Hey look, a chapter where dumb bullshit happens and no one acts like real people! It’s so out of place!
I groaned. My head felt all swirly and disconnected. My stomach rolled nauseatingly.
“Finally,” someone murmured in relief. Ian. Of course. “Hungry?”
The first thought after her nausea is her being annoyed by Ian’s presence. This guy just doesn’t know how to leave her the fuck alone.
She makes some gagging sounds at the idea of eating, and Ian apologizes. He explains for the second time in two pages (it was explained on the last page of the last chapter and this is the first page of this chapter) why they drugged her. Apparently Meyer thinks all her readers have such short attentions spans they need a recap at the start of every chapter about what just happened. Judging by some of the reviews of this book, she may have a point.
She begrudgingly accepts his apology and denies his attempts to help her. This seems, to me at least, to be further evidence of how little she likes him. Considering he’s a pushy dick who has attempted to forcibly insert himself into every aspect of her life and touches her against her wishes on a regular basis, I support her disdain.
She asks where she is and he says she’s in ‘her’ room. Since she doesn’t have a room, this understandably leaves her confused.
She can’t see in the dark for once, and examines where she is with her hands, accidentally touching Ian’s hand in the process, which he grabs and holds before she has a chance to take it away. No, seriously, that’s how she describes it, look:
My searching hand touched his, and he caught my fingers before I could withdraw them.
See? In a different book that could be a very scary line. In a better romantic book it could be sweet. In this book it’s creepy and Ian is assuming she was seeking out his hand despite that he knows she’s confused and sick and has rejected his physical affection in the past AND has made it clear she’s still not terribly pleased with him at the moment. He’s being an overly forward, presumptuous asshat. Oh hey look, I found a new character to bitch about every single time he does something! It’s not just Wanderer anymore! Congratulations Meyer, you managed to make this book EVEN MORE obnoxious than it already was! That takes skill.
There’s an annoying back and forth after Ian admits he brought her to HIS room (because that doesn’t make this even fucking creepier) and he CAN move in with Wes after Kyle is kicked out. The ‘can’ is a wonderful little choice of word from the clingy dipshit. He doesn’t say he WILL, he says he CAN. Which means if she doesn’t MAKE him, he WON’T. And everyone knows she wouldn’t MAKE him, because she’s too nice to protect herself.
There’s an annoying back and forth between Ian and Wanderer where he mentions Kyle’s tribunal, she wants to know when it is, then they go back and forth about why she wants to know until he finally caves and tells her. It’s annoying and it’s damn near a full page. Then we find out just how creepy Ian really is.
Ian sighed. He dropped my hand and straightened slowly to his feet. I could hear his joints pop as he stood. How long had he been sitting in the dark, waiting for me to wake?
All day Wanderer. All fucking day. Just sitting there, in the same position, watching her sleep. On the bed with her, I might add. We know that from when she was searching around and bumped into his hand without leaving the mattress. He was sitting there, on the bed, ALL DAY just watching her sleep. While she was drugged. Were this any other author I would wonder if we were going to find out later in the book he did more than just sit there.
From there he further backs up how long he’s been sitting there by saying he’s starving and can’t sit there any longer because he finally needs to get something to eat. She informs him if that if he’s not back by the time the sun comes up she’s going to Kyle’s tribunal anyway (though Ian never said where the tribunals were held and that was never mentioned on any of Jeb’s tours, so how she’ll know where to go is beyond me) and Ian assures her he’ll be back in time.
It’s at this point I would like to mention that it does, in fact, rain in the desert from time to time, and since there seems to be a hole in the ceiling of every bedroom, it would be hilarious if a rainy season started during the events of this book.
She bitches about ‘human drugs’ for a while. There’s nothing I like more than listening to Wanderer look down on humans after only the chapter before having said that she understands her species was wrong and humans aren’t bad! She can’t even go one chapter without saying something bad about people. Not ONE.
Ian came back before the light, just as he’d promised.
“Feeling any better?” he asked as he stepped around the door.
“I think so. I haven’t moved my head yet.”
“Do you think it’s you reacting to the morphine, or Melanie’s body?”
“It’s Mel. She reacts badly to most painkillers. She found that out when she broke her wrist ten years ago.”
Does it matter? She’s reacting badly one way or another. Don’t think it really matters whether it’s the parasite or the person.
He thought about that for a moment. “It’s… odd. Dealing with two people at once.”
