The Host Review: Turned (Ch 10)

We’re going to do the comment as I read method again today because after the struggle I had to get through chapter 9 twice, I’m just not willing to do that again.  Let’s hope beyond empirical evidence that this chapter will be decent.  At the very least it’s shorter.

We start this chapter with evidence that if Wanderer ever needed to knock over a bank she wouldn’t get through the doors before getting arrested for suspicious behaviour.  She hasn’t even done anything wrong yet but she hides behind a shelf when someone comes into the store she’s apparently stopped in.

Smoooooth

Smoooooth

The palms of my hands felt cold under a thin sheen of sweat, though the small room was quite hot. The wide windows let in too much sun for the loud and laboring air-conditioning unit to keep up.

…Small room?  It’s a convenience store.  They may not always be huge, and often they’re cramped, but ‘small’ isn’t really a descriptor I would use for a room bigger than my living room.  But I’m nitpicking already.  Let’s focus on the fact that they mastered interstellar space travel but they can’t make a fully functional air conditioner.  I guess that goes with the fact that they don’t use GPS, they still use our small commuter planes, and nothing about them at all so far has seemed technologically advanced.  They have ‘medicine that stops bleeding’ but so do we.  They have cryo chambers, so do we.  They have road maps, we have GPS!  I’m still stuck on that bit from the last chapter…

Which one? I demanded.

The bigger one, she told me.

I grabbed the larger pack of the two available, a canvas sling that looked well able to hold more than I could carry. Then I walked around the corner to where the bottled water was shelved.

This comes immediately after the last thing I quoted.  There is nothing before this that indicates what the hell they’re talking about.  Which one what?  Canvas sling?  What the hell is a canvas sling?  A quick trip to Google tells me that that is one of those ugly little backpacks people take to the beach that aren’t terribly practical for anything that isn’t small and/or soft.

Canvas_Sling_Style_Bag_with_Pockets___Yellow_Blue

She couldn’t just say backpack?  Handbag?  Shoulder bag?  Beach bag?  Laundry bag?  Anything other than ‘canvas sling’?  In a regular backpack the weight of the bottled water they’re clearly about to steal for reasons I can’t understand, would be dispersed over large padded shoulder straps with padding to protect your back from the bottles smacking back and forth with the motion of you running which I assume they will do after they’re done stealing everything.  In the hideous little piece of fabric they grabbed, the weight will be carried by tiny little straps that will dig into her shoulder, and the bottles will hit her as she moves.  A garbage bag would have been a better choice.

We can carry three gallons, she decided. That gives us three days to find them.

A gallon of water a day?  Really?  Does her rental car not have air conditioning to help her cool off?  A gallon a day seems like a lot to sit in a car.  I know it’s the desert, but, air conditioned car!  Oh look, Google tells me an average adult female needs approximately 2.2 litres of water a day in a temperate climate.  There’s about 3.8 litres in a gallon.  It took me 5 seconds to find that out.  Just goes to show how much effort Meyer put into research.

I took a deep breath, trying to tell myself that I wasn’t going along with this. I was simply trying to get more coordinates from her, that was all. When I had the whole story, I would find someone–a different Seeker, maybe, one less repulsive than the one assigned to me–and pass the information along. I was just being thorough, I promised myself.

Exasperation

Remember how ‘souls’ don’t lie?  Apparently that doesn’t include ‘to themselves’.

My awkward attempt to lie to myself was so pathetic that Melanie didn’t pay any attention to it, felt no worry at all. It must be too late for me, as the Seeker had warned. Maybe I should have taken the shuttle.

Oh look she even admits it’s a lie.  Her sucking at it seems to be the only acknowledgement of the fact that this goes against her very nature as a self-aware being.

You’re basically just reading the entire chapter along with me so far by the way.  I have only left out the first 4 lines.  I almost feel like I should go back and find something in those first 4 lines to point out just because I’m a completionist.  I’ll spare you.  I have more nitpicks to do on the rest of the chapter, there’s no need to go backwards!

Too late? I wish! Melanie grumbled. I can’t make you do anything you don’t want to do. I can’t even raise my hand! Her thought was a moan of frustration.

She’s confusing the pronouns here.  She says ‘I can’t make you do anything’, but then refers to it as her own hand.  Does she think of the body as hers or Wanderers?  Oh man I almost tricked myself into thinking I cared for a second…

Almost.  Not quite.

Almost. Not quite.

Despite Melanie’s little outburst, Wanderer describes her as seeming to have just accepted this as a blip.  A minor interruption to her life that she just had to tolerate.  She says this as the narrator, not thinking it at Melanie, yet Melanie apparently snorts at it.  This raises serious questions about how the hell Melanie doesn’t know as much about Wanderer as Wanderer does about Melanie.  Or even more since Wanderer wouldn’t have been prepared to try and block out memories.  She should at the very least have known that Wanderer was going to kill her instead of having to ask.  This is going to be recurring plot hole isn’t it?  Just going to work however it needs to work at the time?  Do I even need to ask that question?

Wanderer picks up a flat of water and nearly falls down because it was bigger than she expected.  I thought she grabbed the backpack to put water in it.  And that they were only going to carry 3 gallons.  She says it’s the biggest flat of water.  The ones I usually see in stores, the average sized ones not large, are 16 bottles of water, 900ml bottles.  That’s about 4 gallons, not 3.  Also; not that heavy.  Certainly not ‘fall down because the weight is too much’ heavy.  Awkward as hell to carry, but since she’s just going to the car, she’ll live.  And if she’s going for a bigger case of water, then, well that’s a lot more than 3 gallons and more than Melanie told her to take so she’d just be stupid.  Still also not fall over levels of heavy though.

Melanie yells at Wanderer for letting them get out of shape.  There’s yet another change in the pronoun usage here as Melanie refers to it as ‘their’ body.  So it has been Melanie’s, Wanderer’s, and now it’s both.  Make up your mind!

Wanderer is amused that Melanie actually called her by name, so she caves and carries the heavy case of water instead of the smaller one.  She has to be told how to lift the water.  WHY?!  WHY IS HOW MUCH INFORMATION SHE GETS FROM MELANIE’S BRAIN CONTEXTUAL?!  She should not have had to have been told that if Melanie would do it naturally!  It would work by muscle memory, it would be as innate as the ability to walk!  If she was in the body of someone who wasn’t used to doing manual labour it would have to be told to her, but Melanie has spent the last 5 years or so carrying heavy loads long distances!

I struggled with the flat of water, wondering how far I could possibly be expected to carry it. I managed to get it to the front register, at least. With great relief, I edged its weight onto the counter. I put the bag on top of the water, and then added a box of granola bars, a roll of doughnuts, and a bag of chips from the closest display.

A roll of donuts?  What the hell is a roll of donuts?

Aaand now Melanie refers to her back as Wanderer’s.  Apparently she will be carrying that water in the backpack.  And just… no dammit.  Just no.  PHYSICS.  I refuse to believe that a healthy person can go from being in great shape, carrying heavy loads while walking and running long distances, to not even being able to carry a case of water 5 feet to the cash register in only a few months just by not exercising regularly.  I refuse to believe that Melanie doesn’t care about the well being of her spine (she says it’s Wanderer’s back because Wanderer buys stuff she doesn’t need and Melanie says it will be too heavy to carry and she’ll hurt herself, but when Wanderer protests, Melanie says it’s her back.) I refuse to accept that they intended to carry a flat of water heavy enough for her to have to struggle to lift it high enough to get it on the counter in a backpack through the desert for 3 days.  And lastly I refuse to accept that they think a flat of water that big is going to fit in a canvas bag!  This is not a video game!  It doesn’t open to a pocket dimension so you can hold infinite stuff!  There is a finite amount of space inside that bag and it is less than the size of those bottles!  Hell, a large proper backpack would probably be mostly full from them, especially if the bottles are an odd shape!

OHMYGOD

Honestly this whole section pisses me off to no end.  She keeps talking about the cashier, and how she took everything to the counter.  The man talks to her.  No prices are quoted, no money changes hands.  There’s a short conversation followed by Wanderer taking everything and leaving.  I don’t know if Meyer just chose not to mention the money changing hands, despite going into depth about everything else, or if they don’t charge for things.  But if they don’t charge for things, why is there a cashier?  Why would you choose to be a cashier if you choose your calling?  I’ve been a cashier, I know some people do it by choice, but the vast majority of them only do it because it’s the best job they can get.  If there’s no money and no need for a cashier, and you can be whatever you want to be, why would you ever choose to be a cashier?  Meyer must have just chose to leave that part out… right?  Please?  I’m going to learn they don’t use money soon aren’t I?

