This is going to be another review full of fairly graphic descriptions of violence as I explain just how physically inaccurate/impossible Meyers’ action scenes are. Only unlike the last time I had to do this, this time the graphic violence discussion is pretty much the entire chapter, so you can’t just skip ahead to the second half of the review. The next paragraph will be a very, very brief summary of the chapter, or you can read Llama’s review of this chapter if you want more information, without an explanation of the damage a large rock will cause when smashed into a femur or tibia.
For those of you not reading on past this paragraph (for those of you that are going to read on, skip past the warning now or be spoiled), the entire chapter is Wanderer taking a bath when Kyle decides to try and kill her. It is the single worst, most ridiculous action scene possible and absolutely nothing in it makes any sense at all. It ends with her surviving via plot contrivance, with Kyle passed out and half falling into the rushing waters she was warned about when Jeb gave her a tour of the bathroom area the first time.
LAST CHANCE TO BACK OUT BEFORE I START TALKING ABOUT BEATING THE SHIT OUT OF THINGS IN DETAIL!
I’m not going to lie, I have been kind of looking forward to talking about this chapter since Llama told me about it. I so very rarely get to talk about stuff like this. It pisses me off less than the bad science does, so while it does still make me irrationally annoyed, my blood pressure doesn’t go through the roof and I get to talk about something I enjoy (don’t think too hard about that…). Meyer clearly puts as much effort into researching her fight scenes as she does the science, so there’s plenty to discuss!
Yeah, I fully expect this, so I’ll just put it here pre-emptively
Anyway, onto the chapter!
It starts of right where the last one ended (we’re back to that now apparently. This is what I get for thinking Meyer was actually making an effort to improve) and Wanderer heads to Jamie’s room to grab some clothes. Jamie’s a heavy sleeper and Jared is still in the hospital wing so she doesn’t mind doing that in the middle of the night.
Apparently Ian is sleeping in the room with Jamie, so I guess she should have considered that because we don’t know if he’s a heavy sleeper or not, but since he doesn’t wake up to her presence I assume he is. Though that doesn’t really seem to mesh well with his personality. He’s sprawled out, hung half way off the bed, and Wanderer tries her best not to burst out laughing at how dumb he looks. I’m wondering how she can actually see him considering it’s supposed to be pitch black and I can’t imagine she would have a light with her as that seems like it might wake them up, but whatever. That’s a plot hole I’ll be addressing in a more serious moment later.
Melanie calls her ‘slaphappy’ which I assume means nuts, and that she needs to get some sleep. Wanderer says she will after Walter passes, and that makes her finally stop having the giggles. She quickens her pace to the bathing room in fear that Doc might not keep his promise to let her say goodbye. She thinks she hears someone else behind her, but she shrugs it off as other people getting up for the day. She’s wrong, but it’s actually reasonably subtle and I have to give props where they’re due.
I followed the familiar path to the underground rivers, my mind in a million other places. I couldn’t seem to concentrate on anything in particular. Every time I tried to focus on a subject–Walter, Jared, breakfast, chores, baths–some other thought would pull my head away in seconds. Melanie was right; I needed to sleep. She was just as muddled. Her thoughts all spun around Jared, but she could make nothing coherent of them, either.
This snippet is important for the events that come. She’s exhausted, she’s not thinking straight. She should not be able to do ANY of what she does in this chapter. But, seriously, all of Melanie’s thoughts revolve around Jared? Is Jared some kind of cult leader and Melanie is his disciple? She’s not thinking about Jamie? She’s not sad for the dying man? She’s not concerned as to what will happen if Seeker doesn’t stop looking for them? Nope, everything is about Jared.
Anyway she has a bath and accidentally kicks a rock into the water. For some reason the sound startles her. I have tried time and time again to understand why, but I still can’t manage it. She knew she kicked the rock, she describes how it hurt her foot. She heard the rock as it skidded across the floor, she describes the sound of it as it bounces around on the other rocks. So why is it so startling when it hits the water?
“Knock, knock,” a familiar voice called from the dark entry.
“Good morning, Ian,” I said. “I’m just done. Did you sleep well?”
“Ian’s still sleeping,” Ian’s voice answered. “I’m sure that won’t last forever, though, so we’d best get on with this.”
‘Knock, knock’? Really? You intend to kill this woman and you open with ‘knock, knock’? You reveal your presence with a fucking kids joke? Dumbass.
