Happy Halloween!

I love Halloween.  It’s a fun holiday where people get to be whatever they want.  They can be themselves, they can be something they wish they were.  On Halloween you can just have fun.  Not to mention all the candy!  So in the spirit of the holiday I wrote a few pieces of flash fiction.  Hope you enjoy them!

Teeth

It was coming for us.  We couldn’t see where we were going, we just had to run and hope we were faster.  Its many limbs grabbed at us, tugging at the edges of our clothing, but we kept running, faster and faster.  Our lungs burned, unable to cry out our terror, gasping for the precious air needed to keep up our escape.

The limbs of the dark trees in the moonless night leapt out at us as we ducked and dove, trying desperately not to lose our pace.  The thing didn’t seem to be slowed down by the terrain at all, but we could only keep running for so long.  He stumbled…I wanted to stop and help, but it got there first.

I ran even harder; I didn’t look back.  I hoped having one victim would satisfy it; maybe I could get away…but it didn’t seem to even slow it down.  I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t stop, I couldn’t think, I just ran.  There was nowhere to hide.

My time came soon after.  I tripped on what I can only assume was the root of a tree.  It was on me before I could even begin to get back up. The last thing I saw was teeth.

On Being Dead

It’s weird being dead.  Everything looks fuzzy.  I can’t really touch anything, either.  I get bored whenever the residents aren’t home to turn on the TV or talk.  They keep me company, though I suppose they don’t realize it.

I tried to leave the house once, but I found out pretty quickly that I couldn’t.  My universe just loops around when I go through the front door, and I end up right back where I started.  I haven’t bothered to try again.

Sometimes I get frustrated.  After I’ve been bored long enough – behaved myself long enough – I get angry.  I’m still only human, after all.  I can touch things, then…well, sort of, anyway.  Enough to get the residents’ attention, at least.  It scares them when I do that.  I feel bad afterward.  One family called in a priest once, but I just followed him around making faces behind his head.

Someday I hope I’ll move on.  For now, though, I’ll just keep watching TV with you, hoping one day you’ll talk to me…

Acceptance

Death had come to claim her

She did not struggle or fight

Tears streamed down her face

Fear, trepidation, relief

She took the outstretched hand

She wiped away the tears

They walked away

The Host Review: Named (ch 21)

Chapter 21.  This book is finally old enough to drink in the states it takes place in.  Too bad I can’t, it might make this easier to get through… This particular chapter is especially terrible.  For reasons I thought we were done with chapters and chapters ago.  In short I spend most of this chapter choking on my own rage.  Enjoy!

We start where we left off but Wanderer mercifully skips over most of the rest of the tour, just saying she was paranoid the whole time waiting for Ian or Doc to murder her.  Though she does spend an entire paragraph describing in significant detail the things she says she’s not focusing on.

My attention was not focused on the second set of gardens he led me through–one with corn growing waist-high in the blistering heat of the brilliant mirrors–or the wide but low-ceilinged cavern he called the “rec room.” That one was pitch-black and deep underground, but he told me they brought in lights when they wanted to play. The word play didn’t make sense to me, not here in this group of tense, angry survivors, but I didn’t ask him to explain.

If she really wasn’t paying attention she could have said ‘the second set of gardens and the ‘rec room’.  But she had to say the height of the corn and the brilliance of the mirrors.  Wanderer also displays her idiocy here further.  Because humans never need to just unwind with some fun and games right?!  Especially not in tense situations?  Or stuck in a cave with no internet, books, movies, music… We would neeeeeeeever want to play a game!  We’re so angry and horrible, having fun isn’t possible!

I assume this is what she thinks they do in their spare time.

I assume this is what she thinks they do in their spare time.

The next couple of pages are just her describing how paranoid she is and the looks on Jamie’s face.  It’s incredibly dull and there are much worse things in this chapter to dwell on so here’s the summary: ‘I’m so scared of these people who are being nice to me and all humans ever are just cruel and murderous except Jamie who I’ve hurt and I am so horrible for doing that to him.’ Melanie does show up for a four sentence conversation about Jamie, but she’s only there to give Wanderer a chance to get emo about how much she’s hurt him and I’m really sick of everything being about Wanderer.  Melanie isn’t a character, she’s a sounding board.  The background characters aren’t characters, they’re plot devices.  I’m sick of it and it’s boring as all fucking hell.

They get to the end of the tour, which happens to be the ‘hospital’ area, and of course Wanderer flips the fuck out thinking that they’ve tricked her into walking into the torture chapter and to that I say fuck you Wanderer, you dumbass.  If they wanted to torture you they could have done it in the hole.  If they wanted to torture you they could have dragged you off.  If they wanted to torture you they could have done it when he said he was taking you to the bathroom.  If they wanted to fucking torture you they would have done it when you fucking thought they were torturing you over the Seeker shit!  I AM SICK AND FUCKING TIRED OF YOU DISTRUSTING PEOPLE WHO HAVE SHOWN YOU NOTHING BUT KINDNESS YOU SELFISH BITCH!  I need a stronger insult than Bitch.  It really doesn’t cut it anymore.

Somebody buy me this.  I need it for this book!

Somebody buy me this. I need it for this book!

Everyone goes out of their way to make her feel better and calm her down and I say they should just punch her in the face.  She’s the alien invader who took over the body of their loved one and sought out their home.  They took her in, protected her, nursed her back to health, and she repays their kindness with distrust and spiteful ignorance.  She deserves anything they could have done to her, but she didn’t get it.  And for that she’s treating them like cruel murdering psychopaths.  Wanderer needs to go fuck herself.  SICK OF YOUR SHIT WANDERER.  SICK OF IT.

Sick of your shit

After they get her calmed down Doc asks if she knows anything about alien medicine.  Apparently the parasites threw out all human medicine when they arrived.

I took a deep breath, then whispered, “I’m not a Healer. I don’t know how they–the medications–work. Only that they do work– they heal, rather than merely treating symptoms. No trial and error. Of course the human medicines were discarded.”

There is no end to how angry this makes me.  Our medications generally don’t just treat symptoms.  MOST medication DOES actually cure the disease.  Yes, there are some diseases we currently can’t cure so we just manage the symptoms, like viral issues.  But in general that is not how medication works.  How can there be no trial and error?!  Our anatomy would be vastly different than the see weeds.  There are some medications that are more or less effective based on what race you are.  There are some medications that work on monkeys or rats but kill humans.  You can’t just claim that the medications ‘just work’ on every single species in the known universe!  THAT’S NOT HOW BIOLOGY WORKS!

fascinating

YES the aliens probably WOULD have better medical equipment than us.  YES they would probably be able to cure illnesses we couldn’t and heal minor damage faster and better than we can.  But only AFTER arriving and learning about our anatomy and adjusting their medication accordingly.  But Meyer just said ‘fuck it, she’s not a healer, so I can do whatever I want and never have to figure out how it works because Wanderer will just say she doesn’t know!’  Perfect get out of jail free card.  Except it isn’t.  It’s weak, pathetic, cheap writing.  It’s fine to not explain everything.  Just make up words that sound medical instead of just saying ‘medicine’ and don’t bring attention to the fact that you don’t know how it works!  Don’t SAY you don’t know how it works dammit!

AND FUCK YOU FOR THE THIRD TIME THIS CHAPTER WANDERER.  Don’t you act so goddamn FUCKING SMUG.  You look down on people every chance you fucking get.  You think you’re so much fucking better than humans you self-righteous miserable excuse for a character.  I hate you.  I hate you so much words do not adequately express it.

All four of them stared with blank expressions. First they were surprised when I didn’t answer, and now they were surprised when I did. Humans were impossible to please.

I knew I wasn't done with this gif yet

I knew I wasn’t done with this gif yet

She says some more things that make me wish they would strap her to one of the medical beds and rip open her skull to tear her out of Melanie’s head, and to put off the stroke this book will inevitably cause me before I’m through reading it, I’ll just move along.  You’re not missing anything but me saying ‘go fuck yourself’ repeatedly.  I lack creativity this review.  This chapter has literally given me a headache.

