This series is very problematic on so many degrees it's moved beyond being silly and has entered a territory that's left me with a headache. I don't get this series. Is the fan base so huge that they're screaming for more? Okay, I'm not going into that.
Awakened is the 8th book in a 12 book series, excluding the novellas and graphic novels that only add bits and pieces to the overall story. 8 books in and the plot is moving at a grueling pace. I challenge anybody to read the first 3 books and starting with book 4, just read the last 5 chapters... you would still get the same out of it if you read the whole thing, seriously, a big chunk of the point they were getting too happens in the last few chapters. Skip over everything else, you are just wasting your time.
In Awakened, 4 things happen. Jack dies, Kalona defects from Neferet, Zoey gets two special powers and Heath returns.
Lets start with Zoey here. Zoey gets two special powers while on Skye. Zoey and Stark aren't prepared to go back to the real world and decide to rest on Skye for a while. The queen has taken to Zoey because the young fledgling is also a queen in her own right. Zoey can manifest sprites and fey along with the elements now and upon Zoey and Starks departure, the queen gives Zoey a Seer's Stone that gives her shaman like powers. So on top of being a vampyre, Zoey is a High Priestess, a queen and now a shaman. This girl, who has been a vampyre for 4 and a half months has three titles. Of course the ability is conjure fey is very rare, even amongst High Priestesses. Zoey has no problems with it, there's no training montage, she asks air to help her and the sprites appear. She hasn't used this ability outside of Skye, but no doubt she'll be using it in future books considering the outcome of Awakened.
At the end of Burned, Kalona fails to kill Zoey, but manages to off Stark. Nyx shows up and makes Kalona give up a small piece of his immortal soul as part of a life debt to save the fallen warrior. You know, Nyx always says she's created all her children with free will, but here we see her forcing Kalona to save Stark. What. So with Zoey alive, Neferet makes Kalona her servant for the rest of his immortal life. She fabricates a story so it looks like the two of them aren't on good terms anymore so more work can be done and after a meeting and hearing about what his father has done, Raphiam points out that that Kalona no longer has a complete immortal soul so he's free from the deal. This scene leads to the final battle as it's where Kalona defects.
I feel as if Jacks death was unnecessary and his funeral was a joke, nothing more than a backdrop for the final battle before the main cast decides to take themselves to the tunnels. Jack's funeral served as nothing more than a reason to get everybody in the same spot and even after seeing Nyx, seeing Neferet for what she really is, nobody does anything. Even the people that could do something basically turn their backs on House of Night and say, 'We'll be in the tunnels.' Yeah, they TELL everybody where they'll be. The final battle takes place while they're paying respects to Jack and honestly I forgot why they were all there until a teacher asks, "What about the funeral?" and Neferet quickly shuts it down. So long Jack and thanks for all the fish. During this arc, Erik is forgiven and it's revealed he's now a tracker. This series has a funny way of pushing out characters only to pull them back in long after you forget about them.
As I've said, most of the main plot points happen in the final third of the book. Neferet has sided with the evil white bull and her new accomplice is willing to give her a servant who's willing to go the distance. However, there must be a sacrifice so they head over to Grandma Redbirds house because the older and wiser the sacrifice the better the killing machine. They show up and Zoey's mom is there. Apparently Zoey's 'step loser' had cheated on Zoey's mom with the office secretary. So now Linda Heffer is spending the night at Grandma's house. Grandma is away for the night so Linda is alone. Neferet uses her as a sacrifce.
Theres a change of scenery and we go to the Goddess Realm and Heath is living up his afterlife, playing football before large filled stadiums of people... you know, living his dreams when NYX shows up with a propostion. Nyx gives Heath three choices, he can: A) stay in limbo and be content with life there, B)Choose to be reborn, but that could take awhile, but it'll leave him with time to kick it up in limbo or C) Have his soul be put into the vessel the white bull is creating for Nefert. Nyx assures Heath that he'll have a chance to meet Zoey again because the him and Zoey are destined to be together and that she will always forgive him if he chooses the path of light. He chooses to help Zoey by having his soul placed into the vessel, you know, where his soul could be turned evil and unforgivable by Nyx. Still though, there's that chance things could turn out good and by having a pure soul put into the vessel, it could be controlled in lights favor. Until then, Neferet is controlling Heath.
Zoey wakes up from a nightmare where she's told her mom is dead and we're left with a cliff hanger. I feel as if the last two books could have been smashed together. We're left with more filler than anything else.
Normally, here, I'd make a list of all the special marks Zoey got and take a boyfriend tally, but she's pretty much settled on Stark, and after losing all her marks she lost in the last book, she's gotten all of them back. She's gotten two new powers and the new title as little queen. Really, that's all that's addressable in this book, that's all that happens and most of it happens in the later third of this book. Most of it's filler. This series, in short, should have ended 3 books ago.