I’d noticed it before, and then forgotten it in the long weeks of Kyle’s absence: not only did Ian and his brother look very much alike, but–when Kyle spoke at a normal volume, which so rarely happened–they also had exactly the same voice.
You know what the odds of non-identical twins sounding so much alike you couldn’t tell them apart is? Almost non-existent. She’s spent enough time with Ian lately she should notice that he doesn’t sound ‘quite’ right. She’s also heard Kyle talking fairly recently. She could have said ‘they sounded so much alike, and I so rarely hear Kyle when he’s not yelling, it didn’t even occur to me that it might be him.’ Not ‘they have the exact same voice’. Also, I don’t remember this ever being mentioned before. And with how Kyle is described I don’t really understand how they look that much alike.
From the descriptions of Kyle, he seems like a bear in human skin, whereas Ian I thought was smaller than Jared. Or at least around his size. But later in this chapter Kyle is described as bigger and stronger than anyone else in the entire compound. I guess they could have similar facial structures, but generally that big of a difference in size and build would indicate that Kyle would have more testosterone in his system and therefore a noticeably deeper voice.
Even if testosterone level differences weren’t enough to make a noticeable difference, size affects voices in other ways as well, such as simply having bigger or smaller vocal cords, more muscle for the sound to have to vibrate through changing the sound. Any damage either of them have received in fights could affect the sound of their voices. I just don’t buy that she wouldn’t have at least noticed that he sounded ‘off’, even if she still assumed it was him. She could make that mistake and still have it be realistic, instead she just got fucking lazy again and it irks me.
Melanie speaks up telling Wanderer to keep her mouth shut and listen for Kyle’s moves. But at this point Wanderer is in the pitch black and Kyle is standing in the doorway, which should be the only source of any light in the entire room, so they should at least be able to see a faint outline of him and know where he is and when he makes a move. Neither of them are smart enough to make this realization. Kyle is the one at a disadvantage here and he should have kept his dumbass mouth shut until after he was fully inside the pitch black room and they wouldn’t be able to know where he was.
Melanie asks for control since Wanderer says she can’t attack Kyle, and Wanderer fails to give it to her. Because in the past she’s had to actively fight to keep Melanie from taking over, but now that it’s just their lives at risk, not just being in Jared’s presence, Melanie isn’t strong enough to even fight to take control. Because as with earlier, everything is about Jared. Melanie is the most useless human being on the planet. I have never met a guy who didn’t deserve a punch in the face who would actually like a girlfriend so obsessed with him that he was her only waking thought. Those types of girls are the ones that get labelled the crazy ex. It’s creepy, it’s stalkerish, and it’s incredibly codependent. The type of guy that likes this type of girl tends to be abusive and self centered. That kind of guy doesn’t want a girlfriend so much as a mother and worshipper.
She says she hears a tiny splash. He threw a small rock into the water to try and distract her. And she’s dumb enough to fall for it. She thinks either he moved and is now behind her or there’s two people. A ‘tiny splash’ could not possibly be a person. People can’t just make tiny splashes in running water, that’s not how reality works.
He couldn’t wait forever. The little he’d said told me he was in a hurry.
Really? Because it told me he’s fucking with you and doesn’t think you’ll put up enough of a fight to be terribly concerned or else he’d have killed you without ever saying a word and without this fairly lengthy pause between announcing his presence and actually doing anything.
Kyle was probably twice my weight, and he had a much longer reach.
So how big is Ian? If they look sooooo much alike (which I already said isn’t the case because she’s described Kyle as larger than Ian and Jared, but then in this chapter she’s saying he looks almost identical to Ian and Jared is the same size as him. Consistency.) that would make Ian significantly larger than her, making him squeezing her neck in the last chapter I put a violence warning on all the more unrealistic. If someone literally twice your weight almost purely muscle grabs you by the neck and squeezes as hard as they can he will break your neck. Wanderer would be very, very much dead right now.
We don’t know how big Wandanie is though, so it’s still difficult to get a good image of him. She could barely carry a palette of water in an earlier chapter so that implies her natural state is fairly tiny, but she’s been working hard in the fields over the last month or two, so she could be a little bigger. So, let’s say she’s something around 125lbs. That would put Kyle (and by this chapters description, Ian and Jared as well) at about 250lbs. Of muscle.
