This chapter takes place while the parasite and host are still laying relatively still in the hospital bed or on the operating table. It was really never stated that she was moved, so I picture her still face down on the operating table because it’s funnier that way.
The parasite, which finally gets a name in this chapter, Wanderer, is faking being unconscious while Fords talks to a yet unnamed female Seeker. Fords is getting pissed at her because he thinks putting Wanderer in this body is cruel, and they’re having a fight over it, which Wanderer finds odd and unsettling because hers is such a peaceful and loving race.
The Seeker argues that since she only screamed once, Fords is being a pussy. I would like to point out that by the end of the first page in this chapter it’s blatantly obvious that this chick is the book’s bad guy. Meyer is so skilled at writing such deep stories, I’m shocked the villain would be so transparent.
Fords argues that the only reason she’s not still wailing in agony is because she’s so special not because it’s not traumatic, because of course we need it drilled in more that the main character is super awesome and unusual. They keep taking pot shots at each other for a bit till I kind of expect them to have hate-sex right there on the floor, and Wanderer talks about how weird it is for her people to show any signs of aggression, because we all know bears are never ever angry.
This whole chapter is a bit boring to talk about because it’s just Fords and the Seeker arguing back and forth about how evil she is and how much of a pansy he is. Fords implies that Seekers won’t be needed much longer, Seeker says he’s wrong and Wanderer’s host is evidence of that. Fords points out that she’s one of a very small number remaining, stating that the aliens have regular humans outnumbered a million to one, and the Seekers are quickly rounding up everyone else, so their threat is weakening. The seeker doesn’t seem to like that fact, and Fords thinks the seeker enjoys violence and isn’t acclimatizing well to peace.
We find out that the host body jumped down the elevator shaft 10 days ago, and that the rebelling humans are actively murdering the humans afflicted with the parasites. The seekers seem to both find new host bodies for aliens and defend them. They talk about how humans have put up a brutal fight, and it’s implied that Fords hasn’t been there that long since the unnamed Seeker says he wouldn’t have done well during the start of the invasion. It’s also, of course, explained that Wanderer is possibly the most well-traveled of all the aliens, at least that the seeker knows of. Again, super special. Why can’t the heroes of these kinds of books ever be normal? Or at least not the most special thing ever? Wouldn’t this story make more sense with a relatively young parasite, not sure how to overcome the emotions and memories of the host? Having to struggle to beat down the angry and violent host wanting to break free of her control?
As it stands, instead of making the parasite look special it actually makes her look incredibly weak. She’d been through more than any other parasite currently on Earth and she still isn’t strong enough to do a slightly more complicated than usual bonding process? Has she just always sought out the easiest victims for a body to steal? Having never had to fight against a host in all her past ‘lives’ makes her hosts sound weak. So she’s probably only inhabited children up till that point which makes her sound even worse. They call her special and say she should be capable of handling all this, but she can’t. So either she’s actually just lucky and really kind of sucks, or the host is really unusual, but since they said in the prologue that the host is relatively normal I’m voting the parasite is secretly really pathetic.
For the second time this chapter brings about conflicting information about how much Wanderer knew before coming here. The Seeker says she ‘would have chosen this if there had been any way to ask’ and Wanderer states that she had been given information before she came here and coming here was a choice she had made. So was she able to make the choice or not? At least be consistent within the same goddamn chapter!
I have so very, very many problems with the part that comes after they stop focusing on the argument between tweedle dee and tweedle dum… Wanderer starts talking about her past host. She has no name for it, but it is very clearly the ‘see weed’ that they mentioned that I thought was a typo. It’s a plant-like species that lives on the ocean floor and is covered in eyeballs. So many problems I don’t even know where to begin…
She says they were all rooted together, sharing a consciousness. She says that they use photosynthesis for food, and live ‘many leagues’ under the sea. Anyone with even the most basic understanding of science would start to see the problems here. How can the parasite species attach to the ‘center of consciousness’ as she said they have to in the last chapter, if the species they’re trying to connect to is one mass consciousness linked together rather than many individuals? She describes them as though they’re individuals that communicate jovially together, telling stories through telepathy via their shared consciousness, but that’s not telepathy and they’re not individuals. If it’s a linked consciousness they would be like the limbs of octopi. They would each have a mass of nerve cells allowing individual movements, even if separated from the mass, but they are not in and of themselves individuals. They are simply bundles of nerves connected to the larger brain.
That would mean that there would be only one center of consciousness for the entire species and thus only one parasite could live within them. Once the main consciousness was taken, if parasites needed a host they could live off the nutrients brought in from the nerve clusters, theoretically I suppose but the ‘species’ itself is only one singular being.
Another issue with the species is the fact that they have eyes. Why do they have eyes if they live at the bottom of the ocean rooted together, with no mention of any method of defense? They’re rooted to the ocean floor so they can’t run, they use photosynthesis for food so they don’t need them to hunt. What good are the eyes? What purpose do they fulfill?
The photosynthesis is a problem as well. If they live at the bottom of the ocean that seems rather inefficient for photosynthesis. She even says they’re many leagues down. The amount of solar energy that would reach them that far down would be rather small. In Earth’s oceans, photosynthetic plants rooted to the ground are only in shallower water. In the deep ocean the only photosynthetic plants are phytoplankton, which spend their lives floating around near the surface and fuel the ocean floor when they die and their bodies float down to the bottom providing the food for herbivorous species at the ocean floor. There are ‘plants’ that live that deep down, but rather than the sun, they get their energy from thermal vents on the ocean floor and the nutrients they spit out from the Earth’s core. But as an animal, not a plant, or at least a planimal, with the added strain of needing to provide nutrients not only for basic functions of life, but also the nutritional needs of a ‘brain’, their photosynthesis would have to be amazingly efficient.
Anyway, she goes on about how while she was part of the see weed, they would tell stories about how violent Earth was. They would talk about fighting and wars, and how unusual that was. She does realize that her past lives as a bear and a spider would have involved murdering living things right? And both of those species fight over territory and mates? Humans are not the only creatures that fight. We’re not even the only species that has full blown wars. Not just primates either, insects and mammals both fight in something similar to wars. Dolphins commit genocide against porpoises for no known reason since they don’t tend to clash over prey or territory. Dolphins also commit gang rape. Hell, even some plants commit genocide against other species of plants. Humans are not alone in their violent nature. Evolution favours the species that has some kind of advantage over others, and often destroying your competition is that advantage. Violence is a natural by-product of evolution and in no way is it unique or odd.
She goes on about how the seekers tend to be looked down upon by the rest of the species. They’re seen as violent and unevolved. A necessary evil that none of the rest of them can understand why they would choose that life. This species isn’t very self-aware considering she’s still shown no degree of sympathy or remorse for the hosts lives they steal.
She starts skimming the host’s memories and hits a wall as the host fights against her. She does find out that the host was looking for a cousin named Sharon, and that she had reason to believe the girl was unassimilated. She hits the wall and decides to wake up, and that’s the end of the chapter.
This chapter sucks. The information is conflicting, the science is bullshit that anyone who took any science classes in high school should be able to see the problems with, and the ‘good’ aliens come off as selfish and really fucking ignorant of what their species is. The villain is so transparent and one dimensional she might as well be an outline drawn on saran wrap. This book is awful. I hope something actually happens soon because I’m less angry than bored at the moment and that’s making this hard.
See you next time.
(And don’t forget to check out the question llama’s reviews!)