The Host Review: Believed (Ch 36)

I swear to god you guys I really am trying to get back on schedule!  I have just been so busy and we’re so backed up at work, by the time I get home at the end of the day the idea of reading more of Wanderer’s awful bitching is so abhorrent that I can’t bring myself to look at it.  But we’re slowly getting caught up at work so I’m feeling progressively less burnt out and can maybe finally get back on track… I hope.

andy-fingers-crossed-o

This chapter opens with Jamie explaining why Jeb stupidly thought now would be a good time to play a game.  Even Meyer new it was dumb.  The reasoning is for everyone to de-stress, except for the fact that pitting people against each other in a competitive sport right after they were all against each other in the trial, you’re only going to reinforce the antagonism between the two groups.  At least that’s the way it would be in real life.  In Meyer-verse everything goes swimmingly, making this one of the most boring chapters in a while.

There’s some meaningless dialogue from all the people in Wanderer’s field of auditory perception reiterating what Jamie already established.  Then there’s a whole PAGE dedicated to who will captain the teams and who will be on those teams.  And it’s not even a thorough dialogue.  It’s just people’s names.  That’s it.

“I nominate Andy for captain,” someone shouted.

“I nominate Lily,” Wes called out, getting to his feet and stretching.

“Andy and Lily.”

“Yeah, Andy and Lily.”

“I want Kyle,” Andy said quickly.

“Then I get Ian,” Lily countered.

“Jared.”

“Brandt.”

And so on.

Lily attempts to recruit Wanderer for her team.  Wanderer is currently bandaged and they JUST finished a trial about how much Kyle beat the shit out of her.  Because of course that’s something you just forget.  Melanie gives Wanderer crap for having been a lazy couch potato when they lived with the Soul’s implying that she’s out of shape.  Wanderer reminds her that that doesn’t really matter at the moment seeing as she’s too injured to STAND.  Everyone in this book is a moron.

Everybody's an idiot

Ian decides to sit out to keep Wanderer company, but everyone keeps pestering him and Wanderer says she’ll just keep score.  He genuinely doesn’t seem to want to play but he ends up doing so anyway because of peer pressure and plot convenience.  There is so much nothing in this chapter that that discussion takes up half a page.

Despite that Ian was just with her, and has only stood up and started stretching, not left, no one notices that Wanderer is sitting in the middle of the field, struggling and failing to get up to her feet and move out of everyone’s way.  Such considerate and observant people.

She literally starts trying to hop like a fucking bunny out of the way before Jared finally comes over and gives her a hand.  It’s terribly plot convenient that it was Jared, not Ian who should only be about 2 feet away.  But it’s definitely not just Jared because Meyer wants them to have a private conversation, no, it TOTALLY makes sense!

“You could have just asked for help,” he said conversationally.

“I –” I cleared my throat. “I should have. I didn’t want to…”

“Call attention to yourself?” He said the words as if he were truly curious. There was no accusation in them. He helped me hobble toward the cave entrance.

I shook my head once. “I didn’t want to… make anyone do anything, out of courtesy, that they didn’t want to do.” That didn’t explain it exactly right, but he seemed to understand my meaning.

Dear Meyer: you do understand that comma’s indicate a pause in speech correct?  And that reading that the way the punctuation indicates makes it sound like Wanderer is out of breath?  You didn’t?  Then what the fuck is with the comma’s there?  Is she pausing to try and think of how to word it?  Because you don’t indicate that through the dialogue tags.  No, you just went with vague explanation that you say isn’t exactly right, but it actually sounds exactly right to me.  The only thing missing is the explanation of why.  But that’s not necessary for that sentence to still be accurate.

Jared examined my face. I realized I was smiling in affection.

“You care about the kid quite a bit,” he said.

“Yes.”

He nodded. “And the man?”

“Ian is… Ian believes me. He watches over me. He can be so very kind… for a human.” Almost like a soul, I’d wanted to say. But that wouldn’t have sounded like the compliment it was to this audience.