When my dad was around that age that’s about how big he was. When you have a large amount of muscle, you get really fucking hungry. He would eat a large pizza by himself as a snack between meals some days. Just one of those men would naturally eat about three times the amount most of the other people in the caves would just to maintain their muscle. Considering the value of that muscle is limited, the cost in terms of food required to maintain it would be unrealistic. They would probably sit closer to 180-200lbs and be very hungry a lot of the time. I suppose that would add to why Jared and Kyle seem so cranky.
The argument could be made that Wandanie is only 100lbs, and therefore the higher end of what I estimated in that last paragraph could still be realistic, but the idea that she would only be 100lbs seems unrealistic to me. Even if she was incredibly short, which seems unlikely because she’s a full head taller than the Seeker by the description of the Seeker, and while she’s described as short, she’s not a midget so Seeker is probably 5′, 5’1, and Wandanie is probably around 5’4-5’5, which is around average. Also, she pigs out every chance she gets so the idea that she would have only been 100lbs when she was a teacher and had access to all the food she wanted without having to exercise is fairly laughable. But more importantly, muscle weighs more than fat, and she’s been having to knead tough dough and till fields for a decent length of time. She would have developed muscle. Period. So she could be one of those rare lucky people who is just naturally tiny all the time no matter what, but let’s just be realistic here shall we? And if she was only 100lbs the rest of this chapter would be even more unrealistic than it already is.
I was supposed to talk about violence right? Why is that taking so much longer to get to than I thought it would?
She throws some rocks to try and make it sound like she was running away to hide.
The breath at the door again, the sound of a light footfall headed toward my decoy.
So he is in the doorway, and she should be able to see him. I do not understand what the problem here is. But, wait, light footfall? Why are all the biggest guys in this cave fucking ninja’s? I have to try hard not to sound like a fucking trampling elephant when I walk and I’m not even as big as he is! Being dense with muscle does not make light footfalls easy to accomplish! Oh whatever, minor nitpick.
A gigantic splash shattered the tense standoff. Water pelted my skin, making me gasp. It spattered against the wall in a wave of wet sound.
Okay. First of all, if he was going in the direction of your decoy pebbles, why is he heading towards you? Were you dumb enough to throw your decoy pebbles right beside you? Second of all, he’s already close enough to splash you? And he’s between you and the door? What the fuck is the layout of this room? I thought you were on the side of the bathing pool closest to the door. It wouldn’t make much sense for you to swim to the other side to clean your clothes because then you would have to swim back to the other side.
Is there a path around the pool? I assume there must be since she does say ‘he’s coming through the pool!’ next, but then why the fuck is Kyle going through the water and giving away his location and slowing himself down? And it still wouldn’t make sense for Wanderer to be on that side of the water. Wouldn’t it make more sense to just hop in the water closest to the door? I’m confused.
I hesitated just a second too long. Big fingers clutched at my calf, my ankle.
What? Why? How? Did he lunge at her? Why was his arm low enough to grab her ankle? Or why was her ankle high enough for him to grab?
I yanked against the pull, lurching forward. I stumbled, and the momentum that threw me down to the floor made his fingers slip. He caught my sneaker. I kicked it off, leaving it in his hand.
Hahahhahahhaha, no. Let’s see, where to start? Okay, first off, if you were running and someone grabbed your ankle mid stride, you would fall flat on your face right away, so that part is accurate, but there is absolutely no reason at all for his fingers to slip. Even if his hands were wet, if he’s as much bigger than her as she describes (and if you want to go with the smaller weights her ankles would be even smaller proportionately giving him an even better grip on them) he should have a good grip on her and it would be incredibly unlikely that he would lose his grasp on her.
As unrealistic as him losing his grip is though, it’s even odder to me that she was able to kick off her sneaker in one move. Was she wandering around in there with her shoes untied? Is he yanking on her shoe? Does her sneaker not fit properly? Have you ever tried to kick off a tied sneaker? It’s hard to do! Specifically because they’re designed as active wear! And her movement is restricted by being face down on the ground with someone holding her foot! Sorry, no, that entire paragraph is just bad.
I was down, but he was down, too.
