UNWASTED WORDS

Destined for a Long Drawn Out Death

Destined: House of Night Series, Book 9 by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast read by Caitlin Davies

With new lows in discrimination tactless and untasteful language Destined tests the boundaries and beyond in terms of YA. The latest edition of HON perfectly demonstrates the frustrations of a great concept being smothered by an overly indulgent publishing contract, unnessarily complex mythologies, world building, and increasingly neglected characters. Yup. It’s just as bad as it’s predecessors.
Zoe&Co Inc. are back in yet another been-there-read-that installment of the House of Night. In this episode Scooby Doo and Crew are trying to expose Neferet to the council (yet again) and find out what really happened on the night of Z’s mom’s murder.

Surprisingly Destined had an individual story arc. Something that has eluded past installments for quite a few books. Unfortunately good bones aside, Destined is written in the prose of the truly awful. I understand that Zoe and company are supposed to be typical trendy teenagers with relevant age appropriate voices, but the slang only manages to come across immature and ignorant instead of current. I get that the authors are trying to create irony with characters like Kramisha but it just doesn’t work and becomes demeaning. The real irony is how an english teacher and an accomplished poet managed to compose the most inelegant, inarticulate, uneducated sounding young people ever immortalized in a published work. Along with bad dialogue the Cast’s somehow consistently manages to turn what should be a shared reader/character experience of the emotional upheaval and devastation that occurs after death, into a load of corn and camp. I wish they would stop trying to mix grieving with pop references, not only does it diminish the impact of the situation, but it makes the whole passage awkward to read. The authors were dropping so many brand names that I felt like the book was sponsored by pop culture and local businesses and I was expecting ads to show up between the pages or a commercial to pop up in the middle of my audiobook.

I started getting the audiobook version a few books back because i just couldn’t get through the hardcopy but the language has gotten so bad I’m not sure even that will suffice the next go around. The narration is ok but the horribly stereotypical cliches are infinitely pronounced.

In other bad news, Destined marks Zoey’s return to boyfriend indecision. We are once again subjected to the whims of too many would be suitors. Just when you think the field has been narrowed down, someone’s reincarnated, or thrown back into the mix due to some alliance or circumstance. And then we are led to dislike Z’s current boy toy (again) in a story line that has no other purpose but to add more fluff now and maybe an out later.

While I applaud the author’s attempt at going green, I would prefer they recycle materials rather than plots. I feel no satisfaction, only dizziness from circling the same themes of give salvation a chance & encroaching darkness this way comes, but it’s only temporary because Zoe&Co. still don’t trust Erik, Stark, or Raphiam. The whipping boy club and their vows to the goddess don’t seem to mean anything since they’re the one’s the authors’ choose to be vulnerable all the time. The main lesson is nothing but a contradiction. I can understand throwing some devolving into the mix but when it’s every character in a similar position the device just gets tired and no one seems to grow or learn from past mistakes. Of course it’s not like they have very many role models. With the addition of Lenobia’s filler side lines they’re venturing more and more adult or becoming less and less interested in YA. I think they should just age up the characters already. There’s no order or structure for these teens they live more like off-campus college students than high school boarders.

There was one bright and shining beacon of hope, fresh meat aka a new fledgling. I actually found myself interested. I mean really, really interested in the story since the third book and wanting to invest into this character and her thread. It reminded me why i got so caught up in this series way back before the monstrosity HON has become. I think the authors should make like Mead, end this already, and start fresh. Mead was smart and kept some of the characters we know and love but didn’t overkill VA. They need new characters and a new locale. Things that have already been established within the series, so it’s all already there. The duo of Cast may have made this kind of transition difficult for themselves though. They have too many new and existing storylines in this book, no doubt to fill their contract quota. So it would be hard to close this wild runaway beast out. The mythology is too diverse and at the same time really specific to the local native american culture, this can help or hinder a spin off series, set at say the Chicago HON. On the one hand they can tailor the ideas to a new heroine on the other there are no rules or boundaries for their belief system which adds to the chaotic jumble already in need of taming. Also they might have made Zoey too special, too powerful, this leaves no room to grow or expand a new lead heroine for a spin off. Where can they really go with it when Z is supposed to be Nix incarnate. But I think these problems could be ironed out, some of the characters salvaged, to remake this series into something good again. Too bad no one listens to me.

I wish Cast&Cast JR would make a decision and stick with it, pick a path and stay the course. It’s no wonder HON has become so stagnant we’ve been on the same page for the past three books, recycling the same themes with different characters. Funny how Lenobia states in this very book, her like of change, yet we still can’t seem to get any.

Vote yay or nay for this review at Amazon here.

1 star -loathed it.

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3 comments

  1. After reading this article I was instantly reminded of “When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.” — Napoleon Hill

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