As the school’s Valentine’s Day dance approaches, Zoe gives quiet and steady Derek a chance to win her heart. The only thing is, Zoe’s not sure her heart doesn’t already belong to rocker boy Jared. However, Jared is the king of mixed messages, ignoring Zoe one minute and then appearing out of nowhere to protect her. However, this time when Jared shows up, he puts the alliance that Zoe has carefully built in jeopardy. And with the Mages out to eliminate all shape shifters, Zoe needs the help of everyone—human and shapeshifters alike.
Zoe is a feisty character who is trying to do what is right. But her heart and her mind don’t always agree on the right plan of action. However, she is committed to keeping her friends alive. This proves to be a difficult task. Even if Zoe knew how to defeat the Mages, she isn’t sure if she can overcome her fear and take action when her life may be the final sacrifice.
Although Blazing the Trail loses some of its appeal, Zoe seems destined to trust those who are not trustworthy and fight the same battles. Although Zoe is likable, the fact that she repeats many of the same events of the earlier books makes her actions, and the book as a whole, more predictable.
- Kohana kisses Zoe.
- Zoe kisses Derek several times in the book. In one scene Zoe, “leaned closer to him, touching my lips to his cheek. I felt him melt. It was strange, realizing that I had some ability to affect his thinking with just a little touch, and it gave me an uncomfortable sense of power.”
- When Zoe and Derek kiss, “I felt the weight and heat of his hand on my shoulder, the touch of snowflakes melting on my face, the press of his body. And then his tongue met mine. I felt as if I’d touched an electrical wire and pulled back, my breath coming in gasps.”
- Derek tells Zoe that they must make a union. Zoe knows that “he was talking about sex.” Derek then said that they could start by going steady.
- One of the characters tells Zoe, “You’re sixteen. I haven’t been for a while. That makes you jailbait, and I’m not going to have any more dealings with cops ever again.”
- At the end of the story, Jared kisses Zoe “hard. It was every bit as thrilling as the first time.”
- While performing a ceremony to invoke the ShadowEaters, the ShadowEaters jump their constraints and, “feed on the third guy like a pack of vultures. . . I saw their teeth flash as they bit and snapped. When they retreated just seconds later, smacking their lips, he had collapsed on the ground.”
- During a Mage ceremony, a girl’s throat is slit.
- In a battle, Zoe slits a person in half. Then the person loses “the spell light that had filled his skin.” The shape shifters use their singing to destroy the Mages.
- One of the Wyrd sisters finds the dead and eats them. “She hopped onto his chest in her raven form and ripped his flesh open with her beak. When she tore into his body cavity, presumably looking for that liver, I couldn’t stand it anymore.”
- One of the Mages tricks Zoe into going with him. When they get to an isolated location, he “Kicked my feet out from beneath me. . .” Using a spell the Mages trap Zoe and intend to use the NightBlade to “cut the shadows away from the bodies of the victims, the better to offer sacrifices to the ShadowEaters.” Kohana saves Zoe, but another boy’s throat is slit. “Blood spurted from his throat.”
- When a girl takes a picture of Zoe changing into a dragon, she and Zoe get into a fight.
- In the dream world, one of the Wyrd sisters shows Zoe a battlefield where her friends lay dead. “I gagged when I saw the eyeball impaled on the end of her knife. She laughed at me, then ate it off the tip of the blade, chewing with gusto.” Zoe also sees her own corpse.
Drugs and Alcohol
- Profanity is used often in both the character’s thoughts and words. The profanity includes: hell, holy shit, shit, fuck, bitch, bitchy, and ass.
- Zoe said she, “was in a pretty crap mood when I got to English class late.” Later she said she was, “feeling a little bit pissed.”
- When Zoe makes an error, she thinks, “this was a colossal fuckup on my part and I had to try to make it right.”
- A girl calls Zoe a “bitch.”
- In her dream, Zoe sees the Wyrd sisters who give her clues on how to defeat the Mages.
- The Mages invoked the ShadowEaters “to feed them the shadows of their sacrificial victims.” The ShadowEaters hope to gain enough power that they can transcend into another form. “When ShadowEaters ate a shifter’s shadow, the shifter died. It was like the shifter ceased to exist, because he or she couldn’t cast a shadow—or because in eating the shadow, the ShadowEaters stole the shifters ability.”
- The Mages use “glamours” to hide what is really there.
- “Mages recruit humans with an innate musical ability. This power—called spellsinging—allows those gifted humans to enchant other humans with their music or their songs.”
- Zoe’s dead brother appears and helps her find clues to defeat the Mages.
- Zoe attends the birth of a cat shapeshifter. During the ceremony, the cat ancestors appear, but no one can see them except Zoe.
- One of the Wyrd sisters gives Zoe her shears which can be used to cut spells.