Anyway, they get back to the start and Jeb sends Doc and Ian off and puts Jamie on guard duty.  Jeb hands Jamie his gun and Wanderer has a hissy fit.  This exchange lasts a while and it’s meant to be important but it’s incredibly uninteresting until the very end when it’s clear to the reader but not Wanderer that Jeb has figured out Melanie is still alive in there because of the way Wanderer cares about Jamie.  I’m skimming because there are rants coming for worse parts of this chapter and I only have so much rage before my headache turns into an aneurism.

Jeb leaves, and after an hour or two of awkward silence Jamie asks about the other alien planets.  Wanderer blathers on about the see weeds again.  She keeps it short though because he wants to know about the other alien species!  Let the rage begin.

She skims over the bats and bears and flowers, thankfully, but dear lord do I wish she skimmed over what comes next.

“How did you come here, then–if you weren’t the little green guys, who were you? You had to have bodies to move and stuff, right?”

“Right,” I agreed, surprised at his grasp of the facts at hand. I shouldn’t have been surprised–I knew how bright he was, his mind like a thirsty sponge. “We used our Spider selves in the very beginning, to get things started.”

No, no it's not better dammit

No, no it’s not better dammit

Ooooookay, deep breaths.  Remember, many, many chapters ago, I talked about how they needed to have been in the bodies of another species to have infected the first few humans, and how there was no way that that wasn’t traumatic enough to cause as many problems for the first wave as Melanie’s emotions caused Wanderer?  WELL!  Now we know it was fucking SPIDERS.  Or at least something with enough resemblance to a giant spider that seeing that before you ‘die’ would cause so much terror that there is no way in fucking HELL that ANYONE wouldn’t be traumatized enough to cause problems for the parasite!

Imagine yourself getting abducted by giant fucking ALIEN SPIDERS who are trying to put a glowing silver centipede into your brain and try and tell me that you wouldn’t struggle and fight and be filled with adrenaline and powerful emotions!  You can’t!  Because that’s fucking not goddamn possible.  Even if you aren’t afraid of spiders, which the majority of humans ARE to varying degrees.

I told him about the Spiders–a fascinating species. Brilliant, the most incredible minds we’d ever come across, and each Spider had three of them. Three brains, one in each section of their segmented bodies.

“Arachnids are further distinguished from insects by the fact they do not have antennae or wings. Their body is organized into two tagmata called the prosoma, or cephalothorax, and the opisthosoma, or abdomen. The cephalothorax is derived from the fusion of the cephalon (head) and the thorax, and is usually covered by a single, unsegmented carapace.”

Spiders only have two body segments.  I know that Meyer already said that there was a new species referred to as dolphins when they really resemble dragonflies, but I’m really fucking sick of this bullshit.  Why would you use the names of Earth species if they don’t actually resemble those species at all?  I know Meyer just didn’t want to name things and she tossed in the dolphins that look like dragonflies because she wanted to have people not picturing giant spiders, but, it’s really fucking lazy.  It is beyond lazy.  They could easily have come up with names for these new species.  None of the humans that used to be biologists or science fiction authors had any names for them that they could use?  They had to just go with something that was relevant for only the loosest associations?

These distinctions exist for a reason!  This is why we have varieties of dogs instead of calling Chihuahuas and German Shepard’s all just ‘dogs’!  BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT THE SAME FUCKING THING!  They’re all dogs because they can interbreed somehow, but they are not the same fucking thing!  So we don’t CALL them the same fucking thing!

English motherfuckers

We have come up with millions of names for everything from the tiniest single cell bacterium to the blue whale, and they have access to our entire language and how we’ve named things so they couldn’t use any of that knowledge?!  NOTHING?!  Couldn’t even just say ‘insectoid’ or, hell, call them cephalopods!  That would make more sense!  Insects only have 6 legs, these fuckers have 8, but arachnids only have 2 body sections.  She makes no mention of whether or not they have a carapace, so cephalopods have multiple limbs and some of them have multiple bundles of neurons that could be considered primitive brains, making octopus a MUCH better comparison than fucking SPIDER.

Though I will say I’m glad she didn’t call them that because I actually like octopi and that would have tainted them.

We’d yet to find a problem they couldn’t solve for us. And yet they were so coldly analytical that they rarely came up with a problem they were curious enough to solve for themselves.

What?!  WHAT?!  I can’t even articulate how much of a problem I have with this statement!  Cold and analytical does not equal incurious!  In fact it kind of means you ARE curious!  Does Meyer not know what the word ANALYTICAL means?!

This is the degree of non-logic that this statement suffers from.

This is the degree of non-logic that this statement suffers from.

Of all our hosts, the Spiders welcomed our occupation the most. They barely noticed the difference, and when they did, they seemed to appreciate the direction we provided.

TEXT IS INCAPABLE OF ACCURATELY REPRESENTING MY RAGE! HOW THE FUCK DOES THIS BULLSHIT WORK!?  HOW DID THEY NOT NOTICE?!  YOU WERE KILLING THEM!  OR WAS THEIR CONSCIOUSNESS STAYING ALIVE INSIDE ONE OF THE OTHER TWO BRAINS!?  HOW THE FUCK DOES THIS SHIT WORK!? I DON’T GET IT!

The few souls who had walked on the surface of the Spiders’ planet before implantation told us that it was cold and gray–no wonder the Spiders only saw in black and white and had a limited sense of temperature.

Okay, well, here’s the evidence that the spiders couldn’t have survived on the fire eaters planet, and probably not Earth either.  I mentioned in the chapter about the fire eaters that the spiders couldn’t have lived there.  This is why.  That planet’s temperature would be drastically different.  ‘limited sense of temperature’ is a really fucking dumb statement.  They wouldn’t notice the cold.  That would have been their base state, it would have been fine.  It would make no sense whatsoever for them to have evolved to be able to deal with the HEAT if they lived on a COLD planet.

As well, the fact that the planet is gray and cold implies that it is far from its sun and probably doesn’t have much atmosphere.  A fiery planet filled with sulphur would suffocate the spiders, and since they ‘weren’t curious’ SOMEHOW they likely wouldn’t have invented space travel without the dumbass parasites coming along.  This would mean that they likely wouldn’t be aware of the other species and wouldn’t be prepared for the differences.  Their insides would probably boil and kill them before they even realized that there was something to worry about.  I’ll spare you a gif of that image.

What would be the point of evolving three brains if they’re not using them?!  Not everything that succeeds through evolution has a useful purpose, but three brains would use up a lot of energy.  On a cold, gray planet, without emotion or the need to process much sensory input (the brain power needed for black and white vision is much less than colour, and remember, humans are somehow the only species with a sense of SMELL and she said the idea of any senses outside our base 5 seemed stupid) if they’re not curious what would be the need of having multiple brains?  Why would evolution favour the massive waste of energy?  It would give them no advantages at all.  There’s no reason for it to have happened!  Every species on Earth with a larger than average brain also has high levels of curiosity.  Because that brain is there for a REASON.

Brain weight versus energy requirements

It processes sensory input and extrapolates what that sensory input could MEAN in context.  If the species doesn’t need to process emotions, it has limited sense of temperature indicating limited sense of touch, it doesn’t need much brain power to process what it sees, it doesn’t have a sense of smell, and it doesn’t care about figuring out what’s going on around it, what possible reason could there be for 3 brains?  It may have evolved at some point, but she says later they’ve been self sufficient for thousands of years.  That’s long enough for those extra brains to stop being useful and start to shrink like the appendix.  That’s how evolution works.  After a while, something unnecessary gets weeded out.  They would be smart enough to put off the death of their species until something evolved to take advantage of the fact that they wouldn’t notice or care about anything in their environment that didn’t make sense.  Get close enough, murder the shit out of their entire species before they even got up off their asses to do anything about it.

The Spiders lived short lives, but the young were born knowing everything their parent had, so no knowledge was lost.

Headdesk

I just smacked my head against my headboard.  On purpose.

NO.

NOPE.

I apologize to my fellow arachnaphobes, but this gif was just way to appropriate to pass up

I apologize to my fellow arachnaphobes, but this gif was just way to appropriate to pass up

DOESN’T MAKE SENSE.

PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE.

MOVING ON.

