Burned (House of Night Series #7)

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Overview

Things have turned black at the House of Night. Zoey Redbird’s soul has shattered. With everything she’s ever stood for falling apart, it’s seeming more and more doubtful that she’ll be able pull herself back together in time to rejoin her friends and set the world to rights. As the only living person who can reach her, Stark must find a way to get to her. But how? 

Enter BFF Stevie Rae.  She wants to help Z but she has massive problems of her own.  The ...

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Overview

Things have turned black at the House of Night. Zoey Redbird’s soul has shattered. With everything she’s ever stood for falling apart, it’s seeming more and more doubtful that she’ll be able pull herself back together in time to rejoin her friends and set the world to rights. As the only living person who can reach her, Stark must find a way to get to her. But how? 

Enter BFF Stevie Rae.  She wants to help Z but she has massive problems of her own.  The rogue Red Fledglings are acting up, and her kinda boyfriend, Dallas, is sweet but too nosy for his own good.  The truth is, Stevie Rae’s hiding a secret that might be the key to getting Zoey home but also threatens to explode her whole world.

And in the middle of the whole mess is Aphrodite: ex-Fledgling, trust-fund baby, total hag from Hell (and proud of it). She’s always had visions that reveal the future, but now it seems Nyx has decided to speak through her with the goddess’s own voice, whether she wants it or not.  Aphrodite’s loyalty can swing a lot of different ways, but right now Zoey’s fate hangs in the balance.

Three girls… playing with fire… if they don’t watch out, everyone will get Burned.

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  • House of Night Series
    House of Night Series  

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Kristi Bernard
"The House of Night" series follows a young girl (Zoey Redbird) and her friends as they work to find themselves and rid the world of an ancient threat brought to life by the high priestess of their school (Neferet). The series starts out with following Zoey as she enters the House of Night and struggles to fit in and make friends with the other fledglings. She soon learns that the goddess Nyx, goddess of vampyres, has a special place in her heart for Zoey and is determined to let everybody know it. Zoey is quickly becoming the most hated and loved freak in the school. With each brave task she accomplishes, like helping Aphrodite when she released evil into the world, she earns a new tattoo, a sign of Nyx. Having become the youngest high priestess at the House of Night, Zoey is faced with even more challenges. Nepheret, the current high priestess, is unhappy that the goddess favors Zoey over her. She has fallen to evil and will do whatever it takes to take Zoey out of the picture. Nepheret raises an evil that Zoey's ancestors trapped centuries ago. With the threat Nepheret and Kalona place on the world it is up to Zoey and her friends to rid the world of Nepheret and possibly Kalona, too. Burned is the seventh book in "The House of Night" series. Beginning where book six ends, Zoey's soul has shattered and has been sent to the Otherworld, Nyx's domain, where she will remain unless she can piece herself back together and find a way back to her body. This book follows Kalona, Aphrodite, Zoey, Heath, Stark, Stevie Rae, and Rephaim as they struggle to come to terms with the events before them. Heath struggles to help Zoey remember who she is while roaming the Otherworld. Kalona is sent by Neferet to the Otherworld to make sure that Zoey does not come back, while he has sworn an oath to make this happen he is torn because he is the reason Zoey's soul shattered. Aphrodite helps Stark and the rest of Zoey's friends find a way to bring her back from the Otherworld. They are taken to a forbidden island where Stark's loyalty to Zoey is challenged. While all this is happening on the Island, Stevie Rae is back near the House of Night trying to bring the red fledgling's to order, helping with Zoey as much as she can, and sorting out her feelings for Rephiam and sort of boyfriend Dallas. Rephaim has been left behind by his father Kalona, saved by Stevie Rae from the rogue red fledglings, and is now in a battle with his own heart and mind to find his true feelings about good and bad, while helping Stevie Rae with Zoey and Kalona. This series has a lot of avid readers and followers. The Casts have created various points of view so that readers have a better understanding of what is happening with each character. Each character's struggles will bring readers closer to who they are and what they mean to each other. Reviewer: Kristi Bernard
From the Publisher
"Read by Caitlin Davies, BURNED is just as addicting as the previous books in the series...Caitlin is able to keep the pace of the story fast and heart-pounding...Her voice was a pleasure to listen to and kept me entertained up until the final chapter." - TeensReadToo.com
VOYA - Courtney Huse Wika
The saga of the House of Night series continues to smolder in Burned. Zoey's soul shatters after witnessing Heath's murder at the hands of Neferet's dark immortal, Kalona; this is, in essence, a death sentence, for if Zoey cannot piece together her soul in the Otherworld and return to her body in a week's time, she will perish. While Aphrodite, Stark, and the rest of the nerd herd work to find a way to bring Zoey back, something that has never been accomplished in the history of soul-shattered High Priestesses, Stevie Rae deals with her own fallout with the Red Fledglings and Kalona's son, Rephaim, whom she becomes bound to after a botched incantation. In addition to keeping things in control with the fledglings and hiding her imprint with the Raven Mocker, she must delve deeper into her powers than ever before to help save Zoey. Stark, too, is called upon to act with seemingly more strength than is possible, but for his queen he will do anything, even if it means dying. The dual story lines create double the tension and conflict in this latest installment; fast paced and packed with mystery, suspense, and romance, this book is a hard one to put down. While the over-the-top dialogue is riddled with vernacular and slang and can be distracting, it is balanced by richly detailed narrative passages and the compelling mythology that acts as a foundation for the series. Overall this is a fast and furious read, but a rewarding one. Reviewer: Courtney Huse Wika
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312387969
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 9/27/2011
  • Series: House of Night Series , #7
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 323
  • Sales rank: 38,253
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.26 (w) x 5.52 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

P.C. Cast is an award-winning fantasy and paranormal romance author, as well as an experienced speaker and teacher. With her daughter Kristin Cast, she is the author of the House of Night novels, including Awakened, Betrayed and Hunted. Cast was born in the Midwest, and as a girl fell in love with mythology. After high school, she joined the U.S. Air Force, then taught high school for 15 years before retiring to write full time. Cast’s novels are New York Times bestsellers and have been awarded the Oklahoma Book Award, YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Prism, Holt Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, Booksellers’ Best, and the Laurel Wreath. Ms. Cast lives in Oklahoma, where she is a member of the Oklahoma Writers' Hall of Fame.  She splits her time between her ranch and midtown Tulsa where she has a home just down the street from the House of Night...