“Odd,” I agreed.
…Insightful. Do you know how weird it would be to have someone just say ‘odd’ there? Say ‘yeah’, ‘I know’, ‘for me too’, ‘yup’, a nod, anything that sounds more natural. Hell, a grunt would sound more natural.
His shadow sprawled out beside me. He felt for my hand, then pulled my fingers open and placed a familiar round shape in it.
Is he laying down beside her? How does a shadow sprawl out? (He’s handing her bread by the way, nothing dirty going on there)
Ian helps her sit up which brings her attention to the bandages around her torso, which she somehow didn’t notice when she was laying there for all that time Ian was gone just staring at the ceiling. She asks if her ribs are broken, Ian says Doc isn’t sure so he’s just doing all he can (which isn’t really much in the case of broken ribs even in a proper hospital, so that’s pretty much the best he can do period, so that’s fine) and she says she feels bad for thinking so poorly of him. Which is nice to hear her admit but she did already say that a few chapters ago so it’s also kind of unnecessary. But of course it’s just a set up to remind us how wonderful Wanderer is compared to everyone else because it’s followed by Ian saying it’s a miracle she can like any of them, as though Ian himself thinks all humans are monsters and she has every right to hate us just for being human.
And she takes that same opportunity to be self-deprecating masked as kind again by saying that it’s the humans who shouldn’t be able to like her. Because everyone just LOVES that person in their group of friends who constantly reminds everyone how different they are and how much they don’t fit in and that everyone should hate them. People don’t grow to hate that person because of their obnoxiousness, they just accept them as being selfless and loving! They don’t need therapy, they just need constant reassurance of how amazing they are!
Wanderer goes absolutely nuts over fucking Cheetos. CHEETOS. You know, that weird snack food that looks like a packing peanut covered in Dorito’s cheese powder? This isn’t the first time she’s brought them up, and it’s not the first time she’s indicated an unhealthy relationship with them, but she literally squeals with delight over these things. I don’t see the appeal. Nothing against Cheetos, they can be good sometimes, but the fact that she’s talked about them specifically not just some kind of chip-like product that she wants, it’s not just that she’s happy to be getting some junk food, it’s specifically these. I have to wonder if Meyer got paid to plug them.
“Cheetos!” I cried. “Really? For me?”
Something touched my lip, and I crunched into the delicacy he offered.
“I’ve been dreaming about this.” I sighed as I chewed.
I looked into it to try and find out if she was paid to sell them and found this instead.
I looked at him, curious, but I couldn’t see his face.
That snippet is from a few lines ago, literally the paragraph he’s handing her the Cheetos.
I stared into his dark blue eyes
That snippet is from immediately after she eats the Cheetos. Apparently not only are they delicious, they also give you the power to see in the dark!
That’s actually supposed to come off as a romantic moment as she’s thanking him for everything he’s done for her, but she immediately follows it by being confused as to what he means when he says she’s more than welcome, as she meant the thanks as just appreciation and he clearly meant more than that with his response. This is NOT a reciprocated relationship. Keep that in mind in future chapters.
She does try and explain why she can see his eyes now by the way, but she does a piss poor job of it.
And then I realized that I could see the color of Ian’s eyes; I glanced quickly up at the cracks above. The stars were gone, and the sky was turning pale gray. Dawn was coming. First light.
She could only see 2 stars through that hole in the ceiling, indicating it was a very tiny hole. And the sun isn’t even actually up yet, but she can see his eyes. The light is subtle enough that she didn’t notice at first it was getting brighter, but enough to make out his fucking eyes. Yeah, I totally buy that.
I think Ian likes you too much.
Too much? I was surprised to hear from Melanie, and so distinctly. Lately, she only spoke up like this when Jared was around.
I’m here, too. Does he even care about that?
Of course he does. He believes us more than anyone besides Jamie and Jeb.
I don’t mean that.
What do you mean?
But she was gone.
Of course she’s gone. God forbid Melanie get a chance to point out that Ian is being inconsiderate towards the feelings of the owner of the body he’s pawing at. That might make him seem like a dick!
So the tribunal is happening in the game room. Wanderer mentions she figured it would be in the kitchen, so if Ian had just left her alone she would have gone to the wrong place and he could have gotten his way of her not being there. But that wouldn’t give him the chance to hold her like he is, so of course he’s there for her. It’s tooootally just him being supportive.
