QA: High Hopes

“What is the one non-monetary thing you have the highest hope of obtaining in life?”

I’m going to be a semantic dickhead and discuss the meaning of this question way more than the actual answer.

‘Highest hope’, what does that refer to?  The thing you hope for the hardest?  The thing you think you’re most likely to achieve?  The thing you want most that you think you have the best chance to achieve?  Up till 2 years ago the thing I wanted most was to get a chance to be around tigers outside of the context of a zoo but I had no actual hope of achieving that until last year when I actually DID it, so I probably wouldn’t have put it on the list back then because I didn’t believe it was actually possible.  So my idea of what I can hope for has gotten a little more… broad.

Technically in my case opportunity knocked, then I had to build the door to let it in.  And I got a few splinters and bruises building it.

Technically in my case opportunity knocked, then I had to build the door to let it in. And I got a few splinters and bruises building it.

What about the meaning of ‘non-monetary’?  An emotion?  A person?  Pet?  Career?  Physical object?  I have an answer for all of those things.  I have various answers for all of those things actually.

I guess I should list a couple at least.  Career wise I would like to someday run my own business.  I already have a company I just need a product or service to sell.  (I’m an independent contractor at work, I had to set up a company, but realistically I’m an employee) Physical thing that I would some day like to own?  Trickier.  A house with an indoor pool!  Emotion?  Yeah, you already know the answer to that one.  99% of people have the same answer to that question and I’m not the exception.

Which of these things do I think I have the best odds at achieving?  The house probably.  Which do I want more than the rest?  That’s a little harder to answer.  The company would probably help me get the house, so wanting the house more than anything else would be a bit short sighted.  But I already put my career over my personal life and I’m really not terribly happy with that decision, so I would think that would imply that what I want the most would be to have a personal life, specifically, a loving relationship.  But really I want the whole bundle.  I don’t want to sacrifice my professional drive to be in a stable relationship, but I don’t want to sacrifice my chances at a healthy relationship by only focusing on my career.

So I guess what I want most is to find a healthy work-life balance.  Yeah, let’s go with that.

Like that.

Like that.

Till next time check out The Llama’s much more passionate response to this question.

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The Host Review: Betrayed (ch 29)

Maybe I should have run the other way.

You’re in a cave with a dead end dumbass.  There is no ‘other way.’

But no one was holding me back now, and though his voice was cold and angry, Jared was calling to me. Melanie was even more eager than I was as I stepped carefully around the corner and into the blue light; I hesitated there.

I HOPE HE STABS YOU IN THE FUCKING FACE.

Stab you in the face

Oh right I was so busy being angry at this chapter that I forgot to open this review.  Yeah, this chapter sucks.  Back to the rage!

“At ease,” Jared said to Ian. “I just want to talk to it. I promised the kid, and I’ll stand by that promise.”

‘At ease’?  Did I miss mention of Jared having been in the military?  He was alone for several years in his early 20’s and before that he was with his dad and brothers alone in the desert for a few more years.  Why would he use terms like ‘at ease?’  A normal person in this situation would say ‘calm down’ or ‘relax’.  But Meyer wants you to think of Jared as a commander, completely in control, well trained, tactical, a leader.  He’s not.

Ian didn’t move.

“I’m not lying, Ian. And I’m not going to kill it. Jeb is right. No matter how messed up this stupid situation is, Jamie has as much say as I do, and he’s been totally suckered, so I doubt he’ll be giving me the go-ahead anytime soon.”

I would just like to keep pointing out that everyone seems to think Jared and Jamie are on equal footing and I stand by earlier assessments that, as immature as Jamie is written, they’re not.  Jamie is Melanie’s flesh and blood, her ward, and has spent his entire life with her.  He’s essentially her son and for Jared, or anyone else, to think that he has as much say as Jamie because they’ve been in love for the last couple of years kind of pisses me off a little.

Pissed off

In matters of pulling the plug on a loved one on life support when there is no living will, the husband/wife of the patient generally gets spoken to first, but any children of the age of majority (given the circumstances in the real world Jamie would already be considered an adult for the purposes of survival, so for the sake of this discussion he doesn’t have to be 16-18, just at least a teenager, which he is) would have right of refusal and their word would supersede that of the spouse assuming there are no extenuating circumstances.  Especially weak would be the claim of a common-law spouse.  And I will mention again that they have to be ‘conjugal’ to be considered common-law in today’s society, so just being in love doesn’t cut it.

So have Jared and Melanie consummated their relationship?  Did they ever discuss what should be done to them if they come back in this state?  Are they even IN a relationship or did they just love each other and never act on it because he’s too old for her?  Did he introduce himself as Melanie’s boyfriend when he got taken in or just Jamie’s impromptu guardian?  These are relevant questions!

“No one’s been suckered,” Ian growled.

Just a reminder that he said she wasn’t a liar, then a few pages later she knowingly and willingly lied.  So, yes, you are being suckered.

Jared waved his hand, dismissing the disagreement over terminology. “It’s not in any danger from me, is my point.” For the first time he looked at me, evaluating the way I hugged the far wall, watching my hands tremble. “I won’t hurt you again,” he said to me.

This is actually the most realistic exchange we’ve seen from him in quite some time.  Colour me impressed.  And skeptical.  I still expect to think he’s a dick by the end of the chapter.

don't be a dick

Ian says she doesn’t have to talk to him, that it’s not a chore she has to do.  This confuses Jared, I assume since he didn’t know she’d been doing chores?  Except when he arrived she was making bread…

“No,” I whispered. “I’ll talk to him.” I took another short step. Jared turned his hand palm up and curled his fingers twice, encouraging me forward.

Oh for fucks sake.  She’s already walking towards you dickface, you don’t have to do that.

Well that lasted long

Well that lasted long

Anyway, she sends Ian off to sleep and he refuses at first but eventually caves.  Though before he leaves he tells Jared that anything he does to Wanderer, Ian will do double to him in return.  It’s not a terrible or unrealistic scene for a change so I’m just waiting for the ball to drop and Jared to start talking like a 50’s gangster or something.

It was silent for a moment as we both watched the empty space where he had disappeared. I looked at Jared’s face first, while he still stared after Ian. When he turned to meet my gaze, I dropped my eyes.

“Wow. He’s not kidding, is he?” Jared said.

‘Wow’?  Bit delayed to be saying ‘wow’…  Also that’s a fairly friendly phrasing considering how much he hates her.  And the fact that he kind of just found out that another guy has a crush on the walking corpse of his girlfriend…  From his perspective that is what’s happening.

“Why don’t you have a seat?” he asked me, patting the mat beside him.

Meyer does realize that if she has her characters act like this out of nowhere in a chapter titled ‘betrayed’ we’re kind of going to figure out that it’s a trick or something right?

I deliberated for a moment, then went to sit against the same wall but close to the hole, putting the length of the mat between us. Melanie didn’t like this; she wanted to be near him, for me to smell his scent and feel the warmth of his body beside me.

I assure you Wanderer, no matter how close you think you two have gotten, Melanie sure as hell does not want you smelling her boyfriend.  The fact that she can only do that through you makes you smelling him a necessary evil that she’s already admitted in earlier chapters bothers her.

I heard him move. He scooted down the mat until he sat right beside me–the way Melanie had hoped for. Too close–it was hard to think straight, hard to breathe right–but I couldn’t bring myself to scoot away. Oddly, for this was what she’d wanted in the first place, Melanie was suddenly irritated.

What? I asked, startled by the intensity of her emotion.

I don’t like him next to you. It doesn’t feel right. I don’t like the way you want him there. For the first time since we’d abandoned civilization together, I felt waves of hostility emanating from her. I was shocked. That was hardly fair.

life's not fair

FAIR?!  You’re going to talk to MELANIE about FAIR?!  You CONDESCENDING BITCH!  YOU HAVE HER TRAPPED.  YOU STOP HER FROM DOING ANYTHING SHE WANTS TO (the fact that everything she wants to do is stupid is irrelevant to this discussion) AND SHE IS FORCED TO EXPERIENCE *HER OWN LIFE* THROUGH YOU!  WHAT RIGHT DO YOU HAVE TO JUDGE ANY HOSTILITY SHE HAS TOWARDS YOU AS UNFAIR?!

On a calmer note, the dumbass is familiar with the concept of jealousy. She should not be this surprised.  Even if I do have to concede that she does have a point that it is kind of unfair.  I just really hate how she treats Melanie, so seeing her calling out Melanie for treating her unfairly after all the times she’s been a bitch to Melanie for entirely unfair reasons, it comes off as hypocritical and it very much bothers me.

Jared asks if Melanie is still alive in there and Melanie goes NUTS.  She apparently starts fighting tooth and nail but of course Wanderer is the voice of reason here and points out that it’s a set up.