 

Kristin Cast has won awards for her poetry and journalism. She also lives in Oklahoma, where she attends college in Tulsa.

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Read an Excerpt

BURNED (Chapter 1)

Kalona

Kalona lifted his hands. He didn't hesitate. There was no doubt whatsoever in his mind about what he had to do. He would not allow anything or anyone to get in his way, and this human boy was standing between him and what he desired. He didn't particularly want to kill the boy; he didn't particularly want the boy alive, either. It was a simple necessity. He didn't feel remorse or regret. As had been the norm during the centuries since he'd fallen, Kalona felt very little. So, indifferently, the winged immortal twisted the boy's neck and put an end to his life.

"No!"

The anguish of that one word froze Kalona's heart. He dropped the boy's lifeless body and whirled around in time to see Zoey racing toward him. Their eyes met. In hers were despair and hatred. In his was an impossible denial. He tried to formulate the words that might make her understand—might make her forgive him. But there was nothing he could say to change what she had seen, and even if he could work the impossible, there was no time.

Zoey threw the full power of the element spirit at him.

It hit the immortal, striking him with force that was beyond physical. Spirit was his essence—his core—the element that had sustained him for centuries and with which he had always been most comfortable, as well as most powerful. Zoey's attack seared him. It lifted him with such force that he was hurled over the huge stone wall that separated the vampyres' island and the Gulf of Venice. The icy water engulfed him, smothering him. For an instant the pain within Kalona was so deadening that he didn't fight it. Perhaps he should let this terrible struggle for life and its trappings end. Perhaps, once again, he should allow himself to be vanquished by her. But less than a heartbeat after he had the thought, he felt it. Zoey's soul shattered and, as truly as his fall had carried him from one realm to another, her spirit departed this world.

The knowledge wounded him worse than had her blow against him.

Not Zoey! He'd never meant to cause her harm. Even through all of Neferet's machinations, through all of the Tsi Sgili's manipulations and plans, he'd held tight to the knowledge that, in spite of everything, he would use his vast immortal powers to keep Zoey safe because ultimately she was the closest he could come to Nyx in this realm—and this was the only realm left to him.

Fighting to recover from Zoey's attack, Kalona lifted his massive body from the clutching waves and realized the truth. Because of him, Zoey's spirit was gone, which meant she would die. With his first breath of air, he released a wrenching cry of despair, echoing her last word, "No!"

Had he really believed since his fall that he didn't truly have feelings? He'd been a fool and wrong, so very wrong. Emotions battered him as he flew raggedly just above the waterline, chipping away at his already wounded spirit, raging against him, weakening him, bleeding his soul. With blurred, blackened vision, he stared across the lagoon, squinting to see the lights that heralded land. He'd never make it there. It would have to be the palace. He had no choice. Using the last reserves of his strength, Kalona's wings beat against the frigid air, lifting him over the wall, where he crumpled to the frozen earth.

He didn't know how long he lay there in the cold darkness of the shattered night as emotions overwhelmed his shaken soul. Somewhere in the far reaches of his mind, he understood the familiarity of what had happened to him. He'd fallen again, only this time it was more in spirit than in body—though his body didn't seem his to command any longer either.

He felt her presence before she spoke. It had been like that between them from the first, whether he truly wished it or not—they simply sensed one another.

"You allowed Stark to bear witness to your killing of the boy!" Neferet's voice was more frigid than the winter sea.

Kalona turned his head so that he could see more than the toe of her stiletto shoe. He looked up at her, blinking to try to clear his vision.

"Accident." Finding his voice again he managed a rasping whisper. "Zoey should not have been there."

"Accidents are unacceptable, and I care not one bit that she was there. Actually, the result of what she saw is rather convenient."

"You know that her soul shattered?" Kalona hated the unnatural weakness in his voice and the strange lethargy in his body almost as much as he hated the effect Neferet's icy beauty had on him.

"I imagine most of the vampyres on the island know it. Typically for her, Zoey's spirit wasn't exactly quiet in its leave-taking. I wonder, though, how many of the vampyres also felt the blow the chit dealt you just before she departed." Neferet tapped her chin contemplatively with one long, sharp fingernail.

Kalona remained silent, struggling to center himself and draw together the ragged edges of his torn spirit, but the earth his body pressed against was too real, and he had not the strength to reach above and feed his soul from the wispy vestiges of the Otherworld that floated there.

"No, I don't imagine any of them felt it," Neferet continued, in her coldest, most calculating voice. "None of them are connected to Darkness, to you, as I am. Is that not so, my love?"

"We are uniquely connected," Kalona managed, though he suddenly wished the words were not true.

"Indeed . . ." she said, still distracted by her thoughts. Then Neferet's eyes widened as a new realization came to her. "I have long wondered how it was that A-ya managed to wound you, such a physically powerful immortal, badly enough that those ridiculous Cherokee hags could entrap you. I believe little Zoey has just provided the answer you've so carefully withheld from me. Your body can be damaged but only through your spirit. Isn't that fascinating?"

