Tempting? Not so much.
In this sixth installment of the House of Night series, Zoey and her friends find themselves in the aftermath of their great showdown with Neferet and Kalona. Zoey continues to juggle three love interests and now possibly a fourth as Kalona tries to lure her through their ancient connection. Stevie Rae is starting to come clean on some of her secrets about what lurks in the tunnels under Tulsa, and Neferet and Kalona are pursuing their quest for ultimate power halfway around the world.
Sounds like a nice set up for character development, some resolution of relationships, and some continuance in Zoey's battle against evil, doesn't it? Sadly, this doesn't happen. I have read all of the HoN series as a form of brain candy, knowing that the writing wasn't good, the characters not well-drawn, and some of the content unbelievable or offensive. However, despite these flaws, I was always interested to see what happened next. Such is not the case with this book.
Pros: I actually thought the writing was cleaner and more mature in this book. Not good, but less dependent on repeating itself and using pop-culture references that will date themselves very quickly. The storyline involving Stevie Rae, her conflicts with the red fledglings, and her new "friend" are all interesting. By the end, the reader discovers that some of the boyfriend issues are resolved and whether Kalona is possibly redeemable or not.
Cons: The book itself is longer than prior ones due to its smaller font size, but the length drags instead of adding to the story. Instead of having one voice as narrator, this book switches between Zoey's first-person account and third-person accounts through other characters. Third-person is necessary to describe things going on outside of Zoey's awareness, but it feels choppy to change from first to third so frequently. Four or more other characters have chapters written from their point-of-view.
Very little is moved forward with the story arc, and Zoey does not mature as a leader at all. She continues to act immaturely, despite all of the trials she's experienced in a few short months. Aphrodite's relationship with Darius, while handled lovingly, still doesn't make sense. Unfair characterizations about the way gay people act and African-American people speak continue (despite the fact that it's obvious that the authors want us to accept diversity). Many characters that had at least some value in past books are made to be superfluous at best.
Things didn't pick up until the final 20 pages or so, and it then ended hastily with no resolution. I don't expect full resolution in a book that's part of a series, but it would have been nice to have this book be able to stand on its own a bit. Unfortunately, it feels like a slow, lengthy transition to the next novel. I'll wait that one out until it comes to my local library.