She refuses to talk, starts bawling and they slip into a flash back as Melanie compares dickhead Jared to the man she ABANDONED to seek out her cousin she didn’t need to go alone to seek out.  I just wanted to remind you of that because I fucking hate every single person in this book and hope the story ends with the entire planet catching fire and everyone dying slowly and painfully.

Earth+Shaped+Fire+Pit.+I+don+t+want+to+set+the_50b0bb_3439194

In the flashback, they’re sitting around someone’s house while they’re at work and they watch TV because they know they’re safe for a few hours until they get home.  A baseball game is on and the players are having a disagreement about whether or not one should get a penalty.  The one who would receive the penalty is asking to receive it, the other is saying that he doesn’t want to take an unfair advantage, so they best have the refs review the tapes.  It is mind numbingly dull.  Jared and Jamie agree.

I go to Jared. He pulls me onto his lap and tucks my head under his chin.

This feels infantile.  I picture a dad holding his daughter who didn’t want to go to bed to let her fall asleep on his chest as he watches TV, not two adults in romantic love with each other.  I don’t like it.  But I suppose that’s because I prefer women who don’t want to be treated like children who need protection, so maybe that’s just me.  To each his own I guess.

I know that if Jamie and I survived alone for twenty years we would never find this feeling on our own. The feeling of safety. More than safety, even–happiness. Safe and happy, two things I thought I’d never feel again.

I’d really like to know why.  From what I’ve seen there is nothing especially different about what Jared is doing to what you were doing.  He’s just going in during the day when they go to work instead of at night when they’ve gone to the movies.  You never would have figured that out without him?  I know Meyer wants you to think that Jared is somehow this amazing provider and he’s better at everything than everyone but she has provided not the tiniest bit of evidence to support that fact.  As far as I can see he is not doing anything that anyone else couldn’t have easily figured to do.  Apparently he’s just the only person of average intelligence that managed to survive and everyone else is so dumb they need help tying their fucking shoelaces.

This books universe takes place in the episode of Futurama where Fry is the only one unaffected by the giant brains sucking away everyone's intelligence.

This books universe takes place in the episode of Futurama where Fry is the only one unaffected by the giant brains sucking away everyone’s intelligence.

We return to the present, switching back to the past tense, because that still makes complete sense.

He still makes me feel safe, Melanie realized, feeling the warmth where his arm was just half an inch from mine. Though he doesn’t even know I’m here.

HE’S TRIED TO KILL YOU MULTIPLE TIMES YOU DUMB BITCH!

God I hate these characters!

I wondered if Melanie and I would have loved Jared if he’d always been who he was now, rather than the smiling Jared in our memories, the one who had come to Melanie with his hands full of hope and miracles.

I think my brain is trying to escape my head…

Of course. Mel was certain. I would love Jared in any form. Even like this, he belongs with me.

Bull. Shit.  If he had come to you as angry and dickish as he is now when you were young and scared you would never have even trusted him enough to let him drive you anywhere.  Nor would he have trusted you enough to take you anywhere!  And even if he had, he wouldn’t have been as nice to you or Jamie.  Hell, if he’d been alone that long and had gotten hard and cynical, your first meeting probably would have gone a lot differently.  He very well may have just killed you right on the spot.

Apparently Jared’s been talking this whole time and they zoned out not listening to them.  He’s telling them why he’s there, saying it’s unfair for her to let Jamie believe that Melanie is still in there.  But he concedes that Jeb does have a point, wondering why she’s there at all since after this long it’s clearly not to lead seekers to them to infest them.

He basically says it doesn’t matter though, that there’s no point in killing her anymore anyway as long as she’s not hurting anyone.  But he reminds her that Jamie being so attached, especially with believing that Melanie is still in there, that it’ll only cause him pain when she dies.  Wanderer makes note of the fact that he said when, not if.  Don’t title your chapter Betrayed if you want things like this to seem shocking.

I'm sure this will be all the readers reactions when the chapter titled betrayed ends with betrayal

I’m sure this will be all the readers reactions when the chapter titled betrayed ends with betrayal

His words came in a sudden gush. “The part that keeps bugging me is what if they’re right? How the hell would I know? I hate the way their logic makes sense to me. There’s got to be another explanation.”

This part frustrates me.  Not because it’s bad or poorly written, but because I have had almost this exact conversation with myself more times than I can count.  This is exactly how I think when something that defies my sense of logic seems to be the majority opinion and I can’t refute it it just feels wrong.  I fight with myself just like this.  And I don’t want to be able to compare myself to Jared because I hate him.  And having any of Meyer’s characters act like real people bugs me because I know in a page or two they’re just going to go back to being cardboard cut outs!

Jared moved, shifting away from the wall so that his body was turned toward me. I watched the movement from the corner of my eye.

“Why are you here?” he whispered.

I peeked up at his face. It was gentle, kind, almost the way Melanie remembered it. I felt my control slipping; my lips trembled. Keeping my arms locked took all my strength. I wanted to touch his face. I wanted it. Melanie did not like this.

Gee.  I wonder why.  I can’t possibly imagine why Melanie wouldn’t like you wanting to kiss her boyfriend.

Sherlock Sarcasm

If you won’t let me talk, then at least keep your hands to yourself, she hissed.

I’m trying. I’m sorry. I was sorry. This was hurting her. We were both hurting, different hurts.

‘Different hurts.’  Different.  Hurts.  THAT IS A LINE IN A PUBLISHED FUCKING BOOK.  A *best. seller*.

Oh fuck he KISSES HER!  HOW IS THIS CHAPTER WORSE THAN THE ONE BEFORE?!

The body revolted. I was no longer in control of it–it was in control of me. It was not Melanie–the body was stronger than either of us now.

Oh go fuck yourself.

I hate you

Melanie takes over after Wanderer gets too handsy, kissing back and putting her hands in his hair, and punches Jared in the face.  Though if I were her I’d have punched both of them, even if one of them was also me.  Wanderer is horrified that Melanie used HER body for violence (I’ve ranted about Wanderer’s claim on this body way too many times, I’m not going over it again) and Jared is dumbfounded.

Wanderer evaluates that he had been testing her and had been anticipating a specific result that he didn’t get.  How she gets this from him I’m not sure as she just describes him as looking shocked.  She’s extrapolating information that a first person narration cannot know for the benefit of the audience again, but that’s what third person narration is for goddammit.

Wanderer runs back to the hole.  Jared chases her, but she kicks him away and ‘despair’ chokes her.  A touch melodramatic don’t you think?  She’s horrified at the violence Melanie committed, even though she said it wasn’t enough to really hurt him.  And while trying to run away she intentionally kicks at Jared to try and get him off her, so she did it too.

Apparently she’s also sobbing because she hates that the kiss was only a test.  She wanted him to want to kiss her.  Which we already knew because she kissed back and fondled his hair.  But it still bugs me.  And then she gets mad at Melanie because her grief over what’s happened is making it too hard to focus on her own.

No one’s betrayed you, stupid, I railed at her. I wanted her pain to stop. It was too much, the extra burden of her agony. Mine was enough.

Killing you with my mind

I have never hated a character more than I do Wanderer.  Ever.  In all the literature I have ever read, in every movie or television show I have ever watched, not the most vile of villains or most vapid of dipshits, has there been a character I have despised more than Wanderer.

Jared stands at the mouth of the hole and talks to Melanie.  Apparently her punching him was enough to convince him of the truth.  Fantastic.  I hate this book.

That’s how the chapter ends and we have to wait till next time to find out what he does with this information as though I actually give a shit.

Honestly if I think about it too much I don’t really hate this chapter as much as I hated the last one. At least Jared’s side of the conversation seemed fairly realistic.  If I could just cut Wanderer out of the scene and replace her with a brick instead it would have actually been tolerable.  But every time she thinks or talks or acts I am filled with the most violent of rages!  And she does it SO MUCH this chapter that I can’t help but hate it even more than the last chapter despite what I just said!

Till next time.  Check out The Llama’s take on this chapter.

The Host Review: Unenlightened (Ch 28)

Another week another terrible chapter of this increasingly terrible book.  One of these days I’m going to compile some reviews of this piece of shit and show you why The Llama and I thought this might not suck this hard.  Which I shall hold up as Exhibit A in the case of why humanity has failed as a species.

humanityontrial_3919

It was disorienting to wake in the absolute dark. In the past months, I’d gotten used to having the sun tell me it was morning

Months?  Plural?  I thought they were only gone for 5-6 weeks?  That’s not months, that’s a month and a half.  Did we miss time?  Seriously, what the hell do these people do that takes them away for multiple months to search for supplies?!  And if Wanderer was only in San Diego for 6 months, it took approximately 2 months for Jared and Jamie to find Jeb, so if their trips out for extensive supplies take at least 2 months, they wouldn’t know that Jared was ‘magic’, because he would have only been able to have gone out once in that period of time.  So he might have proven to them that he’s useful, he could have even saved someone’s life, but they wouldn’t consider him infallible leader of their raiding parties that quickly.  At least not unless everyone else was completely incompetent, in which case how the fuck did they manage to raid at all before Jared arrived?  So, basically, the time line in this book is literally impossible.