The last five quotes from the book are all the same paragraph.  I’m finally done with that paragraph.

I don’t understand why they took over this species.  She claimed that they only took over humanity because they were a danger to themselves and their planet and deserved it.  But them taking over the spiders implies that they just take over the primary species of a planet with no regard whatsoever to the wants and desires of that particular species.  They make it sound like the spiders didn’t even care but they make it sound like that mattered.  Like the spiders stayed spiders somehow.  There is so many plot holes to the motivations of this species that I cannot even begin to wrap my head around how it even could pretend to work or delude itself into moral justifications.

This is the only way I can figure out how these parasites can exist in their moral vacuum.

This is the only way I can figure out how these parasites can exist in their moral vacuum.

Wanderer talks about how she only lived one lifetime there, but we already knew that.  Why do we have to have her keep repeating things she’s already mentioned?  Does she think everyone reading this book has the attention span of a humming bird?  That would certainly explain why there are so many positive reviews for ‘rocks are pointy and humans are evil; the book’.

She actually says that the planet had been self-sufficient for thousands of years.  The ‘spiders’ didn’t need the parasites.  The parasites needed them.  They took them over because they wanted the knowledge that the species of geniuses had, but admitting that would require them to admit that they did something for selfish reasons and so they couldn’t continue to claim their moral superiority.

The Spiders’ bodies were almost as useful as their minds: four long legs to each segment–from which they’d earned their nickname on this planet–and twelve-fingered hands on each leg. These six-jointed fingers were as slender and strong as steel threads, capable of the most delicate procedures. About the mass of a cow, but short and lean, the Spiders had no trouble with the first insertions. They were stronger than humans, smarter than humans, and prepared, which the humans were not.…

take-a-deep-breath-sherlock-calm-down

More deep breaths… Oh god this chapter is causing me literal physical pain.  I wish I was joking for dramatic effect but nope, physical pain.

First of all, she said they had three body segments.  That would indicate it has 12 legs, not 8.  Also that it has legs coming out of its head.  I’m still assuming she means that it has 4 legs for each BODY segment, and no legs coming out of its head making a total of 8 legs, but that statement is incredibly unclear.

I don’t think Meyer knows what hands are.  Hands are grasping appendages (including a thumb) on the forelimbs.  They cannot have hands on all of their limbs.  They would be prehensile feet or paws or something.  Not hands.  I know that particular complaint is incredibly nitpicky, but she has fucked up so much science in the last 3 paragraphs I feel the need to point it out. The hands don’t even sound like anything I would refer to as hands.  It sounds more like each ‘finger’ is closer to a prehensile tail than a finger.

How can they be lean and the mass of a cow?  Does Meyer not know what the word lean means either?!  Or maybe it’s mass that she doesn’t understand.  I suspect she’s using it to imply overall size, but, that’s not what mass means.  Taken literally, these spiders that walk on their 12 fingered hands are the relative weight of a COW, yet they’re short and skinny.  So are they incredibly dense?  That would suggest that their limbs would have to be very strong to support their weight.  But she describes them as long, and if the legs are what caused the comparison with Earth spiders, probably skinny too.  Keep in mind that unlike mammals, spider limbs don’t sit underneath the center of mass, they’re off to the side, which affects the weight they can support.

Don't know what it means

The fact that they’re stronger than humans is relevant.  It implies that they had to overpower the first humans.  Insert the physical description of the spiders into the scenario I mentioned earlier and tell me how you would react to seeing that forcefully attacking you.  Go ahead and try and claim that wouldn’t be traumatizing and probably brain shatteringly terrifying.

After this Melanie cuts her off because Jamie is crying, since she just went into how they came in and over powered the humans.  Wanderer berates Melanie for not stopping her sooner, because everything is about Wanderer and how DARE you even IMPLY that she is not the one you should feel bad for!

Woe is me

She apologizes and Jamie says it’s alright, he had asked after all.  Wanderer wants to wipe the tear from his face, but holds back at first.  She goes on and on about how this is all her fault and woe is her, and feel bad for her ‘cuz she feels bad!  She gives in and hugs him and prattles on about how powerful motherly love is making me want to stab her in the face because she has no right to talk about this at all.

Jeb shows up while they’re still hugging to save me from having a stroke ranting about how angry it makes me to see Wanderer go on about how mothering she feels.  He breaks the awkwardness of his timing by non-chalantly chastising Jamie for letting the gun roll to the floor the way he did.

Before Jamie runs off in embarrassment he asks Wanderer her name and she finally tells them what to call her.  Jeb asks if he can call her Wanda instead.  Then she actually surprises me for a change.

He waited this time for a response. Finally, I shrugged. It didn’t matter to me whether he called me “kid” or some strange human nickname. I believed it was meant kindly.

She actually believes he’s not being a jerk!  IT’S A MIRACLE!

Festivus Miracle

But don’t worry, it only lasts that one paragraph.

He grinned that huge, cheek-stretching grin, and I couldn’t help grinning back, though my smile was more rueful than delighted. He was supposed to be my enemy. He was probably insane. And he was my friend. Not that he wouldn’t kill me if things turned out that way, but he wouldn’t like doing it. With humans, what more could you ask of a friend?

This is her version of being nice.

Anyway that’s how the chapter ends.  This is by far the most infuriating chapter yet.  I skipped over most of the chapter because I cannot properly convey just how angry reading this chapter makes me.  If I had actually talked about the whole thing I may have broken my laptop and I need that for work.

Llama tells me the next couple of chapters are painfully dull.  I’ll take that over high blood pressure inducing rage though, so I look forward to being bored!  Till then, happy Halloween!

Slenderman

The Host Review: Freed (Ch 20)

Chapter 20! A full third of the way through this crap!  Oh the small joys to take…  Having said that if anyone has any suggestions for non-romance bad books I’m open to changing things up to help make these recaps a little more tolerable.

As always this chapter starts off less than 5 seconds after the last chapter ended.  Wanderer cries and Jeb lets her for a while.  He waits till she’s done and then invites her to come out and stretch.

Ironically, considering my week of maddening silence, I wasn’t in the mood for company. But his offer wasn’t one I could refuse. Before I could think about it, my hands were pulling me through the exit.

You know, I never got the sensation she was ever in the mood for Jeb’s company.  I know how it feels to be upset and want everyone to just fuck off and leave you alone, but really, did anyone ever get the feeling that she actually wanted Jeb around, ever?  I might find this more revealing of her mental state and more emotionally impactful if she didn’t act like she hated the person she was saying she didn’t want around.  And just for reference, she doesn’t get any more pleasant to him later in this chapter despite everything he’s about to do for her.

Annoyed

How long had it been since I’d seen Jamie? And how was he now? My already sore heart gave a painful little lurch.

There is one paragraph between this one and the last one I quoted.  She doesn’t want to see Jeb, but she sure as hell wants to see Jamie.  Meyer couldn’t even keep her consistent for two paragraphs.

Why am I not surprised

“It’s going to be okay, you know.” He grinned a wide, face-stretching grin. “That stuff I said to Jared… Well, I won’t say I lied, exactly, because it’s all true if you look at it from a certain angle, but from another angle, it wasn’t so much the truth as it was what he needed to hear.”

I just stared; I didn’t understand a word of what he was saying.

“Anyway, Jared needs a break from this. Not from you, kid,” he added quickly, “but from the situation. He’ll gain some perspective while he’s away.”

Jeb is a kind, thoughtful man, and Wanderer is an idiot.  That’s the only purpose for me pointing out this particular selection.  I just want to make sure you keep this in mind for everything she says about him further into the chapter.  And I just like pointing out that she’s dumb as a post.  I miss Kathy.

I wondered how he seemed to know exactly which words and phrases would cut at me. And, more than that, why should Jeb care if his words hurt me, or even if my back was aching and throbbing? His kindness toward me was frightening in its own way because it was incomprehensible. At least Jared’s actions made sense. Kyle’s and Ian’s murder attempts, the doctor’s cheerful eagerness to hurt me–these behaviors also were logical. Not kindness. What did Jeb want from me?

