I SURVIVED TILL THE HALF WAY POINT! WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
For a bit there I really wasn’t sure. I thought this book might kill me first. Even better? This chapter isn’t as bad as the last few! Huzzah! It still sucks, but hey, my standards for this book are incredibly low. I’ll take what I can get.
The chapter starts with Jared apologizing to Melanie for kissing Wanderer. It’s actually kind of sad as hope finally overwhelms him and he genuinely believes she’s in there now, and he doesn’t know how to handle it, and everything he’s done to her. He knows she was the one to punch him and that she felt betrayed by it, and he wants to fix it. But he’s still conflicted with his hatred for the parasite between them.
Wanderer keeps trying desperately to stop crying and just wants him to leave. I can’t actually say I think that’s unreasonable either. She did just get her first kiss by someone she does actually love, and it was immediately followed by intense hatred from both inside her own mind and the man she’s fallen for. I think her reaction is certainly on the pathetic and immature side, but she is a pathetic and immature character, so it doesn’t feel out of place.
“If you’re in there, Mel…” He paused.
Melanie hated the “if.” A sob burst up through my lungs, and I gasped for air.
“I love you,” Jared said. “Even if you’re not there, if you can’t hear me. I love you.”
I can’t help but feel for the guy here. I know he’s been a massive dick up till this point, and I have no doubt he will be again, but, this has got to be hard.
Anyway, Jared leaves and Wanderer spends way too long describing the incredibly dumb position she’s got herself stuck in.
And how long was I supposed to hold this position?
Who asked you to hold the position? You’re not ‘supposed’ to do anything. He left. Melanie certainly isn’t telling you to sit there and suffer. No one else expects you to sit there and suffer. So just stop being a dumbass and move.
Melanie had nothing to say to me. She was quietly working through her own relief and fury. Jared had spoken to her, finally recognized her existence. He had told her he loved her. But he had kissed me. She was trying to convince herself that there was no reason to be wounded by this, trying to believe all the solid reasons why this wasn’t what it felt like. Trying, but not yet succeeding. I could hear all this, but it was directed internally. She wasn’t speaking to me–in the juvenile, petty sense of the phrase. I was getting the cold shoulder.
Llama goes into this in more depth than I have any desire to, but I’m just going to say you can’t say she’s not speaking to you because she’s attempting to work through her own shit and then call her petty and juvenile for not speaking to you all in the same paragraph. A lot just happened, and Melanie is trying to work through it all, and you DID just make out with her boyfriend, complete with hair fondling. She’s not yelling at you, you’re not trying to get her to talk to you and she’s just not answering, she’s just trying to work through her emotions like an adult. Try doing that yourself for a change.
I felt an unfamiliar anger toward her. Not like the beginning, when I feared her and wished for her eradication from my mind. No, I felt my own sense of betrayal now. How could she be angry with me for what had happened?
You fondled her boyfriend. This is not hard to understand.
How was it my fault that I’d fallen in love because of the memories she forced on me and then been overthrown by this unruly body?
Well, yes, she showed you her memories, but I’m pretty sure it’s common for women to share the good things about their partners, and I do think it’s not unreasonable of them to expect their friends to be happy they have that in their lives, not be like ‘well fuck, I want him now.’ I don’t fall in love with everyone my friends date just because they tell me how awesome they are. Melanie wanted Wanderer to understand what she was taking from her. She wanted empathy.
And really Wanderer? Sure, it’s all the body’s fault. You can stop Melanie from taking over when she’s fighting you with everything she has, but you can’t control the body itself? REALLY?! TAKE SOME FUCKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR ONCE IN YOUR WORTHLESS GODDAMN LIFE YOU STUPID FUCKING PARASITE.
I cared that she was suffering, yet my pain meant nothing to her. She enjoyed it. Vicious human.
When the fuck did you say anything that implied you gave a shit about her suffering?! And when did you say anything that implied she was revelling in your pain?! From what you JUST DESCRIBED she’s not revelling in your pain, she’s too caught up in her own thoughts to notice your pain AT ALL. THAT’S NOT THE SAME THING!
She finally starts to try and pull herself out of the cave and gets stuck. Melanie gives her advice, but Wanderer does to her what she CLAIMED Melanie was doing to her, by just outright ignoring her despite the fact that she’s entirely correct and it would end her physical pain to just fucking listen. Also this goes against Melanie ENJOYING YOUR PAIN. She’s clearly NOT enjoying it or she would have just let you sit there and suffer you stupid fucking bitch.