You’re all very creepy, she told me acidly. Didn’t anyone ever tell you not to talk to strangers?

I felt a deep tug of guilt as I answered. There are no strangers among my kind.

LIES!

The class filed out slowly, many of the students taking a minute to chat with one another as they gathered their things. What Kathy had said about friendships ran through my head, but I felt no desire to join any of them. They were strangers.

That quote is from the awful chapter where she blathers on about the fire tasters.

bs

Now that I’ve got that little consistency problem out of the way, why was the exchange creepy?  It was basic small talk most people engage in with a cashier.  She was getting a lot of water, a map, a backpack and some food.  He asked if she was going hiking.  She said the mountains are beautiful.  He asked if she needed directions, she said she’d find it on her own.  That’s creepy?  That’s talking to strangers?  I’ve had more in depth conversations with my cat.  I’ve had lots more in depth conversations with cashiers, cleaners, random people in the airport, random people at the bus stop…  It’s hardly creepy.  Local convenience store clerks often have great advice on places to go actually.

Back to the quote though, why is Wanderer feeling guilt?  I don’t see what would make her feel guilty here.  Is it that she feels bad for deceiving the man?  Because none of what she said was a lie.  Does she feel guilty saying there are no strangers among her people while not being forthcoming?  That makes the most sense so that’s probably not it.  Maybe it’s that she feels guilty for being weird in the eyes of her host.  That seems to fit with the dumbassery in this book.

I can’t get used to not paying for things, she said, changing the subject. What’s the point of scanning them?

Inventory, of course. Is he supposed to remember everything we took when he needs to order more? Besides, what’s the point of money when everyone is perfectly honest? I paused, feeling the guilt again so strongly that it was an actual pain. Everyone but me, of course.

Oh god where do I start with this…

Okay, first point.  I guess this answers why there’s a cashier.  He’s not a cashier, he’s an inventory clerk.  I still don’t understand why one would actively choose that career path when they can be anything they want to be, but to each his own I suppose.  Maybe he really likes arranging shelves.

Second point.  Why can’t he just stock the shelves and then order more when something appears to be getting low?  If this is as small a store as she claims at the start that should be fairly easy to do.  Scanning everything that comes in and out I suppose is rather efficient, but if you didn’t have that part you would only have to check on the store two or three times a day and then put in an order at the end of the day based on what appears to be low.  Or have a scanner on the way out the door.  Anything removed from the store, a scanner at the door registers the RFID tag.  We can do that now with our technology if we really wanted to, but it costs more than the theft it would prevent is worth.  But if they don’t use money, convenience would be more of an issue than cost analysis.

Third point.  WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!

MAD

MONEY DOES NOT EXIST JUST BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE DICKS GODDAMMIT!  Money is a matter of simplicity.  You put a value on your goods and services.  In a barter system anyone looking to buy your goods or services from you would have to provide you with equivalent goods or services.  It’s much simpler to have a currency based system.  No need to carry around a cart full of corn every time you need to hire someone to fix your engine.  We put value on our goods not because we don’t trust that others will provide us what we need in exchange, but because we worked our asses off for those goods or services dammit!  If someone else wants it we expect to be compensated for our hard work!  It’s how the human brain works.  This is some serious communist bullshit right here.

Can the world exist without a concept of equivalent exchange?  Sure could!  If the species loses the emotions of pride, jealousy, ambition, dominance, anger, fear…

Wanderer gets all emo that she’s not honest, unlike the rest of the species.  Except, again, nothing she said was a lie.  Not one word.  She isn’t even hiding anything.  She’s just feeling guilty because Meyer thinks the inner conflict makes a better story.  It doesn’t.  I might have been able to care if it was one scene of her genuinely struggling after showing her strength of character, but Meyer hasn’t shown us any character of her except that she already goes against everything her species stands for all the time anyway.  She’s constantly going back and forth about everything.  It’s just a constant barrage of ‘oh we’re all so good but I’m different and special but I want to be like them but I want to be different and special oh woe is me!’ and I just do not give a fuck.  She’s not showing signs of a character arc, she’s just repeating a mantra.  She’s not going to grow, she’s not going to change, she’s just going to decide love is better than the prosperity of her entire species because wuv!  I hate ‘the power of love’ stories.  I really really do.  Love does not conquer all.  Love makes you stupid.  It makes you make mistakes like trusting the parasite that’s invaded your brain with the information on where to hunt down and murder your loved ones in a desperate attempt to get back to them.  But let’s get back to this chapter shall we?

Okay, apparently she is taking the car.  What was the concern then about carrying everything and hurting her back?  I’m so confused by this book…

shaking_head_breaking_bad

One of the people working in the store, the store that was super small and doesn’t have use of currency exchange with few customers who would never dream of messing up the displays, because clearly two employees is necessary in that environment, comes out to help her with her things.  He carry’s the bag with the donuts instead of the water.  Gentlemanly.  Melanie gets all freaked out by the niceness again, Wanderer gets guilty that everyone is so nice again.  Mel tells her to look at the map till he goes away, Wanderer genuinely tries to figure out where the hell they are going.

They go over the lines and survey the area until they find something that fits the squiggles, the only thing of which that seems to make sense is the cartographic symbol for mountains.  Everything else is just random squiggles.  They find mountains, which the man in the store had already pointed to, and Melanie is apparently so happy she sings her joy.

excited-adventure-time

I shook my head, bending over the map again. The mountain ridge was so far in the distance I couldn’t guess at the miles between us and it. There was no way I was walking out of this parking lot and into the empty desert unless I had no other option.

Let’s be rational, I suggested, tracing my finger along a thin ribbon on the map, an unnamed road that connected to the freeway a few miles east and then continued in the general direction of the range.

Sure, she agreed complacently. The faster the better.

We found the unpaved road easily. It was just a pale scar of flat dirt through the sparse shrubbery, barely wide enough for one vehicle.

Okay, no, seriously, are they walking or taking the car?  I still have no idea.  She says there’s no way she’s walking out of the parking lot unless she absolutely has to, but she HAS A CAR!  And she is clearly aware of that fact since that’s how she leaves the parking lot!

i-feel-like-im-taking-crazy-pills

They continue driving for the time being.  Wanderer is happy to be away from people she has to lie to, Melanie is happy to be away from people.  She starts saying the names of the various types of cacti.  I’m left to wonder if she learned this growing up or if Meyer is claiming she somehow learned this while on the run.

For a moment, I allowed myself to see the prison that was life without a body. To be carried inside but unable to influence the shape around you. To be trapped. To have no choices.

Isn’t that what being in a cryochamber would be like?  She’s referring to empathy for Melanie, but really that’s exactly what the chambers they transport each other around in would be…  They’re at the whim of whoever is in possession of their container and have no voice with which to express themselves and no control over where or how their container moves.

Melanie and Wanderer bond over their hatred of Seeker.  Much like how I bond with Seeker over our mutual dislike of Wanderer and Melanie.  They picture her getting pissy when they don’t show up in Tucson, heading back to San Diego to see if it was just a ploy to get away from her for a day, then her panic as she realized Wanderer was nowhere to be found.  Except then she goes back to being emo about what she would do long term, still trying to convince herself she’ll eventually go back to her real life.

Look, a dry wash. It’s wide enough for the car–let’s follow it, Melanie insisted.

I’m not sure we’re supposed to go that way yet.

It will be dark soon and we’ll have to stop. You’re wasting time! She was silently shouting in her frustration.

Or saving time, if I’m right. Besides, it’s my time, isn’t it?

She didn’t answer in words. She seemed to stretch inside my mind, reaching back toward the convenient wash.

I don’t understand this exchange.  I don’t care enough to Google what a dry wash is, but I’m confused enough to point it out.  Contextually I would have to assume that a dry wash is a dried up riverbed.  I’ll go with that.  But why are they arguing about where to go?  They have the same directions, but Melanie has more information.  She should be the more reliable one in this scenario.  Oh but wait, Wanderer is the special one in this book, so she’s going to be perfect and infallible.  Alien Jesus, saving the humans from their weaknesses of impatience and dishonesty, and…not talking to strangers…

I want to be sorry for how offensive this is, but I'm just not...