Apparently there’s a sulphurous spring in the game room. That seems counterproductive. The game room is used for sports. Working out while around a smell that can make you sick would lead to a lot of people throwing up.
She describes the room again which is just as unrealistic as every other room in this excessively large cave system. She goes into detail about the width of the room, the height, how the lights are put up… WE DON’T CARE. STOP TALKING.
Another page of descriptions of where everyone is sitting. I wish I was exaggerating.
Jeb explains that the tribunal is basically a formality because if he doesn’t like the decision the majority comes to he’ll do whatever he wants anyway, so what the fuck is even the point? Hear them out, make a decision on your own. Don’t give people the illusion of democracy when it’s really a dictatorship.
“This is simple enough,” Ian said. I wanted to jump up and clap my hand over his mouth, but I didn’t think I could get to my feet without help. “My brother was warned. He was not in any doubt about Jeb’s ruling on this. Wanda is one of our community–the same rules and protections apply to her as to any of us. Jeb told Kyle point-blank that if he couldn’t live with her here, he should move on. Kyle decided to stay. He knew then and he knows now the penalty for murder in this place.”
“It’s still alive,” Kyle grunted.
“Which is why I’m not asking for your death,” Ian snapped back. “But you can’t live here anymore. Not if you’re a murderer at heart.”
Ian makes a well-reasoned argument and Kyle basically admits his guilt. Three guesses how this ends. Some other people speak up saying that if they just boot him out he could get caught and lead the aliens back to them, so it’s death sentence or nothing at all. Another rational argument that’s hard to ignore.
And another. “What did Kyle do wrong? Nothing.”
Even if you don’t consider Wanderer human and thus it wouldn’t be murder to kill her, Kyle was still told explicitly that he was not allowed to hurt her. That was a rule that he broke, therefore he DID do wrong, no matter how you want to look at the morals of the situation. Not only did he break the rule, he did so in a way that caused an entire, IMPORTANT, room to be destroyed.
Jared speaks up defending her saying that whether or not they think she should be killed is irrelevant and if they want to have that discussion they should call for another tribunal. This one is about whether or not Kyle broke the rules. He defends Wanderer, talking about how she’s never hurt any of them and even saved Kyle’s life and now won’t speak against him. This leads to Jeb asking if she will speak against him and obviously the answer is no. Melanie is hurt that Jared said nice things about Wanderer because she’s got serious jealousy issues.
Maggie and Sharon are massive bitches calling Wanderer a trespasser (technically she never found their cave, they found her and brought her there and are keeping her prisoner. A fact that was proved when even after the MONTHS she’s been there she was still drugged to be taken in and out of the caves so she wouldn’t know how to get in and out on her own. She IS being held there whether she likes it or not and is therefore not a trespasser) and saying that Kyle didn’t do anything wrong because he didn’t try and kill a human. Again though, Jeb’s rule wasn’t that Kyle couldn’t kill any humans, it was that he couldn’t kill Wanderer. Specifically. That rule was broken whether you like her or not.
For some reason that’s incredibly inconsistent with his character, Jeb goes with the majority vote and not only doesn’t kill Kyle, but gives him no punishment whatsoever.
Nothing. Kyle isn’t even a PRODUCTIVE member of their society, I might add, so it’s not because Kyle serves some incredibly important function. He’s a brute that nearly gets people killed on raids because he can’t control himself. And now he’s disobeyed Jeb’s direct orders, undermining his authority, and Jeb is giving him zero retribution. Not even a slap on the wrist. Which is basically code for ‘someone else take a shot at her! You’ll get off scot free!’ Efficient leadership there Jeb. Your rules don’t mean sweet dick all.
He does say that if anyone else tries to hurt her there will be no tribunal, just a burial, but he undermines himself by saying that right after not having any punishment at all for the last person he threatened death on if they hurt her. It’s hard to make a valid threat when you’ve proven you won’t follow through.
Now after that incredibly tense tribunal, and everyone is leaving angry, many members of the community now feeling insecure with their very lives (either because they now feel there’s a murderer among them or they want to get rid of Wanderer without facing Jeb’s gun) Jeb asks if anyone is up for a game! Totally appropriate timing. Not weird and unnatural at all.
That’s how the chapter ends. This was stupid, unrealistic, and unpleasant. As with pretty much the entire rest of the book.
See you next time. Don’t forget to check out The Llama’s take on this chapter as well!