"I will heal." He put as much strength as possible in his voice. "Return me to Capri and the castle there. Take me to the rooft op, as close to the sky as I can be, and I will regain my strength."

"I imagine you would—were I so inclined to do that. But I have other plans for you, my love." Neferet lifted her arms, extending them over him. As she continued to speak she began weaving her long fingers through the air, creating intricate patterns, like a spider spinning her web. "I will not allow Zoey to interfere with us ever again."

"A shattered soul is a death sentence. Zoey is no longer any threat to us," he said. With knowing eyes, Kalona watched Neferet. She drew to her a sticky blackness he recognized all too well. He'd spent lifetimes battling that Darkness before he embraced its cold power. It pulsed and fluttered familiarly, restlessly under her fingers. She shouldn't be able to command Darkness so tangibly. The thought drifted like the echo of a death knell through his weary mind. A High Priestess shouldn't have such power.

But Neferet was no longer merely a High Priestess. She had grown beyond the boundaries of that role some time ago, and she had no trouble controlling the writhing blackness she conjured.

She is becoming immortal, Kalona realized, and with the realization, fear joined regret and despair and anger where they already simmered within the fallen Warrior of Nyx.

"One would think it would be a death sentence," Neferet spoke calmly as she drew more and more of the inky threads to her, "but Zoey has a terribly inconvenient habit of surviving. This time I am going to ensure she dies."

"Zoey's soul also has a habit of reincarnating," he said, purposefully baiting Neferet to try to throw off her focus.

"Then I will destroy her over and over again!" Neferet's concentration only increased with the anger his words evoked. The blackness she spun intensified, writhing with swollen power in the air around her.

"Neferet." He tried to reach her by using her name. "Do you truly understand what it is you are attempting to command?"

Her gaze met his, and, for the first time, Kalona saw the scarlet stain that nested in the darkness of her eyes. "Of course I do. It's what lesser beings call evil."

"I am not a lesser being, and I, too, have called it evil."

"Ah, not for centuries you haven't." Her laughter was vicious. "But it seems lately you've been living too much with shadows from your past instead of reveling in the lovely dark power of the present. I know who is to blame for that."

With a tremendous effort, Kalona pushed himself to a sitting position.

"No. I don't want you to move." Neferet flicked one finger at him, and a thread of darkness snaked around his neck, tightened, and jerked him down, pinning him to the ground again.

"What is it you want of me?" he rasped.

"I want you to follow Zoey's spirit to the Otherworld and be sure none of her friends"—she sneered the word—"manage to find a way to coax her to rejoin her body."

Shock jolted through the immortal. "I have been banished by Nyx from the Otherworld. I cannot follow Zoey there."

"Oh, but you are wrong, my love. You see, you always think too literally. Nyx ousted you—you fell—you cannot return. So you have believed for centuries that is that. Well, you literally cannot." She sighed dramatically as he stared at her blankly. "Your gorgeous body was banished, that's all. Did Nyx say anything about your immortal soul?"

"She need not say it. If a soul is separated from a body for too long, the body will die."

"But your body isn't mortal, which means it can be separated indefinitely from its soul without dying," she said.

Kalona struggled to keep the terror her words filled him with from his expression. "It is true that I cannot die, but that does not mean I will remain undamaged if my spirit leaves my body for too long." I could age . . . go mad . . . become a never dying shell of myself . . . The possibilities swirled through his mind.

Neferet shrugged. "Then you will have to be sure you finish your task soon, so that you may return to your lovely immortal body before it is irreparably damaged." She smiled seductively at him. "I would very much dislike it if anything happened to your body, my love."

"Neferet, don't do this. You are putting into motion things that will require payment, the consequences of which even you will not want to face."

"Do not threaten me! I released you from your imprisonment. I loved you. And then I watched you fawn over that simpering teenager. I want her gone from my life! Consequences? I embrace them! I am not the weak, ineffective High Priestess of a rule-following goddess any longer. Don't you understand that? Had you not been so distracted by that child, you would know it without me telling you. I am an immortal, the same as you, Kalona!" Her voice was eerie, amplified with power. "We are perfectly matched. You used to believe that as well, and that is something you will believe again, when Zoey Redbird is no more."

Kalona stared at her, understanding that Neferet was utterly, truly mad, and wondering why that madness only served to feed her power and intensify her beauty.

"So this is what I have decided to do," she continued, speaking methodically. "I am going to keep your sexy, immortal body safely tucked away underground somewhere while your soul travels to the Otherworld and makes sure Zoey does not return here."

"Nyx will never allow it!" The words burst from him before he could stop them.

"Nyx always allows free will. As her former High Priestess, I know without any doubt that she will allow you to choose to travel in spirit to the Otherworld," Neferet said slyly. "Remember, Kalona, my true love, if you ensure Zoey's death, you will be removing the last impediment to us reigning side by side. You and I will be powerful beyond imagining in this world of modern marvels. Think of it—we will subjugate humans and bring back the reign of vampyres with all the beauty and passion and limitless power that means. The earth will be ours. We will, indeed, give new life to the glorious past!"

Kalona knew she was playing on his weaknesses. Silently, he cursed himself for allowing her to have learned too much about his deepest desires. He'd trusted her, so Neferet knew that because he wasn't Erebus he could never truly rule beside Nyx in the Otherworld, and he was driven to re-create as much of what he'd lost here in this modern world.

"You see, my love, when you consider it logically, it is only right that you follow Zoey and sever the link between her soul and her body. Doing so simply serves your ultimate desires." Neferet spoke nonchalantly, as if the two of them were discussing the choice of material for her latest gown.

"How am I even to find Zoey's soul?" He tried to match her matter-of-fact tone. "The Otherworld is a realm so vast, only the gods and goddesses can traverse it."