I want to be sorry for how offensive this is, but I’m just not…

The last page of the chapter is spent with them bickering over what to do next.  It ends with them trying to sleep in the car, but the seat doesn’t recline very far and Wanderer is too dumb to think about crawling into the back seat.  It seems that the shocks on the car aren’t good for driving through the desert and that’s why there was all that talk about walking.  But they could just drive slower and get to keep the air conditioning.  Save water and energy, at least until the gas runs out.  Or the battery.  Or whatever it is that they fuel their supposedly greener cars with.  Except there was no mention of anything.  Hydrogen maybe?  It’ll probably turn out to be gas because Meyer will have forgotten by now that they mentioned they stopped raping the planet.

I could have talked about a lot more, but I feel like all my complaints are the same.  Wanderer is dumb.  Wanderer is a bitch.  Melanie should be dumber.  Melanie is a bitch.  The aliens are dicks.  If my reviews start to shrink too much I’ll start squeezing two chapters in per post.  There’s 60 chapters in this book and we’re only on chapter 10, it might help my sanity to do that anyway.  We’ll see how it goes.

Till next time!

Don’t forget to check out The Llama’s take on this chapter too!

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The Host Review: Loved (Ch 8)

We finally get an answer to a question that doesn’t make me angrier than the question itself!  A shuttle is not a bus it’s a plane!

Celebrate now because I suspect that won’t be happening again anytime soon.

Small Confetti

The issues start almost immediately, as per usual.  Apparently Wanderer is afraid to fly, and Seeker is wondering how the hell someone who’s flown through deep space could be afraid of a plane (which they keep calling it a shuttle and I have no idea why…) Wanderer, in her usual defensive tone, explains that she isn’t afraid to fly, she just doesn’t like it because Melanie gets motion sickness in planes.  Except if she gets motion sickness on planes she probably does in cars too.  Most people who suffer from motion sickness problems on planes but not cars only really have issues on the smaller planes when there’s turbulence.  Considering Wanderer stated in her self righteous glory that they stopped raping the planet for resources, I highly doubt they’re using our existing fossil fueled planes and probably brought in new ones.  Considering they’re advanced enough for space travel you’re really meaning to tell me they didn’t solve rocky turbulence?

The Seeker rolled her eyes in disgust. “So take medication! What would you have done if Healer Fords hadn’t relocated to Saint Mary’s? Would you be driving to Chicago?”

Wait… she was looking for flights to Chicago at the end of the last chapter.  This is the third paragraph of the new chapter.  If he’s her healer rather than someone closer by how did she not know already that he was no longer in Chicago?  Why did he relocate?  Plot convenience?  Probably.  Why must everything in this book be done through clumsy exposition rather than having anything be natural in this story?!  We’re on chapter 8 for fuck’s sake we should be done with the exposition dialogue!

Anyway, this is more of Wanderer’s interpretation of Seeker’s expressions not matching what she says.  ‘Disgust’ doesn’t make sense there.  Rolling her eyes because Wanderer is being silly makes sense, but what follows:

“No. But since the option of driving is now reasonable, I will take it. It will be nice to see a bit more of this world. The desert can be stunning –”

“The desert is dead boring.”

It just sounds like normal conversation to me.  Nothing about anything she has said so far in this chapter has had even a little bit of malice with it.  This sounds more like conversations between female best friends in tv shows.  I fail to see the antagonism.  At least not from Seeker.  Wanderer is certainly doing a good job of being ‘disgusted’.

The next thing out of Wanderer’s mouth is a snide remark about wanting to be alone and glaring at Seeker.  Who’s surprised?!  I bet you are!  Oh but of course her own expressions aren’t glares, it’s a ‘pointed look’!  Wanderer’s not the bitch you guys!  It’s all Seeker!

Absolutely

Seeker wants to know why she’s going to Fords instead of a Healer close by, Wanderer says it’s because she’s comfortable with Fords.  Which we all know is code for ‘I hate people and want to meet as few new ones as possible’.

Wanderer goes on to imply that she thinks Seeker is lying to her about the necessity of switching bodies and tells Seeker she knows she’s being manipulated.  Except that makes no fucking sense whatsoever.  I keep coming back to this same point over and over again because Meyer keeps fucking it up; Wanderer is drawing on Melanie’s memories.  Melanie spent IMPORTANT formative years in relative isolation.  She would have no idea whatsoever how to tell when she was being manipulated.  And if these parasites are soooooo nice and sooooooooo trusting and sooooo friendly, it’s not exactly something Wanderer would have encountered much in the last few months would it?  If this was real life instead of a poorly written piece of shit, this would be just severe trust issues and projecting bias, not any genuine knowledge.

We get to learn that Wanderer hasn’t bought anything but the basic necessities over several months and she’s taking pretty much all of it with her on this drive, which will apparently take a whole week?  If anyone’s been paying more attention than I have, where the hell even is she?!  At first I thought she was still in Chicago, then I thought she was in Arizona, but now Seeker said Fords’ is in Tucson, and it’s going to take her several days to get there?  I have no idea where she’s living.  How have we done 8 chapters of exposition and I still know so little about the actual world that the exposition is taking place in?

Oh right, that's why...

Oh right, that’s why…

As Wanderer continues to exposit I get the feeling she doesn’t get motion sick at all, she was just trying to ditch Seeker, knowing she wouldn’t drive with her.  Except that makes no sense.  She says she knew Seeker would be too impatient to drive, she’ll fly, but how does that help her patience?  She either has to wait in Tucson for Wanderer to arrive or wait around… where ever they are, before she leaves to arrive at the same time Wanderer does.  If she hopped in the car with Wanderer she would have plenty of time to grill her and watch for signs of Melanie taking control.

If a new body meant freeing myself of the Seeker… well, that was quite an inducement.

‘Inducement.’  Meyer does know that most people who read her books are teens right?  She keeps using words I’d be willing to bet even she never heard before looking at thesaurus.com.

I had another choice, too. I could abandon this entire world as a failure and move on to a tenth planet. I could work to forget this whole experience. Earth could be just a short blip in my otherwise spotless record.

What the hell is that supposed to mean?  ‘Spotless record’.  Spotless how?  Is existing a job to them?  If she means she’s never skipped, she’d lose that record by taking another body anyway.  If she means staying on each planet for one whole life time, that seems to be an unusual thing, so I don’t see how that would make her ‘record’ spotless.  If she just means she has her own personal goals and this would be a blemish on her own desires skipping to a different body would be that too.  I do not see what’s so significant about jumping planets instead of just bodies.

A new planet? There was a recent acquisition–here on Earth, they were calling the new hosts Dolphins for lack of a better comparison, though they resembled dragonflies more than marine mammals.

Ugh

I need to… compose… myself before I touch this one.

GO FUCK YOURSELF STEPHANIE MEYER.

IF THEY CALL THEM DOLPHINS FOR ‘LACK OF BETTER COMPARISON’ BUT THEY LOOK LIKE FUCKING DRAGONFLIES’, WHY THE FUCK WOULDN’T THEY JUST CALL THEM DRAGONFLIES’?!

Fucking Table Flip

And this raises all fucking KINDS of new questions!  Do the bats on bat world look like iguanas?!  WORDS. HAVE. MEANINGS.

Anyway, she blathers on about how she’s never been as drawn to anywhere as she has been to Earth because of fucking course she is, like I said in the last chapter, this isn’t a goddamn mystery to us there’s 52 chapters left!  It’s hard to build any tension when we all know nothing comes of this and she’s not going to grow as a character either so just. Stop. Talking.  I find Wanderer and her exposition and her pretentious dialogue and her judgmental bitchery repugnant!  Suck it up and get the goddamn plot!

She wonders why Melanie is being quiet.  Wonders if she’s trying to seem like less of a burden so Wanderer will keep her like a pet trying not to pee on the carpet so their master stops getting mad at them, or if she’s trying to prepare herself for Seeker plugging in, or if she’s trying to gather her strength to take over.  Personally I don’t give a shit, but I bet you’re all as shocked by that as I was to see Wanderer be a bitch to Seeker.

This is how surprised we all are I'm sure.

This is how surprised we all are I’m sure.