Oh so many problems here…  Let’s go in order of how they appear shall we?  I understand why Jared is referring to Jamie as ‘the kid’.  I have a habit of referring to my niece and godson that way as well.  It’s meant as a term of endearment.  But I don’t understand why he says ‘And the man?’  I know Meyer used that phrasing because Jared just referred to Jamie as ‘the kid’, but they’re two entirely different contexts.  Ian and Jared don’t even seem to get along all that well, so it’s not an endearment.  It’s a denigration the way Wanderer refers to Seeker as Seeker instead of by a name.  It’s a disassociation.  He’s not ‘Ian’, he’s just some guy.  I don’t get the sense that Meyer meant it that way though.  So it’s just a poorly worded statement.

Really annoying

Next problem is that she said ‘for a human’.  It was literally the day before that she was saying that her species was wrong.  That humans were capable of love and compassion.  Yet here again she’s using ‘human’ as an insult.  She’s saying that humans suck.  Except that one, he’s like one of her species.  So her breakthrough a few chapters ago of finally realizing that her species isn’t as great as she thought meant absolutely nothing, her species is still superior and only a select few humans are worthwhile.

‘This audience’ is another terribly phrased line.  You are allowed to word things the way people actually think and talk Meyer!  You don’t have to try and fancy it up!  You just make it sound dumb!

Jared snorted. “For a human. A more important distinction than I’d realized.”

I genuinely have no idea what that’s meant to imply.

Huh

They talk about whether or not Jeb was right to do what he did with Kyle, Wanderer apologizes for hurting them with her presence, Jared admits Jamie is better off, Jared asks why she loves Jamie.  Jared shakily tries to admit that he’s finished being a dick to her and kind of feels bad about it, but can’t get the words to come out so he just assures her she can talk to him.  It’s actually decently conveyed and I’ll give props where they’re due, since they are so very rarely due.

Wanderer tells him that Melanie’s memories started it, but meeting him in person she couldn’t help but love him.  Personally I find him kind of obnoxious, but I’m not living in the body of his surrogate mother, so whatever.  Jared asks if Melanie talks to her, she tells him yes.  He asks if she’s talking now, Wanderer admits she’s not because Melanie is mad at her.

He barked out a surprised laugh. “She’s mad? Why?”

“Because of…” Was there such a thing as double jeopardy here? “Nothing.”

How many times has Wanderer not understood BASIC concepts in this book?  How many times has she been confused by human behaviour and customs?  By wordings, body language, how to do things?  But she knows what double jeopardy is?  Would Melanie even have been old enough to learn/understand that concept before she went on the road?  She was only 16 when she first ran into Jared and she’d already been on her own for a while by that point.  When the hell would she have learned what the fuck the concept of double jeopardy laws are?!  I know a lot of adults who have no idea what that is and Melanie certainly doesn’t seem to have much interest in the law so I can’t imagine she was going around finding out on her own.  And since souls don’t have rules or crime they certainly would have had no reason to learn these things after the fact.  I call bullshit!

calling bullshit

They get talking about violence, and that brings Wanderer to talking about the Seeker.  Wanderer admits she can’t blame Melanie for wanting to punch the woman in the face.  Even though I stand by my earlier assessment that the Seeker was no crueller to Wanderer than most of the humans here have been.  In fact she did seem to be genuinely concerned for her well-being at some points, and while she certainly didn’t seem like the nicest woman in the world, I fail to understand how Wanderer can think that the Seeker is worse than KYLE.  Seeker tried to SAVE her, not kill her!  She tried to kill MELANIE, and at the time, Wanderer’s only objection to that was not wanting to ‘skip’ or ‘jump’ or whatever the hell they called it.  Kyle would have gleefully killed them both, but Melanie is unreasonable for wanting bad things to happen to him, because… what’s the difference here?  …OH!  I get it.  Kyle’s human, so him being violent is expected, and thus forgivable, but another SOUL being a dick is unreasonable because they’re not violent by nature.  This is the soft racism of lowered expectations.  Awesome.  We can’t hold him up to the standard of being a decent human being, he’s only a human!  He can’t help it!

no-clue-o

Jared seems to know Seeker’s every move and I have no idea how.  As far as I can tell they don’t have a scouting duty.  And even if they did, how the fuck would they know which alien was driving the car?  Must have some fucking spectacular binoculars/camo to be able to tell it’s her without her seeing them.  Yet another case of characters knowing things they can’t possibly know for the sake of plot convenience.