I have reread this scene multiple times and I still don’t understand how he’s ‘down’. He is never described as having fallen. The only thing I can imagine is going on here is that he for some reason got down on his belly when he grabbed her leg, but I don’t know why he would. I presumed before reading that line that he had bent over and grabbed her leg (though how he knew where her leg was to grab for her is beyond me) not that he had fallen and just happened to get a hold of her. Or that he had fallen trying to grab her. I assumed if his torso had hit the ground she would have described the sound of that as obnoxiously as she’s described the sound of the pebbles in the water and his footfalls and his breath, but the sound of a 200-250lb man smacking into rock doesn’t even get mentioned?
It gave me enough time to scramble forward, ripping my knees against the rough stone.
Oh don’t mind this quote. Just cataloguing the injuries she receives so you’ll understand why everything that’s about to happen makes no sense. (Also, that appears to be the only injury she receives from falling face first on rough stone. Sure.)
Kyle grunted, and his hand clutched at my naked heel. There was nothing to catch hold of; I slid free again.
…Well, except, you know, the bones in your foot… I believe that she could squirm out of that, but let’s not pretend you can’t grab someone by the heel.
I wrenched myself forward, pulling to my feet with my head still down…
‘Pulling to my feet’. ‘Pulling myself to my feet’? ‘Pulling myself up to my feet’? ‘Pushing myself back up onto my feet’? None of these wordings occurred to you or your editor?
…every second in danger of falling again because my body was moving almost parallel to the floor. I kept my balance through sheer force of will.
What? …What? Okay, so, when you pull yourself up off the ground and go into a run, you are very low to the ground for the first second or two, but the way she words that, she keeps running so hunched over that she can barely maintain balance. And just, no. Professional runners in the fucking Olympics start low to the ground, but don’t stay low to the ground past the first half second of the race because TRYING TO RUN WITH ANY SPEED WHILE YOUR CENTER OF GRAVITY IS OFF IS GOING TO RESULT IN YOU LANDING ON YOUR FACE AGAIN. Period. Your force of will is not stronger than the force of gravity, sorry.
We’re still not even into the meat of this action scene yet and there’s already so many errors I can already declare this scene physically impossible.
There was no one else. No one to catch me at the exit to the outer room. I sprinted forward, hope and adrenaline surging in my veins. I burst into the river room at full speed, my only thought to reach the tunnel. I could hear Kyle’s heavy breath close behind but not close enough. With each step, I pushed harder against the ground, throwing myself ahead of him.
I thought Kyle was between her and the door. I thought she was running in the opposite direction of where Kyle was coming from. Which would cause her to be running away from the door, not towards it. Did she double back around the pool? There’s nothing between my last quote to you and this one. You’re not missing anything. I’m not just leaving out relevant information. As far as the scene was set up, Kyle was in the doorway, headed towards her despite having headed away from her, then she was heading away from him and thus away from the door, but then ends up heading through the door. Is this room full of wormholes? Is this room the key to instantaneous travel through space and time?!
I forget, can she see in the river room? I’m pretty sure it’s as dark as the pool room. I suppose that would explain why she couldn’t see him despite him being in the doorway, but whether or not there’s light is relevant so keep it in mind.
Pain lanced through my leg, crumpling it.
Over the babble of the river, I heard two heavy stones hit the ground and roll–the one I’d been clutching and the one he’d thrown to cripple me. My leg twisted under me, spinning me backward to the ground, and in the same second he was on top of me.
I hate the way she describes this. It’s supposed to build drama because you don’t know what hit her. For all of two seconds. It’s just awkward. More importantly though, I’m not sure what her definition of ‘heavy stone’ is. If she was clutching it that whole time it can’t have been heavy enough to throw off her already tenuous balance when she was getting back up to her feet earlier, plus, again, she struggled with a palette of water in earlier chapters. A rock at even 5lbs would be large enough to be difficult to clutch in a panic, so this ‘heavy stone’ is probably only a pound or two.
A rock that’s only a pound or two smacking into the back of your leg would not cripple you. Unless he’s some master of shot-put, the force he could hit her with would certainly hurt, I can’t imagine it would cripple her. But because Meyer seems to have no concept of realistic sizes, let’s assume it’s something I might look at and think it would be a heavy stone to be thrown and go with something big enough to do some damage shall we?
Assume them that it’s a large, slightly jagged rock. Something you might go to pick up and be surprised at how heavy it is. Let’s say he hit her with a rock wider than her calf. That would certainly cripple her. Her leg wouldn’t twist under her though. The way she’s describing it, she’s running away, and a rock hits her leg with enough force to push her leg forward with so much force she lands on her back. You can’t do that with a shotgun you think Kyle can do it with a rock?