I have to wonder why she’s had to make multiple trips to and from the car.  I mentioned in one of my Q&A posts that I live and work in different cities.  I spend 6 days a week in a tiny little town living out of a trailer and Saturday after work I drive several hours back to my home where I do my laundry and watch cable and use internet that’s faster than dial-up.  I pick up groceries because the town has terrible selection and even worse prices, and I head back Sunday afternoon.  I also take my cat back and forth with me.  In one trip from my third floor apartment to the parking structure I carry my groceries, my cat, my clothes, my toiletries, my laptop, and anything else I may be taking back and forth with me.  One trip.  Admittedly if I wasn’t so lazy it would be better to do it in 2 since it’s… difficult, but she said she’s only taking enough clothes for a week and she has next to nothing else, so what the hell needed at least 3 trips back and forth from her apartment to the rental car?  Also, why is it important that we know it’s a rental car?

The phone rang as I was stepping out the door, and I turned back to get it, but I was too late. I’d already set the message system to answer on the first ring. I knew what the caller would hear: my vague explanation that I would be out the rest of the semester, and that my classes would be canceled until a replacement could be found. No reason given.

tumblr_inline_mqe1b5FXu11qz4rgp

So, did she not tell her boss?  Did she just decide to up and quit without saying anything?  Does this go back to the whole ‘we don’t have oversight, everyone just does whatever the hell they want’ thing they mentioned in the last chapter?  It’s awfully horrible of her to just quit without even telling her boss.  Especially if she might be back, or might be switching bodies.  She could come back just in her new corpse.  Why can’t she just say she’s taking a few days off, then if she decides to piss off to a new planet she can just call and let her boss, Curt, know?  You remember Curt right?  The guy she said was so nice to her and after Kathy revealed they’d been on the front lines she even said she respected?  Yeah, he’s the one she’s leaving holding the bag.  If that’s what she does to people she likes it’s no wonder she’s never had any friends.

Oh, sorry, no, she did send Curt an email.  Telling him the same thing that’s on her message.  So respectful.  She doesn’t stop to listen to the message because she thinks it’s him and she’s all full of shame because she knows she’s a bitch.

I had the strange feeling that this world–not just Melanie, but the entire orb of the planet–did not want me, no matter how much I wanted it. I just couldn’t seem to get my roots in. I smiled wryly at the thought of roots. This feeling was just superstitious nonsense.

Noooo, roots are not superstitious nonsense.  ‘Roots’ is a colloquialism.  A metaphor.  Not a superstition.  It means you have an attachment somewhere.  She says she can’t seem to get any, but she’s clearly not trying.  She has refused to make friends, she’s not personalized her space, she clearly didn’t like her job, she hasn’t made any effort to root herself.  This doesn’t make me pity her as it’s clearly intended, it makes me hate her more.  Just like the bit in the last chapter about her unwillingness to try to make friends with strangers.  She just comes off as self-pitying for choices she’s actively making that she could easily change.

I’d never had a host that was capable of superstition. It was an interesting sensation. Like knowing you were being watched without being able to find the watcher. It raised goose bumps on the nape of my neck.

Do I have to explain why superstitions happen?  Apparently I do.  Other animals are capable of superstition too.  Why?  Because any species capable of intelligence is capable of it!  It’s simple correlation = causation.  A crow drops a nut in traffic and the cars passing by crack the shell.  The crow rightfully makes the connection that dropping a nut into traffic is an easier way to break the shell than bashing it against rocks.  This is what learning is.  Sometimes it’s wrong.  But hey, it keeps working!  So it sticks.  People or animals keep assuming that whatever they were doing when the desired outcome happened, that’s what caused the outcome.  Any intelligent species would be capable of superstition.  Humans would not be the only one.  AND ROOTS AREN’T A SUPERSTITION DAMMIT.

Sneer

I shut the door firmly behind me but did not touch the obsolete locks. No one would disturb this place until I returned or it was given to someone new.

Why is this paragraph here?  This is an entire paragraph.  There is no reference to the locks before or after it.  What purpose does this serve?  WHY DO YOU KEEP WASTING OUR TIME WITH THIS IRRELEVANT BULLSHIT?!

“Maybe… ,” she said, raising her voice to almost a shout so that I could hear her over the engine noise and through the closed window, “maybe I’ll try it your way. Maybe I’ll see you on the road.”

She smiled and shrugged.

She was just saying it to upset me.

Does that sound like she’s trying to upset Wanderer?  There’s not even a reference to the smile being cruel.  It’s just a smile and a shrug.  The more interactions between these two I read the more it sounds like Seeker really wants to be Wanderer’s friend!  Maybe Seeker is just lonely!  Maybe she’s as bad at getting to know people as Wanderer is, so trying to get the information from Melanie is her excuse to hang around someone because she’s lonely and she wants to get to know someone and this is the only way she knows how.  This way she gets to do her job and make a friend all at the same time!  She just wants to get to know you Wanderer!  Stop pushing her away.

annoyed-you-with-my-friendship

In eight hours I would be in Tucson. It wasn’t long enough.

WHAT?!  WHY IS SHE TAKING A WEEK’S WORTH OF CLOTHES FOR AN 8 HOUR DRIVE?!  SHE COULD HAVE DONE THIS OVER A WEEKEND AND NOT QUIT!  OH MY GOD I HATE THIS WOMAN.

It was very relaxing to be away from civilization, and this bothered me. I should not have found the loneliness so welcoming. Souls were sociable. We lived and worked and grew together in harmony. We were all the same: peaceful, friendly, honest. Why should I feel better away from my kind? Was it Melanie who made me this way?

No Wanderer, do not blame this on Melanie.  You’re the one who said you were antisocial on all your planets.  This is not Melanie’s fault.  Peaceful and friendly my ass.  And you’re not all the same!  You said Seekers (not just the one you hate so much) are all more prone to violence than the rest of your species, which says specifically that you’re not all the same.  There is a segment of your population that are less peaceful, friendly and honest. And there is a segment of your population that would have to be more peaceful and friendly; the comforters.  You’re not all the same or you’d all be drawn to the same things, but everyone still has their unique things they like doing.  Everyone picks their own job.  If you were all the same you’d be assigned jobs because you wouldn’t care what you did.  You wouldn’t have a passion for one thing over another.

I searched for her but found her remote, dreaming in the back of my head.

This was the best it had been since she’d started talking again.

She stopped talking?  Why weren’t we privy to this event?  Was it during the 6 month time skip?  Why is everything being told to us?  Why can’t we get to learn anything through actual events in the story?!

why

She finally gets on the road and immediately she contradicts herself. She said she was going so slow every single other person on the road passed her, but then says the miles passed quickly.  I suspect this is Meyers screwing up another metaphor.  Time would be passing quickly, not the miles.  She describes the scenery as monotonous though, so how would the time be passing quickly?

She talks about how Melanie’s memory of the place is a lot more ‘colourful’.  She doesn’t get why its reality is so boring for her.  Apparently despite that she understands words like ‘inducement’ she’s unfamiliar with the word ‘nostalgia’.

Melanie is being all nostalgic and prepping herself for death.  Wanderer is being all nosey and butting in on her thoughts.  Melanie thinks back to a cabin, Wanderer calls cabin’s ‘ingenious’.  What’s so ingenious about a cabin?

We get another memory flashback scene from Melanie’s past.  The text for memories is significantly smaller, it’s somewhat difficult to read actually.  I hope this doesn’t become a thing.

I hear Jamie’s laughter echo through the narrow canyon as he runs ahead of us. His black hair bounces with his body. He bounces all the time now, this thin boy with the sun-darkened skin. I hadn’t realized how much weight those narrow shoulders were carrying.

Can’t Meyer just say ‘tanned’?  Why does she have to keep saying sun-darkened?  It’s like she wants to make damn sure that you know these characters are white.  ‘Tan could be read as Latino or Native!  Can’t say that!  And ‘dark skin’ could be read as black!  Must shove down the reader’s throat they’re white!’  Normally subtle racism goes beyond my notice because I can shrug it off as maybe the person is just doing it by accident or maybe I’m just seeing it when it isn’t there, but, I don’t know.  I just get a racist vibe from it.  But I could just be finding more reasons to hate this damn thing, as though I needed them.

