Oh god I am not looking forward to having to actually think about this chapter… It hurts me just considering considering it. So much more just awfulness. This chapter is everything I’ve yelled about in previous chapters all jammed together in one boring, bigoted, personal space invading, emotionally abusive biologically inaccurate and PAINFULLY BORING mess of a plot conflict. That all but gets COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN by the end of the fucking chapter. You could cut this chapter and the next one out completely and it would not change ANYTHING. One line of bridging context to chapter 42 and bam, the book moves along, two chapters shorter.
Can I just, do that? Can I just make up a bridging line between the end of the last chapter and the start of chapter 42 and just, not go over this chapter or 41? No? Dammit.
The chapter starts off with her hearing voices in the distance. She doesn’t know what they’re talking about yet. But there’s one important thing she overhears:
“Doc didn’t want to. It was Jared’s idea this time.”
That comes up later. I will reference it. Probably multiple times. Because Wanderer is a fucking moron and Meyer is a terrible writer.
The characters with names I don’t recall ever reading before here but apparently we’re supposed to remember keep talking about how disgusting something is and Jared’s motivation for doing it. It’s clear to ME that they’re talking about trying to get the aliens out of people’s brains, but Wanderer hasn’t clued in that the people she’s listening to are implying Jared is trying to figure out how to free Melanie from Wanderer.
I moved cautiously now, putting each foot down with silent care. It was very quiet. For a moment, I wondered if I was wrong and there was no one here at all. Then, as the uneven entrance came into view, throwing a block of white sunlight against the opposite wall, I could hear the sound of quiet sobbing.
The sobbing is relevant to the Doc quote above. It’ll come up later.
If you read my review for chapter 39 you may recall me just kind of skipping over most of the second half of that chapter because despite that it was actually plot relevant as opposed to the parts I did focus on, it was just a whole lot of words to talk about something that could have just as easily been communicated in only a line or two. This chapter again, there’s plot relevant information going on, but I’m already a page and a half into it and there is absolutely nothing worth talking about except pointing out quotes that give me fuel to yell at Wanderer for later on. So far it’s been her describing the sounds of footsteps and people’s voices and her walking pace. The pointless descriptions of the scenery around her I assume is meant to set the tone but it just bores me to tears.
“There, there.” It was Jeb’s voice, thick with some emotion. “’S okay. ‘S okay, Doc. Don’t take it so hard.”
Hushed footsteps, more than one set, were moving around the room. Fabric rustling. A brushing sound. It reminded me of the sounds of cleaning.
Take this for example. She just heard Jeb say that Doc was crying and clearly upset about something, and instead of wondering what was wrong with Doc that made him cry, she is talking about how the brushing sound sounds like cleaning. What the fuck does cleaning sound like? Meyer is trying to establish that the humans are trying to clean up the blood of the dead bodies they’ve got in there, and build tension. But to do so she has to take her supposedly selfless character and have her not even ACKNOWLEDGE the upset of someone she, in previous chapters, declared an undying respect for due to his strength of character and compassion. She has been declared as compassionate multiple times, thinking of the needs and feelings of those around her. She instead thinks about the random sound that reminds her of cleaning.
No, seriously, describe to me the sound of ‘cleaning’. What kind of cleaning exactly? Scrubbing right? That’s what she’s saying it sounds like. But that’s not what CLEANING sounds like. That’s what SCRUBBING sounds like. Cleaning can mean scrubbing, sweeping, dusting, tidying up, organizing, washing dishes… Meyer just had Wanderer make that association so when the time came you would understand that she had overheard them scrubbing the blood.
There was a smell that didn’t belong here. Strange… not quite metallic, but not quite anything else, either. The smell was not familiar–I was sure I had never smelled it before–and yet I had an odd feeling that it should be familiar to me.
