The Host Review: Followed (Ch 6)

I’m going to try something different this time.  I have not yet actually read this chapter yet.  I’m going to read it as I go, and will be unable to comment based on information the book hasn’t revealed yet.  I’m hoping this will stop me from calling it out for contradictions that we haven’t even gotten to so I can focus on the ones that we have!  Let’s see how it goes shall we?  You can witness my rage in real time!  …Sort of.

We start off with an unnecessarily long description of the sunset.

The light was finally fading outside the windows. The day, hot for March, had lingered on and on, as if reluctant to end and set me free.

Grumpy

I hate this paragraph.  It doesn’t make me angry; I just don’t understand why it has to be worded this way.  This is a first person narrative.  This is supposed to be how someone views the world.  Do you think like that?  I don’t think like that.  I don’t know anyone that thinks like that.  A saner way to put it would be ‘The sun was finally setting in this unusually hot March evening.  The day had dragged on seemingly forever.’  Not my best writing, but it’s still a lot less pretentious than that crap.

Apparently this is the same scene as the last chapter.  It seems to have picked up right where the last one left off, Wanderer wiping the tears with Kathy’s handkerchief.  Why isn’t this part of the last chapter then?  It’s the same scene!  Whatever.

A Bit of Fry and Laurie Bored

I just can’t bring myself to care.

Kathy, continuing to justify why she’s the only character I actually like in this book, tells Wanderer she needs a good support system to help her through this if she’s not open to switching hosts.  Wanderer acts horrified at the thought of having to talk to someone else and says Kathy is probably the best comforter there is so why should she have to get a different one?!  It comes off as a complete and utter lie told to avoid having to do something she doesn’t like.  Which goes with what we’ve seen of the character so far, but completely against everything we’ve been told about her so far.  Quality writing!

Sarcasm

Kathy didn’t intend to send her to a different therapist though, she just wants Wanderer to have friends.  Wanderer is confused.  I’m left wondering why.  They said that theirs is a peaceful and loving species.  They said in the last chapter that the parasites are a more connected species, complaining about how individualistic humans are.  Friends should not be a strange concept.  Being alone should be a strange concept.  Everything we’re being told about everything is exactly the opposite of what we’re actually seeing.  This is incredibly annoying.

I stared at her blankly.

“Human hosts need interaction. You’re not used to solitude, dear. You shared an entire planet’s thoughts –”

“We didn’t go out much.” My attempt at humor fell flat.

I feel dirty that I don’t hate that joke…  More important than my bad taste in humour though is what Kathy said here.  It’s incredibly poorly written, confusing, and slightly degrading.  First ‘Human hosts need interaction.  You’re not used to solitude, dear.’  This sounds like the reason she needs friends is because humans need friends.  But it’s also saying that she’s used to being literally connected to everyone around her and coming here where she’s alone is a big difference.  Which has nothing to do with the fact that she’s human.  A clearer way to say this would be ‘Humans are a social species, they need interaction with others.  On top of the fact that you’re used to such a strong connection with the people around you, being alone is even harder.’  Instead she had to word it disjointedly and in a way that sounds like they view their host bodies as pets that need occasional walkies to the park to play with the other dogs.

Kathy goes on to explain that if Melanie is more dormant when Wanderer is working because she’s bored (Still don’t get how alien history would be boring) maybe Melanie would be too bored to be terribly active while Wanderer was out having a life and enjoying the company of friends.  She implies that it’s Wanderers own fault that Melanie has so much power, that Wanderer focusing on her so much gives her the power, and I find this hilarious.  Kathy basically just said that she’s causing her own problems.  It’s the first time anyone in the book has said anything other than how perfect and awesome Wanderer is and it just further cements her as my favourite character.  I have a sneaking suspicion she won’t get much ‘screen time’ so to speak.

“And then there are the physical drives these bodies have. I’ve never seen or heard of their equal. One of the most difficult things we of the first wave had to conquer was the mating instinct.”