Beside me, I could hear the sound of quiet, even breathing; it did not frighten me, because it was the most familiar of sounds here. I was not surprised that Jamie had crept back and slept beside me last night.

I am.  He should be ashamed of himself and unable to show her his face after what he did.  He came there to protect her, aggravated her would-be murderer, and then left her alone with him so he wouldn’t have to face his wounded pride!  Plus Wanderer’s an awful sound sleeper for someone as high strung as she is!  I would think by now she’d be trained to wake up at the most minor of twitches fearing someone was coming to chop off her head, but she managed to sleep through him walking down the tunnel and snuggling up beside her?  Okay, sure, why not.

Sure

Maybe it was the change in my breathing that woke him; maybe it was just that our schedules had become synchronized. But seconds after I was conscious, he gave a little gasp.

All I can think about with this is the old wives tale about women’s periods syncing up if they live together long enough.  The kid bonded to her like a little baby duck imprinting on its momma and I stand by all past statements that he is not acting like a 14 year old would at all.  5, yes, 14, no.

“Wanda?” he whispered.

“I’m right here.”

He sighed in relief.

“It’s really dark here,” he said.

“Yes.”

“You think it’s breakfast time yet?”

“I don’t know.”

“I’m hungry. Let’s go see.”

He’s also dumb as a bag of hammers.

Hammer

I didn’t answer him.

He interpreted my silence correctly, as the balk it was. “You don’t have to hide out here, Wanda,” he said earnestly, after waiting a moment for me to speak. “I talked to Jared last night. He’s going to stop picking on you–he promised.”

He wasn’t ‘picking’ on her, he was trying to kill her.  Kid you’ve already had your balls drop stop talking like a fucking toddler!  If Meyer wanted a purely innocent character she should have made him younger dammit!  Melanie and Jared are old enough, maybe he really could have BEEN their kid!  He’d be about 5 by this point, perfect age for the dialogue she’s ascribing to him!  Oh but that would ruin the purity of the characters!  I wouldn’t be surprised to find out in all the 5 or 6 years they were together Jared and Melanie never fucked.

I almost smiled. Picking on me.

Even she knows this is dumb.

“Will you come with me?” Jamie pressed. His hand found mine.

“Is that what you really want me to do?” I asked in a low voice.

“Yes. Everything will be the same as it was before.”

Mel? Is this best?

I don’t know. She was torn. She knew she couldn’t be objective; she wanted to see Jared.

SHE CAN’T BE OBJECTIVE.  RIGHT THERE.  SHE CAN’T BE OBJECTIVE ABOUT THE SAFETY OF HER WARD, WHICH WOULD BE AT RISK IF THE PEOPLE AROUND THEM TURNED ON HER, BECAUSE SHE WANTS TO SEE JARED.  RIGHT, FUCKING, THERE.

Rage

She only cares about Jamie as long as Jared isn’t around, is basically what she just said right there.  Seeing the guy that tried to fucking kill her is clouding her judgement regarding the child she has sworn to protect and who, however poorly, tried to save her life.  Melanie is officially a worse person than Wanderer.

That’s crazy, you know.

Not as crazy as the fact that you want to see him, too.

“Fine, Jamie,” I agreed. “But don’t get upset when it’s not the same as before, okay? If things get ugly… Well, just don’t be surprised.”

Well that lasted a whole 4 lines.  Wanderer is just as bad as Melanie.  Or actively worse since the final decision to put Jamie in danger so they can see Jared was made by Wanderer.  Notice that Melanie is still active without Jared around, so they had to slip in a mention of Jared to give her a reason to be.  They’re both terrible, terrible people that need to be punched in the face.

When Jamie leads her out of the cave, they enter the area where the people are usually working in the gardens.  No one is there and that confuses the shit out of Wanderer and Melanie.  Jamie denies that there’s anything odd about it.

You’re human. Aren’t you supposed to have intuition or something?

Intuition? My intuition tells me that we don’t know this place as well as we thought we did, Melanie said.

Dear lord.  You know you’re kind of literally plugged into her brain, right Wanderer?  That if she has intuition, so do you?  She doesn’t get to use parts of her brain that you can’t!  Intuition isn’t some kind of innate thing that happens independent of thought processes!  It is subconsciously picking up on cues, putting them in context based on prior experience and knowledge, and coming to the most likely conclusions without consciously realizing you’re doing so.  That is what intuition is.  If Melanie’s mind made any of those intuitive leaps Wanderer would FUCKING know about it because she’s FUCKING ATTACHED TO HER GODDAMN BRAIN.

entourage-rage-gif

Ahem.  I may have possibly gotten a little worked up there.  Let’s keep going while I try and contain my temper shall we?

It was almost a relief to hear the normal noises of mealtime coming from the kitchen corridor. I didn’t particularly want to see anyone–besides the sick yearning to see Jared, of course–but the unpopulated tunnels, combined with the knowledge that something was being kept from me, made me edgy.

The fact that three of the people potentially in that kitchen have actually tried to kill you doesn’t make you edgy, just the fact that there’s a secret.  Sure.

The kitchen was not even half full–an oddity for this time of the morning. But I barely noticed that, because the smell coming from the banked stone oven overruled every other thought.

Wanderer’s issues with food keep almost getting her killed.  She should probably look into dealing with that.

We hurried, stomachs growling, to the counter by the oven where Lucina, the mother, stood with a plastic ladle in her hand.

Lucina, the mother.  The mother of who?  Of what?  The den mother?  Is she the mother of the kid born in the caves?  I genuinely forget.  And calling her ‘the mother’ just makes it sound like she’s the alpha female of the wolf pack or the Virgin Mary mother of God.  She is neither of those things so I assume Wanderer is saying her only important characteristic is being a mother.  Aunt Maggie is a mother too you know.  So she’s not even ‘the’ mother, she’s ‘a’ mother.  Why am I arguing semantics with this book…

nobody got time for that

She looked only at the boy as she spoke. “They tasted better an hour ago.”

“They’ll taste just fine now,” Jamie countered enthusiastically.

No one is around because breakfast was an hour ago.  Also; cold eggs are kind of disgusting.  Personally.  If I get scrambled eggs at a restaurant they have to be the first thing I eat otherwise they’re too cold by the time I get to them for me to be willing to eat them, so I recognize that I am just a crazy person though.

“Has everyone eaten?”

“Pretty much. I think they took a tray down to Doc and the rest.…” Lucina trailed off, and her eyes flickered to me for the first time; Jamie’s eyes did the same. I didn’t understand the expression that crossed Lucina’s features–it disappeared too quickly, replaced by something else as she appraised the new marks on my face.

As much as I don’t want to give her any credit because even with what I’m about to say this is still terribly written, but this actually does build some level of tension.  Without describing what Lucina’s expression is, we cannot draw our own conclusions and are forced to know as little as Wanderer about what’s going on.  We don’t know why Doc is somewhere else, or who ‘the rest’ are, we don’t know why they’re both looking at her at the mention of Doc other than that there’s probably a plan of some kind involving her in progress.

This is the benefit of the first person perspective that Meyer has been thus far ignoring.  By describing things she can’t possibly see, by having her constantly declare what she thinks expressions are rather than just telling us what she sees, we’re missing out on actually being able to feel her disconnection.

She struggled with facial expressions at first, having her vaguely describe the expressions she sees as mostly flat could have been a great way to make the reader feel as disoriented and lost on how to interpret the other characters as Wanderer felt.  Having her unclear on tonal shifts, describing them in odd terms such as ‘the pitch of his voice went up at one point’ instead of saying ‘he was angry’ could have made you have to try harder to keep up, and then all the complaints she has about not understanding people would have felt more genuine.  More relatable.  This is where first person perspective should be a handy tool and this is the first time in this entire book so far that Meyer has actually used it with any degree of efficiency.

The fact that I felt the need to give her credit for utilizing the narrative device for its intended effect makes me sad.

The fact that I felt the need to give her credit for utilizing the narrative device for its intended effect makes me sad.

“How much is left?” Jamie asked. His eagerness sounded a trifle forced now.

Lucina turned and bent, tugging a metal pan off the hot stones in the bottom of the oven with the bowl of the ladle. “How much do you want, Jamie? There’s plenty,” she told him without turning.