Alien blood. She’s describing alien blood. But also, you know, human blood. She’s trying to express that she’s smelling alien blood but that also describes human blood, so I don’t know why Meyer did that. It’s CLEAR to me that it’s supposed to be the aliens she’s smelling because why else would she phrase it like that? But more importantly, she says at the start of this book that she’s never had a sense of smell before (because that always made sense) and now she’s saying she feels like she should have smelled it before. How would she have smelled it before? She’s smelled human blood before though, so she should recognize that a kind of metallic quality but not is blood at least. She’s just trying to explain that Wanderer somehow has some innate instinct regarding the smell of her own blood. THAT MAKES NO SENSE.
She finally walks into the room and sees Doc sitting with his head on his knees sobbing. Jared and Kyle are standing over some dead bodies she doesn’t recognize as dead bodies because they’re covered by blankets. She describes in detail the colours of everything and the shapes of everything and then goes on and on about the ripped up pieces of alien carcass strewn about by the bodies heads.
They finally realize she’s there and she has something resembling a weird panic attack. I think she’s describing vertigo, but it’s all pretty weirdly put so I’m not sure.
“What did she see?”
“Nothing–nothing. The bodies were covered!”
That was a lie! The bodies were hideously uncovered, strewn in obscene contortions across the glittering table. Mutilated, dismembered, tortured bodies, ripped into grotesque shreds…
This is just another one of those things to bring up later. Just remember, the only bodies she cares about are the alien ones. Not the dead humans. It will be important.
I had clearly seen the vestigial feelers still attached to the truncated anterior section of a child. Just a child! A baby! A baby thrown haphazardly in maimed pieces across the table smeared with its own blood…
I’m not entirely certain why her species would have vestigial anything, let alone feelers. I also think she doesn’t know what ‘vestigial’ means if she’s implying they come off when the babies grow up. Vestigial appendages are permanent fixtures, not temporary ones. They’re useless, and outdated at the creature’s evolutionary point, but they aren’t something that the creature grows out of. But since her species clone themselves to reproduce, they shouldn’t develop vestigial appendages to begin with.
She spends half a page describing everyone panic around her as she throws up the bile in her stomach. Once she has ‘cleared her throat’ as she puts it, she yells at everyone to get the hell away from her, calling them monsters and torturers.
They restrain her, refer to her as being hysterical and SLAP her to bring her around. Word of advice, that is the single worst thing you can possibly to do someone who is freaking the fuck out. Especially if she’s freaking out thinking you’re vicious monsters.
My ears were ringing, but not from the slap. It was the smell–the smell of the silver blood dripping down the walls–the smell of the blood of souls.
No no Wanderer, your ears were ringing because of the slap. Your head was probably spinning from the smell, but that’s not how anatomy works. Your ears literally cannot ring because of a smell unless you have synesthesia and we would have known about that by now if you did.
The room writhed around me as though it were alive. The light twisted into strange patterns, curved into the shapes of monsters from my past. A Vulture unfurled its wings… a claw beast swung its heavy pincers toward my face… Doc smiled and reached for me with silver trickling from his fingertips…
This reaction feels unrealistic to me. I’ve seen things that made me so horrified I nearly threw up, I’ve suffered traumatic over reactions to seemingly harmless things that just so happened to trigger horrible memories of past experiences that overwhelmed me and caused me to freak the fuck out, and I’ve had panic attacks. None of them were anything like what she’s describing. This sounds more like a bad acid trip. I suppose it’s possible that someone could react this way, but I think it’s more likely that Meyer just wanted to over dramatize this and then connect the depressed, sobbing Doc, that, as I pointed out earlier she overheard didn’t even want to be involved with this, to the most horrible memories she can dredge up.
So far Doc is the single most consistent character in this entire book. That consistency he has displayed is compassion, sympathy, empathy, and basically everything Wanderer is SUPPOSED to be. And Wanderer is making the association of him being the absolute most heinous person in the caves. Even though it was JARED’S idea (which I pointed out earlier for this very purpose) and Doc is clearly upset over it, where Jared doesn’t seem to care about even the dead humans, let alone the dead aliens. But he can’t be the one she’s mad at because that wouldn’t be plot convenient. He also can’t have objected to this because he was the one that brought them back.