Did you know that there’s a breed of mouse where when the male’s reach puberty their drive to have sex is so strong that they don’t eat or sleep for the rest of their incredibly short lives, they just bone everything in sight?  No idea why I felt the need to bring that up…

The More You Know

“No, I didn’t mean just memories. Haven’t you come across anyone that your body has responded to in the present–on strictly a chemical level?”

I thought her question through carefully. “I don’t think so. Not so I’ve noticed.”

‘Not so I’ve noticed.’  ‘NOT SO I’VE NOTICED.’  WHAT?!  HOW DID THAT GET PAST AN EDITOR?!

It would never have gotten past J Jonah Jamieson!  And not just because it's not about Spiderman.

It would never have gotten past J Jonah Jamieson! And not just because it’s not about Spiderman.

I will concede that you can stretch grammar rules to make it work, but, just no.  No one would ever say that.  Especially not one working from the English skills of someone who’d been on the run since before high school.

Kathy says she’s letting Melanie control her interactions, Wanderer gets offended and insinuates that Kathy is the metaphorical pot.  Kathy doesn’t rise to her bait and concedes that it’s possible that the hosts have more say in who they end up with than they like to believe but that Wanderer should still give it time.  She says perhaps Wanderer will find someone else who does it for her, or since the Seekers are already looking, maybe Jared will be found and assimilated and she can be with him then.  Apparently this is horrific to Wanderer.

“No!” I wasn’t sure who had shouted. It could have been me. I was full of horror, too.

Why?  I understand why Melanie would be horrified, but why would Wanderer?  That makes less than no sense at all.

That’s killing him! That’s making him cease to be! I don’t want someone else. I want Jared, not a stranger in his body! The body means nothing without him.

This is the answer.  It still makes no sense.  Wanderer cannot ever be with Jared.  Jared would murder her.  She knows that.  Jared would despise her for ‘killing’ his girlfriend as she’s unwilling to do to him.  If she admits that becoming a host is murder, then she admits she has murdered.  Multiple times.  AND that that’s a BAD THING.  Or is it only bad if he’s hot?  I hate romance novel logic.

Illogical Bullshit

I didn’t live far from the Comforter’s office, but the darkness in the street disoriented me. I’d gone two blocks before I realized I was running in the wrong direction.

Okay, confession time.  I’ve gotten lost going straight.  My sense of direction is as strong as a broken compass.  I do not, however, get lost only a few blocks from the place I’ve lived for at least 4 or 5 months (long enough for her to get a job, prep for the university course, complete a full semester and start a new one, I’d say it’s probably closer to 6 but I’ll be generous) even at dusk.  I certainly wouldn’t be able to go two whole blocks without noticing that I wasn’t going the right way.

People were looking at me. I wasn’t dressed for exercise, and I wasn’t jogging, I was fleeing. But no one bothered me; they politely averted their eyes. They would guess that I was new to this host. Acting out the way a child would.

Celebrate

OH MY GOD SHE ADMITTED IT!  Though I suspect this was meant to garner sympathy not allow me to gloat for realizing she’s acting like a toddler.  Seriously though, how is a tightly connected species full of love and peace not more caring?  She’s clearly upset and disoriented, but they’re just ignoring her to deal with it on her own?  A species where everyone is supposed to be a bunch of goddamn loving hippies that has support groups and nurturing and understanding and all those other positive adjectives Meyer keeps stuffing down our throats isn’t going to try and help her?  Reassure her, point her in the right direction, make sure she’s okay?!  That’s not polite, it’s cruel!  Not even going to check and see if she’s running from something BAD!?  Maybe there’s a murderous human around!

My walk was only slightly slower than a run. I heard my feet hitting the sidewalk too quickly, as though they were trying to match the tempo of a dance song. Slap, slap, slap against the concrete. No, it wasn’t like a drumbeat, it was too angry. Like violence. Slap, slap, slap. Someone hitting someone else. I shuddered away from the horrible image.

