Top critical review
Slut shaming, 'that was rape right?', grooming by a predator teacher, annoying
Reviewed in the United States on July 20, 2019
I like this series well enough, but this book leaves a bad taste in my mouth. PC and Kristin Cast have some real work to do on 1) slut-shaming women, and 2) their presentations as ROMANTIC of statutory rape, sexual predation of a minor by a teacher, stalking, and consistent consent violations.
Zoey is constantly slut-shaming ("ho" is never ok - a sexist term only thrown at women for daring to have appropriate biological sex drives) others and herself for... being teenagers with sex drives.
Then at the same time, she also seems to make some pretty unethical dating choices ... though really, it's arguably nonconsensual with BOTH her ex and her teacher.
Her human boyfriend TWICE refused to listen to her clear, repeated 'no!!!' and breakup, and texted/called obsessively. Then when she's broke up, clearly and using her words very explicitly, in person TWICE slashed his neck to entice her brand-new bloodlust that she wasn't trained yet to handle. And then she was stuck with him, Imprinted permanently. It was really pretty bad, in that 'females don't get to break up if males don't want to' way, and also what felt... awfully close to rape.
Speaking of rape! Her predator teacher, who's been grooming her since she was 16 (****ICCCCKKKK****) started using his teacher/celebrity status (and expensive diamonds, and wine) to seduce her, then after their first kiss abruptly asked her to come to his room for sex. Well ain't that nice. Then when she was distraught with grief, smarmed up to her, then got her to sleep with him by slashing his skin (arrgh again?!), ripping off her clothes, then having sex with her. It's really distressing.
Look, I get that it can be hot to fantasize about teachers/adults/famous people, but when adults in positions of power have sex with minors, there's something very wrong with them, and very very illegal. And rightly so, it's abuse of a position of trust, and very creepy.
And just guess who pays the price for two men stalking and violating her consent? Oh right. The female.
The rest of the book is just mediocre. Zoey has incredible friends but has Feelings that they get her winter themed birthday presents and makes them all feel bad. She doesn't have a plan for how to take down Neferet, who's coming back soon and will likely kill her, because snowflakes on her $300 boots and cashmere scarf, SOB. She still can't be bothered to read up on how to be an older vampire even though her failure to do so meant she was ignorant about how to handle bloodlust. Etc.
A very concerning book in the series.