The relevance of that last selection is obvious immediately, as it’s directly followed by this one.  Where Wanderer, dumb as she is, continues to be confused by Jeb’s behaviour towards her.  He has been nothing but nice to her.  He has explained to her that he does not view her as a prisoner, but a guest.  He has even explained why.  He specifically said that any parasite hosts that come in are subject to the will of their next of kin.  Jared opted to not kill her, and it was implied at the end of the last chapter plus the first trip to the bathroom that the only reason she was where she was was for her own safety not as a prison cell.  Jared never specified that she was a prisoner, he was keeping her safe from those who would kill her.  He was just also wrestling with his own justifiable, yet still admittedly childishly displayed, anger and frustration.

Jeb is treating her as a guest because that’s what he told her, and everyone else, that she was right from the start.  He’s not acting odd or unpredictably.  He’s not acting suspiciously.  I could accept this distrust at first, but my god.  They’ve had multiple interactions up to this point and he has gone out of his way to help her, to protect her, to be friendly to her, and to anticipate her needs.  There comes a point where justifiable confusion and distrust turns into just being a paranoid bitch and Wanderer passed that point around the time Jeb took her to the bathroom multiple chapters ago.

Come on Wanderer!  You saw that behaviour was legit!

Come on Wanderer! You saw that behaviour was legit!

Since that came up, I’ll point out that in the first twelve chapters of this book, Melanie was captured, healed, infested.  Wanderer became a teacher, saw a therapist, reported the existence of uninfected humans, and went off to kill her host.  Melanie and Wanderer bonded (sort of, the book says they did anyway, doesn’t actually show us the bonding but that’s irrelevant to this discussion…) and decided to make the life threatening decision to meander into the desert to follow vague directions to a place that might not even exist.  They then walked through the desert for days with limited supplies and nearly died.  And I thought all of that seemed slow paced and dreadfully dull/repetitive.

The last eight chapters have taken place over a week with Wanderer stuffed in a hole.

WTF

Anyway, Jeb implies that he’s going to get Wanderer a proper room with a proper bed.  Wanderer continues to be confused.  She says she basically keeps waiting for him to go ‘lol j/k’ and shove her back into the hole.  I want her to stop hating on Jeb but it really is never going to happen.

As if anticipating her confusion (she is pretty predictable at this point so not a surprise) Jeb states that she won’t have to go back into the hole so not to worry.  I kind of thought that was covered by ‘we’ll get you a bed’ and ‘that hole is normally used for storage and when Jared comes back with the supplies we’ll need it again’, but I’m not as dumb as Wanderer so I just don’t need it spelled out for me like she does.  I swear to god this book is written so people with the IQ of small children can follow it without feeling even the least bit challenged to actually think.

stupid

This is the main difference between showing and telling.  This book tells you everything it wants you to know, not allowing you to make your own conclusions at all.  It doesn’t allow you to actually think about anything because everything is spelled out for you, and put in such simple terms that it’s impossible to misunderstand what the author wants you to take from a scene.  But that doesn’t get you to think at all.  It’s the book equivalent of reality television, which is the television equivalent of junk food.

She cries again when it finally sinks in that he’s not joking and Jeb gets uncomfortable, but tries to comfort her as best he can.  After she stops, he says that they’ve just got to stick to the hallway till they’re sure that Jared is gone, but after that they’ll have some fun.  Wanderer is horrified, saying his idea of fun is a Mexican standoff.  For one moment she allowed herself to weep at the idea that he was being nice to her, and then immediately assumes he’s going to hurt her again.  I would say I couldn’t possibly hate Wanderer more than I do, but I thought that earlier in the book already and she proved me wrong then.  I won’t taunt the universe again.

1. Never assume the worst is past.

1. Never assume the worst is past.

Jeb sees that she’s being judgmental again but just laughs it off telling her not to worry.  He offers her up the mat that Jared’s been using as a bed this past week and tells her she might as well get some more comfortable rest while they wait.  Despite her previous reaction, she gets teary eyed yet again at his kindness, because you are supposed to see her as grateful and pleasant despite her being judgmental and speciest…specist…bigoted against humans in general.  I don’t think it counts as gratefulness if you do nothing but assume the worst about someone’s kind gestures.

When I woke up, I knew that I’d been solidly asleep for a long time–a longer stretch than I’d slept since coming here. No pains, no frightening interruptions. I would have felt pretty good, except that waking on the pillow reminded me that Jared was gone. It still smelled like him. And in a good way, not the way I smelled.

Uhh… He hasn’t had a shower in a week.  He’s been fighting, and stressed, and it’s supposedly warm and muggy in that cave… I don’t think Jared would smell particularly pleasant after a week.  I don’t know anyone that smells good after a week without a shower or deodorant.  I don’t see how it would smell like him ‘in a good way’.  Does Jared not sweat?

I remembered my dream only vaguely, but I knew it had featured Jared, as was usual when I was able to sleep deeply enough to dream.

You know you don’t actually dream when you’re asleep deeply right?  You dream when you’re in that fuzzy grey area between consciousness and deep sleep.  That’s why are capable of remembering your dreams at all, because your conscious brain isn’t entirely shut down at the point in the sleep cycle it’s occurring during.  In fact after a week of barely any proper sleep at all she probably would have barely dreamed at all when she was finally in a position to sleep as restfully as she could on a mattress.  She would probably pass quickly into the deepest sleep without any dream at all until she was near waking a few hours later.  But that’s just a nit-pick.

Sorry hippo

Sorry hippo

Jeb says Jared is gone, and that he’s going to take her on a tour.  She starts wondering why he thinks she needs to know her way around since she’s not going to last long.  But, I really don’t get why they think she’s not going to last long to be completely honest.  The people did vote for her death, but the main guy they sent to kill her is away, and Ian doesn’t seem intent to try again.  The doctor certainly didn’t seem like the type to just attack, and the masses didn’t swarm her to kill her when Jeb took her to the bathroom, so what reason does she have to believe that her life is threatened now?  Honestly?

Meyers has done a terrible job at establishing a threatening atmosphere.  Kyle is the only one that seemed likely to take her out and he’s gone with Jared.  Ian was certainly cruel to her, but he’s been established now as feeling guilt and regret for that action.  Brandt (was that even his name?  He left so little of an impression that I’m genuinely not sure and I really don’t care to check) has had no lines and the only thing he did in the one scene he was in was hold Jared’s arm and he sucked at even that much.  The random unnamed background characters didn’t so much as form a lynch mob, they sent assassins, so clearly they’re cowards who are incapable of getting blood directly on their hands.  And Jeb, Jamie and Doc have been nothing but nice to her.

Jeb starts basically talking to himself wondering which part of the cave he should show her first.  She continues to not say a word.  Which honestly I find quite rude and disrespectful.  I know she’s scared but she’s been there for a week and I think I’ve done enough to establish Jeb’s harmless intentions, so her continued fear of him and unwillingness to talk just makes her seem rude and I don’t like it.  I have a thing about rudeness.  Nothing irks me faster than people not even being willing to show the smallest modicum of respect.  It’s such small gestures, but that’s really the point!  You can’t even do that much?!  In this case it’s even giving a one or two word response to acknowledge him when he knows full well she can talk!  She spoke to Jamie at length.  She had a reason to not talk to Jared, he didn’t want her to.  This is just her being distrustful and self centered.

thread-derailed-o

Got off track…

Jeb kept right on chatting at me, either missing or ignoring my terror.

Or maybe I didn’t.  See?  He’s being nice to her, treating her like a human being, which I will remind you she actually isn’t so it makes sense not to do so, and showing her the most kindness he can and she’s just thinking about how he’s treating her badly.  He’s not ignoring her terror, he knows he can’t alleviate it so he’s attempting to at least mitigate it by acting normal.  If you coddle a pet or a child and assure them that everything is fine and comfort them, you’re actually reinforcing in their minds that there is something worth worrying about.  It’s a safe assumption that the same goes for adults.  If he took the time to comfort her more than he already has (I will remind you that he has actually assured her everything would be fine multiple times, just not at length) then it would just make her feel like he believed they were taking a risk and he was just trying to make her feel better.  By just taking her along as if nothing was wrong, he’s essentially telling her subconscious that nothing is wrong.