This seems odd to me.  If they have to go out for 6-8 weeks to get supplies, I would think they would be incredibly careful about how they used them.  Though I suppose eggs don’t last forever, but they can be put into things that will last longer.  But then if they have to go that far to get supplies, and they got eggs, wouldn’t the eggs be coming from so far away as to be virtually rotten already by the time they get them back to the cave?  Or is the source of the perishables close enough that they can get them back in a reasonable amount of time, thus suggesting that they should be able to get eggs more frequently?  Why don’t they just steal a few chickens?  They’re already growing corn.  I would think the advantage of having chickens would outweigh the crop cost to keep them alive.

“Pretend I’m Kyle,” he said with a laugh.

“A Kyle-sized portion it is,” Lucina said, but when she smiled, her eyes were unhappy.

What did I just say about not describing people’s expressions like that?!  I give you a little credit and you just screw it right up a few paragraphs later.

Anyway, she serves Jamie and then refuses to serve Wanderer because she’s kind of a massive bitch.  She’s been there without trouble for a few weeks, without them treating her like a pariah, and now all of a sudden because the raiders are back she won’t even ladle her some damn eggs?  Nope.  Don’t buy it.  People do not do that.  She might serve her a small portion, but she wouldn’t refuse to serve her at all.

nope1

“Jamie,” I muttered urgently under my breath. “This food isn’t meant for me. Jared and the others weren’t risking their lives so that I could have eggs for breakfast. Bread is fine.”

“Don’t be stupid, Wanda,” Jamie said. “You live here now, just like the rest of us. Nobody minds it when you wash their clothes or bake their bread. Besides, these eggs aren’t going to last much longer. If you don’t eat them, they’ll get thrown out.”

I felt all the eyes in the room boring into my back.

“That might be preferable to some,” I said even more quietly. No one but Jamie could possibly hear.

“Forget that,” Jamie growled. He hopped over the counter and filled another bowl with eggs, which he then shoved at me. “You’re going to eat every bite,” he told me resolutely.

Now Jamie is back to talking like an adult.  Not sure if that’s preferable or the fact that he’s just another character that is whatever he needs to be to be contextually plot convenient bugs me more than him acting like a 5 year old.  Either way he makes a good point.  But, again, I don’t understand why they were all perfectly fine with her eating yesterday and now all of a sudden she’s the devil again.  Human beings genuinely do not work this way.  We are not that fucking evil goddammit.

Well, okay, yes, *I* am, but not *everyone* is.

Well, okay, yes, I am, but not everyone is.

She refuses to eat what he serves her, which makes her kind of a rude bitch in my books, but we already knew she was so that should surprise no one.  Jamie tells her that if she won’t eat, he won’t either, and they both sit there in stubborn obstinacy like a pair of children.  Eventually Wanderer caves because Jamie is so hungry.  Because she wants to remind you that she is a martyr and everything she does is for others because how else would we know she’s the bestest person eversies.  I hate this book and these characters.

She practically orgasms over the eggs.  Not exaggerating, she talks about how she has to stifle a moan.  I think Meyer has some serious issues with food.  They’re cold, ‘rubbery’ scrambled eggs, no matter how boring the food you’ve been eating lately is, they would not be ‘moaning with pleasure’ levels of delicious.  That’s just creepy.

People were looking at me, a few here and there, but they weren’t the only ones talking in serious whispers, and the others paid me no mind at all. Besides, none of them seemed angry or guilty or tense or any of the other emotions I was expecting.

No, they were sad. Despair was etched on every face in the room.

So why did you describe them as staring at you all judgmental when you wanted the food?  If they aren’t paying you any mind at all, or at least aren’t actively annoyed by your presence, they shouldn’t have cared about you eating the eggs.  I think that was more of Wanderer seeing what she expects to see instead of what’s actually happening around her.  That could be good use of the first person narrative except it’s never presented that she may be an unreliable narrator, you’re supposed to trust that she’s telling you what’s actually happening.

Whatever.  Oooo despair.  I wonder if they all think that Doc is going to try and pull out the brain slug, and that since that’s gone badly in the past they figure she’ll be dead tomorrow.  Though that would make me happy so I can’t necessarily use that to excuse them being sad.

Wanderer notices Sharon crying softly into her eggs and she panics.  She asks if Doc is okay, he is.  Aunt Maggie?  She’s fine.  Walter?  Still alive.  I’m back to the whole ‘they all think Doc is going to remove the brain slug’ theorem.  Sharon might not like Wanderer, but it would also mean the death of her cousin Melanie, so it would explain why she’s sad at least.

It’s only after this though that Wanderer notices that Jamie is just as sad.  Quick on the draw, that one.

Waaaait for it

Waaaait for it

Ian shows up filthy and Wanderer describes everything from where the dust fell, the colour, and where he’s sweating from.  I am going to get surgery to never sweat again if it attracts women like this.  Anyway, he pulls her into a dark tunnel so no one can see them right as Jared and Kyle walk by talking about Doc trying to get the brain slugs out of people unsuccessfully.  They don’t actually say that, it’s just painfully obvious that’s what they’re talking about.

Jared says they should just give up, and that Doc is just wearing himself out and wasting time, but Kyle says it’ll all be worth it if they succeed.  After they’re out of earshot Jamie gets really upset that Jared ‘promised’ and Ian says that Jared may have, but Kyle didn’t.  Because that totally will get Jared off the hook with Jamie right?  That’s how people work?

Ian tells her to ignore the dishes.  She wants to ask why he’s so dirty but decides not to because he probably won’t answer.  Since I don’t care, I support this decision.  Ian makes an ‘angry noise’ when he sees her face.

He raised his hand as if to lift my chin, but I flinched and he dropped it.

“That makes me so sick,” he said, and his voice truly did sound as if he were nauseated. “And worse, knowing that if I hadn’t stayed behind, I might have been the one to do it.…”

Yup, real people talk like this.  Definitely.

He grinned again. “I feel silly standing here with my arms empty while you lug these around. Chalk it up to gallantry. C’mon–let’s go relax somewhere out of the way until the coast is clear.”

His words troubled me, and I followed him in silence. Why should gallantry apply to me?

Glare

They lug the dishes to the cornfield, for… reasons, and Ian lays in the dirt.  Wanderer asks if they should be working and he tells her she’s the only one that never takes a day off, so she should just relax.

“It gives me something to do,” I mumbled.

“Everyone is taking a break today, so you might as well.”

They’re in a cave in the desert.  Everyone taking a day off could lead to them starving to death when the crops fail.  But sure, why the fuck not.

“I know you’re not a liar. I know that now,” he said quietly. “I’ll believe you, whatever your answer is.”

I waited again while he continued to stare at the dirt on his skin.

“I didn’t buy Jeb’s story before, but he and Doc are pretty convinced.… Wanda?” he asked, looking up at me. “Is she still in there with you? The girl whose body you wear?”

Oh my god I think I might have just had a rage induced heart attack.  Deep breaths.

Time Lapse

I’m okay.  I think.  ‘The girl whose body you wear’.  SHE’S NOT A FUCKING SHIRT YOU DICKHEAD!  Also, don’t make me think of Silence of the Lambs in this book.  I really don’t need to associate Wanderer with the image of Buffalo Bill wearing the woman suit made out of his victims.  It will most definitely not make this book easier to read.  I suppose I could think of her as Edgar from Men in Black.  He was a bug that wore the skin of a human…

edgar

“It’s… frustrating, for us both. At first I would have given anything to have her disappear the way she should have. But now I… I’ve gotten used to her.” I smiled wryly. “Sometimes it’s nice to have the company. It’s harder for her. She’s like a prisoner in many ways. Locked away in my head. She prefers that captivity to disappearing, though.”

Are we supposed to think Wanderer is nice for liking her now?  Or feel bad for her?  Because in this description Wanderer sounds like a massive bitch for being more concerned over whether or not Melanie is a nuisance than the fact that she just described Melanie as being trapped like a prisoner.  She doesn’t really seem to be showing her much sympathy at all in fact. It kind of sounds like she thinks Melanie should be grateful.  That’s how it comes off to me at least.

“I didn’t know there was a choice.”

“There wasn’t in the beginning. It wasn’t until your kind discovered what was happening that any resistance started. That seems to be the key–knowing what’s going to happen. The humans who were taken by surprise didn’t fight back.”

REALLY?!  The ones that were caught off guard and didn’t know what they were in for didn’t panic and fight like someone suddenly being shoved head first into a pond?!  Because most of the time when people are surprised, that’s when they’re most likely to take your head off!  When people aren’t caught off guard, they have time to stop and think, they might fight more efficiently, but they’re also more likely to hesitate and over think things.  When surprised they just fight.  Period (those prone to at all anyway).  They come out swinging until the adrenaline wears off, which can actually take quite a while.

“So if I were caught?”

I appraised his fierce expression–the fire in his brilliant eyes.

