Zoey drinks his blood and the two become imprinted on a whole new level. More on that later.

I'd like to think that her attraction to three guys has softened her attitude towards Aphrodite, helping her realize that attraction, lust and making out don't make you a slut. That and Aphrodite has proven herself to be far more trustworthy then the girls own friends. Which is something that bothers me really. Zoey never hesitates to say that she doesn't want to gossip about her personal life with the Twins and Damien, yet Aphrodite is usually the first person she asks when Stevie Rae isn't around. I can easily be told that 'Neferet can read everyone’s mind except for Aphrodite and Zoey, she's protecting her friends!' For me it's mostly about the level of trust she's putting on someone who she's had a recent falling out with, she doesn't have to share anything with anyone and that includes Aphrodite. One of my personal nit-picks about the writing style is how, as the reader, I'm not allowed to draw my own conclusion about the character. For example, I'm not allowed to see Aphrodite as a girl with troubles or a total slut on my own, I need Zoey to witness an event and then tell me 'That makes her a total Hag From Hell.' Her friends will chime in with 'Yeah, totes, what a slut!'. As much as I like to root for the main character, I can't help but feel a little bad for Aphrodite and the treatment these characters are giving her. While she does cop a bad attitude, surely there's always the 'Walk Away' option. The whole 'We encourage our students to work things out on their own' doesn't cut it most of the time, regardless if the older vamps know what’s going on. Sometimes it takes the moderation of a teacher or a parent or a neutral party to help set matters straight. All we get from this 'sort this out amongst yourselves children' is the girls and boys choosing sides and calling each other names. Not confronting a teacher about being bullied because of fear is one thing, but not calling for help because the teachers EXPECT you to do it on your own just makes for lazy writing and encourages the next generation that you should start growing up at a young age. On a grander scheme, It also enforces and perpetuates the 'absent parent syndrome' we see in so much YA lit today.

We get a little more of Zoey's self-absorption when Stevie Rae starts to fall ill. After reading a book and a half of this series with massive foreshadowing, it's not hard to know why Stevie Rae is so sick. FOr two days, Zoey makes mental note that 'Stevie Rae looks tired.' 'Stevie Rae looks sick.' even going as far to say on ritual night 'Stevie Rae is stressed for me.' While I wouldn't doubt Stevie Rae being a true friend, we've been given the fact sheets on a fledgling rejecting the change. Stevie Rae saw it twice and Zoey witnessed it once. I'd like to chalk it up to teens having the 'We're unstoppable!' mentality, but when Stevie Rae kicks the can, I'm not the slightest bit surprised or shocked.

As the end approaches, we're shown that it's Aphrodite who makes the most character development out of ANY character, with the exception of Zoey 'Mary Sue' Redbird. Though it's almost insulting to Zoey's friends when she shields them from the truth in favor of asking Aphrodite for advice. Right now, the other characters just seem so flat and stereotypical that I can't make any sort of judgement on them that doesn't include me saying 'they're a bunch of self-absorbed entitled twats whose only purpose is to pat Zoey on the ass when she does well.'

Boyfriend Count: 2 + 1 crush
Heath: Now that he's clean, he's back in the game.
Erik: Gone for most the novel, comes back just in time.
Loren: I use crush because it was just flirtation mostly.

Tattoo Count: 4 New: Back
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.