Wanderer gives Melanie the chance to talk to Jared and she’s apparently unsettled by this.  I am not entirely certain why.  But Melanie decides to ask why Jared believes them now instead of anything stupidly mushy about how hard she struggled to get back to him.  The answer is of course how fucking compassionate Wanderer is.  If only these characters knew the things she thought about them like we do, they probably wouldn’t find her so fucking sweet.  He does add that the fact that she’s such a shit liar didn’t hurt.  Then adds that for all he knows he could wake up tomorrow and not believe them again, but he doesn’t think he will.

“She hopes you won’t change your mind. She’s afraid you will.”

He closed his eyes. “Mel.”

My heart thudded faster in my chest. It was her joy that sped it, not mine. He must have guessed how I loved him. After his questions about Jamie, he must have seen that.

I’m not sure why she feels the need to wonder if he knows she loves him or not.  Is she trying to imply it’s insensitive of him to say Melanie’s name like that?  I could understand her thinking that it kind of hurt hearing the man she loves saying someone else’s name, but she seems to be implying that he’s at fault for something.  It sounds like she’s saying he must know he’s hurting her.  Personally I think that choice of thought process is rather selfish on her part.  It’s one thing to feel hurt over it, it’s something else to think that someone else has some impetus to protect her feelings when he’s having a conversation with the woman he’s loved for years for the first time in a VERY long time after thinking she was DEAD.  And all she’s thinking about is how it’s inconsiderate to her.  Or at least how he should know that he’s hurting her by doing that.

That’s not compassion.  That’s selfishness.  Compassion would be her thinking something along the lines of “Melanie’s joy caused our heart to thud faster and harder in our chest.  I felt a twinge as he spoke her name, not mine, but I could see the love for her in his smile, and could feel how strongly Melanie returned it.  Part of me wished I could run and hide, but I was happy to allow them this moment and wished there was more I could do for them.”  Compassion is understanding that the fact that something hurts you doesn’t necessarily matter.  Compassion is recognizing that other people’s feelings matter too.  It’s being happy for other people’s happiness even if it means you can’t get what you want.  It’s recognizing that Jared CAN’T return your feelings but that you should be happy that he has love in his life anyway.

IE: Not thinking only of yourself, and how much YOU'RE suffering.

IE: Not thinking only of yourself, and how much YOU’RE suffering.

I understand that that is difficult.  I understand that a lot of people can’t handle it, and that Wanderer is in a shitty situation here that would be understandably painful.  I also remember that only a few paragraphs ago Jared was saying how fucking compassionate she is, and she’s constantly going on about how much better she is than humans are because the fucking parasites are so much more selfless than we are.  Well BE selfless for once then!  Acknowledge that you’re HAPPY for them instead of JUST how you’re sad for yourself!

At no point in this conversation, including the parts I haven’t gotten to yet in this review, does Wanderer ever say she’s happy for them.  She never says she feels for Melanie, being trapped away from the man she loves even as he looks into her eyes that are no longer her own.  She never says she feels bad for Jared that he can’t be with his girlfriend, not fully.  Nope, everything is simply about HER and how the situation is for HER.

This would be fine if this book wasn’t constantly trying to shove the idea that Wanderer is a goddamn SAINT in our faces every other paragraph.  Fine, she’s a normal, flawed, selfish person.  That’s a genuine characteristic that’s believable and you could build a compelling story around it.  But no, Meyer genuinely wants you to think that Wanderer is somehow actually selfless and perfect and so much nicer than regular humans, while presenting us with a character who is absolutely incapable of empathizing with anyone, including the person whose emotions she can literally feel.