“I doubt you would disappear. Things have changed, though. When they catch full-grown humans now, they don’t offer them as hosts. Too many problems.” I half smiled again. “Problems like me. Going soft, getting sympathetic to my host, losing my way…”

You do realize she just smiled after telling him that they now kill the adults right?  She just smiled after discussing that her people murder their captives.

sociopath

“They’d still do an insertion, I think. Trying to get information. Probably they’d put a Seeker in you.”

He shuddered.

“But they wouldn’t keep you as a host. Whether they found the information or not, you would be… discarded.” The word was hard to say. The idea sickened me.

It didn’t seem to bug you a minute ago!

Odd–it was usually the human things that made me sick. But I’d never looked at the situation from the body’s perspective before; no other planet had forced me to.

Killing the walking flowers bugs you but only after being a human being does murdering them bother you?!  You have to see it from our perspective to think murdering us is wrong?!  Murdering YOU is monstrous!  But murdering humans, that’s fiiiiiiiiine!  FUCK YOU WITH A PITCH FORK.

This is actually a trident but it'll do

This is actually a trident but it’ll do

A body that didn’t function right was quickly and painlessly disposed of because it was as useless as a car that could not run.

OKAY.  Let’s discuss this shall we?  They started infesting other worlds because of the harpies.  The ‘jerk’ species that came to their planet and started picking on them.  They felt BAD for the other planets the harpies had been to and how that species had treated the inhabitants.  They know the species they’re dealing with are intelligent.  They know they have emotions.  They know many of them don’t want to be infested.  They care about the slaughter of the walking flowers for food.  But they don’t stop eating meat, they don’t think of their hosts as living things with emotions, and they don’t think it’s a morally wrong thing to do to just murder the shit out of them. Despite how horrible and unthinkable it is that the seekers carry around weapons to murder the shit out of them.

Does that make sense to anyone?  If you think you can make that seem like a logical thought process, go right ahead and try and explain it to me in the comments.  I would very much appreciate the insight, ‘cuz I don’t fucking get it.

I don’t expect to ever understand the ‘logic’ of this species, so let’s move on.  She gets all emo and says that looking into his eyes she sees the fault in their species logic and aww isn’t that fucking romantic.  Damn I hate this book.  Anyway, she laments her abandonment of the species after he asks what they would do to her and she says they’d try and save her from the bad influences though she doesn’t deserve it because she’s a traitor.  He tells her she’s just an expatriate, not a traitor.  I don’t care either way.  She just told him that they murder the shit out of people and he’s trying to make her feel better for not wanting to do the same.

After they stop talking (he doesn’t ask many questions, which I’m grateful for since I didn’t want to read them, but doesn’t seem terribly realistic) he takes her to the bathing room to wash the dishes so he can know she’s safe while he cleans up.  I can’t decide whether or not I think the fact that he took her with him to have a bath is creepy or considerate since it’s not like she can see him.  I’ll go with considerate because I don’t hate Ian yet.  I know it’s coming, but until it does I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

He tells her that he’ll have Doc look at her face after he sobers up, so apparently whatever Doc was doing was REALLY not going well, and he’s a drunk.  Yay, that’s exactly who you want as your doctor!  Faaaantastic.  Also, I guess that’s what Sharon was upset about earlier.  But that kind of makes Jamie a liar since Doc clearly isn’t okay if he’s so fucked up over what he’s doing that he’s drinking himself stupid.

drink-2

After they clean up they go back to the kitchen and the place has filled up for lunch.  Jamie is sitting impatiently with Wanderer’s food ready for her, refusing again to eat anything until she does.  Because we really needed to go through that again.  They eat in silence since everyone is too wrapped up in how delicious bologna sandwiches are apparently.  When they finish Ian tells Jamie to go to school, but he apparently looks like he’s falling asleep so Jamie wants to stay behind to watch Wanderer since Ian doesn’t look capable.

“Go to school,” I told him quickly. I wanted Jamie a safe distance from me today.

“I’ll see you later, okay? Don’t worry about… about anything.”

“Sure.” A one-word lie wasn’t quite so obvious. Or maybe I was just being sarcastic again.

Just going to remind you of something that was said only a few pages ago:

“I know you’re not a liar. I know that now,” he said quietly

that's all I have to say about thatLet’s continue.

Wanderer tries to get Ian to go rest, and he says he’ll rest where she slept the night before, so he can keep protecting her and get some sleep at the same time.

“You can’t watch me every second.”

“Wanna bet?”

And as with earlier I can’t decide whether I find this thoughtful or creepy.  It could go either way.

“Ian, what’s the point of this? Won’t it hurt Jamie more, the longer I’m alive? In the end, wouldn’t it be better for him if –”

“Don’t think like that, Wanda. We’re not animals. Your death is not an inevitability.”

“I don’t think you’re an animal,” I said quietly.

Bullshit you don’t you judgmental racist!  You basically said earlier in this very chapter that you have more sympathy for the fucking plants than humans!

Tom-Hiddleston

Jared shows up and Ian goes out to stop him from getting to Wanderer and the dumbest thing in the entire book so far happens.  And that’s saying a lot.

“I know it’s with you,” Jared answered. He raised his voice, so that anyone between here and the main plaza would hear. “Come out, come out, wherever you are,” he called, his voice hard and mocking.

Leonardo-Dicaprio

My brain cannot even form the words necessary to describe the levels of dumb this is.

That’s the last line of the chapter and I am so glad it’s over.  Not counting the chapter where she describes this aliens, this was the hardest read yet.

Hopefully I survive the next chapter.  Check out The Llama’s review!

Q&A: Bad Vacations

“What was the worst vacation you ever took?”

Another week another uninteresting answer!  I swear this book does get into some nitty gritty things later on but we’re probably only on about page 3 or so…

Anyway, my answer is that I don’t recall ever having a bad vacation!  All of my vacations go shockingly well.  Until I get home and suffer the financial or emotional set backs of returning from a vacation but that’s not the vacations fault that’s mine for either having poor fiscal planning or just not preparing myself from returning to work/life from the BEST PLACES IN THE GODDAMN WORLD.  Sorry, that was my last vacation, you may remember it from the picture of the hot chick in the bikini taking a tiger cub for a walk.  That was actually taken at the compound I visited.  It really is the best place on Earth.

Any excuse to post this again is a good excuse.

Any excuse to post this again is a good excuse.

So, yeah, I have no idea what to answer.  I’ve probably had bad vacations or vacations I didn’t enjoy when I was young but I don’t really remember much of anything prior to the age of 10.  I remember the look and feel of friends houses, I remember getting frogs eggs from a pond and chasing salamanders, running around in the woods, skating on the lake…  Vague details.  Can’t tell you how old I was or whether they happened on summer vacation or just after school.  I don’t think I ever got sick on a vacation, and I don’t think anything exceptionally bad ever happened on one.  When we went to Hawaii when I was, 5 I think, I got the worst sunburn I have ever had before or since, but I didn’t really feel the effects of that until I got home so it didn’t really affect the vacation.

I have bad fall out from vacations.  I use up all of my luck on the vacations themselves.  The skies part and stop the rain, the last seats are still available and don’t suck for that show I wanted to see, there happens to be an event going on RIGHT NOW that I can get in!  That kind of thing.  And then when I get home shit goes to hell for 2 weeks.  So I don’t have bad vacations, so I can’t really answer this question!

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

I should be working on my Nano novel, as I’m incredibly far behind, but because of the terrible writing in The Host I decided to show a scene where, without knowing anything about the characters, without them telling you how they feel, you can get the emotion of the scene.

 The office was lit with only a desk lamp as the man slumped over the paperwork in front of him.  He rubbed his eyes and looked at the piles of notes in front of him, frowning.  He sighed and continued to pour through the charts and diagrams, writing in the margins.

Footsteps fell lightly on the ground behind him, and a cup of coffee appeared beside him. A pair of arms wrapped around his tense shoulders and he relaxed into the embrace.  He set down his pen and leaned back to rest his head against the woman’s shoulder, a small smile spreading across his face.

105 words.  You know he’s working too hard, she’s probably his wife or girlfriend, and they’ve been around each other for a while and are comfortable with each other.  You know that they love each other, and understand each other.  I didn’t need to have them describing how they feel or what they’re going through, I didn’t have to have them describe the colour of the desk or what shirt he was wearing.  I didn’t have to tell you anything at all about what anything looked like or even describe any emotions.  The story told itself.

I by no means think I’m a great author, I don’t even think I couldn’t improve on that little short there.  But I sure as hell think Stephanie Meyer is a bad author who doesn’t know how to tell a story without the main character telling you what you’re supposed to think is going on.

Are some things hard to write this way?  Obviously!  You can’t get rid of exposition entirely unless you’re writing a very stylized piece or something very short.  Well, I suppose you could, but it would take an incredibly skilled author to pull it off well.  But a lot of the emotion driven scenes should be written with actions speaking for themselves, and The Host just isn’t doing that at all.  Every single page is unnecessary descriptors telling you what to think and how to feel.  Prompts for people who aren’t giving the story enough thought to think and feel about it for themselves.