Jeb talks about how the carrots should be sprouting today as they come to an open area.  He says how beautiful it is to see the ‘spring green’ which it probably very much is in a cave in the desert for more reasons than aesthetics.  He invites Wanderer to take a look and as she looks she makes sure to remind you how all 15 people working the carrot fields are looking at her with hostility before she notices the sprouts.  Because we have to genuinely worry about her, except I don’t.  At all.  Like I said earlier, if these people had any intention to actually hurt Wanderer themselves they’d have fucking done it already.  But she does actually say something here!  She says ‘Carrots?’  Hey, it resembles progress…

Small victory high five!

Small victory high five!

As I predicted, the people in the fields basically just ignore her after the initial shock wears off.  Wanderer says they glance at her occasionally but they just go back to work.  Yup, these people are definitely going to all come in the night like cowardly ninja’s and slit her throat.  Because every human is totally a brutal, merciless killer.

Jeb explains that the light they get down here is a bunch of mirrors drilled into the side of the walls that line the holes going up to the surface, redirecting light into the cave.  I thought this was already established when she said that when she looked at the light source at night she saw a bunch of mini moons.  Did anyone not figure out that they were mirrors from that?  How did she not figure that out?  Though I will point out that that would never work in an actual desert unless all the holes into the cave somehow were sand free since the blowing sand from the desert above wouldn’t just make the mirrors dirty, it would buffer and erode the surface.  The mirrors would have to be replaced pretty much constantly.  But that’s the least of this books inaccuracies so I’ll move on.

These aren't the nitpicks we're looking for

These aren’t the nitpicks we’re looking for

They enter an area Wanderer hasn’t been yet and she freezes up.  Jeb assures her there’s nothing to fear once again and tells her that she’s ‘third to the left’ so to not get lost.  She gets confused, he explains that he means her room is third to the left.  He’s giving her a room.  A room with a real bed.

“That’s right. Don’t forget. It’s easy to get lost around here, and that wouldn’t be safe for you. Folks’d just as soon stab you as send you in the right direction.”

I shuddered. “Thanks,” I muttered with quiet sarcasm.

He laughed as if my answer had delighted him. “No point in ignoring the truth. Doesn’t make it worse to have it said out loud.”

It didn’t make it better, either, but I didn’t say that.

You didn’t have to say it Wanderer.  It’s so well established that you’re a bitch I’m pretty sure everyone already guessed that’s how you felt anyway.  Could he have put that better?  Yeah, probably.  But why?  She already knows the truth.  He’s trying to make her feel at home, but there are legitimate dangers for her here and while he wants her to be comfortable, she also has to be mindful of reality.  Also, Wanderer being sarcastic is consistent with the character we’ve been shown so far but it sure as fuck isn’t consistent with who they keep saying she is.  That’s really aggravating.

He takes her to her room which is apparently quite nice for what it is, and he tells her that it’s available for a few weeks so he’ll put her up in there and figure out an alternative when the time comes.

The room he revealed gave me a strange feeling of vertigo–probably because it was so much taller than it was wide. Standing inside it was like standing in a tower or a silo, not that I had ever been in such places, but those were the comparisons Melanie made.

This is something I’m noticing more and more frequently.  Melanie’s thoughts are no longer getting a voice.  Wanderer is just stating them in this manner seen above.  Melanie is so unimportant now that Wanderer just takes center stage 100% of the time, with just enough mention of Melanie’s existence to remind you that she is, in fact, still there.  I’m not terribly fond of Melanie, but I like her a lot better than Wanderer, so I find this frustrating as well.

It also makes me wonder what the fuck is the focus of this goddamn story?  It’s hardly a romance novel at this point.  It looked like it might be about their struggle for dominance and who would end up winning, but things like this make it pretty damn clear that Wanderer will never be in danger of being taken over.  Jamie has only been in one chapter so far, so it’s not a mother-son/brother story.  Even if he was in it more, since Melanie is being back burnered if they tried to make it one between Wanderer and Jamie I would have to set someone on fire

Shit I only made it mad...

Shit I only made it mad…

(I already know I shall eat those words soon enough.  You have been warned. Not this chapter though thankfully.)  Is it about Wanderer’s struggle to be accepted?  I sure as fuck hope not, there’s still forty more chapters of this crap.

So, twenty chapters in, there is no central plot focus.  There is no driving force to keep you invested outside the draw you’re supposed to feel for the main character.  The main character I have called a bitch four times already in this review alone.  Lovely.

Anyway, Wanderer gets uncomfortable at being set up in the room of someone who probably hates her.  Jeb tells her to stop being so scared and uncomfortable, that this is his house and if the other guests don’t like it that’s their problem because he will decide who stays where in his home.  And good for him.  She’s proven to him she’s not a threat.  The general populace knows the seekers have stopped looking for her, and while they certainly are free not to like her or want her around, they have no justification for violence or fear, and even if they felt they did have justification for it, Jeb allows them to stay there.  He can allow them to leave if they no longer feel secure.

Anyway, they make their way to the kitchen and Wanderer describes stuff some more, and is terrified of nothing some more, and describes stuff some more.  Then she describes the people she’s terrified of.  Ian is there.  Remember how I was horrified that he might be a secondary love interest?  Now he’s going to be alone with her for a couple of weeks.  I’m so shocked that something in this book was so predictable.

Shocked

Jeb acts passive aggressively at everyone’s reaction to Wanderer, calling them ‘easily distracted’.  He’s attempting to make them feel silly for thinking she’s a threat, and it seems to work as most of the people in the cafeteria return to ignoring their presence.  But then they see Jamie.

Oh, Jamie, Melanie thought. She hated the sad, adult expression on his face, and I probably hated it even more. She didn’t feel as guilty as I did for putting it there.

If only we could take it away. She sighed.

It’s too late. What could we do to make it better now?

Establish trust and then reveal that Melanie isn’t dead?  Just a thought.  And a prediction as to what’s going to happen as well, because of course it will.  Jeb will realize it first because he already seems to suspect there’s something off there, but then Jamie won’t be far behind because his only scene before this was establishing a bond between him and Wanderer.

Jamie asks Jeb if he can tag along on their tour.  Sharon and Maggie are in the cafeteria as well, and Sharon shakes her head no at Jeb, but he ignores her entirely and says sure.  Have I mentioned that I like Jeb yet?  Because I really do.  Please don’t let that change…

As they walk away, Ian and Doc race to catch up and after Wandanie tries to protect Jamie and Jeb takes out his gun, they ask if they can join the tour too.  I actually find this surprisingly reasonable.  She is a fucking alien goddammit.  I know they’re a hostile species that took over the world, but come ON!  She’s an ALIEN!  And they have a chance to learn more about her in a safe, non-threatening way!  Would you pass up that opportunity?!  If I had no emotional connection to the host body I certainly would want to ask a few million questions!

Curious Owl

The chapter ends with Jeb making a joke about missing killing people so for them to not try anything.  Wanderer takes him seriously of course because she still thinks he’s the worst human being on the planet, just waiting for the opportunity to strap her to a torture device.  The next chapter starts off with them continuing the tour, because we all already knew that.

There is so much nothing happening in this book.  There is so much happening in this universe, but this book is just page after page of nothing.  But we’re a third of the way done and dammit I will finish this garbage!

Till next time, check out The Llama’s review of this chapter as well!

Q&A: Public nudity

Oh the title to this sounds so much more interesting than the actual post.  Sorry about that.  Today’s question is What is the least you’ve ever worn in public?  And despite my deliberately misleading title, I have never been naked in public.

I know, I know, it's such a disappointment...

I know, I know, it’s such a disappointment…

The least I’ve ever worn in public is as straight laced and boring as that answer gets.  Shorts/swimsuit.  I already said in the post about comfort with nudity that I’m not terribly comfortable with it at all, so this shouldn’t really surprise anyone that’s been reading along.  But it does mean I have nothing interesting to say this time round…

Anyone have any stories of their own to make this post more interesting?  Ever gone skinny dipping or flashed?  Got caught with your pants down at a party?  Feel free to share!  And check out The Llama’s answer while you’re at it!