Empathy Loading404-no-file

ANYWAY, Jared asks how much of a connection they have, Wanderer states that Melanie can hear him, that Melanie hears what she hears.  He asks if Melanie feels what she feels, and Wanderer confirms that that is the case.  He puts his hand on her face and apologizes for what he did to them so many chapters ago I actually forgot what he was referring to.  She again goes on about how he’s talking to Melanie instead of her and that that hurts her, but she’s at least a little more understanding about it this time so I won’t rant about it again.

Kyle calls out to Jared and Wanderer soliloquizes about what that means, whether Kyle just lets things go like water off a ducks back or if he knew no one would punish him for his actions.  Personally I think it was that he knew no one would punish him.  She notices Jamie looking at her and Jared, smiling, and wonders if that’s a bad thing.  Melanie asks her what she means by that and once again she’s thinking of herself.

What do you mean?

What does he see when he looks at us? His family, put back together?

Isn’t it? Sort of?

With the one unwelcome addition.

But better than it was yesterday.

I guess…

She of course can’t just be happy that he’s happy, she can’t accept that things are improving, she can’t just be happy that they’re accepting her.  She can’t accept that maybe Jamie looks at her like a second sister and she is perhaps a welcome addition to the family, having brought his sister home to him.  No, she has to think about how unwanted she is and woe is fucking Wanderer.

Stop it now

And then Melanie goes ahead and gives me a new target.

I know, she admitted. I’m glad Jared knows I’m here… but I still don’t like him touching you.

As with before, I do understand that this is a complicated, shitty situation for everyone involved.  I also understand that Melanie is being an unreasonable bitch.  Jared isn’t touching Wanderer.  He’s touching his girlfriend.  Wanderer just happens to be there too.  He looks at her face and he sees Melanie.  He was speaking to Melanie.  He was thinking about Melanie.  Melanie feels his touch.  He was touching Melanie, not Wanderer.  Instead of thinking she wishes she could touch him back, or just that she doesn’t like Wanderer’s reaction to his touch, she makes it sound like Jared is cheating on her.  Jared is pretty much the only person that doesn’t see Wanderer when he looks at them!  Jamie sees both, Ian only sees Wanderer, Jeb mostly sees Wanderer, all the regular humans only see Wanderer, Jared mostly sees only Melanie.  And Melanie is only focused on her jealousy.

Wanderer apologizes for the fact that she likes Jared touching her, which is at least considerate on her part and actually honest, so I’ll give her that.  Melanie also admits that she understands that it’s not Wanderer’s fault and she’s attempting not to blame her for it even though it’s hard.  For once they’re both acting like adults, so, hurray for small victories.

She describes how everyone (who couldn’t see her when she was literally in the middle of them, but they can all see her now that she’s far away from them) is staring at her and Jared.  Sharon and Maggie are being massive bitches, Jeb is the same as Jamie, and Ian, oooh Ian.

Ian was worried. His eyes were tight, and he seemed on the verge of coming to protect me again. To make sure Jared wasn’t upsetting me. I smiled, to reassure him. He didn’t smile back, but he took a deep breath.

Sure Wanderer.  I’m sure that Ian is simply concerned for your safety.  Yup, he’s not at all wanting to get Jared away from you because he’s a jealous douchebag.  Ian is just much too nice and considerate for that!

Sarcasm detector

Anyway Jared finally gets up to go play the game.  She says she can’t see the ball or the players (which, again, how could not only everyone see her, but she see the looks on everyone’s faces if it’s that dark?) so she starts keeping score based on Jamie’s reactions.  Apparently Jamie is right on the ball 100% of the time, even though it’s so dark they can probably barely see each other and where the ball is at any given time.  This all makes just complete sense.  She also describes everyone’s skill at the sport with intricate detail, while also continuing to say how she can’t see anything.  I hate this book.

Every time Ian or Wes got off a shot…thunk! It landed in her hands.

I find this incredibly stupid.  I can’t articulate why, I just hate it.