Anyway that’s my little additional rant for the day.

The Host Review: Undecided (Ch 27)

I really hate these chapter titles.  I don’t know why they bother me so much but they really do…

Apparently the fact that she went back to her cave bubble was supposed to be a cliff hanger.  Whoops.  But that also means this is yet another chapter that picks up 2 seconds after where the last one left off.  It also comes off as an act of self-flagellation for Wanderer and I was already sick of her selfish martyrdom.  So, yaaaaaay.

To save anyone from looking up what flagellation means as I just realized that’s not a terribly common word, it’s an act of self-punishment generally involving whips.  So best you don’t do a google image search on that one.  I think it’s appropriate though as she spent the end of the last chapter being emo and blaming herself for tearing apart their little community and thusly sent herself to the one place in the caves that it causes her physical pain to be in.  She’s punishing herself for her perceived misdeeds.  It’s unhealthy behaviour generally symptomatic of serious conditions such as extreme depression, body dysmorphia, suicidal tendencies, etc.

It seemed to me that while I lived and Jared was in the caves, this must be where I belonged.

OH WAIT, I’m sorry!  She’s not punishing herself for tearing the community apart, she’s doing this because Jared doesn’t love her!  I hope she rots in that little tunnel.

Rot in hell

She gets to the hole and it’s filled with the supplies the guys had trekked out for over a MONTH to get.  That we already knew were there because it was stated while she was in the cave bubble that that was where the supplies went.  But I’m still stuck on the ‘gone for 4-6 weeks’ thing.  Why the fuck did it take them that long to get a cramped hole’s worth of cereal?  She spends a whole page describing the ‘cardboard rectangles that made a lot of noise when I held them’.  It’s cereal you dumb ass.  We don’t give a shit.

Stymied, I explored with my hands, moving back out into the hall. I found I could go no deeper down the passageway; it was entirely filled with the mysterious cardboard squares.

Does she not remember why they left?  Because this is many, many paragraphs after the discovery of the first box and she’s still ‘stymied’.  Can’t put two and two together miss ‘I’m thousands of years old’?

A couple paragraphs later she finally catches on!

Once I realized that I was touching a bag of rice, I understood. I was in the right place after all. Hadn’t Jeb said they used this place for storage? And hadn’t Jared just returned from a long raid? Now everything the raiders had stolen in the weeks they’d been gone was dumped in this out-of-the-way place until it could be used.

Do you think I'm smart

Well this is one of the most boring chapters in a while… more than half way through it already and there is absolutely nothing worth talking about.  Wanderer and Melanie just sit there debating the same thing over and over again.  And I do mean that incredibly literally.  They talk about whether dying now or later is better for Jamie, then they talk about if they could leave, then they go back to whether dying now or later is better for Jamie, then they talk about why Wanderer still refuses to fight, then they talk about whether dying now or later is better for Jamie.  I wish I was exaggerating.  That goes on for pages.

“Wanda?” someone whispered quietly. “Wanda? Are you here? It’s me.” His voice broke, and I knew him.

“Jamie!” I rasped. “What are you doing? I told you I needed to be alone.”

Relief was plain in his voice, which he now raised from the whisper. “Everybody is looking for you. Well, you know, Trudy and Lily and Wes–that everybody.

SO WHY DIDN’T YOU STOP HER FROM LEAVING IF YOU WERE JUST GOING TO GO LOOKING FOR HER LESS THAN 10 MINUTES LATER YOU DUMBASSES?!

This is going to be a theme this chapter.

This is going to be a theme this chapter.

Why the hell didn’t they just stop her from leaving?!  Did they have to discuss it before they did?!  They thought it was important enough to find her but not important to stop her from potentially walking right into Jared or Kyle’s murderous arms?!  Everyone in this book has the IQ of a small child.

“You can’t sleep here.”

“I have before.”

I felt his head shake in my hand.

“I’ll go get mats and pillows, at least.”

“I don’t need more than one.”

“I’m not staying with Jared while he’s being such a jerk.”

There is no way in hell Jamie is 14. Why did Meyer make him a teenager when she wasn’t going to make him act like a goddamn teenager?  This is the way a 6 year old behaves.  Yes, a teen would decide not to share a room with someone they hate, but he might as well have called Jared a butt head for all the maturity present in that conversation.

After more of Jamie acting like an elementary school child, Jared shows up.  He yells at Jamie to get away from Wanderer, but he doesn’t.  Jared grabs Jamie by the shirt and yanks him away, Wanderer gets in between them to defend Jamie from a non-existent threat because Jared was not hurting him, at all.  Jared tosses Wanderer into the supplies (after she stops to think about the contour of his chest and the way he smells, because why not add creepy to her list of terrible personality traits?) and Jamie calls him a coward for attacking someone who isn’t going to hurt him.  And I’m so much more bored by this scene than is even the slightest bit reasonable.

Bored

Jamie punches Jared in the face for something Jared didn’t actually do.  What the hell is wrong with these characters?!  Jamie had gone to Wanderer’s aid, Jared grabbed him to get him away from Wanderer again, and because of the position they were in, moving Jamie caused stuff to fall on Wanderer.  Jamie told Jared to stop hurting her and then proceeded to break his nose.  What the goddamn hell.

And after Jared does not go back after Wanderer, does not at all retaliate physically or verbally, Jamie’s expression ‘shifts’ to one of deep betrayal (though how the fuck does Wanderer know that?  The only source of light is a small flash light that Jared is holding.  Is he flashing it right in Jamie’s face?  Because if so that’s kind of a dick move there dude).  I don’t understand what happened here.  Jared didn’t drop those boxes on her!  He didn’t even intentionally hurt her when he shoved her!  She shoved herself against his chest and he pushed her away!  That’s IT!  And Jamie actually tells him that he’s ‘not the man he thought he was’.  Over THAT.  This is what should have happened in the KITCHEN! Not here!  Not in this context.  In the kitchen Jared was literally stomping towards Wanderer to kill her!  Here he didn’t even come here looking for her he came looking for Jamie!

That reminds me.  Why is there only one gun in this entire compound?  Jamie said earlier that Jeb got ‘the’ gun.  Not ‘a’ gun.  No one else seems to have a gun.  That means they have no weapons when they go out on raids to get supplies…

Aaaand then Jamie walks away.  What?  He was there to protect Wanderer and he got so angry in her defense that he punched his father figure in the face and now he’s just going to walk away leaving her undefended from the person he was trying to protect her from?!  NO ONE IN THIS BOOK MAKES SENSE.

Because you're a dumbass

Jared leaves to chase after Jamie and shouts apologies as he goes and Wanderer gets emo again.  The chapter ends.  Melanie didn’t speak up once while Jamie and Jared were around.  Other than that I have surprisingly little to say about this chapter.  Which sucks for me because it’s the chapter I’ve had the most time to write about!  Oh well.  I’m sure the next one will get my blood boiling again.

This chapter isn’t short by the way.  Not by any means.  It’s barely shorter than the chapter before.  They just didn’t do ANYTHING.  They whined, and whined some more, and then characters were consistently inconsistent again, and then there was some more whining.  The dialogue was awful, the descriptions went on forever (I counted.  She spent 6 paragraphs describing the cereal boxes she couldn’t see) the whole chapter was just a bunch of pointless filler that I have nothing to say about that I haven’t said a hundred times already.

Chapter 27 and I still don’t know what story this book is trying to tell.  We’re half way through it and I can’t really call it a romance.  There’s not nearly enough actual science to call it science fiction.  It could be called fantasy drama, but that brings about images of knights and castles and would put it in a comparable drama to A Song of Ice and Fire and that’s just not right.  General drama implies intrigue and, you know, plot.  If she tosses in a sex scene I guess I could call it the most boring erotic fiction ever written.  It’s not a thriller because so far the most real threat has been stopped in the same chapter in which they appear.

This book is so muddled and aimless.  I don’t see its purpose.  I don’t see what they could do that would make this book worth reading past the next chapter or two since that should be about how long it takes Jared to stop wanting to kill her and beyond that we can do a time jump epilogue to how life in their stupid little cave system went on boringly ever after!  Oh but wait we still have to clear up Seeker right?  Meyer can do that by having them go out for supplies stumble on her and take her out.  But I know that won’t happen.  But how can that take 33 more chapters?!  HOW MANY MORE TIMES CAN WE LISTEN TO HER DESCRIBE THINGS?!

Even if there was an entire chapter dedicated to the plot events surrounding all the characters who have actually spoken at this point it still wouldn’t be 33 more chapters!

Why do people like this book?  I have read the reviews on good reads.  People don’t just like this book, they love this book.  They think it’s amazing.  And WELL WRITTEN.