The Host Review: Abandoned (ch 19)

Well this chapter is less painfully boring than the last one…  It is possible to convey boredom without killing the reader’s interest in the book, but Meyer sure as hell didn’t pull it off.  I was talking to The Llama about it after finishing the review for that chapter, managed to sum the entire first 2/3rds of it into two sentences: ‘Jared took over watching me all the time from that point on, not even letting Jeb stop by.  A week past, I only got to leave the small cavern that was my prison at night when Jared took me to use the latrine.’

If you can sum up the majority of a chapter in less than a paragraph without losing a single bit of the impact there is something very very wrong!  But this chapter, while still terrible, is at least slightly more relevant.  Only slightly though.

just-a-little-bit-himym-o

Anyway this chapter continues immediately where the last chapter left off.  That happens a lot in this book and I actually find it quite annoying.  It seems she just cuts up the scenes where ever she thinks it’s going to leave the reader with a cliffhanger instead of actually having there be a reason for the section split.  It’s like watching the season finale to a drama series where they end on a cliffhanger that’s supposed to keep you on the edge of your seat for the 3-4 months where there’s no new episodes coming out and then they wrap it up in the first 5 minutes of the new season.  Only there’s no 3-4 month gap between chapters.

I guess that’s why people say they find her books such fast reads?  I guess if you can ignore all the crap in it and you somehow manage to feel engaged you would just keep reading till you were finished because at the end of every chapter you want to know what happens.  But even if this was a good book that I actually wanted to read I would still find that frustrating.  I can’t put down a book mid chapter.  I can’t do it!  It’s not a natural thing to me.  But if I actually like a book and want to know what happens next, being left with a cliffhanger, I would read the next chapter to know what happens next!  Then I would realize 20 chapters later that it was 5 in the morning and I had to get up for work in a half an hour!

no-sleep

It doesn’t give you a point at which you feel you can stop reading for the night.  It’s a book.  After you get them to buy it you don’t need to get them to read it as fast as possible unless you have a back log of other books ready to be released for them to want to consume with the same fervour.  But this book has been out for a couple years now and there’s been no follow up because Meyer is afraid she can’t do it without killing one of her characters and she’s not capable of doing that (I did more research for this blog than Meyer did for this book.) so there’s no need to suck you in and have you NEED to know what happens next RIGHT NOW unless there’s something really important happening.  She’s relying on false tension to trick the reader into thinking they care about this book more than they actually would if they stopped to think about it for a few minutes.

…Right, there’s a chapter to read.

Who is the Seeker in black? Why is it still searching?” Jared’s shout was deafening, echoing at me from all sides.

This brings up something interesting I’ve noticed in books, movies, tv shows, pretty much every form of media that involves violence.  I’ve noticed that the humans keep calling her, and now the seeker, ‘it’ rather than their host’s gender.  In this case I get it, I do.  I’m actually not trying to criticize the book here.  I just find it an interesting habit that when it comes to displaying the side of a fight that the observer is expected to support, the other side is always dehumanized.  They lack a face, they lack names, in shows where the main characters are animals the enemies are usually also animals, but despite in the actual animal kingdom, the predator animal is considered more intelligent, in the show or movie it’s portrayed as a mindless killing machine while the (generally herbivorous) protagonist is as smart as a human.  Just an observation.  I’ll discuss it someday in a non-review post.

Not today

For some reason Ian, who I will remind you is the one that cruelly tried to strangle Wanderer to death a few chapters back, choking her for a good 1-2 minutes, lifting her off the ground, is being nicer to Wanderer than Jared is.  I said back in the chapter where she was attacked by Kyle and Ian that I understood that Meyer was using strangling because it was a way to make it seem like she was in a genuinely threatening situation but not have her die before someone would have a chance to save her, but that knowledge doesn’t make this feel any less inconsistent and wrong.

Ian tries to get Jared to be nicer since Wanderer is clearly terrified, but Jared punches him and goes back to asking about Seeker.  Who I’ll say right now, still doesn’t get a name in this chapter.  Because fuck making her easier to talk about.  She doesn’t need a name!  Names are for people!  She’s not a person, she’s a plot device.

I dropped my hands and stared into his pitiless eyes. It bothered me that someone else had suffered for my silence–even someone who had once tried to kill me. This was not how torture was supposed to work.

Wanderer, there is a difference between a questioning and torture.  Currently no one has tortured you.  No one has threatened to torture you.  In fact every mention of torture was your own imagination.  Every time you have thought they were going to torture you they fed you and gave you water and took you to the bathroom.  He didn’t punch Ian to make you talk, he punched Ian because he wanted Ian to piss off.

Jared’s expression wavered as he read the change in mine. “I don’t have to hurt you,” he said quietly, not as sure of himself. “But I do have to know the answer to my question.”

If I didn’t know the inconsistencies were because Meyer is a shitty writer, moments like this would make me wonder if Jared’s kind of horrible behaviour isn’t just Wanderer’s overly active imagination like how in earlier chapters Wanderer kept reading everything the Seeker did as being bitchy while it didn’t come off as bitchy at all if you took away her analysis of it.  But I know now that it’s just that Meyer sucks as a writer, and her characters are just whatever she wants them to be in the scene they’re in and for the last few chapters she’s needed Jared to be a dick so you would pity Wanderer.  And now she needs him to come off as still being slightly human because he’s still the love interest and we can’t have the reader hate him!  He has to come off conflicted!

I imagine this was something the actors in the movie adaptation had to ask a lot...

I imagine this was something the actors in the movie adaptation had to ask a lot…

This book is emotionally manipulative writing for dummies.

Was I truly a coward? I would rather have believed that I was–that my fear of pain was stronger than anything else. The real reason I opened my mouth and spoke was so much more pathetic.

I wanted to please him, this human who hated me so fiercely.

Having said what I just said I’m not entirely certain the purpose for phrasing this the way she does.  It sounds, to me, like we’re supposed to be disgusted by this.  Like it would be better if she was a coward than a suck up.  But why?  This seems to imply, to me, that we’re supposed to hope something bad happens to Jared and she gets with someone who doesn’t treat her like shit.  Is it supposed to set up that she’s better than him?  When she herself sees it as a weakness?  Maybe it’s supposed to set up that Jared will finally start to soften to her as she keeps being a ‘good’ person despite him being a dick to her.  Now if only she would stop being a bitch and actually start being a good person instead…

Please

As I read, the level of description Ian gets seems to be evidence he’s a secondary love interest.  The only characters that have gotten described in the same level of detail have been Jared and Jamie.  And she’s focusing on his eyes.  Personally I find eyes kind of boring…  There are so many more interesting body parts to focus on.  Get your minds out of the gutter, that’s not what I meant.  But it is what I wanted you to think.  That’s the subtlety of Meyer’s emotional manipulation.  Subtle as a brick to the face.

Ian is being nice to her, concerned for her emotional well-being, and has ‘vivid blue eyes’ and ‘pale lips’.  Because there always needs to be a second love interest.  I don’t care!  Parasites invaded the planet and body snatched 99% of the population.  The humans are struggling for survival in a cave system in the middle of the desert and we’re focusing on the bitchy alien and her love… square!  There are so many more interesting stories in this universe… Follow what happened to Jared after Melanie disappeared.  Follow Kathy and her husband as they struggle to survive in the beginning of the invasion.  Follow Jeb as he finds and builds their shelter and how he found out there was an invasion and how he dealt with it.  Follow Sharon and her mother as they struggle in Chicago.  Do a prequel to this book following Melanie and Jamie!  ANYTHING other than the story she chose to tell using the obnoxious character she chose to write!

She explains that she ran away from Seeker because she didn’t like her.  The guys are as confused by this as I was and ask questions about it and she’s as clear on the answer to them as she is during the scenes she has with Seeker.  Meaning Wanderer calls her annoying.  But if being annoying is all it takes for her to hate someone she sure as hell isn’t loving and patient and accepting.  But we already knew that since she judges comforters and parasites that need them as weak and pathetic, and views Jeb with suspicion based on no evidence whatsoever other than her prejudice.  She needs to just accept that she hates everyone and move on.

