Top critical review
One long dream...start to finish
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on October 30, 2009
#1 Avoid reviews that contain the ending spoilers or this book is not even going to be worth reading.
First off, this series is incredibly imaginative, so I don't want to come off sounding like the book is, well... "poopie". It's not - it's just nowhere near on par with the other books in the series. On it's own I would say it's more like a high 2 or low 3, but with so much invested in the characters, Tempted may not pull its own weight but is entertaining nonetheless.
Tempted leaves off where we left off with Neferet ushering fallen angel, Kalona, (now calling himself Nyx's consort, Erebus) into the spotlight with a grand entrance at the House of Night. Zoey and friends have escaped to the relative safety of the convent belonging to the City Cats nuns only to have to fight the Raven Mockers. Tempted begins with the clean-up and most of the book is devoted to the reorganization of Clan Zoey and planning of Kalona's downfall (they don't get that far). Much time is focused on Stevie Rae and the secrets she keeps - especially one involving Kalona's firstborn - the Raven Mocker Rephaim.
This goes on and on until 20 pages to the end when the action starts up again building up to a showdown between Kalona and Zoey. The ending comes in a rush of confusion (not at all what I was expecting) leading to a promise of answers in the next installment. So, on its own Tempted read like one big build-up to the next book with far too much time spent to building up relationships between other characters (Stevie Rae with her "Red Vampyres" and Rephaim, Aphrodite and Darius, sheesh - even Stark and Heath).
POV: One of the reasons this book felt like one big build-up and a bit disjointed was the removal of focus from Zoey. Unlike the prior books, the POV shifts between characters. Each chapter is told from the perspective of one of the characters, so indicated under the Chapter heading. I see why the authors are doing this, but I don't think it was pulled off quite as elegantly as it could have. See Shiver for an example of a book where joint POV is used to further the story telling a near singular story line. In Tempted, too many story lines are followed to give the book a cohesive feel. Whereas other books have flowed naturally, this one really felt a little more forced from the authors rather than a force of its own.
Language: It's beginning to grate on me. In any other situation, when teens (or anyone) begin hanging out together for extended periods of time, they start sounding like each other. Not here! No, we have every dialect (even made up!) from the U.S. - poor grammar included. It felt stronger (and it could have been because of the multiple POV) in Tempted than in other installments. However, the regional colloquialisms are starting to sound forced and a bit much. I would love to know from Middle America teens if they REALLY sound like this ALL the time, because I doubt it. Also, it feels like all of these really intense life experiences should be shaping and maturing the teens, and yet when Zoey faces an immortal out pops "poopie" - most people I know relax around their friends but have a different language/presentation that they may use around others. My feeling is that the authors are trying to present the characters as incredibly strong individuals that do not yield to peer pressure, but it doesn't feel true. Plus, I am tired of all the bowel movement talk.
Characters: Little character development has occurred. However, this is in part because the events in Hunted and Tempted are both about a week apart (for the whole books). However, I am having a really hard time imagining a full-fledged vampyre like Darius falling for Aphrodite with all her juvenile melodrama. Stark has probably demonstrated the most character development and maturity. Sylvia Redbird appears briefly but is still a strong influence on Zoey and her choices (she's my favorite character). Heath has turned into a shell of a stereotypical football jock fused with a lap dog. The "Reds" versus "Blues" thing going on between the vampyres is getting a bit labored.
Story Line Turns: At the end of Tempted, Zoey's circle flies to Italy to meet with the Vampyre High Council and this is where the book leaves us. Neferet and Kalona are also there and the issue of free will/free choice becomes critical. So, it seems that at least the next installment of the House of Night will not be happening at the House of Night. This may not be a bad thing. The ending was just too rushed and TOO confusing/shocking. Rather than end as a really good cliffhanger, this makes the whole book feel like one big set-up for the next novel. Since nothing really happened until the last 50 pages, I have to wonder if I would not have missed anything if I skipped this one.
Bottom line: Only read it if you are addicted to the series. Wait to read it until right before the next book is released if you can. You will either love or hate the ending (I don't think there is a middle ground), which is ridiculously abrupt. In fact, it's not even an ending. Here is where Team Cast could take a hint from the Twilight series - use a natural ending to your advantage. If the characters seemed immature and unrealistic before, expect their language to grate on you in Tempted.