Destined (House of Night, #9) - P.C. Cast I have had it with these books. Just … absolutely had it. I can't go any further. I got about a fourth of the way through this book and I just couldn't finish it. And I consider myself to be a patient person. I try to give even the worst books a fair chance. But for Destined, I just couldn't pull through.If you feel compelled to troll this review saying I didn't give this book a fair chance … well, consider that I did read the first whole eight books, and started hating them around book 3. Yet, I continued with the hope that maybe Zoey would become less annoying or that the writing would improve or that some semblance of a plot would form––and after trying to make my way through the ninth book, and finding that the books only worsened rather than improving, I think that was giving the books a fair chance that they barely even deserved. And they failed.Also, THERE ARE GOING TO BE MANY SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW. And I'm too lazy to hide them because there are just going to be so many. But I figure that, if you're reading this review, you've already read the book or you don't intend to read the book. If you're thinking of reading these books or continuing the series, just … don't. That's all I have to say. Anyway.Even though I didn't even finish this book, this is going to be quite a harsh review. Particularly because these books have bothered me for a long time and I am filled with pent-up rage and disgust. I am just fed up.Now, maybe P.C. and Kristin Cast are nice people. I don't know, because I've never met them. And I doubt that anything I say would really matter to them since they've probably made thousands of dollars off the House of Night franchise. So trolls, if you think I'm being mean … well, I really don't care. Nothing I say is meant to personally offend the authors. I just think that their writing is, well, terrible.Where to start, where to start. I'd like to describe the plot of the ninth House of Night book, but I honestly am not sure what it is. By the time I'd stopped reading, 27% through (according to Goodreads), this is what had happened so far:Zoey has a dream where Nyx is all like, "Hey look, your mom's dead." Then Zoey wakes up and she's like, "Oh no! Well, whatever … I don't really care because I'm a heartless bitch. Tralala." She then makes her grief magically disappear using the Spirit element. And then she has sex with Stark. Nooo. Just … no. This is not cool.But anyway. Moving on. Then Zoey and her band of useless, stupid friends decide they want Raphaim to go to the House of Night. Raphaim goes to the House of Night. Everyone hates him. What a surprise.Neferet has a new evil vessel called Aurox which is this creepy dude who can transform into a bull. (LOLZ.) He is also Heath in disguise, because Nyx decided it was a good idea to put Heath into Neferet's vessel. Although, it was completely pointless because Heath forgot who he was. Also, I FREAKING HATE HEATH AND I WISH HE WOULD JUST GO THE HELL AWAY. HE'S DIED LIKE THREE TIMES ALREADY. GOD DAMN IT.Ah hem. Sorry about that little outburst. Where was I?Well … then Erik (who is suddenly a main character again) goes off to Mark his first fledgling. Turns out she's a blind girl. And at first I was like, "Oh boy! A token blind character!" But then Marking her instantly made her able to see again. How convenient. Not only that, but she could see people's rainbow auras or something. HOW ADORABLE. So, yeah. That's about where I stopped reading. But I did look up the rest of the plot on Wikipedia just to find out what happens. Apparently Shaunee and Raphaim become friends and that, for some reason, causes the first argument between the Twins ever. GASP. HOW DRAMATIC. And then at the end Dragon sacrifices himself to save Raphaim, even though Raphaim killed his wife and Dragon hated him all along. Huh. And then, Kalona decides to follow Nyx or something like that. Which probably means Zoey can have sex with him now. Other than that, I don't really remember much else about what happens, but it all sounded ridiculous and lame as always.So, that's the plot in a nutshell. Pretty boring for the most part, with an occasional bogus thing randomly happening just to keep people interested.Now, let me start on all the other, more specific things that make me hate these books.ZoeyZoey is, hands down, my least favorite main character of all time. I can put up with boring main characters and stupid main characters to a certain extent … but Zoey is just a despicable, emotionless person. She's a bratty, selfish, whiney little butt head and I hate her stupid guts. In this book, she was particularly infuriating. I mean, she finds out her mom freaking died, and she acts like she doesn't give a crap. The Casts excuse seems to be that, since she was told in a dream, she "doesn't know for sure." Except, Nyx was in her dream and it all seemed very realistic––and since it's a magical universe it made sense if it was some kind of message, etc. And Zoey seems fairly certain that it was real. But even if she wasn't 100% sure what it meant, that's no excuse to completely banish it from her mind. She doesn't go home to check if her mom is okay. She doesn't even call her mom or her grandma or anyone. She barely even thinks about it at all. She worries for about two minutes, and then she wakes up Stark so she can have sex with him. She then spends the next few chapters just talking with random people about pointless things, without