No one in the world I don't hate

They start asking about what she did and did not tell the Seeker and she reveals that she couldn’t access all the memories, and didn’t learn about a lot of Melanie’s secrets or what the lines were until after she decided she hated Seeker and wasn’t going to tell her anything.  Jared asks why she didn’t tell and she clams up, not wanting to admit that she’d fallen in love with Melanie’s memories.  I won’t say she fell in love with Jared because she didn’t.  She fell in love with Melanie’s nostalgic visions of Jared.  Big difference.  But not relevant as Jared just moves on to the next question.

Jared asks if not being able to access all the memories of the host is normal.  She lies and tells him that it was because Melanie’s brain was damaged in the fall.  Apparently she’s a shit liar.  Jared wants to know why Seeker won’t give up looking for her which is when Wanderer calls her annoying and says she’s not normal.  When he asks if Wanderer is normal, she looks at him implying that that was a stupid question, then curls into a seated fetal position and clams up.

Jared and Ian go back and forth for an entire page talking about whether or not she was lying.  Jared says she is, Ian says she isn’t, except the one time when she actually did.  The discussion bores me.

Bored Now

“I felt guilty –guilty as hell–watching her flinch away from us. Seeing the black marks on her neck.”

You fucking should you prick.  You chose one of the slowest, most painful ways to kill her!  You have every reason to feel guilty!

Ian leaves and Jared mumbles to himself about how ridiculous Ian is.  Wanderer goes to sleep and there’s a section break.  If this was a normal book written by a normal writer, this chapter would be the conversation at the end of the last chapter and it would end here.  It’s like the natural chapter points were split in half and glued to each other.

After the section break, she wakes up to Jared brooding.  Of course she wakes up just in time for Jeb to show up to talk to Jared.  She didn’t wake up because he was there, she woke up, noticed Jared, then heard Jeb coming.  She’s that good.

Anyway Jeb wants to talk to Jared about not Wanderer.  Except it’s totally about Wanderer, he just wants to manipulate Jared into pissing off for a bit.  And Jared is too dumb to catch on.  I seem to recall Melanie saying he was smart…

Jeb tells him that they need a ‘comprehensive’ supply run because they’re running low.  Jared suggests Kyle, Jeb ‘agrees’, but gets comfy against the wall.  He’s not even being subtle that he’s there to get Jared to do it.  I suppose I could defend Jared and say he probably does know what Jeb is doing, he’s just trying to fight it, but since he’s still being an ass I don’t feel like being kind in my assessment.

The gloves are off

The gloves are off

Jared caves and says Kyle is too much of a hot head to do it.  Jeb suggests Ian and Jared says he thinks too much and is likely to get his ass caught.  Brandt apparently gets panicky after ‘a few weeks in’ which leaves me wondering where the hell they’re getting their supplies.  I drove across Canada this time last year, only took 6 days.  Even if they aren’t hunting for supplies close to home to avoid suspicion they should still be able to get stuff a day or two’s drive away and be back in under a week.  Get supplies, cover their tracks, get back.  So what the hell are they doing that takes weeks?

Despite that there seems to be about 40-50 people living there, apparently they’ve only got 4 guys they would even consider sending out for supplies and Jared is the only competent one among them.  How the fuck did they survive!?  More examples of Meyer’s shitty writing.  Of course only the people we’ve met are competent!  Couldn’t even just toss out a random name we haven’t heard yet?  There’s no slow and steady Steve?  Rough and restless Ralph?  Poised and prepared Peter?  Nope, just Kyle, Ian and the cannon fodder.

Jared caves and Wandanie makes me want to punch them in their shared face again.

“You’re the best,” Jeb agreed. “You changed our lives when you showed up here.”

Melanie and I nodded to ourselves; this didn’t surprise either of us.

Jared is magic. Jamie and I were perfectly safe while Jared’s instincts guided us; we never came close to getting caught. If it had been Jared in Chicago, I’m sure he would have made it out fine.

There is so much wrong with this…  How DID they survive before Jared got there if NO ONE else can be trusted to get supplies?!  ‘Jared is magic’ comes off as less love than hero worship.  It’s creepy.  If you’re so sure things would have been fine if you took Jared with you WHY DIDN’T YOU TAKE JARED WITH YOU?!  You STILL haven’t given an answer to that that actually justifies it!

It makes no sense!

It makes no sense!

Jared jerked his shoulder toward me. “What about… ?”

“I’ll keep an eye on her when I can. And I’ll expect you to take Kyle with you. That oughta help.”

“That won’t be enough–Kyle gone and you keeping an eye on her when you can. She… it won’t last long.”

See?  He cares when Meyer wants him to care.  He doesn’t want her to die, because, reasons, but he hates her and wants her to suffer.  But her dying would be sad.

It seems that Wanderer can see into the hallway when it’s convenient too.  Most of the time it’s so dark she can’t see anything at all.  In fact a lot of the time she can only see Jared at all if he’s within a foot of the entrance.  But throughout this chapter and the last one she can see them in varying degrees of detail down the hall.  Right now she can see him well enough to notice his breathing and she sees everything that Jeb does, but they’re at the end of the hallway.

If you’re going to write a book in the first person perspective you can’t have you character wake up just in time to get the exposition dialogue and you can’t describe things that they have no way of seeing!  If you want to be able to write like that have a semi-omnipotent third person narration.  Focus on Wandanie, but give yourself the freedom to describe the things around her without her having to see them.  The narrator doesn’t get to know everything that’s going on just because you want the reader to.

Jared resigns himself to the idea that Wanderer will die while he’s away and he seems to be the right level of relieved and melancholy for realism, wrong for his characterization thus far.

I knew the human exaggeration for sorrow–a broken heart. Melanie remembered speaking the phrase herself. But I’d always thought of it as a hyperbole, a traditional description for something that had no real physiological link, like a green thumb. So I wasn’t expecting the pain in my chest. The nausea, yes, the swelling in my throat, yes, and, yes, the tears burning in my eyes. But what was the ripping sensation just under my rib cage? It made no logical sense.

The moment his heart breaks

Why do you keep talking about things you know nothing about!  Stop!  Please!

The term ‘a broken heart’ refers to actual pain.  It is by no means hyperbole and it does have a physiological link!  Loneliness lights up the same sections of your brain as physical pain.  Sadness and depression have a direct link to stress hormones, immune responses, healing abilities, even intelligence.  Basically, not being in a happy relationship of some kind can actually kill you.  Losing a loved one, through a death, a break up or a forced split, can, and has, caused so much negative physical affects that it can be considered the cause of death.  So just shut up about things you know nothing about!

And it wasn’t just ripping, but twisting and pulling in different directions. Because Melanie’s heart broke, too, and it was a separate sensation, as if we’d grown another organ to compensate for our twin awarenesses. A double heart for a double mind. Twice the pain.

go fuck yourself

First of all, there is no reason at all for Wanderer to love him outside Melanie’s nostalgic memories of him.  He hasn’t acted anything like he did in her memories and he has given Wanderer no reason to fall for him.  She fell for the memory of him.  So she’s not losing anything.  Second of all, IT’S MELANIE’S HEART!  WHY DO I HAVE TO KEEP SAYING THIS?!  I wish she would stop talking about Melanie’s body as though it belongs to her and all of the sensations it feels are hers, not Melanie’s.  Melanie’s body is reacting to MELANIE’S emotional response.  Wanderer’s just getting the side effects of it.  So she can fuck off and stop pretending that Melanie is the parasite that she has to endure.

After Jared is out of earshot Wanderer breaks down and cries and the chapter ends.  Yay, it’s over!  This chapter fucking sucked.  But at least it was a little more engaging than the last chapter.  Seems Jared will be gone for a bit and Jeb will be around for a while, but that makes me a little nervous.  I liked Jared at first too, then he hung around long enough for him to start to suck and I’m worried that will happen with Jeb too.

Hopefully the next chapter will suck less.  But I already know it doesn’t, so, fuck…

Till next time!

The Host Review: Bored (Ch 18)

The title of the chapter is inspiring for its quality isn’t it?  I am not looking forward to this one.  It’s almost as long as the last two as well.  What the hell is going to happen in a chapter titled ‘Bored’ that makes it as long as the chapter where she reconnects with her little brother?  Or the one where she has to face a group of men trying to kill her?  Longer than the chapter where she nearly dies of heat stroke and meets her uncle.  This one’s going to suck isn’t it?

