Thursday, August 18, 2011

Plot Develops, But Majority of Characters Don’t

Source: Author Website
Untamed (House of Night #4) by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2008, 352pp.)

After the disastrous events that brought book three to a close, Zoey’s life is going a little better. She’s back on speaking terms with her friends, and Stevie Rae is back to her sweet old self. The gang is even starting to get along (sort of) with Aphrodite, Zoey’s surprising new ally. But as seen from the end of Chosen, danger is just beginning. Aphrodite has a vision that delivers a terrifying prophecy: a dark angel known as Kalona is predicted to rise after centuries of imprisonment and enslave woman-kind. What to do?! The mystery that builds around the legend of Kalona is what primarily drives the plot of this installment, and it’s definitely to the authors’ credit that the Cherokee-inspired mythos of the series just keeps getting better the deeper they delve into it. But Untamed, like the books before it, has its problems. With the exception of Aphrodite and Stevie Rae, Zoey’s circle of friends remain nothing more than a host of underdeveloped groupies. Rather than take the time to explore these characters, the Casts continue to treat them as props, relying on the same gags and trademark banter they’ve used as before: Damien wows the others with his extensive vocabulary, and his boyfriend, Jack, is so opaquely fey that it’s embarrassing. Not to mention joined-at-the-hip roomies Erin and Shaunee. What do we know about them? Well, we know that one girl is white, one girl is black, and they both love shopping for shoes. Oh, and they finish each other’s sentences. A lot. After such behavior for three (going on four) books, it’s surprising that they haven’t physically fused into one person. The verdict? The Casts continue to develop a series rich with intrigue and world-building details, but many of the characters leave much to be desired.

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