acknowledging the whole problem of her mom probably being dead. It isn't until her grandma shows up and tells her face-to-face that she seems to finally get it. Furthermore, this girl is as dumb as a brick. She seems to have the brain of a 6-year-old (besides the whole sex-all-the-time aspect). I wonder if the Casts truly think that teenagers are this ignorant or whether Zoey is just … special.But seriously, the girl's like 17 or something. She can't figure out how to use Skype or how to sync an iPod to a computer … which I guess is somewhat excusable, since some people are technologically challenged. But that's only the beginning of it.When another character uses the phrase "poker face" in a sentence, her response is, "Poker face? Sorry, I only know how to play Candyland." SERIOUSLY? You are telling me that a girl in her late teens has never, ever heard of the expression "poker face" before? Not only that, but THE ONLY GAME SHE KNOWS HOW TO PLAY IS CANDYLAND? That is just … pathetic.Also, she apparently didn't know what the word "vapid" meant, either. OH THE IRONY. IT'S KILLING ME.Well, in conclusion, Zoey is just a useless pile of poop. She is selfish, emotionless, and a complete moron. Moving on.StarkAnother abusive fictional boyfriend who is passed off as being a great guy. Wonderful. Really, this guy is such a dickhead I want to reach through the book and punch him in the face. I used to be like, "Stark … He's a'iiiight." But, no. He isn't. He's become an obnoxious asshole just like all of Zoey's other boyfriends.First of all, he is just incredibly lame. After he and Zoey spend the night having sex, his only comment on the matter is, "Making love was great." Really? That's all you have to say?But get this––then, he gets all angry at Zoey for waking him up in the night because she found out her mother had died. What. The. Hell. And does Zoey dump him straightaway like any sensible girl would? Umm, no. After the two of them argue about this, the fight ends like this: Stark: "But no matter what I love you, even if I’m a jerk. Okay? Better?”Zoey: “Okay. Yeah. Better."WHAT?!It was just acknowledged, right then and there, that Stark is a jerk. He even admitted it himself. Yet, apparently it makes it all better if he says he loves her. NO. NO NO NO. It's like, what kind of message are the Casts trying to send here? That it's perfectly okay for your boyfriend to not care that your mother has just died? And that if he says he loves you, that fixes everything? NO. THAT IS NOT HOW IT WORKS. If I was dating some asshat who got mad at me for waking him up because I found out my mother was dead, well first of all, I would dump his ass in the blink of an eye. Then I would probably beat the crap out of him. I mean, WHAT KIND OF PERSON GETS MAD AT YOU FOR SOMETHING LIKE THAT?!And beforehand, Zoey had said, "There’s a bond between Stark and me that goes deeper than dating and sex and all the stuff that comes and goes with normal relationships."Riiiiight. Well, you can tell me that, P.C. and Kristin Cast, but you sure don't show it. At all. GAHH I just wish Stark would just fall off a cliff and explode.The WritingI really don't know where to even start on this one. There are so many flaws in the Casts' writing that it makes me feel like my brain is imploding. I don't know which one of the Casts does most of the writing, here. So I'm not sure which one to blame. I've been told that P.C. Cast is the one doing most of the work, and then Kristin goes through it to make sure it all sounds "teen enough" or something like that. Well, in that case, they both fail. The writing is vague and amateurish, and then text speech and random pop culture references are forced into it to apparently make it more relatable to teenagers. Now, I'm just going to let some of the writing speak for itself. First of all, there are the descriptions that don't even make sense. "I drew a deep, sobbing breath."Um, how can you sob when you're inhaling? Really, try it. You'll just end up choking."He stomped a cloven hoof through his foot, ripping off his face as the man fell forward."WHAT?! WHO? WHAT? HOW? This is a description of Aurox attacking some random guy. I assume, from the ambiguous pronouns, that it's saying that Aurox stomped his hoof through the guy's foot. But then, how did that lead to the guy's face getting ripped off? There is no further description at all. How did he rip off this dude's face? With his horns? With his teeth? With his hooves? HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE? "The bull nuzzled her. Where his muzzle touched Priestess the silk of her gown shriveled, exposing smooth, naked flesh underneath."Ummm what? Why does the bull's nose dissolve her clothing? "I saw Aphrodite turn around and glance back at me with a question mark on her face."Well, I guess I understand what this is supposed to mean, but … it just sounds stupid. A question mark on her face? So like, did she turn around and suddenly look like this?:Ha …. Just …. I don't even know."She smiled silkily."Someone please explain to me how you smile silkily."It bent and, almost gracefully, twisted off his brother’s head."Once again, WHAT? HOW DID THAT FREAKING HAPPEN? What did he do, grab the guy's head and yank it off? PLEASE. DETAILS. DETAILS ARE GOOD. Also, how do you twist off someone's head "gracefully"? That's what I would like to know…Then, there are the descriptions that are so lazy and vague that the reader just cannot picture them or imagine them whatsoever. Like these little