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A So-called Vacation
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Hunted, the fifth book in the House of Night series by mother and daughter team P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast, begins at the high level of intensity the series is known for. As the book opens, Zoey and her group of friends, the "Nerd Herd," are hiding in the Prohibition-era tunnels deep in the underground of Tulsa. Away from their school, the House of Night, the group hides from the chaos and turmoil that ended the previous installment in the series, Untamed. Throughout the book, Zoey struggles to determine who she can trust while red fledglings, vampires, humans, and those waiting for "the Change" are forced to work together to ensure their own survival as well as the fate of mankind.
Zoey's relationship difficulties continue when she is forced to choose between Erik, her vampyre boyfriend, and Heath, her human ex-boyfriend. Kalona, a fallen angel who has identified Zoey as his soul mate, has set his sights on possessing her and sends his Replica Audemar Piguet minions to find her and bring her to him. When Zoey is hurt by a Raven Mocker sent by Kalona, her friends are not able to heal her, and the group decides they must take Zoey back to the House of Night where she can be healedâ€”but where they will all be in great danger at the hands of Kalona and his consort, Neferet. To save themselves and the world, Zoey and her friends must determine a plan to overcome the spell that Kalona has put on everyone at the House of Night and to battle the powerful Kalona and Neferet.
One of the many aspects of this book that will appeal to readers is the number of references to other literary works that readers may be inspired to read as a result of this text. Zoey chooses to study the Greek tragedy Medea in her theater class, a play addressing the plight of a man with too much hubris, reflecting the excessive arrogance of the fallen angel, Kalona. Erik, Zoey's vampyre boyfriend, reads Bram Stoker's Dracula, which Zoey explains is her favorite book and offers the alternative ending that she believes would have improved the story. The value of literacy and familiarity with literary works is not lost on the reader, who is repeatedly exposed to the importance of literature in this text. This is particularly apparent through the inclusion of poetry in the book Cartier Roadster Replica Kramisha, a red fledgling, writes prophetic poetry and is given the esteemed title of Poet Laureate by Zoey's group of friends; the group works together to analyze the poems Kramisha has written and, ultimately, Zoey is able to use the information from the poems to save the world.
The most enjoyable aspect of the book, however, is not dependent upon the role of vampyres or fledglings, but on the everyday decisions that characters must make that determine who they are, what they believe in, and how they will treat others. The storyline of Stark and his role as a newly recruited henchman for Kralona leads Zoey to face many difficult ethical decisions, including the question of if being good or evil, and acting on these impulses, is truly a decision or if it is part of one's inherent nature. Zoey believes that it is a choice and tells Stark, "What you really are is how you act most of the time" (p. 275). Readers will recognize themselves and their own experiences as they watch Zoey navigate difficult relationships and question her own beliefs about human nature, loyalty, and trust in this coming-of-age tale.
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