Saturday, 31 October 2009

Tempted by P.C. and Kristin Cast

"Zoey needs a break after some serious excitement. Sadly, the House of Night school for vampyres doesn't feature breaks on its curriculum - even for a High Priestess in training and her gang. Plus juggling three guys is no stress reliever, especially when one is a sexy Warrior so into protecting Zoey that he's sensing her emotions. Wider stresses lurk too, and the dark force in Tulsa's tunnels is spreading. Could Stevie Rae be responsible for more than a group of misfit fledglings? And Aphrodite's visions warn Zoey to stay away from the immortal Kalona and his dark allure - but they also show that only Zoey can stop him. She's not exactly keen to meet up, but if Zoey don't go to Kalona he'll exact a fiery vengeance on those closest to her. She just has to find the courage to do what's necessary, or everything that's important to her will be destroyed."

Tempted is the sixth book in the House Of Night series. It's no secret that I'm not a fan of this series. I've found it far too cliched and irritating to be good. For me, books 2 and 3 were the best (though by no means great) and the previous book, Hunted, was simply appalling.

Hunted, in essence, was several hundred pages of repetitive talk about what was happening, why and Zoey's complete lack of ability to choose just one guy out of three. I find it very hard to put down a series if I make it past book two though, even if it's really bad. I saw this cheap on Amazon, so bought it, to give the series one more shot. The first thing to note is that this book is not told purely from Zoey's perspective. Most of it is, but there is a chapter from Stark, Heath and Aphrodite's POV's, a couple from the perspective of a Raven Mocker and several from Stevie Rae's.

First up, the good points. There is very little of the repetitive back story from Hunted here. There aren't the (very) questionable sexual scenes (there is one, maybe two, close calls, but compared to the threesome scene from Hunted, they're very tame). The far too cliched (and extremely annoying) gay characters Damien and Jack, seem to have been toned down here. They get a bit less page time, and when they are seen, they're not nearly so annoying. Finally, there is more progression to the overall story here than Hunted. The progression in Hunted could fit in to about 2 pages, here, there is enough to fill a chapter or two.

On to the bad. Zoey is still juggling three guys (and it would seem Stevie Rae is heading that was too), Heath (her human consort), Stark (her red vampire warrior) and Kalona...the bad guy, who's influence she's attempting to fight, with very little success. Erik, who was the first boyfriend, is (thankfully) ditched early on in this book. Now, I've never liked Erik's character, but even I will admit the authors have changed him a lot from the guy he originally was, and seem content to have Aphrodite saying stuff like 'he was always like that' in an attempt to make us think he really was always like that. Stevie Rae is given much more page time with chapters from her perspective for the first time. She is, frankly, dull. I had to force myself to read her chapters because I just don't care what problems she has or what new secrets she's keeping from Zoey or why. The chapters from the POV's of Stark and Heath at least have their place and reason, and actually work fairly well. The raven mockers though, I seriously disliked. Again, just a character I don't care about.

I can sum up this book in one word: Dull. There is very little action, it's almost all talk; what's going on, why it's happening, how to stop it, Aphrodite's visions (none of which are all that new from previous ones), who's keeping what secrets from who now, who the group are using their affinities on now...the list goes on.

And once again, the real action and progression of the plot occurs at the end. I got there and wondered why the authors couldn't have cut down on a load of the talking earlier on, and added to the ending. Because as it is, there really isn't one. There is an epilogue to this book, and I think one of two things should have happened to it. 1) It should have been cut completely ending with the previous chapter, which would have been a reasonable ending. 2) It should have been seriously extended. As it is, it just ends, almost like it's been chopped in the middle of a paragraph. Leaving it in a strange place with no explanation as to how you got there.

As always, the language causes a few stumbling blocks. The constant use of 'poopie' and 'bullpoopie' in place of crap, s*it and BS, is annoying. If the authors don't want their characters swearing, there are far more realistic ways around it. They're meant to be 'tough' kids going through big, life changing stuff, but when they keep saying 'poopie' you can't help but see them as little kids playing dress up. A new addition to the trying-too-hard language, is the repetitive use of 'heart' in place of 'love'. I know a lot of teenagers, and none of them regularly trade the words.

Overall, yes a slight improvement on Hunted, simply because the characters aren't so annoying. However, the reason they're less annoying is because they're all so flat. Almost all their fizz seems to have disappeared and for no reason I can see. Zoey spends a lot of the book either in or close to tears for one reason or another, and that's fairly annoying, but still better than she's been for several books. There is a death in this book, which goes hand in hand with a 'big twist' at the end, but you can see it coming. And really, it's very similar to something that's already happened, just with slightly different players. Definitely wouldn't recommend this series. Actually, would recommend not to bother with it! 2/10

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