Neferet's bland expression tightened, making her cruel beauty terrible to behold. "Do not pretend you don't have a connection to her soul!" The Tsi Sgili immortal drew a deep breath. In a more reasonable tone, she continued, "Admit it, my love; you could find Zoey even if no one else could. What is your choice, Kalona? To rule on earth at my side, or to remain a slave to the past?"

"I choose to rule. I will always choose to rule," he said without hesitation.

As soon as he spoke, Neferet's eyes changed. The green within them became totally engulfed in scarlet. She turned the glowing orbs on him—holding, entrapping, entrancing. "Then hear me, Kalona, Fallen Warrior of Nyx, by my oath I shall keep your body safe. When Zoey Redbird, fledging High Priestess of Nyx, is no more, I swear to you I will remove these dark chains and allow your spirit to return. Then I will take you to the rooftop of our castle on Capri and let the sky breathe life and strength into you so that you will rule this realm as my consort, my protector, my Erebus." As Kalona watched, helpless to stop her, Neferet drew one long, pointed fingernail across the palm of her right hand. Cupping the blood that pooled there, she held her hand up, offering. "By blood I claim this power; by blood I bind this oath." All around her, Darkness stirred and descended on her palm, writhing, shivering, drinking. Kalona could feel the draw of that Darkness. It spoke to his soul with seductive, powerful whispers.

"Yes!" The word was a moan torn deep from his throat as Kalona yielded himself to the greedy Darkness.

When Neferet continued, her voice was magnified, swollen with power. "It is your own choice that I have sealed this oath by blood with Darkness, but should you fail me and break it—"

"I will not fail."

Her smile was unworldly in its beauty; her eyes roiled with blood. "If you, Kalona, Fallen Warrior of Nyx, break this oath and fail in my sworn quest to destroy Zoey Redbird, fledgling High Priestess of Nyx, I shall hold dominion over your spirit for as long as you are an immortal."

The answering words came unbidden by him, evoked by the seductive Darkness, which for centuries he'd chosen over Light. "If I fail, you shall hold dominion over my spirit for as long as I am an immortal."

"Thus I have sworn." Again Neferet slashed her palm, creating a bloody X in her flesh. The copper scent wafted to Kalona like smoke rising from fire as she again raised her hand to Darkness. "Thus it shall be!" Neferet's face twisted in pain as Darkness drank from her again, but she didn't flinch—didn't move until the air around her pulsed, bloated with her blood and her oath.

Only then did she lower her hand. Her tongue snaked out, licking the scarlet line and ending the bleeding. Neferet walked to him, bent, and gently placed her hands on either side of his face, much as he had held the human boy before delivering his deathblow. He could feel Darkness thrumming around and within her, a raging bull waiting eagerly for his mistress's command.

Her blood-reddened lips paused just short of touching his. "With the power that rushes through my blood, and by the strength of the lives I have taken, I command you, my delicious threads of Darkness, to pull this Oath Bound immortal's soul from his body and speed him to the Otherworld. Go and do as I order, and I swear I will sacrifice to you the life of an innocent you have been unable to taint. So thee for me, I mote it be!"

Neferet drew in a deep breath, and Kalona saw the dark threads she'd summoned slither between her full, red lips. She inhaled Darkness until she was swollen with it, and then she covered his mouth with hers and, with that blackened, blood-tainted kiss, blew Darkness within him with such force that it ripped his already wounded soul from his body. As his soul shrieked in soundless agony, Kalona was forced up, up, and into the realm from which his Goddess had banished him, leaving his body lifeless, chained, Oath Bound by evil, and at the mercy of Neferet.

BURNED. Copyright 2010 by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast.

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First Chapter

Chapter One

Kalona lifted his hands. He didn’t hesitate. There was no doubt whatsoever in his mind about what he had to do. He would not allow anything or anyone to get in his way, and this human boy was standing between him and what he desired. He didn’t particularly want to kill the boy; he didn’t particularly want the boy alive, either. It was a simple necessity. He didn’t feel remorse or regret. As had been the norm during the centuries since he’d fallen, Kalona felt very little. So, indifferently, the winged immortal twisted the boy’s neck and put an end to his life.

“No!”

The anguish of that one word froze Kalona’s heart. He dropped the boy’s lifeless body and whirled around in time to see Zoey racing toward him. Their eyes met. In hers were despair and hatred. In his was an impossible denial. He tried to formulate the words that might make her understand— might make her forgive him. But there was nothing he could say to change what she had seen, and even if he could work the impossible, there was no time.

Zoey threw the full power of the element spirit at him.

It hit the immortal, striking him with force that was beyond physical. Spirit was his essence— his core— the element that had sustained him for centuries and with which he had always been most comfortable, as well as most powerful. Zoey’s attack seared him. It lifted him with such force that he was hurled over the huge stone wall that separated the vampyres’ island and the Gulf of Venice. The icy water engulfed him, smothering him. For an instant the pain within Kalona was so deadening that he didn’t fight it. Perhaps he should let this terrible struggle for life and its trappings end. Perhaps,once again, he should allow himself to be vanquished by her. But less than a heartbeat after he had the thought, he felt it. Zoey’s soul shattered and, as truly as his fall had carried him from one realm to another, her spirit departed this world.

The knowledge wounded him worse than had her blow against him.

Not Zoey! He’d never meant to cause her harm. Even through all of Neferet’s machinations, through all of the Tsi Sgili’s manipulations and plans, he’d held tight to the knowledge that, in spite of everything, he would use his vast immortal powers to keep Zoey safe because ultimately she was the closest he could come to Nyx in this realm— and this was the only realm left to him.