Wanderer passes out, but apparently only for a few seconds. This also seems incredibly unrealistic and plot convenient. Apparently Ian is carrying her now. Apparently this is something he did a LOT while she was healing. This aggravates me. See previous reviews for why, because I just do not at all feel like going over that again.
Ian is yelling at Jared about why Wanderer was so upset. Jared thinks it’s because Wanderer is scared they’re going to do that to her, which is reasonable, but Ian thinks she’s upset about the bodies. Ian is right, but I hate him, so I will point out that he makes a show of how barbaric the act was to do at all. I will also point out that he has done this before himself, and even nearly strangled Wanderer to death upon her arrival. He has no room to talk.
“The wrong bodies, Jared. Oh, I’m sure Wanda would be upset by a human corpse–she’s so gentle; violence and death aren’t a part of her normal world. But think what the things on that table must have meant to her.”
And this is where the quote about Wanderer’s reaction was for. She didn’t give two shits about the human corpses Ian, you’re projecting what you THINK Wanderer is onto her. She ONLY cared about the dead parasites. She is NOT that ‘gentle’.
“Yes. If you or I had walked in on a human vivisection, with torn body parts, with blood splattered on everything, it wouldn’t have been as bad for us as it was for her. We’d have seen it all before–even before the invasion, in horror movies, at least. I’d bet she’s never been exposed to anything like that in all her lives.”
Vivisection? The only other books I’ve ever read that in are HG Wells novels. No normal person uses that word.
Wanderer finally lets them know she’s awake by insisting Ian let her go. He refuses at first, so she starts kicking and shoving him. She gets out of his arms and goes off running. She couldn’t do these things to save her own life, but she can be violent now after being horrified by all the violence. Sure.
“Let her go.”
“Don’t touch me! Wanda, come back!”
It sounded like they were wrestling behind me, but I didn’t slow. Of course they were fighting. They were humans. Violence was pleasure to them.
NO ONE in that room was happy. Doc was actively CRYING. The people walking away were talking about how horrible it was. No one was ENJOYING it you fucking bitch. I know you just saw something incredibly traumatizing, but throughout this entire book you have seen over and fucking over again how compassionate these people can be! You didn’t even ask what the hell was going on! You just assumed it was torture! Maybe those people were already dead when they found them, or dying out in the desert. Maybe the aliens attacked THEM first and they defended themselves then decided to try and learn something from the people they had to kill in self defense. She makes a point of saying how one is a baby, but Seeker was a fresh soul, so maybe she was under one of those sheets. Maybe she had seen them, got back up and tried to follow them back to the caves!
But no, Wanderer just automatically returns to assuming that every single human being is completely and utterly horrible and loves to fight.
She spends half a page going on at length in an incredibly drama queen esque way how horrible humans are some more as she heads to a hole in the wall of the game room.
It wasn’t what we thought. Doc wasn’t hurting anyone on purpose; he was just trying to save –
GET OUT OF MY HEAD! I shrieked.
She just banished Melanie.
I’m sorry so far this review is incredibly short and incredibly uninteresting. This chapter is just so uninteresting… Meyer spends so much time trying to set and maintain the mood that it’s just page after page of stupid melodramatic descriptions. I might care more if I didn’t hate Wanderer so much. If she hadn’t shown so many times that she’s still racist against humans before this even happened so it’s not even that drastic a change. I might have cared if this wasn’t completely negating the best part of this ENTIRE book up to this point, the death of Walter.
The entire point of that section was how Wanderer finally changed and realized humans were compassionate. Especially Doc. She says there that she forms a bond with him over their shared pain. That’s COMPLETELY gone now because of this. And that’s not even an important plot point! Nowhere in the entire rest of this book does it matter that she now hates Doc! She just needed to blame someone other than Jared, the only logical character to blame, so it would make sense when she doesn’t still hate Jared later on!