After they play for a while and we have to read a painful number of paragraphs describing all the things I couldn’t possibly care less about, two of the characters with names that I couldn’t tell you anything about go off to bring back breakfast for everyone.  When they bring back the boxes of granola bars, Jamie goes to give one to Wanderer, followed by Ian and Jared all trying to bring her food.  She’s the popular girl at the dance that all the guys are trying to impress.  And I want to stab all of them because of how sickening it is to watch.  Remember, these aren’t hormonal teenagers.  Jared is in his mid-thirties and Ian’s age hasn’t been explained, but I would suspect he’s at least in his late twenties.  They should be past this stupidity.

“Where’s all the food?” Kyle demanded. He stood over an empty box, his head swiveling around the room, looking for the culprit.

“Catch,” Jared said, tossing granola bars one by one, hard, like knives.

Kyle plucked them out of the air with ease, then jogged over to see if Jared was holding out on him.

I have no idea where Wanderer gets the idea he’s coming over to see if Jared is holding out on him.  First of all, that’s a weird phrase coming from Wanderer.  Much too colloquial to match her general speech.  But more importantly, he never says that.  He doesn’t ask for more than what Jared threw to him.  She’s assuming facts that aren’t in evidence goddammit.  I’m sick of this book just stating things in the first person that the person has no goddamn way of knowing!  It’s irritating!

Yzma

“Here,” Ian said, shoving half of his haul toward his brother without looking at him. “Now go.”

Kyle ignored him. For the first time today, he looked at me, staring down at me where I sat. His irises were black with the light behind him. I couldn’t read his expression.

You can’t see his expression because the light is behind him meaning his face is completely in shadow.  BUT YOU CAN SEE HIS IRISES.  YUP.  TOTALLY FUCKING LOGICAL.

Kyle steps closer, the guys again preen and puff up their chests to defend the fair maiden.  He tells her he’s not sorry for what he did, and Jared and Ian push him away as though he just attacked her again and tell him to piss off, but Kyle’s ‘not done yet’ so he keeps talking.  He says he’s not going to hurt her anymore because he figures a life for a life since she saved his he won’t try and take hers.  Fair enough.  But then it gets really dumb.

“You stupid jackass,” Ian said.

“Who’s got the crush on a worm, bro? You gonna call me stupid?”

This exchange comes off as incredibly high school to me.  Don’t think ‘oh, well they’re probably just high schoolers’ though, since remember, society collapsed years ago.  If they were just barely past high school age now, they wouldn’t talk like that because they never would have been gotten used to talking like that.  So the only way they could have slang like that is if they were in high school fairly recently before the world as we know it came to an end.  Putting them in their late twenties, early thirties as I stated earlier.  So, again, they should no longer be hormone riddled adolescence.  But also, they shouldn’t talk like they come from a poorly written movie about high schoolers.  Admittedly it’s been a lot of years since I was in high school, but I have never heard a real human being talk like that.  I have ONLY ever heard that in movies and books.

Also, Ian’s response doesn’t make sense in the context.  Kyle just said he wouldn’t try and kill her anymore, so Ian calls him stupid?  How does that make sense?  Oh and Ian’s response is to punch him.  Everyone here is just so mature!  I thought I had anger problems.

757682

Wanderer says she didn’t let him die because she’s not like him.  It’s apparently supposed to be some massive burn, but it just came off as kind of a pathetic whine that you hear from angry teens trying to explain why they’re too cowardly to punch the person they wish would get hit by a bus.  That old excuse that the only reason you aren’t doing something isn’t because you can’t it’s just that you don’t want to!  I could totally have lifted that… I just didn’t feel like it!  And in Wanderer’s case it is only because she couldn’t handle the guilt, not because she genuinely wanted to save him.

Aaaaand she ends the chapter by insulting humans one last time.

I wasn’t sure I believed him. Not sure at all. Humans were good liars.

She’s tooootally growing as a character you guys!  She’s learning to trust and respect humans!  That we’re not all evil jackasses!  She’s not at all still labeling all people as exactly the same and in a very negative way!  Walter’s death totally changed her!  Ugh.

Till next time!  Check out The Llama’s review!

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