Fighting to recover from Zoey’s attack, Kalona lifted his massive body from the clutching waves and realized the truth. Because of him, Zoey’s spirit was gone, which meant she would die. With his first breath of air, he released a wrenching cry of despair, echoing her last word, “No!”

Had he really believed since his fall that he didn’t truly have feelings? He’d been a fool and wrong, so very wrong. Emotions battered him as he flew raggedly just above the waterline, chipping away at his already wounded spirit, raging against him, weakening him, bleeding his soul. With blurred, blackened vision, he stared across the lagoon, squinting to see the lights that heralded land. He’d never make it there. It would have to be the palace. He had no choice. Using the last reserves of his strength, Kalona’s wings beat against the frigid air, lifting him over the wall, where he crumpled to the frozen earth.

He didn’t know how long he lay there in the cold darkness of the shattered night as emotions overwhelmed his shaken soul. Somewhere in the far reaches of his mind, he understood the familiarity of what had happened to him. He’d fallen again, only this time it was more in spirit than in body— though his body didn’t seem his to command any longer either.

He felt her presence before she spoke. It had been like that between them from the first, whether he truly wished it or not— they simply sensed one another.

“You allowed Stark to bear witness to your killing of the boy!” Neferet’s voice was more frigid than the winter sea.

Kalona turned his head so that he could see more than the toe of her stiletto shoe. He looked up at her, blinking to try to clear his vision.

“Accident.” Finding his voice again he managed a rasping whisper. “Zoey should not have been there.”

“Accidents are unacceptable, and I care not one bit that she was there. Actually, the result of what she saw is rather convenient.”

“You know that her soul shattered?” Kalona hated the unnatural weakness in his voice and the strange lethargy in his body almost as much as he hated the effect Neferet’s icy beauty had on him.

“I imagine most of the vampyres on the island know it. Typically for her, Zoey’s spirit wasn’t exactly quiet in its leave- taking. I wonder, though, how many of the vampyres also felt the blow the chit dealt you just before she departed.” Neferet tapped her chin contemplatively with one long, sharp fingernail.

Kalona remained silent, struggling to center himself and draw together the ragged edges of his torn spirit, but the earth his body pressed against was too real, and he had not the strength to reach above and feed his soul from the wispy vestiges of the Otherworld that floated there.

“No, I don’t imagine any of them felt it,” Neferet continued, in her coldest, most calculating voice. “None of them are connected to Darkness, to you, as I am. Is that not so, my love?”

“We are uniquely connected,” Kalona managed, though he suddenly wished the words were not true.

“Indeed . . .” she said, still distracted by her thoughts. Then Neferet’s eyes widened as a new realization came to her. “I have long wondered how it was that A-ya managed to wound you, such a physically powerful immortal, badly enough that those ridiculous Cherokee hags could entrap you. I believe little Zoey has just provided the answer you’ve so carefully withheld from me. Your body can be damaged but only through your spirit. Isn’t that fascinating?”

“I will heal.” He put as much strength as possible in his voice.

“Return me to Capri and the castle there. Take me to the rooftop, as close to the sky as I can be, and I will regain my strength.”

“I imagine you would— were I so inclined to do that. But I have other plans for you, my love.” Neferet lifted her arms, extending them over him. As she continued to speak she began weaving her long fingers through the air, creating intricate patterns, like a spider spinning her web. “I will not allow Zoey to interfere with us ever again.”

“A shattered soul is a death sentence. Zoey is no longer any threat to us,” he said. With knowing eyes, Kalona watched Neferet. She drew to her a sticky blackness he recognized all too well. He’d spent lifetimes battling that Darkness before he embraced its cold power. It pulsed and fluttered familiarly, restlessly under her fingers. She shouldn’t be able to command Darkness so tangibly. The thought drifted like the echo of a death knell through his weary mind. A High Priestess shouldn’t have such power.

But Neferet was no longer merely a High Priestess. She had grown beyond the boundaries of that role some time ago, and she had no trouble controlling the writhing blackness she conjured.

She is becoming immortal, Kalona realized, and with the realization, fear joined regret and despair and anger where they already simmered within the fallen Warrior of Nyx.

“One would think it would be a death sentence,” Neferet spoke calmly as she drew more and more of the inky threads to her, “but Zoey has a terribly inconvenient habit of surviving. This time I am going to ensure she dies.”

“Zoey’s soul also has a habit of reincarnating,” he said, purposefully baiting Neferet to try to throw off her focus.

“Then I will destroy her over and over again!” Neferet’s concentration only increased with the anger his words evoked. The blackness she spun intensified, writhing with swollen power in the air around her.

“Neferet.” He tried to reach her by using her name. “Do you truly understand what it is you are attempting to command?”

Her gaze met his, and, for the first time, Kalona saw the scarlet stain that nested in the darkness of her eyes. “Of course I do. It’s what lesser beings call evil.”

“I am not a lesser being, and I, too, have called it evil.”

“Ah, not for centuries you haven’t.” Her laughter was vicious. “But it seems lately you’ve been living too much with shadows from your past instead of reveling in the lovely dark power of the present. I know who is to blame for that.”

With a tremendous effort, Kalona pushed himself to a sitting position.

“No. I don’t want you to move.” Neferet flicked one finger at him, and a thread of darkness snaked around his neck, tightened, and jerked him down, pinning him to the ground again.

“What is it you want of me?” he rasped.

“I want you to follow Zoey’s spirit to the Otherworld and be sure none of her friends”— she sneered the word—“manage to find a way to coax her to rejoin her body.”

Shock jolted through the immortal. “I have been banished by Nyx from the Otherworld. I cannot follow Zoey there.”