I also might care about this, maybe, if I didn’t know already that it has no impact on the plot whatsoever. The ONLY thing that actually makes a difference to how the plot progresses from here is her banishing Melanie, and I’m pretty sure if you cut out that little plot cul-de-sac it wouldn’t matter either! So my claim that this and the next chapter are irrelevant isn’t even accurate, this chapter, the next one, AND the one after that DO NOT AT ALL AFFECT THE PLOT. There is NO character growth from this. It does NOT come up later in any way that couldn’t be cut out without even having to put anything in to make up for the cut text. THIS BOOK COULD BE THREE WHOLE CHAPTERS SHORTER GODDAMMIT!
It was only me now. Just me, and the pain and the horror that I would never escape. I would never not have that image in my head again. I would never be free of it. It was forever a part of me.
Until chapter 43 where it almost never comes up again.
She goes on about mourning, and how she’ll grieve in silence like that bats where she lost a friend to a fallen tree. Except she said early in the book that she’d never had any friends. So that’s just trying to make you feel bad for her. I want to sympathize with her dealing with seeing something so horrible, but I have spent too much of this book absolutely hating her. The descriptions come off as way too melodramatic, specifically designed to try and elicit my sympathy. It just feels fake. Obviously it is since it’s a book, but I just mean it feels more like how they would show someone being upset in a comedy, or just a really bad actress in a movie. You just can’t get into it.
She says that her mourning is ‘stolen’ from her. She says this before explaining that a few hours later, as she was still just sitting there in her silent mourning, that someone finally found her. It’s rather jarring because it sounds like she’s just saying that she sits there in silence and that’s how her silent mourning is stolen from her. It makes no sense the way it’s put and I had to read this section a few times to understand that the ‘stolen’ line is connected to the paragraph under it, not the ones above it. YOU NEED TO LEARN HOW TO USE SECTION BREAKS MEYER!
As the people search the room, Wanderer calls them monsters over and over again. Calls Jamie a monster twice, calls the people who find her monsters, calls Jared a monster when he shows up, calls Melanie a monster… GET A DAMN THESAURUS. Do you see what I mean about it feeling like a bad actress in a B movie drama?
He tries to apologize and she refuses to talk, pointing out to the reader that Jared was the one who’d ordered it, but still for some reason she hates Doc more than Jared and I don’t understand why. She flinches when he touches her shoulder and he backs off, and tells her he respects that she wants to be alone and he’ll keep everyone away from her.
After Jared goes to watch the door, Ian shows up and does the exact opposite by fighting with Jared to be allowed to go talk to her! He claims moral superiority, ignoring the fact that he knew about it or he wouldn’t have tried to keep her from the hospital, thus making him ‘party to it’ as he claims he wasn’t.
I huddled myself more tightly together, expecting him to touch me.
Say it with me now, I know you know what’s coming by this point: Ian’s a creep.
There was a quiet sigh, and then the sound of him sitting on the stone, not as close beside me as I would have expected.
With a click, the light disappeared.
I waited in the silence for a long time for him to speak, but he was just as silent as I was. Finally, I stopped waiting and returned to my mourning. Ian did not interrupt. I sat in the blackness of the big hole in the ground and grieved for lost souls with a human at my side.
This is how the chapter ends. I think it’s supposed to come off as sweet and considerate. But it comes immediately after her cringing because she KNEW he was going to touch her. And he WAS going to touch her! That’s why he sighs, because he understood what that reaction was for! ‘Aww, isn’t it sweet that he invades her personal space so often she actively expects it, and that he ignored her desire to be alone yet again! Isn’t it so considerate of him to not touch her after she flinched at even the IDEA of him touching her! He’s so sweet!’ FUCK YOU.
The actual plot events in this book are SO BORING! The crappy filler chapters at least have bits worth talking about, even if that’s only because I would sooner stab myself in the eye than read more about Ian touching Wanderer and cow-spiders. At least it’s SOMETHING! Half my word count on this chapter is just me talking about how much nothing there is to talk about!
The next chapter isn’t much better unfortunately. But I guess it does have one section that would have to be grafted onto the start of chapter 43 if the rest of this was cut out completely.
Oh wait I just figured out why this happened… Meyer had them murder people so she could have Wanderer conveniently displaced so she could be shocked by what happens in the second half of the next chapter. Hurray. Fuck I hate this book.
Till next time! Check out The Llama’s review!