Jared’s dad apparently built the cabin without bothering to file for any permits or find out who owned the land he built it on.  Stupid at the time, but handy at the point this memory is taking place.  They’re using the cabin as a safe house since no one knows it’s there, it would be easy to hide. So far other than the racism thing nothing in this flash back is pissing me off.  I’m frankly at a bit of a loss as to what to talk about without anything to be angry at…

No wait!  Don't be fooled by the lack of suck in this scene!

No wait! Don’t be fooled by the lack of suck in this scene!

Melanie mentions that Jared keeps touching her and it gives her mushy feelings, but that for him it seems to be just making sure she’s really there.  Considering he spent 2 years without another human being around that doesn’t surprise me.  I probably wouldn’t let her go for fear she’d run away or turn out to be a dream…  My god is there another character in this book I actually don’t hate?!

colbert-jaw-drop

Melanie wonders why he hasn’t kissed her since she screamed at him.  First of all that would be a good reason not to kiss her again, but… that’s not what happened.  We saw that flashback.  The last time he kissed her was right before he ran back to that house, not right before she saw the scar on his neck like she claims in this scene.  He didn’t kiss her right before that.  He kissed her when she still thought he was an alien, and she kicked him and ran, he tackled her, he showed her his neck after explaining that the scar was self-inflicted, she did not scream over it, he let her back up, he begged her not to kick him again then kissed her.  She didn’t scream or kick him, she got all mushy and fell in love.  Consistency.

She wonders if he’s actually hot or if she’s only seeing him as hot because he’s the last man on Earth that she’s not related to.  I don’t understand why that matters.  Its only relevance is the line that follows stating that no, he really is hot, so go ahead reader, fantasize.  Except she calls him ‘beautiful’.  Is that really a word women use to describe men they want to be with?  I hear someone call a man ‘beautiful’ and I think it’s either an insult stating that he’s just attractive on the inside but not the outside, or that he’s incredibly feminine.  Which as far as I can tell is a fetish not a common definition of male attractiveness.  Maybe I’m off on that one though.  Maybe I’m too old, just not up on more recent lingo or trends in what’s hot.

No, I don’t think that’s it. He really is beautiful.

“What are you thinking, Mel?” he asks. “You seem to be concentrating on something very important.” He laughs.

I shrug, and my stomach flutters. “It’s beautiful here.”

He looks around us. “Yes. But then, isn’t home always beautiful?”

Word repetition.  Lots of it.  ‘Beautiful’ is definitely a common word in this book, but this scene is especially bad as you can see.

Food doesn’t grow on trees.

Ow.  My brain.

In fairness it’s followed by ‘Not in the desert at least’ but still!  Come on!  Food still grows on trees in the desert!  Just, less.  But there’s other things to eat.  There are plenty of peoples that live in deserts all over the world, and these three have the advantage of clean water, shelter, and fire pits.  If Jared’s dad built the cabin in the desert he probably knew something about living in the desert, did he impart none of that information to Jared?  Or does Melanie just not understand the concept of killing things for food?  She’s been on the run this long, having to feed herself and her little brother, she never had to snare a rabbit?

I peek into the one narrow little bedroom. The full-size mattress is only inches away from the rough stone walls on either side.

It gives me a deep, rich sense of joy to see Jamie asleep on a real bed, his head on a soft pillow. His lanky arms and legs sprawl out, leaving little room for me where I am meant to sleep. He is so much bigger in reality than the way I see him in my head. Almost ten–soon he won’t be a child at all. Except that he will always be a child to me.

How big is a ‘full sized mattress’ if a skinny 9 year old boy is taking up most of it?  I think this is Meyer talking about her kids growing up not Stryder thinking about her little brother growing up.  Yeah, she had to take over the motherly role, but she’s still his big sister, not his mom, and they’ve been on the run, having to grow up a lot faster than most.  He wouldn’t have had much of a chance to act like a young child.  He would probably be better at this than she is because it would be all he would have known.  Though given that he’s been bouncy and excessively happy and child-like throughout this flash back I suspect he’s not going to be realistic at all.  He’s going to be as though he’s never known hardship at all and I’m going to hate him on principle.

Nothing Personal

Apparently Jared is sleeping on the couch because there’s only one bed in this cabin and he’s letting Jamie and Melanie take it.  Mel offers to let him sleep in the bed with Jamie and she’ll take the couch, he tells her to not be silly, that he’ll just steal a cot next time he’s out.  He’s being perfectly reasonable.  She, however, starts to wonder what he means by ‘go out’ and makes it sound like she thinks he’s going to abandon them or never sleep with her.  I can’t tell which idea she seems more upset over.  Either way, I still don’t like Melanie.

They talk, after he says they can stay for a while just do a few raids if they need anything, she insists on going with him if he does.  He says he’d rather die than leave her behind, asks if he’s being too melodramatic, but she says she gets it.  Honestly I do too.  Though it is too melodramatic it’s at least fair.  Annoying and needy, but, fair.  This takes him down a peg.  Kathy is still better than Jared.  But I still don’t hate him.  I am ranking the characters as I go.  So far it’s Kathy, Jared, Seeker, Fords, the assistant from the prologue whose name I forget (Darren?  Derek?), Jamie, Kevin, Curt (yes, the character we’ve never actually seen), Melanie, Wanderer.  If Jared doesn’t suck, after a while of Kathy not being around he could take her spot.  I hope he does so there’s an active character I don’t want to stab.

Melanie goes on about how that must mean he loves her.  She suggests he sleep with her, he misses her entendre.  He thinks she’s suggesting he take the bed again instead of her, this goes back and forth for a bit, him just guessing at what she means, never once catching on that she means sleep in the bed with her.  I’m left wondering how a teen male would miss it.

Finally Melanie caves and explains that she means since Jamie is small it makes more sense for him to take the couch and her and Jared can share the bed.  Truly she loves her little brother as though he were her son.  Putting his needs before her own!

I try to look away, but he holds my chin so that my gaze can’t escape his. Does he not feel the fire between his body and mine? Is that all me? How can it all be me? It feels like a flat sun trapped between us–pressed like a flower between the pages of a thick book, burning the paper. Does it feel like something else to him? Something bad?

NO ONE TALKS LIKE THIS!  NO ONE WITH A 6TH GRADER KNOWLEDGE OF ENGLISH COULD TALK LIKE THIS!

This is the look you would get if you talked like that in public.

This is the look you would get if you talked like that in public.

Melanie is only slightly less annoying than Wanderer.

Anyway, what comes next makes it sound like Jared did get her suggestion he was just trying to give her outs because he thinks she feels obligated to be with him since he’s provided her with a car and a home and food.  He’s quite gentlemanly to her telling her that no matter how few other humans are left out there if she doesn’t want to be with him, he would never dream of expecting her to.

Since I’ve been conceding that some of Jared’s stranger behaviour is acceptable under the circumstances, I have to concede the same to Melanie.  She gets a little childish trying to explain to him that she wasn’t doing it because she thought he expected it, but because she wanted to, clamming up half way through and shaking her head violently.  But as I keep pointing out, she’s been on the run since before she was a teenager.  She wouldn’t have learned how to deal with these things like an adult, so she’s not behaving like one.  It’s perfectly reasonable and I can’t hate her for it.

She finally blurts out her feelings for him and he gushes all over her in return and they kiss and it’s all disgustingly sweet and I’m bored.  I have no interest in the love between a generic but decent enough guy and an obnoxious little girl who had no chance to grow up.  The whole scene is pure fluff and I understand why it’s here, and there’s actual real characterization told through actual events rather than clumsy exposition which is exactly what I was asking for but I’m still bored.  But that’s because romance just isn’t my thing.  The quality in this scene is surprising.  Mostly in that quality is a word I can use to describe anything in this book.

“But you’re seventeen, Melanie. And I’m twenty-six.”

…Wait.  What?  Jared is 26?  That changes things…  Now I know he got her entendre and was just trying to give her an out.  He’s actually old enough to have gotten to experience normal life.  He should be a lot more bitter…  Though I suppose now that he’s with her maybe his relief over not being alone is making him nicer, but if he’s only been alone since he was 24 he would have had a whole life that got destroyed.  He would have finished school and been part of the real world.  He would have been more aware of the change than she would have been, witnessing it happen and the crushing reality of what was coming.  If he doesn’t turn out to be bitter and angry later in the book I call bullshit.

