Untamed, by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
December 3, 2008
In Untamed, Zoey Redbird has to deal with the drama explosion that surrounded her at the end of the previous book. Most of her friends are angry about Zoey’s lies, so with all three of her boyfriends out of the picture Zoey is largely isolated. After some disturbing encounters (including Aphrodite having visions of Zoey’s death), Zoey decides that it’s time to be more honest with the group. Once the members of the circle learn the reasons for her deception, the cold shoulder starts to thaw – though Zoey’s vampire ex is understandably less forgiving when it comes to her infidelity.
Zoey eventually learns that the recent events at the House of Night are linked to an ancient evil that threatens both vampires and humans. She and her friends must work together to bring the conspiracy out into the open, and to fight against it they need to trust both each other and some unlikely allies.
This book had a lot more action than the rest of the series, and it really raised the stakes for the characters. I liked that the focus seemed more firmly on the story than on Zoey’s relationships, but at times the pace seemed a little too hurried. For example, I wouldn’t have wanted chapters of crying, but Zoey seemed almost callously unaffected by the sex she had and its aftermath. And there was a new character who was barely introduced before he was thrown into the deep end of the plot. Of course Zoey starts to fall for him a little, even given her recent experience. It’s like there isn’t allowed to be a new male character who isn’t a love interest.
Aphrodite is still my favorite character, she’s being a little more helpful but keeping her snarky attitude. Stevie Rae’s situation is making her more interesting, though she hasn’t been around enough for us to really get a sense of the changes in her. Betrayal seems to have given Erik harder edges, if they ever get back together maybe he’ll be dark enough to hold Zoey’s interest.
The slang and pop culture references are still cringe-worthy, but either I’m getting used to ignoring them or there they were a little less heavy this time around. There was still a lot of “Hey, these two characters are gay and are, in fact, a gay couple and everyone is okay with that. And to show how okay with that everyone is, we will affectionately refer to them as gay boys, talk about how cute and gay they are, and constantly make lots of little references to both their gayness and gayness in general.” I’ve complained about this before when it comes to this series, but it bears repeating. The best way to make them seem like a normal couple is to actually write about them like a normal couple, having such a heavy emphasis on their sexuality is condescending and weird. Even though it’s always mentioned that they’re accepted, it sure doesn’t feel that way because they’re always being singled out as different.
These books are entertaining fluff, but I’m enjoying them more now that things are getting more difficult for the characters .