“Oh, but you are wrong, my love. You see, you always think too literally. Nyx ousted you— you fell— you cannot return. So you have believed for centuries that is that. Well, you literally cannot.” She sighed dramatically as he stared at her blankly. “Your gorgeous body was banished, that’s all. Did Nyx say anything about your immortal soul?”

“She need not say it. If a soul is separated from a body for too long, the body will die.”

“But your body isn’t mortal, which means it can be separated indefinitely from its soul without dying,” she said.

Kalona struggled to keep the terror her words filled him with from his expression. “It is true that I cannot die, but that does not mean I will remain undamaged if my spirit leaves my body for too long.” I could age . . . go mad . . . become a never dying shell of myself . . . The possibilities swirled through his mind.

Neferet shrugged. “Then you will have to be sure you finish your task soon, so that you may return to your lovely immortal body before it is irreparably damaged.” She smiled seductively at him. “I would very much dislike it if anything happened to your body, my love.”

“Neferet, don’t do this. You are putting into motion things that will require payment, the consequences of which even you will not want to face.”

“Do not threaten me! I released you from your imprisonment. I loved you. And then I watched you fawn over that simpering teenager. I want her gone from my life! Consequences? I embrace them! I am not the weak, in effective High Priestess of a rule- following goddess any longer. Don’t you understand that? Had you not been so distracted by that child, you would know it without me telling you. I am an immortal, the same as you, Kalona!” Her voice was eerie, amplified with power. “We are perfectly matched. You used to believe that as well, and that is something you will believe again, when Zoey Redbird is no more.”

Kalona stared at her, understanding that Neferet was utterly, truly mad, and wondering why that madness only served to feed her power and intensify her beauty.

“So this is what I have decided to do,” she continued, speaking methodically. “I am going to keep your sexy, immortal body safely tucked away underground somewhere while your soul travels to the Otherworld and makes sure Zoey does not return here.”

“Nyx will never allow it!” The words burst from him before he could stop them.

“Nyx always allows free will. As her former High Priestess, I know without any doubt that she will allow you to choose to travel in spirit to the Otherworld,” Neferet said slyly. “Remember, Kalona, my true love, if you ensure Zoey’s death, you will be removing the last impediment to us reigning side by side. You and I will be powerful beyond imagining in this world of modern marvels. Think of it— we will subjugate humans and bring back the reign of vampyres with all the beauty and passion and limitless power that means. The earth will be ours. We will, indeed, give new life to the glorious past!”

Kalona knew she was playing on his weaknesses. Silently, he cursed himself for allowing her to have learned too much about his deepest desires. He’d trusted her, so Neferet knew that because he wasn’t Erebus he could never truly rule beside Nyx in the Otherworld, and he was driven to re- create as much of what he’d lost here in this modern world.

“You see, my love, when you consider it logically, it is only right that you follow Zoey and sever the link between her soul and her body. Doing so simply serves your ultimate desires.” Neferet spoke nonchalantly, as if the two of them were discussing the choice of material for her latest gown.

“How am I even to find Zoey’s soul?” He tried to match her matter of fact tone. “The Otherworld is a realm so vast, only the gods and goddesses can traverse it.”

Neferet’s bland expression tightened, making her cruel beauty terrible to behold. “Do not pretend you don’t have a connection to her soul!” The Tsi Sgili immortal drew a deep breath. In a more reasonable tone, she continued, “Admit it, my love; you could find Zoey even if no one else could. What is your choice, Kalona? To rule on earth at my side, or to remain a slave to the past?”

“I choose to rule. I will always choose to rule,” he said without hesitation.

As soon as he spoke, Neferet’s eyes changed. The green within them became totally engulfed in scarlet. She turned the glowing orbs on him— holding, entrapping, entrancing. “Then hear me, Kalona, Fallen Warrior of Nyx, by my oath I shall keep your body safe. When

Zoey Redbird, fl edging High Priestess of Nyx, is no more, I swear to you I will remove these dark chains and allow your spirit to return.

Then I will take you to the rooftop of our castle on Capri and let the sky breathe life and strength into you so that you will rule this realm as my consort, my protector, my Erebus.” As Kalona watched, helpless to stop her, Neferet drew one long, pointed fingernail across the palm of her right hand. Cupping the blood that pooled there, she held her hand up, offering. “By blood I claim this power; by blood I bind this oath.” All around her, Darkness stirred and descended on her palm, writhing, shivering, drinking. Kalona could feel the draw of that Darkness. It spoke to his soul with seductive, powerful whispers.

“Yes!” The word was a moan torn deep from his throat as Kalona yielded himself to the greedy Darkness.

When Neferet continued, her voice was magnified, swollen with power. “It is your own choice that I have sealed this oath by blood with Darkness, but should you fail me and break it—”

“I will not fail.”

Her smile was unworldly in its beauty; her eyes roiled with blood. “If you, Kalona, Fallen Warrior of Nyx, break this oath and fail in my sworn quest to destroy Zoey Redbird, fledgling High Priestess of Nyx, I shall hold dominion over your spirit for as long as you are an immortal.”

The answering words came unbidden by him, evoked by the seductive Darkness, which for centuries he’d chosen over Light. “If I fail, you shall hold dominion over my spirit for as long as I am an immortal.”

“Thus I have sworn.” Again Neferet slashed her palm, creating a bloody X in her flesh. The copper scent wafted to Kalona like smoke rising from fire as she again raised her hand to Darkness. “Thus it shall be!” Neferet’s face twisted in pain as Darkness drank from her again, but she didn’t fl inch— didn’t move until the air around her pulsed, bloated with her blood and her oath.

