Monday, June 6, 2016

Redeemed (House of Night #12) by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

Hear ye hear ye, oh gentle people who read Fangs: it has been a long journey, there have been lows and… well, lower lows. There has been suffering and sadness (all mine) and even glee (when a book is finished) but I have finally finished Redeemed and, with it, completed the entire House of Night Series. Do take a moment to blame Cyna and Mavrynthia and Merriska for the suffering I have endured.

So to the review, starting with the good.

Nothing to see here. Move on.

 Well that didn’t take long.

So this is the book where Neferet finally gets hers and where we conclude the journey of Neferet’s terrible, baffling villainhood. I’ve said before it’s bizarre that she became the main villain when Kalona was around. I’ve said before that her motivation made no damn sense and is offensive besides. And her quest for power is dubious because, unlike the gifts she gets from Nyx and gets to keep (and yes I will be getting to the terribleness of Nyx in a moment), her evil death power involves her constantly begging shadow-snakes to do her bidding.

But this book is where we take her motivation and run with it past any sense. She has decided she’s a goddess so she needs to be worshipped. Which means taking over a hotel and recruiting lots of human worshippers by locking them up inside, making them call her goddess and occasionally putting on floor shows for her. Seriously, the big evil Neferet spends a substantial part of this books demanding her event planner put on shiny displays for her amusement and possessing random hotel staff with shadows so they can call her “goddess” and bring her wine.

Basically, she spends the whole book playing with dolls. The dolls are human slaves, but since they’re either possessed robots the amount of actual worship she gets is negligible. She also has a minor hissy fit because there’s not enough 1920s costumes to go around for one of her little parties

Seriously, this “goddess” spends all her time a) drinking all the wine b) randomly killing people and c) playing fancy dress

She also hates modern names, as we’re told at length. And denim. She’s a caricature of ridiculous at this point. She also decides to exposition to an empty room. No, really, she just outright starts telling huge recaps to an empty room. There’s not even a minion to monologue at, just flat our says it to the air. That includes her confession that the two guys Zoey killed were actually by Neferet.

She also conveniently tells this to the police because having her archenemy locked up is apparently bad and she stopped mak… sorry, she never started making sense.

This means Zoey goes form the most epic self-pity to “yay I didn’t murder anyone” (except those two black guys) there’s no blood on her hands (except those two black guys) and she doesn’t have to go to prison (except for those two black guys she killed. Hey can someone please remember this?) It’s really glaring which lives are valued.

So with the plot line of the last 3 books pretty much erased (they were all fighting to prove Neferet was evil and dealing with Zoey’s murder of people they decide matter) that leaves them to do… not much of anything. I mean, Thanatos and Shaunee do their shield and the rest of the gang kind of… mingles. There’s some humans who arrive to hide. There’s a lost cat to get out of a tree and… and there’s pages and pages of them not doing a whole lot.

This is one of the problems with the House of Night series (one of so many), each book contains vast chunks of people sat down bickering, being terrible, exploring love triangles, exploring completely irrelevant issues without actually doing anything until the last chapter when we actually get something happening.

The one note event before the last chapter’s inevitable win is Kalona – and even this contains a whole lot of redemptive bullshit (honestly, the only person who still remembers that Kalona is a serial rapist and murderer is Stark – and every time he mentions it he’s shot down because he’s ALSO a rapist. Which, yeah we should remember but this is just used constantly as a way to keep anyone from questioning Kalona or the fact just about all of the straight male love interests in this book are terrible people with the fastest of redemption trains) none of which focuses on his victims, all of his firmly centred around Zoey and Nyx. I’m not even going to bother with the whole pointless sacrifice scene which is exactly that – someone dying for a cause is one thing – but dying without achieving anything isn’t noble, especially after being warned about said pointless death.

Ok, I’m going to have one more poke at Nyx, the Irritable Bowel Goddess and why she doesn’t intervene. Here we have Shaunee “wisely” explaining she doesn’t intervene because her children have to learn her own lessons and if she corrects them then they will all become spoiled brats.

What bullshit is this? Nyx’s “child” here is Neferet: the only lessons her other “children” are learning is the many ways Neferet can kill them. And by not stepping in or at least taking back the powers Nyx gave her, she’s allowing Neferet to literally enslave people with mind control. But this is free will? And as for learning from mistakes? Who – Neferet? This isn’t deciding to let your child to make their own mistakes and face the consequences! This is seeing your child trying to stab other children with scissors and actually taking them off her rather than sitting in a corner saying “well, she’s got to learn about fatal stab wounds. And so do the other kids. Yay free fucking will.”

While at the same time she still has her little “sensations” sent to Zoey, still has Aphrodite and Kramisha and Shaylin with various visions so her intervention has a definite question to the whole thing. She can only intervene cryptically

I also call double bullshit to the entire world’s House of Nights deciding to completely write them off. Seriously, Neferet is openly massacring and enslaving people on television and the entire world of vampires has decided “meh, not our problem”? Nope nope nope makes no sense.

In between all this we have the standard fails: constant misogyny, ableism (seriously this series as an issue with the word r*tard), homophobia which has happened over and over again. Honestly, in any other book I’d write passage after passage about “Queen Damien” and how they’ve not only moved him away from Jack to a new relationship without any development. I would talk again about Aphrodite and the constant R@tard slur. Anyone less than physically perfect is hated – and anyone who dares to be fat is just THE WORST. I would talk about how all the rapists are being redeemed over and over again. But literally all you have to do is look at every single review of all the books of this series time and again and I’ll be repeating exactly what I’ve said there. This book throws the same offensive crap out time and time again

I made a mistake in my previous reviews of this series – I thought Thanatos was a woman of colour and she isn’t. Really, there’s no excuse for this – if she had been a woman of colour she would have been far more exotified, far less important and she’d probably have been described as a starbucks order, so that mistake is ridiculous on my part.

We don’t have much in the way of meaningful minorities. Shaunee is still there around the periphery and she has more involvement here than she does in previous books. But that’s not saying much. Kramisha makes a 2 second appearance with more terrible poetry. Damian hangs around to be homophobically insulted. Shaylin and Nicole are confirmed after the end of the last book to be in a relationship - for about a paragraph. After which the team responds with the predictable awfulness.

Oh I will quote this:

“He was having a gay old time –“ Here Damien stopped to giggle and say “Gay! Heehees!”

What. The. Ever. Loving. Fuck. I could frame this and just say “House of Night”.

And we have Zoey and her grandmother, Cherokee dispenses of woo-woo, now stretching out to drag in some Creek woo-woo as well. I would be happy about a protagonist of an 10 book series being Native American if it weren’t all, from start to finish, all about the woo-woo.

Frankly, I’ve read a lot of bad series at Fangs. I won’t say House of Night is the utter worst in all cases – but it’s definitely making a spirited sprint to the bottom. What makes it especially egregious compared to some of the other piles of awful I’ve inflicted upon myself is that this is expressly aimed at young adults – and I think that may be as irresponsible and toxic a thing to do to young people as painting their rooms with lead paint.