Melanie and I thought a lot about Jamie. Mostly we worried that we had damaged him by coming here, that we were injuring him now. What was a kept promise in comparison with that?

As much as I’ve harped on how much they should have thought through this plan better, I will say that given the circumstances he would have been hurt either way.  There’s a different kind of suffering in not knowing.  Not knowing the truth is so much more painful than closure.  Not knowing leaves you with false hope and false hope eats away at the very core of your being.  Every time he get his hopes up that maybe she’d walk through that door and hug him and see how much he’d grown, only to see Jared walk in alone again another part of him would die just a little bit.  At least knowing what happened would give him the chance to come to peace with it.

Bored is an aptly named chapter.  I’m bored reading it.  Nothing is happening.  There is three pages of describing how much nothing is happening before she finally gets up to go to the bathroom again.

yawn1

At this point I’m starting to think that Jared’s anger towards Wanderer is unrealistic.  Anger cannot be maintained for that long.  Anger is exhausting.  Take it from someone with anger issues you cannot stay angry that long without passing out.  Every single noise he makes, face he makes, it’s all disgust and anger and annoyance.  He was already ‘at his limit’ in the last chapter and she says they sit there for hours.  I wonder if he actually was sleeping and she just doesn’t notice…

The further into this chapter I get the less I understand why it exists.  She has to go to the bathroom again, but this time Jared is taking her, and he’s kind of a jerk to her (though at least he has a reason to be an ass so I am less judgemental of his behaviour than Wanderer’s past asshole behaviour) going too fast, not helping her when she falls down, and getting upset when she accidentally bumps into him.  When they get back out into the main hall where all the light had been the last time she needed to use the bathroom, she finds out it’s night time now and the light came from a couple dozen mirrors rigged up in a hole to the surface that filters light into the main area.  Everything that I just included in this one paragraph takes place over 2 pages of the chapter.

If you don't know who this is look up John Green on Youtube

If you don’t know who this is look up John Green on Youtube

I feel like I’m not accurately conveying how monotonous this book is.  I’m pretty sure that if I went through and skipped every second page of this book I wouldn’t miss a single important fact.  Actually the book might be an easier read if I did that.  The thing is, if I did that, there would still be so much unnecessary filler information this book would still be a slog to get through.  I don’t understand how this got past an editor.

Jared clenched his jaw and stared at the ceiling while I walked hesitantly into the room with the inky pool. I guessed that if I stumbled into the fierce underground hot spring and disappeared, Jared would probably see it as a kind intervention of fate.

I think he would be sad, Melanie disagreed as I edged my way around the black bathing room, hugging the wall. If we fell.

I doubt it. He might be reminded of the pain of losing you the first time, but he would be happy if I disappeared.

Because he doesn’t know you, Melanie whispered, and then faded away as if she were suddenly exhausted.

Siding with Melanie on this one, and not just because I hate her less than Wanderer.  I don’t think outside this book Jared would like Wanderer much since she’s one of the most negative people I’ve ever had the displeasure of bearing witness to, but if Wandanie died I do think it would make Jared sad.  He would probably be conflicted, happy to not have to make the order himself, happy that the parasite was dead, but it’s still Melanie’s body.  As long as she’s there, as angry and sad and frustrated as he already is, part of him is probably hoping that she’s still in there, that there’s still hope that Melanie can come back to him.  If her body finally dies she’s gone.  I said earlier that closure is better than false hope, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.

This is the closest approximation I can find to how conflicting the emotions would be if she died

This is the closest approximation I can find to how conflicting the emotions would be if she died

I have no idea why Melanie would be exhausted after this exchange.  This is the first time she’s actually spoken in this chapter, and this is the only quote from her.  There’s been no indication of her being tired.  …Don’t tell me she’s jealous of Wanderer’s proximity to Jared.  This is a romance and Jared is the love interest, and there’s two of them, they’re both in love with him, oh god that’s what that is isn’t it?!  This is why guys hate romance novels!  This shit right here!  We don’t care!  She’s jealous of a fucking parasite!  I’m going to hope that I’m wrong on this prediction…

I stood frozen where I was, surprised. I wasn’t sure, but it felt as though Melanie had just given me a compliment.

facepalmer

Goddammit Wanderer can’t you stop being a bitch for five fucking minutes?  She’s said nice things to you lots of times!  Stop being surprised every single time humans aren’t dicks to you!

They go back to the cave bubble and Jeb is waiting for them with a couple of bed rolls which I assume are little cushions you can sleep on.  Jared tells him Wanderer isn’t getting one so to take it away, Jeb calls him cruel and apologizes to Wanderer as he leaves with the second cushion.  Jared tells him to stop being nice to her, and I’m back to thinking his behaviour is excessive even given the stressful and conflicting nature of the situation.  If he’s not willing to kill her I can’t see him treating her the way he has been this chapter.  He proceeds to taunt her with his makeshift bed.

“You won’t be able to sneak past me,” he warned. His voice was softer than before–sleepy. “If you try…” He yawned. “I will kill you.”

I didn’t respond. The warning struck me as a bit of an insult. Why would I try to sneak past him? Where would I go? Into the hands of the barbarians out there waiting for me, all of them wishing that I would make exactly that kind of stupid attempt?

Yup, they’re all barbarians.  Jeb, who has been nothing but nice to you.  Doc, who only laid a hand on you to check on your health, Jamie who just wanted to talk to you, all those people in the main hall who could have easily over powered Jeb to kill you but didn’t… Just out of control monsters, the lot of them.

XAxaV

What plan did he think I was hatching to overthrow their little world? Did I really seem so powerful? Wasn’t it clear how pathetically defenseless I was?

It’s clear to me that your entire species is pathetic and defenseless, but you still managed to take over the planet, so, yeah, you are a pretty significant threat.  They don’t know how you get the parasites into people outside that it results in a scar on the neck.  For all he knows you could have a whole swarm of the parasites to infect everyone and you only need to get close enough to scratch him.  Or just release one and it will claw its way into his neck anyway.

Apparently a few weeks go by and Jared stopped letting Jeb come by at all.  He never spoke to her, he got ‘treats’ for himself to eat and taunted her with them.  Again, his behaviour seems excessive.  Especially for the length of time that goes by.  We’re not even spared the descriptions as she goes back over every single brand name junk food he got, the sound of him ripping open the bags, the colours of the food, the sound of him chewing… WHY DO WE FUCKING CARE?!

A few more useless pages later Ian shows up and tells Jared that the Seekers have stopped looking for Wanderer.  Apparently they found where she abandoned the car and sent search parties.  One of the Seekers almost got eaten by a coyote and so they seem to have assumed that that’s what happened to Wanderer and gave up the search.

Apparently the Seeker we’ve met who never got the dignity of a name making this a hard section to talk about, got in a fight with the other Seekers when she was declared dead.  Apparently after they all left she kept looking.  Wanderer freaks out a lot and gets Ian and Jared’s attention.  The chapter ends with Jared demanding Wanderer tell them what she knows about ‘the Seeker in black’.

men-in-black-o

This chapter was so very unnecessary.  The only important part is the conversation at the end of it and it could have easily been put at the start of the next chapter, leaving out the useless information that proceeded it.  But hey, maybe Seeker will finally get a name next chapter!

Till next time!

Don’t forget to check out The Llama’s review!

Q&A: Imagination

This week’s (last week’s…) question is: ”What’s the most imaginative thing you’ve ever done as an adult?”

This one is pretty easy for me.  I’m a writer.  I’m imaginative when I write.  Obviously.  More specifically I have an entire world created that has its own history, multiple characters, I have an entire Eastern Seaboard of a country mapped out in my head.  Mind you the world itself isn’t as unique as I’d like to be able to claim it is, but hey, it’s something.  But you get no snippets of that world today!  I’ll be writing something in it for Nanowrimo though, so maybe you will then, we’ll see.

Sorry this is a short one, The Llama didn’t write much either.  It amuses me that the post about imagination is so short and unimaginative.  Feel free to tell a more interesting story in the comments!