I weep for humanity

Till next time.  Check out The Llama’s take on this chapter as well.

The Host Review: Returned (Ch 26)

So I guess I’ll commend Meyer for finally going a few chapters in a row without it being the same scene split in two and just given a different chapter title.  This is yet another chapter that is not a 2 second gap from the end of the last chapter.  Small victories.

2532182-victory

This chapter instead picks up with Wanderer whining about how she has to interact with people.  Make that miniscule victories.

We always convened in the kitchen; I liked to help with the baking while I spoke. It gave me an excuse to pause before answering a difficult question, and somewhere to look when I didn’t want to meet anyone’s eyes. In my head, it seemed fitting; my words were sometimes upsetting, but my actions were always for their good.

Because you’re a martyr and we should all see how wonderful and caring you are and feel for the sacrifices you’ve had to make.

I didn’t want to admit that Jamie was right. Obviously, people didn’t like me. They couldn’t; I wasn’t one of them.

Yup, absolutely impossible for humans to like anything other than a member of their own species.  The term ‘man’s best friend’ clearly is just referring to the importance of best friends, not the loyalty and companionship of a loving dog we bring into our families.  There are certainly no pictures littering the internet of human beings willingly risking their lives to save cats, I mean, the ones you’ve seen those people are going to use those cats for food later right?  And that parrot with the intellect of a school aged child that died while the whole internet mourned its passing?  Just an act.  People are totally incapable of even liking another species!  The great Wanderer has said it so it must be true!

I saw it on the internet so it must be real GIF

Jeb liked me, but Jeb was crazy.

I am really sick of her saying that the only reason Jeb likes her is either because he’s crazy or he’s plotting to kill her.  She is a massively judgemental bitch who doesn’t deserve to be liked by Jeb or Jamie (she says just before this that Jamie only likes her because of irrational bonds to Melanie’s body, which does actually make sense but it’s still pretty horrible for her to assume that he’s incapable of making up his own mind after the initial shock wears off.)

“Could you hand me the soap, please, Wanda?” Trudy asked from my left.

An electric current ran through my body at the sound of my name spoken by a female voice.

I don’t get it.  Is that supposed to mean something?  Is that a bad thing?  Or is she saying it’s weird that a woman would refer to her by name?  Does she mean it was jarring because she didn’t expect it?  I’ll go with that assumption.  I guess I’ll give her that since it would have been the first time.

Heath, usually silent, letting Trudy and Geoffrey talk for him, was outspoken during these evenings.

How does she know these aren’t just Trudy and Geoffrey asking the questions if Heath is silent?  I have no recollection of who any of these people are so I have no idea what their relationship is or why Heath would have them talk for him.  Or how Wanderer would know that’s what he’s doing.  It’s rather presumptuous on her part isn’t it?

I suspect this is Meyers attempt at giving character to the background characters and making the world seem more fleshed out, but I don’t really see the importance.  We know there’s a lot of people there.  If you want to try and give people character say what kinds of questions they asked, or how they looked incredibly nervous to ask.  If you want to make a character too afraid to speak up say ‘Heath would grab Trudy’s shirt and whisper something in her ear excitedly, then she would jump in with a question.’ Because then we know that he’s engaged, but that he’s not asking the questions himself, through means other than just ‘Wanderer said so.’

I found this when searching for 'It's true because I said so' gifs and it was too awesome not to put in.  I don't care that it's irrelevant.

I found this when searching for ‘It’s true because I said so’ gifs and it was too awesome not to put in. I don’t care that it’s irrelevant.

She does say what one person was specifically interested in, the mechanics of things like ships and cryotanks and we’re thankfully spared the details.  Another person asked how their society functions without money and she says it’s the same as the caves. Everyone does their work and everyone reaps the benefits.  A communist utopia.

Communism works on paper, when you don’t factor in, you know, the people.  But remember, the parasites feel all the same emotions we do.  They’re hooked into our brains. They may have their own base instincts of kindness and empathy (though so far I have seen none of those things from Wanderer OR her fellow aliens.  Remember when she was having a panic attack in the middle of the street and everyone just ignored her?  Or when her class got all judgmental at her regarding the fire eater planet?) but they still have our desires for pretty things, and comfort, they still would feel jealousy and ambition.  They would still feel all the things that makes communism more difficult in practice because not everyone wants the same things.  Not everyone cares about the same things.

I would think this would be even more difficult for the souls since they’re not used to handling these emotions.  We grow up in a society designed to temper our more basic urges, they come into a fully formed body, even the body of a child would still have had time to adjust to the onslaught of emotion that their new parasites wouldn’t have.  It’s one thing to have the memories of the experiences it’s something else entirely to experience them first hand when you have no real context for how to deal with it.  Especially if the first settlers came from the apparently emotionally void spiders.

Maybe the spiders just kept their emotions in one of the brains you weren't infecting, ever consider that Wanderer?

Maybe the spiders just kept their emotions in one of the brains you weren’t infecting, ever consider that Wanderer?

In practice these parasites would be completely overwhelmed by our emotions and I would suspect the first few settlers, especially since from the sounds of it they infested adults which they’ve stated in this book is a lot harder, would have gone insane.  Become gluttons for the pleasures of this planet.  Or is self-control one of their base instincts as well?  They say that they’ve never experienced the degree of lust we exhibit either.  So maybe the whole parasite population would be riddled with venereal diseases and popping out babies all over the place too.  Orgies in the streets!

Everyone was stuck here, as good as planted. My stories were something new, something to think about besides the usual–the same endlessly repeated sweaty chores, the same thirty-five faces, the same memories of other faces that brought the same grief with them, the same fear and the same despair that had long been familiar companions. And so the kitchen was always full for my casual lessons.

So, she understands the depression linked to their current existence.  The pain associated with their lost loved ones.  But she doesn’t understand why they fight back against the aliens?  She can’t recognize that their displayed hostility is a reaction, not a base state?  The fact that she can’t recognize that means she really doesn’t understand.  She just thinks she does.

Aaaand now they start telling us about the dragonfly dolphins.  Fuck.

really_dammit

“They look more like huge dragonflies than fish, right, Wanda?” Jamie almost always asked for corroboration, though he never waited for my answer. “They’re all leathery, though, with three, four, or five sets of wings, depending on how old they are, right? So they kind of fly through the water–it’s lighter than water here, less dense. They have five, seven, or nine legs, depending on which gender they are, right, Wanda? They have three different genders. They have really long hands with tough, strong fingers that can build all kinds of things. They make cities under the water out of hard plants that grow there, kind of like trees but not really. They aren’t as far along as we are, right, Wanda? Because they’ve never made a spaceship or, like, telephones for communication. Humans were more advanced.”

Point the first.  Dolphins aren’t fish, they’re mammals.  You can tell the difference between a sea faring mammal and a fish by multiple distinctions.  They require air to breath instead of having gills, they have hair (though this is obviously difficult to tell unless you’re up close and personal) and they have tails that move up and down instead of side to side.  There are lots more distinctions than that, but those are the obvious ones you can see without cutting them open or watching them give birth.

Second problem.  So far they sound more dragony than the dragons, which I’ll remind you are made of jelly.  Why the fuck are they called dolphins if they have absolutely no resemblance to them whatsoever?  Because they live in water?  There are lots of things that live in water.  Flying fish have wings.  There are flying squid that have ‘wings’ and multiple limbs.

Flying squid

Third problem.  Water is water.  If it’s actually water it’s the same density as it is on Earth.  If it’s another chemical compound in liquid form it is not water.  It’s just a liquid.  This goes back to one of my most common problems with this book, words have meanings.

I will actually say that a non-binary gender system isn’t outside the realm of possibility.  Gendered reproduction came about as a means to increase rates of survival by transmitting the genes of multiple individuals, rather than just reproducing the genes of one, to the next generation. This gives higher odds for survival because they can gain the best survival techniques from each parent and increase the odds of positive mutations occurring allowing for further adaptation.  It also is what brought about social structure as a means to facilitate mating, which allowed for the transmission of information from one generation to another to gain even greater survival odds. So adding a third gene donour to the equation would simply give the spawn more potential DNA to incorporate and more potential survival mechanisms. …I hope that was clearer than mud.

Fourth issue.  Why do they have legs?  If they ‘fly’ through the water, why do they need legs?  All sea creatures on Earth that have functional legs also have an exoskeleton which was not mentioned in the description.  Some sea creatures like cephalopods (the aforementioned flying squid for example) have arms.  Those are for grabbing and propulsion.  There are some fish that have fins that function similar to arms and legs for digging tunnels.  Legs are used for walking.  Or kicking.  What purpose do these multiple legs serve for these leathery freaks of nature?  There are a few sea creatures that have nubby little limbs you could refer to as legs but their only purpose is grabbing on during sex so their partner can’t escape, but would the parasites infect a species that requires rape for procreation?

