a review by Evie Kendal
Hidden is the tenth novel of the House of Night young adult paranormal romance series, which focuses on the life of teenage fledgling Vampyre, Zoey Redbird.
The opening chapter summarises the plot of the recent House of Night novella Lenobia’s Vow, suggesting stable-hand Travis Foster may be the reincarnation of Lenobia’s former human lover, Martin, who tragically died 224 years ago. However, Martin is not the only character who appears to have been raised from the dead in this instalment. Various deceased classmates reappear as “red fledglings” as a result of the evil deeds of former House of Night principal and High Priestess, Neferet.
Zoey has exposed Neferet’s true character in earlier instalments. The beginning of Hidden shows Neferet desperately trying to get revenge on Zoey and her friends for costing her the support of the Vampyre council. One weapon Neferet has at her disposal that is of particular importance to Zoey is the Aurox, a vessel forced to do Neferet’s will, who also just happens to be Zoey’s ex-boyfriend, Heath.
Despite the presence of backstory summaries throughout the novel, the maintenance of so many new, and not-so-new, characters leaves Hidden far from an entry-level text to the series. Nevertheless, there is enough information provided for readers who have had to wait some time between novels to keep on top of all the recent plot twists.
Hidden is written from a variety of characters’ perspectives, with different names appearing at the start of sections to indicate whose perspective is being addressed. The only perspective that gets a first person narration is that of Zoey though, keeping in flavour with the rest of the series.
Just as in earlier instalments, Zoey is juggling family trauma, school commitments and multiple romantic entanglements, while also trying to save the world from the Darkness Neferet is working with.
The depiction of Neferet’s evil is a little overdone however, as the previously nurturing Vampyre is seen brutally slaughtering animals in the very first chapter. She uses this blood sacrifice to maintain control over the Aurox, forcing him to kill Zoey’s otherworldly friends before her eyes. This is immediately compared to how Neferet sacrificed Zoey’s mother in the earlier text. While the novella Neferet’s Curse was supposed to explain the root cause of Neferet’s evil, it does not account for the dramatic shift this character has undergone over the series.
With the weight of the world on their shoulders, what is most surprising about Zoey’s circle of Goddess-gifted maturing Vampyres is their capacity to engage in all the banality of schoolyard politics and teen angst. With communications breakdowns, bitchiness and jealousy threatening to tear the group apart, the students at House of Night are just like any other high school kids.
The series also addresses the issues of fitting in and standing out, particularly for readers who may feel disenfranchised in their own adolescent lives. Romance, relationships, sex and sexuality are all major themes across the series (which is now labelled “Not suitable for younger readers”).
Hidden is recommended for fans who have followed the series thus far and it will be the third last book of the series. Revealed will follow in October 2013 and the final instalment, Redeemed, does not yet have a release date.