Only then did she lower her hand. Her tongue snaked out, licking the scarlet line and ending the bleeding. Neferet walked to him, bent, and gently placed her hands on either side of his face, much as he had held the human boy before delivering his deathblow. He could feel Darkness thrumming around and within her, a raging bull waiting eagerly for his mistress’s command.

Her blood-reddened lips paused just short of touching his. “With the power that rushes through my blood, and by the strength of the lives I have taken, I command you, my delicious threads of Darkness, to pull this Oath Bound immortal’s soul from his body and speed him to the Otherworld. Go and do as I order, and I swear I will sacrifice to you the life of an innocent you have been unable to taint. So thee for me, I mote it be!”

Neferet drew in a deep breath, and Kalona saw the dark threads she’d summoned slither between her full, red lips. She inhaled Darkness until she was swollen with it, and then she covered his mouth with hers and, with that blackened, blood- tainted kiss, blew Darkness within him with such force that it ripped his already wounded soul from his body. As his soul shrieked in soundless agony, Kalona was forced up, up, and into the realm from which his Goddess had banished him, leaving his body lifeless, chained, Oath Bound by evil, and at the mercy of Neferet.

BURNED. Copyright © 2010 by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. For information, address St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.

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Average Rating 4.5
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 2960 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Never Ending Story

    When I first began to read this series I did enjoy the story.
    It drove me crazy in the first few books that the author repeated so much from the previous books (things that REALLY didn't needed refreshing on. I mean if you can't remember who the characters are you should just probably REREAD the books) but it wasn't enough to stop me from getting the next book.
    I will say I am done reading the books because I feel I am wasting my time. This book was the worst of the series. These books could have easily been written in trilogy without so much fluff.

    This never ending story needs an ending. I will choose to just read it up on the internet.

    20 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    There is another book coming...

    Burned was better than Tempted, which is a relief. I was under the impression the this book would conclude the series. This is not the case, my friends. Who knows how many more books there will be...These authors are obviously milking this idea for everything they can, which is understandable. I would too, I suppose. I'll give my opinion to you straight: Zoey isn't in this book. This is about Stevie Rae, bottom line. Her picture on the cover should be a dead giveaway. I'm a big fan of Zoey, so I am disappointed. I find Stevie Rae to be a stupid, silly little girl, and I'm 27 and find it hard to relate to that kind of character. A younger audience is going to love this book, but an older audience will be disappointed. Where is the depth? Depth will not be attained if the authors choose to write another book about Stevie Rae. Although, I will read the next book to find out what happens to Zoey, because I absolutely love her.

    18 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I heart House of Night!!!

    This is the seventh book in the House of Night series. I just absolutely love the cover and the fact they put Stevie Rae on the cover, that's almost exactly how I envisioned her to look like while reading this series. I liked this book but will admit it isn't my favorite in the series. It's a good book, don't get me wrong,it's action packed with the whole love thing I can't get enough of, but it just didn't have enough of Zoey for me. Zoey is my favorite character in the whole series, I do like the fact we got to see more inside Rehpaim's mind though, he is definately my second favorite character now. And it's awesome Stevie Rae is getting into the love thing lol more in this book. This book ties up a lot of things from the other books and now I'm super excited and can't wait to read the next book Awakened when it comes out. This series is like an obsession for me, I can't get enough. I'm now one of those fangirls I now despise lol! Not afraid to admit it! Zoey's soul has shattered after sending spirit to attack Kalona after he murdered Heath. Neferet has sent Kalona's spirit to the Otherworld to make sure Zoey never comes back. Meanwhile Stevie Rae is coming to terms with her imprint with Rephaim and the feelings they are starting to feel for each other. Stevie Rae is discovering that dark and light isn't always so clear, and decisions are sometimes hard to make. Aphrodite is coming to terms with being a prophetess of Nyx and discovering she could do more than she ever thought possible. Stark has found his bloodline and has found a way through it to try to save Zoey and become more than just her Warrior, he wants to be her Guardian, and realizes love can't fix everything.

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 26, 2010

    house of night series

    house of night series is very interesting and alluring. You find yourself immersed in the books and addicted to the series. I know i am. i highly reccomend. It's actually a little better than the Twilight Saga! The only problem is in the 2nd and 3rd book ( i've only read until the 4th) its a little bit too....slutty. Other than that it's exellent. i give it 4.5/5 stars! i can't wait to read the rest!

    11 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Really Not Worth Reading...At All

    It's like the series that would never end!!!! The first four books were ok and fun to read, but as the series goes on it gets worse. I really hate it how the chapters keep changing to different people. The language is atrocious (I mean most teenagers don't even talk like that in real life. At least they use swear words unlike "bullpoopie"). One critic said it was the next Twilight, but that's sooooo not true. It was a complete waste of time. If you want to read a mature (and I don't mean like mature=dirty) vampire novel then try the Vampire Academy Series.

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 1, 2010

    Confused

    I loved this series at 1st and they really are amazing books but I couldn't read this like I read the others. I usually read them fast and didn't want to put them down but on this one I had to put it down and I had to take a break cause there was some parts not needed and i'm not happy with having to wait another year or so just so the book won't come out great. It felt kinda pointless when not that much happen and I was expecting the ending. So yes it was thrilling and good but is it worth waiting for anymore? I loved the series but now i'm really not sure.

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2010

    Weakest Book of the Series

    Though the House of Night series started out strong, about midway through it started on a downward trend. This book merely continues down the path the series unfortunately is heading.
    The book follows supporting, often underdeveloped, characters leaving the reader somewhat uninterested in what is going on. The heroine, Zoey, makes few appearances. When the readers do get to see her, they often wish they didn't due to her un-Zoey-like nature.
    The last few chapters save the book from being a total wash. The book would've done better if it were combined with the next book in the series, which would lend it some forward motion in an otherwise stagnant plot line.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 2, 2010

    An amazing book.

