Top critical review
The Best Part was the Angst
Reviewed in the United States on January 12, 2022
Zoey Redbird is the supreme Mary Sue in a land of Mary Sues. And this book has a lot of Mary Sues. She has a Mary Sue grandma, a Mary Sue potential boyfriend, a Mary Sue best friend, and a Mary Sue cat.
Untamed is so far the best book in the HON series, and no, that's not necessarily a compliment, considering the other three are god-awful, especially Chosen. It's only the best because something happens for a change, other than Zoey making out with boys (but don't worry, that does happen).
Untamed also introduces boyfriend number 4, Stark, who is, if my teenage memory serves me correctly, best boy. He's introduced at the beginning of the novel as a transfer from a different house of night, who had been specifically recruited. That, obviously, means he gonna die. Which he does, in a gloriously bloody, tragic, and angsty way. Of course, I loved watching him die, because reading about main character kissing him as he coughs up blood is just the level of depraved angst that fuels me. So, I did enjoy that bit. What I didn't enjoy about Stark's introduction, is that it literally happens mere hours before he chokes and dies on his own blood. Like, he hasn't even been at the House of Night a single day. In YA land, that is enough, though, for Zoey to hear his tragic backstory about his special Mary Sue archery ability that killed his mentor on accident, and instantly fall in love with him because he's so cool and broody.
The angst doesn't stop there, though, and perhaps Zoey's promiscuous or in her own words "hoish" nature does provide me with entertainment because I find reading about her many boyfriend's suffering to be pretty delicious. Even if it did lead to a very awkward and inappropriate scene with boyfriend number 1, Erik, and Zoey performing an impromptu Shakespeare reading in the drama class that he is now teaching (because drama, of course). The reading of Othello goes off the rails, leading to Professor Erik making with his student in front of his entire class, while choking her out, and them both getting off from it. It's honestly gross even if the angst was tasty. Also the class applauded as if they didn't just watch a fireable offense (if the house of night cared to protect their students). Meanwhile, Erik is still pretty pissed about that whole Zoey cheating on him with the poetry professor (now deceased), leading me to think that Zoey has an authority kink as well as a choking kink.
But we have to check in on boyfriend number 2, Heath, before getting on with the plot (just like the novel itself). Heath is also still mad at the whole Zoey for the cheating on him with the poetry professor thing because it caused him an immense amount of physical pain when she broke their imprint by feeding on Prof Predator. He lets her know that she hurt him which prompts Aphrodite (who is still the best character) to threaten to kill him, despite the fact that Zoey is the one in the wrong (which is par for the course with her. Someone is always bound to defend and enable Zoey's wrongdoing even when she (and in turn the novel) recognize them as bad, there always has to be a detraction from the fact that she could ever commit a wrong). Heath not forgiving her (in this book, because you know he will down the road) is the only consequence Zoey even faces from her poor decision making.
Finally, getting onto the big plot, Untamed had the first REAL climax of the series (and I'm not talking about Zoey and Erik during their Othello scene). Leading up to one of Aprodite's prophecies becoming true and Vampire Satan being raised from his earthly prison by Neferet and the now once again alive Stark and his amazing Mary Sue skills. Also Vampire Satan is really hot. It's important that you know that, I think, because Zoey literally pauses in their escape to tell us that. So now bird-men are slaughtering people but that doesn't matter because Zoey is a very special Mary Sue and this is all apart of her Mary Sue journey.