She keeps trying to get him to fuck her (I wish I was kidding…) and he’s telling her he would feel like a statutory rapist and it would be weird and if they’re going to have a relationship it needs to go a lot slower than she’s trying to make it.  You know, from what I’ve heard of Twilight, this was the dynamic in that too.  Older guy, girl wanting to have sex, guy wanting to wait.  Is this a thing?  Is this something girls actually want?  They want to have sex and then have the guy say no?  That seems odd to me…  I understand the concept of finding a guy who isn’t going to rush you attractive, but wanting to have sex and then having the guy say no?  Why is that something to find attractive?

confused-buffy

Melanie panics more that they don’t know how long they have so there is reason to rush, Jared gives her a reassuring smile and tells her they have forever because he’ll never lose her.  Aww sap.  Melanie and Wanderer cry over the sappiness and the chapter ends.

Okay, fine, this chapter didn’t suck thanks to that flash back.  It was mostly well written (the flashback, not the whole chapter…), some of the characterization seemed legit, and the best parts could actually tug at the heart strings if you’re not a cold-hearted old bastard like I am.  You win this round Meyer.  Keep this up and maybe I’ll actually be able to give a grudging ‘if you like romance novels give it a read’ recommendation when it’s over.  But I’ve had the ending spoiled, don’t worry dear readers, you won’t actually have to see that happen.

Till next time.

(Be sure to check out The Llama’s take on this chapter too!)

The Host Review: Followed (Ch 6)

I’m going to try something different this time.  I have not yet actually read this chapter yet.  I’m going to read it as I go, and will be unable to comment based on information the book hasn’t revealed yet.  I’m hoping this will stop me from calling it out for contradictions that we haven’t even gotten to so I can focus on the ones that we have!  Let’s see how it goes shall we?  You can witness my rage in real time!  …Sort of.

We start off with an unnecessarily long description of the sunset.

The light was finally fading outside the windows. The day, hot for March, had lingered on and on, as if reluctant to end and set me free.

Grumpy

I hate this paragraph.  It doesn’t make me angry; I just don’t understand why it has to be worded this way.  This is a first person narrative.  This is supposed to be how someone views the world.  Do you think like that?  I don’t think like that.  I don’t know anyone that thinks like that.  A saner way to put it would be ‘The sun was finally setting in this unusually hot March evening.  The day had dragged on seemingly forever.’  Not my best writing, but it’s still a lot less pretentious than that crap.

Apparently this is the same scene as the last chapter.  It seems to have picked up right where the last one left off, Wanderer wiping the tears with Kathy’s handkerchief.  Why isn’t this part of the last chapter then?  It’s the same scene!  Whatever.

A Bit of Fry and Laurie Bored

I just can’t bring myself to care.

Kathy, continuing to justify why she’s the only character I actually like in this book, tells Wanderer she needs a good support system to help her through this if she’s not open to switching hosts.  Wanderer acts horrified at the thought of having to talk to someone else and says Kathy is probably the best comforter there is so why should she have to get a different one?!  It comes off as a complete and utter lie told to avoid having to do something she doesn’t like.  Which goes with what we’ve seen of the character so far, but completely against everything we’ve been told about her so far.  Quality writing!

Sarcasm

Kathy didn’t intend to send her to a different therapist though, she just wants Wanderer to have friends.  Wanderer is confused.  I’m left wondering why.  They said that theirs is a peaceful and loving species.  They said in the last chapter that the parasites are a more connected species, complaining about how individualistic humans are.  Friends should not be a strange concept.  Being alone should be a strange concept.  Everything we’re being told about everything is exactly the opposite of what we’re actually seeing.  This is incredibly annoying.

I stared at her blankly.

“Human hosts need interaction. You’re not used to solitude, dear. You shared an entire planet’s thoughts –”

“We didn’t go out much.” My attempt at humor fell flat.

I feel dirty that I don’t hate that joke…  More important than my bad taste in humour though is what Kathy said here.  It’s incredibly poorly written, confusing, and slightly degrading.  First ‘Human hosts need interaction.  You’re not used to solitude, dear.’  This sounds like the reason she needs friends is because humans need friends.  But it’s also saying that she’s used to being literally connected to everyone around her and coming here where she’s alone is a big difference.  Which has nothing to do with the fact that she’s human.  A clearer way to say this would be ‘Humans are a social species, they need interaction with others.  On top of the fact that you’re used to such a strong connection with the people around you, being alone is even harder.’  Instead she had to word it disjointedly and in a way that sounds like they view their host bodies as pets that need occasional walkies to the park to play with the other dogs.

Kathy goes on to explain that if Melanie is more dormant when Wanderer is working because she’s bored (Still don’t get how alien history would be boring) maybe Melanie would be too bored to be terribly active while Wanderer was out having a life and enjoying the company of friends.  She implies that it’s Wanderers own fault that Melanie has so much power, that Wanderer focusing on her so much gives her the power, and I find this hilarious.  Kathy basically just said that she’s causing her own problems.  It’s the first time anyone in the book has said anything other than how perfect and awesome Wanderer is and it just further cements her as my favourite character.  I have a sneaking suspicion she won’t get much ‘screen time’ so to speak.

“And then there are the physical drives these bodies have. I’ve never seen or heard of their equal. One of the most difficult things we of the first wave had to conquer was the mating instinct.”

Did you know that there’s a breed of mouse where when the male’s reach puberty their drive to have sex is so strong that they don’t eat or sleep for the rest of their incredibly short lives, they just bone everything in sight?  No idea why I felt the need to bring that up…

The More You Know

“No, I didn’t mean just memories. Haven’t you come across anyone that your body has responded to in the present–on strictly a chemical level?”

I thought her question through carefully. “I don’t think so. Not so I’ve noticed.”

‘Not so I’ve noticed.’  ‘NOT SO I’VE NOTICED.’  WHAT?!  HOW DID THAT GET PAST AN EDITOR?!

It would never have gotten past J Jonah Jamieson!  And not just because it's not about Spiderman.

It would never have gotten past J Jonah Jamieson! And not just because it’s not about Spiderman.

I will concede that you can stretch grammar rules to make it work, but, just no.  No one would ever say that.  Especially not one working from the English skills of someone who’d been on the run since before high school.

Kathy says she’s letting Melanie control her interactions, Wanderer gets offended and insinuates that Kathy is the metaphorical pot.  Kathy doesn’t rise to her bait and concedes that it’s possible that the hosts have more say in who they end up with than they like to believe but that Wanderer should still give it time.  She says perhaps Wanderer will find someone else who does it for her, or since the Seekers are already looking, maybe Jared will be found and assimilated and she can be with him then.  Apparently this is horrific to Wanderer.

“No!” I wasn’t sure who had shouted. It could have been me. I was full of horror, too.

Why?  I understand why Melanie would be horrified, but why would Wanderer?  That makes less than no sense at all.

That’s killing him! That’s making him cease to be! I don’t want someone else. I want Jared, not a stranger in his body! The body means nothing without him.

This is the answer.  It still makes no sense.  Wanderer cannot ever be with Jared.  Jared would murder her.  She knows that.  Jared would despise her for ‘killing’ his girlfriend as she’s unwilling to do to him.  If she admits that becoming a host is murder, then she admits she has murdered.  Multiple times.  AND that that’s a BAD THING.  Or is it only bad if he’s hot?  I hate romance novel logic.

Illogical Bullshit

I didn’t live far from the Comforter’s office, but the darkness in the street disoriented me. I’d gone two blocks before I realized I was running in the wrong direction.

Okay, confession time.  I’ve gotten lost going straight.  My sense of direction is as strong as a broken compass.  I do not, however, get lost only a few blocks from the place I’ve lived for at least 4 or 5 months (long enough for her to get a job, prep for the university course, complete a full semester and start a new one, I’d say it’s probably closer to 6 but I’ll be generous) even at dusk.  I certainly wouldn’t be able to go two whole blocks without noticing that I wasn’t going the right way.

People were looking at me. I wasn’t dressed for exercise, and I wasn’t jogging, I was fleeing. But no one bothered me; they politely averted their eyes. They would guess that I was new to this host. Acting out the way a child would.

Celebrate

OH MY GOD SHE ADMITTED IT!  Though I suspect this was meant to garner sympathy not allow me to gloat for realizing she’s acting like a toddler.  Seriously though, how is a tightly connected species full of love and peace not more caring?  She’s clearly upset and disoriented, but they’re just ignoring her to deal with it on her own?  A species where everyone is supposed to be a bunch of goddamn loving hippies that has support groups and nurturing and understanding and all those other positive adjectives Meyer keeps stuffing down our throats isn’t going to try and help her?  Reassure her, point her in the right direction, make sure she’s okay?!  That’s not polite, it’s cruel!  Not even going to check and see if she’s running from something BAD!?  Maybe there’s a murderous human around!

