This is the first novella I’ve read in the House of Night series. I wasn’t particularly a fan of the original series, but being a stubborn person I kept reading it to find out how P.C. and Kristen Cast were going to end their series. The first five novels could pass as okay stories, if you ignored the poor writing and poor characterisation. However anything including and after the sixth novel was absolutely dire – all of the areas this series fell short of became glaringly obvious, mainly because of how horribly bland the protagonist was. The Neferet character was one that interested me because she seemed to be one of the more well rounded characters, with an intriguing background.
It’s my own fault for sticking it out to the bitter end really, but when I passed this novel in the library I was still curious to see what the novellas in this series were like. What I loved about the original series was the overall idea of vampyres, but I found this wasn’t executed as well as it could have been. What I really loved was how the Casts went against the paranormal norm and made vampyres known about in the story universe, rather than having the protagonist be revealed to the hidden world.
Unfortunately, this thing that I liked so much about the original series wasn’t included in this novella. ‘Neferet’s Curse’ makes one passing reference to vampyres and a House of Night in Chicago, and only outright involves these in the last few pages. The novel was set out as a diary from Neferet’s point of view before she was chosen to be a vampyre, then known as Emily. The narrative voice just felt really clunky! This was such a disappointment, but it should have been obvious from the original series. Oh well.
The language Cast used in this novel just jarred with my understanding of the Neferet character – it was so archaic and just didn’t fit well at all. I get they were trying to show her as a well educated woman in the 1800s, but I don’t think she would have spoken in such a dull way. Cast was trying to make Emily sound way more sophisticated than Neferet does, and it just didn’t work.
The terrible events that Emily survives in this novel didn’t explain how Neferet ends up to be the calculating antagonist she does in the main series, and as horrible as they were doesn’t really explain her characterisation. Emily had been trying to manipulate a man to get her out of her situation, and when she is out of this it doesn’t make the story particularly interesting. Cast tried to pepper foreshadowing of Nefert’s future decisions throughout, such as mention of a white bull. However I think that her story would have been far more compelling if Cast had shown us Neferet’s path that led to making the choices she does in the main series.
I would give it a 3/5, as the Casts could have done something much more interesting with Neferet’s novella. While it centred around a horrific event from her past, the rest of the narrative just felt dry and so boring in comparison to the last few chapters. It would have been far more interesting to see Neferet settling into the House of Night and maybe showing the events that led to her making such bad decisions in the main series.