Sunday, May 9th, 2010 07:32 pm

(Buy from Amazon.ca)

Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) Life sucks when your friends are pissed at you. Just ask Zoey Redbird – she’s become an expert on suckiness. In one week she has gone from having three boyfriends to having none, and from having a close group of friends who trusted and supported her, to being an outcast. Speaking of friends, the only two Zoey has left are undead and unMarked. And Neferet has declared war on humans, which Zoey knows in her heart is wrong. But will anyone listen to her? Zoey's adventures at vampyre finishing school take a wild and dangerous turn as loyalties are tested, shocking true intentions come to light, and an ancient evil is awakened in PC and Kristin Cast's spellbinding fourth House of Night novel.

Thoughts: Each book thus far has given me the reaction of, "Ooh, now the real action's started!" And then the next book shatters that opinion and makes me state it all over again. Pieces of the full story are slowly and intriguingly revealed as this series goes on, the way a good series should do and the way so many fail to do well. It ended at the right spot to make me desperate to pick up the next book and start reading to find out what happens next, what new mysteries will be hinted at and what new details will be revealed.

I want to say so much about the final few chapters of this novel, but I can't do so without giving massive spoilers, and I'd much rather my reviews tantalize people into reading the novels for themselves rather than laying the story out for them in advance. Suffice to say I was surprised and impressed at the whole circle ritual (though not particularly surprised at the fulfilling of the earlier prophecy).

I was particularly interested in the melding of mythologies presented in Untamed. This has been touched on before, in the beginning where Nyx states that she has gone by many names in many different mythologies, but here there's a melding of Christian and the neo-Wiccan beliefs of the vampyres (Sister Mary Angela saying that she views Nyx as an aspect of the Virgin Mary), and Christianity with Cherokee folktales (Kalona's relation to the Nephilim).

I was also pleased to see an elaboration on the concept of the People of Faith. In previous books, this group had been presented as though they were a thinly veiled metaphor for Christianity as a whole, but here we see quite clearly that there are merely a denomination of the religion instead of the whole representation. Whether that was originally intended or enough readers complained that Christianity was being given a bad rap, I don't know, but this book also has references to Wicca as a seperate religion from the vampyre's religion also. It's nice to see elaborations.

I do have one minor complaint with these novels (well, aside from the painful and ironic commentary on geeks, that is), and that's the fact that the authors all too frequently have Zoey or her friends comment on Damien and Jack's homosexuality. Not in a derogatory way. Quite the opposite, in fact, the vast majority of the time. But the comments are needless, and come across less as character thoughts and more as a way of the authors saying, "Look at how okay we are with the idea of being friends with gay people."

It also seems that the authors have little grasp on how to write gay males without having them be more than a little effeminate. Jack's giggling, Damien's interest in fashion and shopping... Especially in Jack's case. I wonder if they felt they had to do that to get readers to recongize homosexuality (a sad thought in itself) or because they actually don't understand that there really are macho-man type gay men in the world.

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