We’re back with more Betrayed! This time, we’re sharing all the stupid, fail, and just plain badly-written quotes that we didn’t get a chance to address in the review. Don’t you guys just feel so lucky?
Yep, it's that time again, where we get to subject ourselves to the mind-numbing crapfest that is House of Night, and blog about the ensuing mental breakdown. This time around, Betrayed!
Fledgling vampyre Zoey Redbird has managed to settle in at the House of Night. She's come to terms with the vast powers the vampyre goddess, Nyx, has given her, and is getting a handle on being the new Leader of the Dark Daughters. Best of all, Zoey finally feels like she belongs - like she really fits in. She actually has a boyfriend...or two. Then the unthinkable happens: Human teenagers are being killed, and all the evidence points to the House of Night. While danger stalks the humans from Zoey's old life, she begins to realize that the very powers that make her so unique might also threaten those she loves. Then, when she needs her new friends the most, death strikes the House of Night, and Zoey must find the courage to face a betrayal that could break her heart, her soul, and jeopardize the very fabric of her world.
Oh god, this book was so boring. Okay, yes, some of that comes from having read it already, but it's not like there aren't books that can stand up to a good re-read and still be compelling. Betrayed...does not.
There are, well, several reasons for this. The simplest is probably the goddamn expository recaps. The book opens on a jarring, rambling rundown of the few relevant events of Marked, the first of many, and it's not so much the content or presence of the things that bug, as it is the way they're related. Hey, look, we get wanting to refresh old readers for the new book, or bring new ones up to speed, we do. But there's a way to do that without littering the narrative with big, awkward bombs of redundant information, so direct and unsubtle and lacking in any sort of literary craftsmanship that they might as well be breaking the fourth wall. It's like having a "previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer" segment every time a recurring plot point comes up. It's a shit tone to set for the story to come.
In the marvelous sequel to the novel (and Cartoon Network series) MORIBITO: GUARDIAN OF THE SPIRIT, Balsa returns to her native land to fight a corrupt ruler and face her own demons.
Balsa returns to her native Kanbal to clear the name of Jiguro, her dear mentor, who saved her life when she was six years old. But what should be a visit of truth and reconciliation becomes a fight for her life when she learns that Jiguro had been a member of King Rogsam's personal bodyguard. After Jiguro fled Kanbal with her, Rogsam sent the other bodyguards after them one by one--Jiguro's best friends, whom he had to kill to protect Balsa. Now, with the help of two Kanbalese children, Balsa must unwind the conspiracy surrounding Jiguro and the mystery of the Guardians of the Dark.
Despite my enjoyment of Moribito, I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Moribito II. Some of my affection for the first one was transferred from a love of the anime, but Moribito II takes things in a completely different direction, with an entirely new cast, setting, and storyline. It's completely unrelated to Guardian of the Spirit; you could easily read this as a stand-alone book and not be lost. And, well, that might be why I liked it slightly more than Moribito. Whereas reading that one was a bit of a re-tread for me, Guardian of the Darkness is shiny and new, and ultimately more compelling for that.
Moribito II picks up just after Moribito ends, with Balsa returning to her home country of Kanbal to visit her Master and father-figure Jiguro's relatives, and explain about the circumstances surrounding their departure twenty some-odd years ago. Balsa and Jiguro had originally fled Kanbal because of Balsa's father's involvement in a royal conspiracy, but the king who might have considered her a threat is dead now, making it safe for her return. Except it's really not.
You've never read a fantasy novel like this one! The deep well of Japanese myth merges with the Western fantasy tradition for a novel that's as rich in place and culture as it is hard to put down.
Balsa was a wanderer and warrior for hire. Then she rescued a boy flung into a raging river - and at that moment, her destiny changed. Now Balsa must protect the boy - the Prince Chagum - on his quest to deliver the great egg of the water spirit to its source in the sea. As they travel across the land of Yogo and discover the truth about the spirit, they find themselves hunted by two deadly enemies: the egg-eating monster Rarunga...and the prince's own father.
So I thought this was going to be a short one, because, well, the book is pretty short, and I didn't think I had much to say about it. Then I started writing, and NGL, totally fangirling, but I don't even care, because this series is fucking awesome, y'all. While Moribito isn't perfect, it was a genuinely pleasurable reading experience, and I would gladly commit gratuitous acts of imaginary violence to have more like it.