gems:"Jeesh, all I can say is that it was disgusting and horrifying and totally confusing.""Somehow Neferet was there, too, looking super crazy and smiling in a very weird way.""In the middle of the whole thing was a creature that was kinda human and kinda not.""He had horns and hoofs, but his face was guy-like. His eyes were glowing."I can hardly believe that an adult wrote all this––much less that it went unedited and got freaking published. Really, does anyone at all edit these books? It's full of such stupid descriptions that it's inexcusable. Then of course, there's the insertion of text speech into the writing, which also drives me totally nuts. I'm sure I've complained about this enough in my reviews for the previous books. But really… by the time Zoey had referred to Stevie Rae as her "BFF" for about the one billionth time, I was about ready to tear the book to shreds. (Except, I was reading an ebook so … that wouldn't really work out.) Also, the dialogue. It's so bad. All of it just feels very forced and unnatural. It's like, the Casts are trying to capture everyday, witty conversation. And they try so hard that the characters just end up sounding like robots. Not only that, but they need to stop telling the reader what a character is feeling every single time he/she speaks. Almost any time anyone says anything, it's followed by, "[Character] sounded [emotion]." ARGH.The Pop Culture ReferencesAs far as I read, there weren't too many of these in this book. But in the previous books, it's been a big issue. The books have repeatedly referenced popular TV shows, movies, etc. and it just feels very forced––like the Casts are trying to prove that they're "cool kids" or like they're trying to advertise something.Like in this book, Zoey and Lenobia have talk for a whole page about True Blood. Then Lenobia says something about how she should read the books, to which Zoey replies, "Actually, they're the Sookie Stackhouse books by a cool human author named Charlaine Harris." Ummmm. Either that's some kind of placement advertising, or the dialogue is just so abominable that it just sounds like cheesy advertising. UPDATE:Okay. I've been informed that apparently, the Casts put these pop culture references in their books because they hope to be referenced back––like it's some kind of freaking popularity contest. Geez. And I thought I couldn't lose more respect for these books... See message 49 in the comments for details. (And thanks Shannon for bringing this to my attention.) But here's a snippet of an interview with P.C. and Kristin, to show you what I mean:"Why did you choose Glee and True Blood to reference?KC: She’s obsessed with Glee. I don’t watch Glee, not that I have anything against it. Whenever I miss the first few episodes, I won’t watch the series. But we both love True Blood.PCC: We’re True Bloodaholics. Sunday nights, we meet, have dinner, and watch True Blood. But I can tell you when Glee had Twilight references on the show, I was shouting, SHOUTING, at the TV, saying “Where’s House of Night? Did Twilight mention you in their books? Noooo! P.C. Cast did though. Where is my reference?” And Kristin Chenoweth is from Broken Arrow [Oklahoma]. She went to South Intermediate High School. My dad had her in class, okay. We have ties to Glee. Why aren’t we mentioned?! When she came through town on her book tour, my dad, who coached and taught at my high school for a thousand years, called me afterward. I was on tour myself, and he said, “Well, I just got kissed by a Tony Award-winning actress. Can you say that?” I’m like, “No, dad. I cannot say that.” Come on, Glee! What about House of Night? We mention you more than once. MORE THAN ONCE.KC: Phyllis.PCC: Oh, I’m sorry. I beat the horse?KC: You’re ranting, Phyllis. You’re ranting. [Both laugh]"I ... I can't even ...She seriously thinks that Glee owes her or something? Because she thinks she has "connections"? Oh, please. Kristin Chenowith isn't even a major character on the show, not to mention she doesn't write the script. What the hell do you expect her to do? And of course, this just isn't the way the world of literature works. You can't sneak little references into your book and then say that the show you referenced "owes" you a mention back. Oy vey. It's just a desperate plea for attention. One you're probably never going to get, P.C. Especially if you act so freaking immature about it. ARRRRGH. So. Moving on.The racismI have no problem with there being a diverse cast of characters in these books. In fact, it's nice to see a story that isn't completely white-washed. But I find the way the Casts portray black people rather offensive. First of all, the one important black character is named Kramisha. Uhhh. She always talks with this huffy attitude. Plus, she seems incapable of uttering a single grammatically correct sentence. Apparently, she can't EVER pronounce a word that ends in "ing" without it turning into "in." Even something like "boring" always becomes "borin." And then there was this piece of dialogue, spoken by some random guy in an alleyway when Aurox was about to attack him: “Is they horns? Ah, hell no! I’m outta here.”O_o …….. Just … no. WELL, I think that about covers it. I'm pretty sure I've said everything I need to say. From the disgusting main character, to the careless writing, to the placement advertising, to the racism … these books are just plain terrible.And I am done with them. Forever. Never again shall I pick up one of these books an torture myself with it. YAAAAAY.