My walk was only slightly slower than a run. I heard my feet hitting the sidewalk too quickly, as though they were trying to match the tempo of a dance song. Slap, slap, slap against the concrete. No, it wasn’t like a drumbeat, it was too angry. Like violence. Slap, slap, slap. Someone hitting someone else. I shuddered away from the horrible image.

Is she wearing flip flops?  Slippers?  No explanation for why there’s a slapping noise when she speed walks?  Normal shoes don’t make a slapping sound when they hit the sidewalk.  It’s more of a heavy thud…

Like this, only quieter

Like this, only quieter

I could see the lamp on over my apartment door.

Does anyone actually call their porch light a lamp?

Wanderer pukes into some bushes across the street from her apartment as the Seeker comes up and actually acts like a decent person by seeming to be genuinely concerned for her well-being and having a little panic over who she needs to call to get her some help, trying to find out who the closest healer is and asking if she needs an ambulance.  This is actually a surprisingly decently written scene if you ignore Meyers prose between the dialogue, and despite that Wanderer sees the Seeker as a bad guy now that she doesn’t want Jared found, she actually seems like a decent enough person who’s just determined to do her job well.  However Wanderer sees the world, the reality is the opposite.  That’s a safe assumption for the rest of this book.

Wanderer freaks the fuck out, no mention of her wiping the vomit from her mouth, and she gets in the Seekers face, grabbing her by the collar of her shirt and asking her why she’s there and what’s happened.  The Seeker is understandably defensive now, telling her to stop shaking her.  Wanderer actually gets huffy (Meyer’s word!) over the fact that the Seeker didn’t like being shaken, but gives her an apology that I imagine if we could hear it in person probably sounded sarcastic.

The Seeker continues coming off as a better person than Wanderer by still being slightly annoyed, but smoothing out her shirt and conceding that Wanderer is sick and she probably startled her, so it was understandable.  The Seeker says she should see a Healer before they talk, since getting better is more important, and Wanderer gets annoyed that she won’t just accept her saying she’s fine.  Dude, you just puked into a bush.  No one with any level of sanity would accept that that was nothing.  She’s asking questions because you make no sense and she’s concerned that you’re sick.  This is not a negative action that justifies being pissed off.

Wanderer actually starts thinking about how she could take the Seeker in a fight because she’s taller (which is bullshit.  The Seeker would know how to fight.  Being taller gives you no advantage at all.  As someone who has done boxing, kick boxing, karate and tai kwan do I feel confident in saying that being taller can be a serious disadvantage.  Lower center of gravity makes you harder to knock down.) And then, continuing the rude behaviour, rather than realizing she’s being horrible and making an effort not to be, she realizes she’s being horrible, so she turns and walks away without a word.

Rude

The Seeker, rather than being offended, actually continues to be concerned for this bitch.  She yells after her that she still hasn’t gotten a hold of a healer for her yet!  This is the villain.  The villain should never be a better person than the hero.  The protagonist, maybe, but Wanderer and Melanie are not just the main character, they’re the heroines of this story.  If I had any faith that there would be an arc where she realized she was awful and became less awful I would forgive this but that would require me to believe that the author that wrote this line:

“I need no Healer,” I said without turning.

Actually understands that characters need to grow.

Wanderer goes into her house, leaving the door open behind her knowing that the Seeker is going to follow, and being annoyed by that fact.  She rinses her mouth, ignoring the woman’s presence.  Wanderer says she speaks up because she’s bored, I suspect she actually speaks up because the silence and tension would be deafening and she felt the need to break it.  Seeker asks if she still goes by Wanderer, saying she means no offense by calling her that if she’s taken a new name.  She admits she’s surprised she stuck with the name, figuring she’d have chosen one of her own rather than taking one that was given to her.

I kind of see her point.  She didn’t seem to much care for the nicknames they were giving her past planets, so it wouldn’t be a stretch that she wouldn’t like the nickname they had given her either.  They never did say what her see weed name was or why she didn’t use that, or why they didn’t call her that at first since they knew Kevin’s bat name.  Wanderer is of course pissed off by the question.

Wanderer talks about how confrontational the Seeker is, saying she’s the most confrontational soul she’d ever met in all her 9 lives.  I gotta say I don’t see it.  Nothing she’s said here seems terribly confrontational.  Even her first appearance could be taken as impatience rather than her being outwardly confrontational.  She’d been waiting 10 days for time sensitive information and Fords was accusing her of being horrible.  She was being defensive, not confrontational.  Not the best person in the world (she still sounded like a c grade comic book villain), but far from the worst.  Wanderer has been way more confrontational than Seeker has been.  She got snippy at Fords in the third chapter, she got snippy at Kathy when she was being calm and not at all intending to be offensive, and now she’s being short and horrible to Seeker for daring to be concerned for her well-being.  Heinous bitch!  How dare she!

No one out apathies Jack Nicholson

As if Meyer realized Seeker might be coming off as more sympathetic than Wanderer, she goes back into over the top villain mode.  She laughs at Wanderer for having not subdued Melanie yet and apparently seems to be happy about the fact that there are more humans to hunt.  Wanderer and Melanie chat about how much they hate her.  They’re bonding over mutual hate like those catty high school girls no one actually likes but everyone pretends to want to be around because they think everyone else thinks they’re cool and they don’t want to get made fun of.  I’m not even exaggerating.  Wanderer says specifically that it’s a testament to how horrible Seeker is that she makes Melanie look better by comparison, then they both chat about how much of a bitch she is.

I still like Seeker better than either of our protagonists, even in villain mode.  Which I might add is a massive disconnect from the genuine concern and patience she’d shown earlier in the scene, and since this is all from Wanderer’s perspective and Wanderer hates her, could easily be her exaggerating and projecting.  I did already point out that I’ve noticed that everything seems to be the exact opposite of how Wanderer describes it, so Seeker was probably laughing uncomfortably, unsure how to handle the revelation that Melanie was still alive in there and not sure how to react to it.

Uncomfortable jokes

Apparently in all the time Wanderer has shared Melanie’s thoughts, she never considered that the flashes of directions Melanie kept trying to hide from her were directions to Jared.  Neeeeever even occurred to her that the only important place she would be trying to hide from the aliens would be the location of the humans she didn’t want them to body snatch.  Brilliant.

She totally never could have figured it out before!

She totally never could have figured it out before!

The next bit leaves me terribly confused.  She brings up the fucking see weeds again, and I’m pretty sure by now I’ve gotten my point across how they do not make the least bit of sense, but it somehow manages to get stupider.  Apparently Wanderer was one of the ‘settlers’ of that planet. Seeker snickers at her about how hard it must have been to settle a planet full of rooted plants, but Wanderer explains that HALF THE PLANET DIED.  THEY COMMITTED SUICIDE TO AVOID GETTING OVERTAKEN.  AND WANDERERS CONCERN IS THAT IT WAS A WASTE OF BODIES, NOT THAT THEY WERE SO HORRIFIED BY THE IDEA OF GETTING BODY SNATCHED THAT THEY COMMITTED MASS SUICIDE.  This apparently didn’t raise a single red flag in any of their minds that what they were doing was horrible, Wanderer says it was the SEEKERS fault.

Take  your stupid opinions and leave

Melanie has repeatedly said that what the parasites do is glorified murder, and Wanderer has just ignored her.  She doesn’t try and justify it in any way other than that the planet is better off, but that only even makes a LITTLE sense in the case of humans.  She can’t say the see weeds were war faring and destroying their planet.  So how does she justify that?  What did they bring to that planet that the see weeds couldn’t?  What value did they add?  As far as I can tell, not a goddamn thing. But since she won’t stop talking about her only semi original alien species other than the parasites I suspect we’ll get more information and Wanderer will try and explain it later.  And I’ll probably find it just as weak as no answer at all.