Wanderer makes her APOLOGIZE before she will take the advice that will end her OWN pain and it’s just so goddamn stupid I’m not even going to talk about it because it’s just so fucking dumb. I did say this chapter was less stupid than the last couple right? Maybe I read the wrong chapter the first time through…
The multiple paragraph description of her getting out of the cave makes me wonder how the hell she got in in the first place. Are the boxes unable to be pushed out of the cave? Is there something holding them in place and that’s how she got stuck? But if that’s the case how did she get in it in the first place? Oh whatever. I’m not putting more thought into that than Meyer did.
There’s a mat right where she fell out, that was most definitely not there before she went in, so either Jared left it there for her or Meyer sucks. Either answer would make sense to me. She curls up and thinks too much about more things I don’t care about.
What was Jamie doing now? Did he know I was here, or was he looking for me? Ian would be asleep for a long time, he’d looked so exhausted. Would Kyle wake soon? Would he come in search? Where was Jeb? I hadn’t seen him all day. Was Doc really drinking himself unconscious? That seemed so unlike him…
I woke slowly, roused by my growling stomach. I lay quietly for a few minutes, trying to orient myself. Was it day or night? How long had I slept here alone?
There is no break between those paragraphs in the book. Not so much as a ~ or extra space between them to indicate any passage of time. Meyer has no idea how to transition. And if an editor even looked at this book they should be fired for incompetence.
I considered eating something from the supply pile in the hole–after all, I’d already damaged pretty much everything, maybe destroyed some. But that only made me feel guiltier about the idea of taking more. I’d go scavenge some rolls from the kitchen.
So why not just eat some of the things you destroyed since they won’t be able to prepare them for other people? You destroyed a bunch of their food so you think you deserve the fresh rolls they have to tirelessly farm to produce? Right. Selfless this one. Just a saintly martyr.
She leaves, whining on the way out that no one came looking for her. When she reaches the mouth of the tunnel Jamie is there waiting patiently for her and she’s relieved because she’s selfish and likes that other people are inconveniencing themselves because of her despite how much horrible shit she thinks about them constantly. She does not deserve their affection. You don’t get to reap the benefits of love and respect from people you spend 90% of your time internally convincing yourself that they’d chop you up just for fun. You are a terrible person and while everyone here is dumb, they don’t deserve your disrespect and distrust in ungrateful little shit.
Jamie rambles on about how Jared told them what happened and assured them he didn’t hurt her, but that she wanted to be left alone. Jamie wanted to go to her, but no one would let him so he sat there waiting. When Jamie asks if Jared was mean to her, she says no and then internally accuses him of treating her like a lab rat, giving me a perfect example of what I just said. I did not time that on purpose, Wanderer is just such a bitch she can’t go two paragraphs without thinking something mean about someone.
He asks how she feels about Jared believing her about Melanie, and her response makes me think she wished he didn’t believe her. She says that telling the truth is easier, but then thinks that that’s an evasive answer, which, to me at least, suggests that she’s trying to make it sound like she’s happy about it, but she’s not. So she’s saying that she would rather Jared not know Melanie was in there and that that kiss was for her, and yeah, sure, Melanie has NO REASON AT ALL to be a bitch to you right? Not fair at all of her! Because you TOTALLY care about her suffering! Fuck you.
How is this chapter not even half done yet?
Jamie wants to feed her the good food, she tries to eat the rolls instead, and of course we’re reminded again that she’s soooo selfless! Fuck I hate this character. Anyway Jamie makes her eat the meat and this three line paragraph sums up an entire page in the book because we totally need all that detail of the colour and texture of the meat right?
A bunch of people are gathered to listen to her teach and we’re spared more details she couldn’t know about the ‘dolphins’ by a scene skip. Thankfully.
A day or two pass without her seeing Jared around and she says life mostly goes back to normal, which is incredibly boring but it takes up a couple of pages despite absolutely NOTHING happening. Another session of alien Q&A happens. Someone asks her about medicine, which she’s already been asked about in previous chapters, but the reasoning they end up revealing does justify them trying again so I’ll not complain about that aside from not wanting to hear it.