Is she wearing flip flops?  Slippers?  No explanation for why there’s a slapping noise when she speed walks?  Normal shoes don’t make a slapping sound when they hit the sidewalk.  It’s more of a heavy thud…

Like this, only quieter

Like this, only quieter

I could see the lamp on over my apartment door.

Does anyone actually call their porch light a lamp?

Wanderer pukes into some bushes across the street from her apartment as the Seeker comes up and actually acts like a decent person by seeming to be genuinely concerned for her well-being and having a little panic over who she needs to call to get her some help, trying to find out who the closest healer is and asking if she needs an ambulance.  This is actually a surprisingly decently written scene if you ignore Meyers prose between the dialogue, and despite that Wanderer sees the Seeker as a bad guy now that she doesn’t want Jared found, she actually seems like a decent enough person who’s just determined to do her job well.  However Wanderer sees the world, the reality is the opposite.  That’s a safe assumption for the rest of this book.

Wanderer freaks the fuck out, no mention of her wiping the vomit from her mouth, and she gets in the Seekers face, grabbing her by the collar of her shirt and asking her why she’s there and what’s happened.  The Seeker is understandably defensive now, telling her to stop shaking her.  Wanderer actually gets huffy (Meyer’s word!) over the fact that the Seeker didn’t like being shaken, but gives her an apology that I imagine if we could hear it in person probably sounded sarcastic.

The Seeker continues coming off as a better person than Wanderer by still being slightly annoyed, but smoothing out her shirt and conceding that Wanderer is sick and she probably startled her, so it was understandable.  The Seeker says she should see a Healer before they talk, since getting better is more important, and Wanderer gets annoyed that she won’t just accept her saying she’s fine.  Dude, you just puked into a bush.  No one with any level of sanity would accept that that was nothing.  She’s asking questions because you make no sense and she’s concerned that you’re sick.  This is not a negative action that justifies being pissed off.

Wanderer actually starts thinking about how she could take the Seeker in a fight because she’s taller (which is bullshit.  The Seeker would know how to fight.  Being taller gives you no advantage at all.  As someone who has done boxing, kick boxing, karate and tai kwan do I feel confident in saying that being taller can be a serious disadvantage.  Lower center of gravity makes you harder to knock down.) And then, continuing the rude behaviour, rather than realizing she’s being horrible and making an effort not to be, she realizes she’s being horrible, so she turns and walks away without a word.

Rude

The Seeker, rather than being offended, actually continues to be concerned for this bitch.  She yells after her that she still hasn’t gotten a hold of a healer for her yet!  This is the villain.  The villain should never be a better person than the hero.  The protagonist, maybe, but Wanderer and Melanie are not just the main character, they’re the heroines of this story.  If I had any faith that there would be an arc where she realized she was awful and became less awful I would forgive this but that would require me to believe that the author that wrote this line:

“I need no Healer,” I said without turning.

Actually understands that characters need to grow.

Wanderer goes into her house, leaving the door open behind her knowing that the Seeker is going to follow, and being annoyed by that fact.  She rinses her mouth, ignoring the woman’s presence.  Wanderer says she speaks up because she’s bored, I suspect she actually speaks up because the silence and tension would be deafening and she felt the need to break it.  Seeker asks if she still goes by Wanderer, saying she means no offense by calling her that if she’s taken a new name.  She admits she’s surprised she stuck with the name, figuring she’d have chosen one of her own rather than taking one that was given to her.

I kind of see her point.  She didn’t seem to much care for the nicknames they were giving her past planets, so it wouldn’t be a stretch that she wouldn’t like the nickname they had given her either.  They never did say what her see weed name was or why she didn’t use that, or why they didn’t call her that at first since they knew Kevin’s bat name.  Wanderer is of course pissed off by the question.

Wanderer talks about how confrontational the Seeker is, saying she’s the most confrontational soul she’d ever met in all her 9 lives.  I gotta say I don’t see it.  Nothing she’s said here seems terribly confrontational.  Even her first appearance could be taken as impatience rather than her being outwardly confrontational.  She’d been waiting 10 days for time sensitive information and Fords was accusing her of being horrible.  She was being defensive, not confrontational.  Not the best person in the world (she still sounded like a c grade comic book villain), but far from the worst.  Wanderer has been way more confrontational than Seeker has been.  She got snippy at Fords in the third chapter, she got snippy at Kathy when she was being calm and not at all intending to be offensive, and now she’s being short and horrible to Seeker for daring to be concerned for her well-being.  Heinous bitch!  How dare she!