Anyway that’s basically the end of the chapter.  She’s rude to Seeker, Seeker is not rude back, Melanie snarks.  This chapter was not as rage inducing as the assholes howling outside in the parking lot or the previous chapter, but it is definitely as stupid.  She’s replaced bad science content with poor characterization and psychology.  It’s lateral progress at best.  I suppose you could argue that something akin to plot is happening now.  She’s realized she wants to fuck Jared and she can’t do that if Seeker finds him first, so I guess we’re getting a road trip.  Should be good quirky fun!  Kill me now.

(Check out The Llama’s take on this chapter!)

The Host Review: Overheard (Ch 2)

This chapter takes place while the parasite and host are still laying relatively still in the hospital bed or on the operating table.  It was really never stated that she was moved, so I picture her still face down on the operating table because it’s funnier that way.

The parasite, which finally gets a name in this chapter, Wanderer, is faking being unconscious while Fords talks to a yet unnamed female Seeker.  Fords is getting pissed at her because he thinks putting Wanderer in this body is cruel, and they’re having a fight over it, which Wanderer finds odd and unsettling because hers is such a peaceful and loving race.

The Seeker argues that since she only screamed once, Fords is being a pussy.  I would like to point out that by the end of the first page in this chapter it’s blatantly obvious that this chick is the book’s bad guy.  Meyer is so skilled at writing such deep stories, I’m shocked the villain would be so transparent.

So shocked he can't even handle it!

So shocked he can’t even handle it!

Fords argues that the only reason she’s not still wailing in agony is because she’s so special not because it’s not traumatic, because of course we need it drilled in more that the main character is super awesome and unusual.  They keep taking pot shots at each other for a bit till I kind of expect them to have hate-sex right there on the floor, and Wanderer talks about how weird it is for her people to show any signs of aggression, because we all know bears are never ever angry.

Makes perfect sense.

Makes perfect sense.

This whole chapter is a bit boring to talk about because it’s just Fords and the Seeker arguing back and forth about how evil she is and how much of a pansy he is.  Fords implies that Seekers won’t be needed much longer, Seeker says he’s wrong and Wanderer’s host is evidence of that.  Fords points out that she’s one of a very small number remaining, stating that the aliens have regular humans outnumbered a million to one, and the Seekers are quickly rounding up everyone else, so their threat is weakening.  The seeker doesn’t seem to like that fact, and Fords thinks the seeker enjoys violence and isn’t acclimatizing well to peace.

We find out that the host body jumped down the elevator shaft 10 days ago, and that the rebelling humans are actively murdering the humans afflicted with the parasites.  The seekers seem to both find new host bodies for aliens and defend them.  They talk about how humans have put up a brutal fight, and it’s implied that Fords hasn’t been there that long since the unnamed Seeker says he wouldn’t have done well during the start of the invasion.  It’s also, of course, explained that Wanderer is possibly the most well-traveled of all the aliens, at least that the seeker knows of.  Again, super special.  Why can’t the heroes of these kinds of books ever be normal?  Or at least not the most special thing ever?  Wouldn’t this story make more sense with a relatively young parasite, not sure how to overcome the emotions and memories of the host?  Having to struggle to beat down the angry and violent host wanting to break free of her control?

As it stands, instead of making the parasite look special it actually makes her look incredibly weak.  She’d been through more than any other parasite currently on Earth and she still isn’t strong enough to do a slightly more complicated than usual bonding process?  Has she just always sought out the easiest victims for a body to steal?  Having never had to fight against a host in all her past ‘lives’ makes her hosts sound weak.  So she’s probably only inhabited children up till that point which makes her sound even worse.  They call her special and say she should be capable of handling all this, but she can’t.  So either she’s actually just lucky and really kind of sucks, or the host is really unusual, but since they said in the prologue that the host is relatively normal I’m voting the parasite is secretly really pathetic.

For the second time this chapter brings about conflicting information about how much Wanderer knew before coming here.  The Seeker says she ‘would have chosen this if there had been any way to ask’ and Wanderer states that she had been given information before she came here and coming here was a choice she had made.  So was she able to make the choice or not?  At least be consistent within the same goddamn chapter!

Sokka Rage

I have so very, very many problems with the part that comes after they stop focusing on the argument between tweedle dee and tweedle dum…  Wanderer starts talking about her past host.  She has no name for it, but it is very clearly the ‘see weed’ that they mentioned that I thought was a typo.  It’s a plant-like species that lives on the ocean floor and is covered in eyeballs.  So many problems I don’t even know where to begin…

R Pattinson Ugh Face

She says they were all rooted together, sharing a consciousness.  She says that they use photosynthesis for food, and live ‘many leagues’ under the sea.  Anyone with even the most basic understanding of science would start to see the problems here.  How can the parasite species attach to the ‘center of consciousness’ as she said they have to in the last chapter, if the species they’re trying to connect to is one mass consciousness linked together rather than many individuals?  She describes them as though they’re individuals that communicate jovially together, telling stories through telepathy via their shared consciousness, but that’s not telepathy and they’re not individuals.  If it’s a linked consciousness they would be like the limbs of octopi.  They would each have a mass of nerve cells allowing individual movements, even if separated from the mass, but they are not in and of themselves individuals.  They are simply bundles of nerves connected to the larger brain.

That would mean that there would be only one center of consciousness for the entire species and thus only one parasite could live within them.  Once the main consciousness was taken, if parasites needed a host they could live off the nutrients brought in from the nerve clusters, theoretically I suppose but the ‘species’ itself is only one singular being.

Another issue with the species is the fact that they have eyes.  Why do they have eyes if they live at the bottom of the ocean rooted together, with no mention of any method of defense?  They’re rooted to the ocean floor so they can’t run, they use photosynthesis for food so they don’t need them to hunt.  What good are the eyes?  What purpose do they fulfill?

How does it work?!

How does it work?!

The photosynthesis is a problem as well.  If they live at the bottom of the ocean that seems rather inefficient for photosynthesis.  She even says they’re many leagues down.  The amount of solar energy that would reach them that far down would be rather small.  In Earth’s oceans, photosynthetic plants rooted to the ground are only in shallower water.  In the deep ocean the only photosynthetic plants are phytoplankton, which spend their lives floating around near the surface and fuel the ocean floor when they die and their bodies float down to the bottom providing the food for herbivorous species at the ocean floor.  There are ‘plants’ that live that deep down, but rather than the sun, they get their energy from thermal vents on the ocean floor and the nutrients they spit out from the Earth’s core.  But as an animal, not a plant, or at least a planimal, with the added strain of needing to provide nutrients not only for basic functions of life, but also the nutritional needs of a ‘brain’, their photosynthesis would have to be amazingly efficient.

Anyway, she goes on about how while she was part of the see weed, they would tell stories about how violent Earth was.  They would talk about fighting and wars, and how unusual that was.  She does realize that her past lives as a bear and a spider would have involved murdering living things right?  And both of those species fight over territory and mates?  Humans are not the only creatures that fight.  We’re not even the only species that has full blown wars.  Not just primates either, insects and mammals both fight in something similar to wars.  Dolphins commit genocide against porpoises for no known reason since they don’t tend to clash over prey or territory.  Dolphins also commit gang rape.  Hell, even some plants commit genocide against other species of plants.  Humans are not alone in their violent nature.  Evolution favours the species that has some kind of advantage over others, and often destroying your competition is that advantage.  Violence is a natural by-product of evolution and in no way is it unique or odd.

She goes on about how the seekers tend to be looked down upon by the rest of the species.  They’re seen as violent and unevolved.  A necessary evil that none of the rest of them can understand why they would choose that life.  This species isn’t very self-aware considering she’s still shown no degree of sympathy or remorse for the hosts lives they steal.

She starts skimming the host’s memories and hits a wall as the host fights against her. She does find out that the host was looking for a cousin named Sharon, and that she had reason to believe the girl was unassimilated.  She hits the wall and decides to wake up, and that’s the end of the chapter.

I just wanted to use this gif...

I just wanted to use this gif…

This chapter sucks.  The information is conflicting, the science is bullshit that anyone who took any science classes in high school should be able to see the problems with, and the ‘good’ aliens come off as selfish and really fucking ignorant of what their species is.  The villain is so transparent and one dimensional she might as well be an outline drawn on saran wrap.  This book is awful.  I hope something actually happens soon because I’m less angry than bored at the moment and that’s making this hard.

Such dull work, ripping this book to shreds...

Such dull work, ripping this book to shreds…

See you next time.

(And don’t forget to check out the question llama’s reviews!)