    I loved the twilight series because it was mostly romace and what girl doesn't love a good romance. But the house of night series really got me. I love the story and I love how the main character [zoey] deals with all these problems that we normally wouldn't and still deals with normal teenager crisis. I can relate with so many of the situations that the main character is brought up with and it gives me a feeling of comfort and helps me realize that maybe the situation isn't as bad as I think it is. Overall i think the books are amazing. Tempted was my favorite out of all of them because I cried and laughed throughout the whole book. I love the series and I can't wait until Burned comes out. I truly reccomend this series to everyone!

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 23, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Series.....Already reserved #7

    Read through them so fast that I thought I was in the book myself. Read each book in less than 6 hours. Couldn't find myself putting them down. The series is sooooo good. A+++++ to the author. The only thing negative I have to say is that they don't come out with the rest of them fast enough.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 27, 2009

    GEEZ

    this series is waaaaaaaaaaaaay better than twilight. no offense stephanie. loved tha book tho. i can read tha house of night series over and over and over etc
    LOVED IT!!!!! I SO recomened (however you spell that word) this book

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    amazement:)

    I first got this series randomly for my birthday because i wanted something to read. Didn think much about them until i started reading them and i could not put these books down!! They were filled with so much excitement i wished i was there too aha! With tempted i was really into it!(i love all the books too) but this one is amazing. She finally broke up with erick which i was like "finally"!! i personally think that stark is the best for her:). But when he turned her over and saw no tattoos i was like "whaaaaatttt"!!!!!
    i CANT WAIT for Burned!!! i am bouncing in my seat!!! Please-o-Please-o-Please keep writing kristin & P.C. :)

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 10, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Excuse Me!

    This was absolutely one of the WORST books ever. Honestly the whole series was skanky. Zoey is NOTHING without her friends, NOTHING! You hear? I fell inlove with the first few books; Chosen, Untamed and Hunted. The rest? Please. I hated Cast's main character, Zoey. She is a complete skank. People say Erik Night is "Annoying, Possessive, etc." Well news flash for you honey!! It's what boyfriends do! They don't want they're girlfriends making out with just any guy! Heath is annoying, and so are all the other guys. Burned was completey a big dissappointment. Is it just me? Well it might. I couldn't stop complaining about how awful it was. I couldn't even get to chapter 4. I regret throwing away my receipt. The only thing I got from the whole entire series was to write a book myself. I just wish there was more romance and less slutty-ness. Sorry, don't take this the wrong way. My opinion.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 19, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Overall ok!

    The book overall is an ok one.... i rather enjoyed reading it with my friends and then discussing it.....but my one complaint is Zoey's love life....what the heck is going on.....Heath...very annoying...... Erik......get over her.....Stark....date her already.......Zoey.....choose a guy and let the others move one.... you hold on to them...and it makes you look like a whore its not fair to them.
    Please Choose in Burned!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 4, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    amazing love all the books!!!!!!

    i can not wait till burned comes out i have been waiting for a while the end of temped was so sad an i need more...p.c.cast is a very good author i love all her books not just the ouse of night cant wait......

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2010

    ...

    Awful, cheesy, unrealistic writing and dialogue. Purely useful if one does not wish to have to think... at all. Don't spend your money on it.

    5 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 24, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Nail Biter!!!!

    I've fallen in love with this series and if our a vampire book lover so will you! After finishing the 6th book, I've been pulling my hair out my head waiting for this book to come out. As soon as it did, i pre-odered right away! What's gonna happen to Zoey? Is Heath actually dead and can't be saved? What will Stark do now? Will Kalona begin the rise of a human vs. Vampire war? All these question will be flying in mine and yours heads! We'll see...

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 4, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Highly Anticipated;

    I can't wait for this to come out; I've been dying to know whats going to happen now that (SPOILER) Zoey and Heath are 'gone'. I didn't like the ending of Tempted /: but I'm hoping that the Casts will make up for it with Burned. I'm team Stark, but I really enjoy love triangles/squares/(in Zoey's case) octagons. lol Heath was amazing though, I hope he comes back D: ERIK SHOULD'VE DIED INSTEAD. just saying.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    OMG

    oh my god. i love the other six books. when i saw the pub. date i actally started to cry. i just finished Tempted. I NEED TO READ BUNRNED. soo. yeah. :] write faster and publish this book. i CANT wait!!!!

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    bestbookseriesever.

    I have read all of these books and I am dying to see what happens in burned. When it comes out I probably will be one of the first in my city to get it. I love these books and highly recomend them.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 8, 2010

    What a disappointment!

    This book was such a let-down. It was slow, hard to get in to, and frankly, pretty boring. It is very much a transition piece. The only new things introduced were the additon of the Light versus Darkness struggle. Zoey is skittering around in the Otherworld like a detoxing addict the whole time, Stark is working out his issues, Stevie Rae is in love with a half-human, half-beast Raven Mocker who HAS A BEAK FOR A MOUTH for goodness sake, and Aphrodite is still her usual self. There's very little from Damien, Jack or the twins in this book, which was a disappointment. I usually like hearing about their escapades.

    Unlike the other House of Night books, Burned has a lot of bad language. Why are these kids all of a sudden cussing like sailors? I feel like the Casts are trying to make their characters more grown up, and instead of DEVELOPING them, they just decided to make them cuss.

    Burned is a transition into the next line of the story, and I sincerely hope that Awakened (book 8) is a better book. Hunted and Tempted were too good for this series to go bad. The Casts better get crackin' on these books because I don't plan to be still waiting for House of Night books to come out when I'm 40!!

    Please check out my book blog for other recommendations and reviews:

    www.idsoratherbereading.blogspot.com

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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