I must say the image I get in my mind of these creatures is really quite hideous.  I’m picturing the base body of a manatee (he said they were leathery, you don’t get a much more leathery sea creature than a manatee) with rows and rows of dragonfly wings sprouting out of its back, an odd number of spindly insect legs sticking out its underside like a crab that had a limb yanked off, then these big muscly human-like arms and hands sticking out in front.

Someone with better photoshop skills than I needs to make that.

Do-It

Well I’ve spent enough time talking about the ‘dolphins’.  There’s a noise somewhere and Jamie runs off.  Wanderer is startled, but Ian tells her he’ll be back so she should just keep talking.

Ian was sitting on the counter beside the oven–a hot seat that I wouldn’t have chosen–which made him close enough to reach out and touch my wrist. My arm flinched away from the unexpected contact, but I stayed where I was.

So, Ian is clearly flirting with her, and she is clearly not liking it.  Is he a love interest?  Or is this story going to get really dark?  This could potentially get very interesting in a real hurry.  Not that I think it will, but the set-up is certainly there.

Ian is very clearly trying to distract her from the fact that Jared and Kyle are back and her life is about to suck again.  But Wanderer doesn’t figure that out because she’s dumb as a post and never bothered to ask around when they would be back so she could be prepared for it when it happened and no one bothered to tell her so she could prepare for it when it happened because everyone else hates her as much as I do.  At least that’s the explanation I’m going with.

She starts talking about how the social structure of the dolphins work and I’m curious.  She never WAS one of them, and they weren’t inhabited until into her tenure as a human, so how does she know so much detail about their lives?  What they look like, how they function, how their family structures work… She knows way too much about them.

confused2gif

But whatever, she gets interrupted by a filthy Jared being escorted by Jeb and Jamie into the kitchen.

From the dirty figure came Jared’s voice–flat, perfectly devoid of any inflection. “What is the meaning of this, Jeb?”

‘What’s the meaning of this’?  REALLY?!  How cliché can you get?  Might as well have him wearing a monocle that pops off his face when he says it.

And OF COURSE Melanie finally speaks again for the first time in multiple chapters.  Because only Jared gives her the strength.  Not her little surrogate son, just her man.  Because no woman is complete without her man.

Told you

“Wanda is teaching us all about the universe,” Jamie babbled eagerly, somehow not catching on to Jared’s fury–he was too excited to pay attention, maybe.

“Wanda?” Jared repeated in a low voice that was almost a snarl.

I feel the same way Jared.  Hence why I still call her Wanderer.

Anyway, Kyle flips out and starts marching towards her, but instead of paying attention to the immediate threat heading her way she keeps her eyes on Jared because she has the survival instincts of a rock.

Melanie’s love flowed through me like a lake bursting through a dam, distracting me even more from the enraged barbarian closing the distance quickly.

Again, where the hell was all this emotion and energy from Melanie when Jamie was around?  ONLY for Jared does she seem to have the strength to overwhelm Wanderer.

Ian slid into my view, moving to place himself in front of me. I strained my neck to the side to keep my view of Jared clear.

what-the-hell-is-wrong-with-you

ALL THAT’S GOING ON AND YOUR ONLY FUCKING CONCERN IS THAT YOU CAN SEE JARED?!  WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!

Kyle’s hand came back up, and a light shone out of it. He pointed it at Ian’s face, held it there for a moment. Ian didn’t flinch from the light.

“So, what, then?” Kyle demanded, putting the flashlight back in his pocket. “You’re not a parasite. How did it get to you?”

“Calm down, and we’ll tell you all about it.”

“No.”

‘Tell me what happened!’ ‘Okay, I’ll tell you.’ ‘No!’  At least Wanderer isn’t the only one acting like a petulant child.

Actually the ‘no’ came from Jared.  He’s decided to shoot Melanie in the face.  Oh if only the book was only another chapter longer I could believe this was really how it ended…

Jeb says he doesn’t have the gun, so Jared intends to do it with his own two hands.  Ian tries to get him to calm down, but Jeb clears his throat and clarifies that the rule he made was that whoever the body belonged to would get to make the decision.  And since he believes Melanie is still alive, it’s still her body and thus, her decision.

Psyche

Psyche

OH WAIT.  Sorry, you didn’t think something in this book would be that good a message do you?  Nope, the decision isn’t Melanie’s or Jared’s, it’s Jamie’s!  Because Jamie will give the answer Jeb decided he wants (he actually does say that later in the chapter, I’m not just assuming).  Not because Jamie is her closest living blood relative and should have been brought into the decision making process right from the beginning, or should have been informed at any point that he may have to make an unpleasant call.  Not because Jamie genuinely has the closest bond with both Melanie and Wanderer.  This is just Jeb finding a loop hole in his own plan.

Also; this happens.

“Seems to me like there’s someone here with a claim just as strong as yours. Mebbe stronger.”

‘Mebbe’.  Yup, that’s a word written in a real book.

All the joy had drained from Jamie’s face, leaving it pale and horrorstruck.

“You can’t, Jared,” he choked. “You wouldn’t. Wanda’s good. She’s my friend! And Mel! What about Mel? You can’t kill Mel! Please! You have to –” He broke off, his expression agonized.

I said in an earlier chapter, before we actually met Jamie, that at 14, Jamie should be mature enough to at least be brought in on the decision but this pretty clearly indicates that I was wrong.  That’s the kind of thing I would expect from a 5 or 6 year old, not a teenager.  Especially not one that’s had to spend his life the way that Jamie has.  YES this would be hard on him.  YES he would be incredibly upset.  But, 1, we already know he kind of saw this coming since he agreed they shouldn’t tell Jared that she’d been sleeping in his bed, and 2, he’s seen what they do.  He knows the pain he felt when he lost Melanie.  The pain he felt at seeing her glowing eyes.

Painful memory

He knows why this is happening.  He has had to watch this happen to his parents, to his friends, the random people on the street.  He’s had to grow up living in caves and hiding from humanity because of these creatures and has grown up fearing them.  He has grown close to this one but he shouldn’t be talking like this.  He should be able to be firmer than this.  He should have chased after Jared when he knew what was happening, yelled out when Jared asked for the gun.  Spoke up when Jeb implied he had a say!

I closed my eyes again, trying to block the picture of the suffering boy from my mind. It was already almost impossible not to go to him. I locked my muscles in place, promising myself that it wouldn’t help him if I moved now.

Note that she’s steeling herself against her own urges to go to him, not Melanie’s.

And of course she makes an Et tu, Brutus? Reference in regards to the look Jared gives Jeb.  And alludes to Judas.  Because no one in more recent history has ever been betrayed, yes?

The unbearable tension lasted through another long minute, and then Jared shook Jamie’s fingers off his arm.

“Kyle,” Jared barked, turning and stalking out of the room.

Kyle gave his brother a parting grimace and followed.

brucewillisdoubletake

Wait, what?  Why?  Why is Kyle following Jared’s orders here? He doesn’t want his own answers from his brother?  Wasn’t he willing to kill Jared to get to her in an earlier chapter or three?  Why is he all of a sudden a loyal soldier coming when he’s beckoned?

Melanie was just as aghast. My poor baby.

I told you it was a bad idea to tell him everything, I reminded her.

What will it do to him now, when we die?

It’s going to be terrible. He’ll be traumatized and scarred and devastated –

NOW she’s concerned.  And anyway, he would have been all of those things either way.  So just shut up.

“They’re just shocked, that’s all.” I recognized Trudy’s alto voice behind me. “Once we get a chance to explain, they’ll see reason.”

“See reason? Kyle?” someone hissed almost unintelligibly.

He had her at arm’s length and not only didn’t kill her, he left the room without touching her at the orders of someone who he’d threatened to kill to get to her before.  So, yes?

They all discuss how to keep her safe from the people who haven’t been acclimatized to her presence yet and then she, once again, becomes a total bitch.Martyr

“No,” I finally managed to choke out. “No. That’s not right. You shouldn’t fight with each other. You all belong here. You belong together. Not fighting, not because of me.”

I pulled Jamie’s arms from around my waist, holding his wrists when he tried to stop me.

“I just need a minute to myself,” I told him, ignoring all the stares I could feel on my face. “I need to be alone.” I turned my head to find Jeb. “And you should have a chance to discuss this without me listening. It’s not fair–having to discuss strategy in front of the enemy.”

First, she’s martyring herself AGAIN.  Second, she’s saying they think of her as the enemy despite that they all just said that they would willingly risk their safety to protect her.  She’s an ignorant, self centered bitch and I am sick and tired of her demonizing the people that care about her.

The chapter ends with her running off in the most emo huff ever and going back to the cave bubble.

I hate this book.  That’s all I have to say.

Till next time.  Check out The Llama’s take on this chapter as well.