She reiterates that she knows nothing about the alien medicine and everyone gets really disappointed. She asks why and she’s told that people have ‘mortality on the brain’, and she finally puts two and two together and asks where Walter is.
Walter is in the final stages of dying of cancer. Having known many people who have died of cancer and even more that have suffered from it, if this is not handled well, you will see a rage from me that makes all my previous rants pale in comparison I can promise you that. I’ve lost friends and family. I watched a friend and classmate die of a brain tumour just before Christmas when he was only 14 years old. I was there as my grandfather sat in his hospital bed on his final day, a pale reflection of the man he had been only weeks before. I watched my mother struggle through chemo, being so sick from it as to be barely functional despite being on the best medications money could buy. Meyer, you have had glimmers of decent writing, you better fucking use that for how you handle this.
“Why didn’t anyone tell me?”
“Things have been… difficult for you lately, so…”
Because the little woman must be protected? Everyone else has had a lot going on too, but they all know. Maybe they just think she’s too dumb to handle this information. I’d support them if it was the latter.
Anyway, she asks to go see him and they agree to take her saying that if anyone gets upset about it they can go shove it since Walt’s been saying her name so he probably wants to see her. I have got to say they are actually doing the right thing here. The wishes of the dying are more important than everyone else feeling comfortable.
It takes way too long and they make it way too dramatic getting to the medical cavern. They have Kyle walk past and Ian antagonize him, but he does nothing but get cranky, so other than making Ian seem kind of shitty I see no point for this. And by making Ian look bad I mean he takes her hand to give Kyle even more reason to dislike her, in the name of telling him to shove his hatred up his ass, making him even pissier. And then when Kyle passes he refuses to let go of her hand despite her indication that she would like him to, he’s a love interest remember? That’s totally a love interest thing to do, disregarding the desires and comfort of the one you’re supposed to like? Yeah, sure.
“Jeb’s made his opinion very clear,” Ian said.
“What do you mean?” I asked Ian.
“If Kyle can’t accept Jeb’s rules, then he’s no longer welcome here.”
“But that’s wrong. Kyle belongs here.”
Here’s more of that damn ‘selfless’ insecurity. You tell me, which would you rather have in a confined, tense space? The calm girl who does work and keeps everyone entertained or the big brute who just makes everyone tense and cranky? Which one of those people seems to belong more? As much as I hate Wanderer it’s not really much of a competition. Especially if he can’t even be trusted to go out on raids without supervision because he’s too much of a rash blowhard.
Melanie tries to make her feel better, yeah, more proof that she totally hates you and wants you to suffer right Wanderer? And Wanderer gets all emo about it saying that Melanie belongs there, not her. Melanie says they’re a package deal and Wanderer gets annoyed by that too, because of course she does.
Wanderer mentions that Melanie has been mostly silent since Jared left. Because love is the only thing that matters apparently. Melanie actually only wants to see Walter because she thinks that’s where Jared is. Which makes her a massive bitch in my books even if she does have a point that Walter is Wanderer’s friend, not hers. She’s still walking into a room where someone is dying and making it about her, and for a change I actually have to give Wanderer props for berating her for it.
But Wanderer DOES say Walter is HER friend. Which kind of goes against all the ‘I don’t belong here’ and ‘no one wants me here’ emo crap. She knows that Walter is her friend and he defended her and wants her there. So she’s devaluing his feelings by saying that NO ONE wants her there and she doesn’t belong, implying that the risk he took defending her doesn’t matter. So I have to qualify the props I give her with ‘but she’s still a massive bitch’.
They finally get to the medical corridor and Doc is sleeping on the cot next to Walt. It smells like death and I am glad to say the scene feels appropriately heavy. Walter is awake, but barely. When Ian asks if he’s up for company he can’t immediately vocalize a response and she describes his skin as pale and thin. Wanderer takes her hands back from Ian and Jamie and asks if there’s anything she can do for him.
“Finally,” he gasped. His breath wheezed and whistled. “I knew you would come if I waited long enough. Oh, Gladys, I have so much to tell you.”
And I have nothing to say to this, the final line of the chapter. It’s actually impactful, and I will beg the universe to let this be the mood for the whole scene.
I think it must have been this part of the chapter when I first read it that made me think this chapter didn’t suck that bad. Because that last page really doesn’t. It’s effective, and a little hard to read. I have nothing else to say about this chapter.
Till next time.