No one out apathies Jack Nicholson

As if Meyer realized Seeker might be coming off as more sympathetic than Wanderer, she goes back into over the top villain mode.  She laughs at Wanderer for having not subdued Melanie yet and apparently seems to be happy about the fact that there are more humans to hunt.  Wanderer and Melanie chat about how much they hate her.  They’re bonding over mutual hate like those catty high school girls no one actually likes but everyone pretends to want to be around because they think everyone else thinks they’re cool and they don’t want to get made fun of.  I’m not even exaggerating.  Wanderer says specifically that it’s a testament to how horrible Seeker is that she makes Melanie look better by comparison, then they both chat about how much of a bitch she is.

I still like Seeker better than either of our protagonists, even in villain mode.  Which I might add is a massive disconnect from the genuine concern and patience she’d shown earlier in the scene, and since this is all from Wanderer’s perspective and Wanderer hates her, could easily be her exaggerating and projecting.  I did already point out that I’ve noticed that everything seems to be the exact opposite of how Wanderer describes it, so Seeker was probably laughing uncomfortably, unsure how to handle the revelation that Melanie was still alive in there and not sure how to react to it.

Uncomfortable jokes

Apparently in all the time Wanderer has shared Melanie’s thoughts, she never considered that the flashes of directions Melanie kept trying to hide from her were directions to Jared.  Neeeeever even occurred to her that the only important place she would be trying to hide from the aliens would be the location of the humans she didn’t want them to body snatch.  Brilliant.

She totally never could have figured it out before!

She totally never could have figured it out before!

The next bit leaves me terribly confused.  She brings up the fucking see weeds again, and I’m pretty sure by now I’ve gotten my point across how they do not make the least bit of sense, but it somehow manages to get stupider.  Apparently Wanderer was one of the ‘settlers’ of that planet. Seeker snickers at her about how hard it must have been to settle a planet full of rooted plants, but Wanderer explains that HALF THE PLANET DIED.  THEY COMMITTED SUICIDE TO AVOID GETTING OVERTAKEN.  AND WANDERERS CONCERN IS THAT IT WAS A WASTE OF BODIES, NOT THAT THEY WERE SO HORRIFIED BY THE IDEA OF GETTING BODY SNATCHED THAT THEY COMMITTED MASS SUICIDE.  This apparently didn’t raise a single red flag in any of their minds that what they were doing was horrible, Wanderer says it was the SEEKERS fault.

Take  your stupid opinions and leave

Melanie has repeatedly said that what the parasites do is glorified murder, and Wanderer has just ignored her.  She doesn’t try and justify it in any way other than that the planet is better off, but that only even makes a LITTLE sense in the case of humans.  She can’t say the see weeds were war faring and destroying their planet.  So how does she justify that?  What did they bring to that planet that the see weeds couldn’t?  What value did they add?  As far as I can tell, not a goddamn thing. But since she won’t stop talking about her only semi original alien species other than the parasites I suspect we’ll get more information and Wanderer will try and explain it later.  And I’ll probably find it just as weak as no answer at all.

Anyway that’s basically the end of the chapter.  She’s rude to Seeker, Seeker is not rude back, Melanie snarks.  This chapter was not as rage inducing as the assholes howling outside in the parking lot or the previous chapter, but it is definitely as stupid.  She’s replaced bad science content with poor characterization and psychology.  It’s lateral progress at best.  I suppose you could argue that something akin to plot is happening now.  She’s realized she wants to fuck Jared and she can’t do that if Seeker finds him first, so I guess we’re getting a road trip.  Should be good quirky fun!  Kill me now.

(Check out The Llama’s take on this chapter!)

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