Here’s the physics and anatomy of this scenario in the real world instead of the cartoon reaction she describes: when a woman (gender matters in this scenario as it affects the center of gravity) runs quickly, they’re leaning forward. Their center of gravity is down around their hips. Assuming he hit the leg that was touching the ground (it’s never made clear) she would have been hunched slightly forward and the leg would have been bent at the knee and pushing off the ground. The rock would hit the calf, lightly closer to the knee than the ankle, which would indeed send the knee forward further. Were it not for her forward momentum, she would end up falling mostly straight down, slightly forward, not back. Momentum would add to the forward momentum and she’d land hard on her chin.
The force would likely scrape her entire face and break several teeth, possibly even causing her to bite off her own tongue. Her knee would be scrapped and seriously damaged, her arms would be scraped and potentially seriously damaged. Depending on the angle she was at and how well she was able to catch herself falling, she could end up with a broken neck, broken wrists, broken knees, a broken nose… Depending on the size and force of the rock, she would either fracture or completely snap her tibia, which would potentially tear the femoral artery and kill her almost instantly from blood loss.
Okay, so what about if it hit the other leg? The one that was in the air when the rock hit her? Well, it’s possible that that could result in the leg being pushed out in front of her, causing her to land on her ass instead of her chin, but incredibly unlikely. The more likely scenario is as follows: the rock connects on the lower thigh near the bend of the knee, the leg bends at the knee, pushed forward by the force of the rock. Her weight is on the other leg at the moment, and she was already pulling that leg forward to take the next step, so she just loses her balance and, again, falls forward or perhaps sideways. The damage to her leg would potentially be anywhere from heavy bruising to a fracture, and the damage to the rest of her would be no more than scrapes from falling. But she would still not fall backward.
Other ways the rock could have hit her: hitting her raised foot, causing similar results to the last paragraph, only instead of potentially fracturing her thigh, it would break a few bones in her foot, or hitting the thigh of the leg touching the ground which would cause similar issues to hitting the calf only the results for the knee would be more severe.
A rock in between what she could reasonably carry and what I would call a heavy stone could never in a million years cause her to fall backwards without the absolute most perfect angle and perfect amount of force. The sheer amount of things that would have to be just right for that to happen are mind boggling. I won’t say it’s completely impossible, just, so unlikely it might as well be.
Still somehow on that same paragraph though as I move on to the last part of it. He is on top of her. She was running away from him, he was running towards her. She fell onto her back, and he lunged forward to be on top of her. Unless he took the time to turn around, they’re in the position for a sex act describable with only two numbers, not a position for attacking. Unless he’s smothering her with his crotch I’m not sure what he’s doing.
His weight knocked my head against the rock in a ringing blow and pinned me flat against the floor. No leverage.
So he is smothering her with his crotch? That would be a really shitty way to go…
The air blew out of me in a siren of sound that surprised us all. My wordless shriek was more than I’d hoped for–surely someone would hear it. Please let that someone be Jeb. Please let him have the gun.
It is actually possible for her to scream. Once. After that she’s expended the oxygen in her lungs and made it faster for him to crush/smother her to death. Like a python squeezing tighter with every little breath its prey exhales, not allowing its chest to expand again to take in fresh oxygen.
“Uhng!” Kyle protested. His hand was big enough to cover most of my face. His palm mashed against my mouth, cutting off my scream.
Okay, so he is face to face with her, not dick to face. That’s a slightly better image, but why wouldn’t he just snap her neck if he’s got her pinned and he wants her dead? Or punch her hard in the temple? Or bash her head in with a rock? Or crush her throat with a rock? Or come armed with something sharp and slit her throat? Smash her chest hard, break her nose in an upward direction so the cartilage goes into her brain, just grab her head and start fucking beating it into the ground! WHY IS HE JUST FUCKING SITTING ON HER?! THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS TO KILL SOMEONE I’M SURE SOME OF YOU NOW THINK I’VE PROBABLY GOT BODIES IN MY BASEMENT FOR FUCKS SAKE! (I don’t have a basement, for the record.)
Okay fine. I have a parking garage and a storage room, and I spend most of my time surrounded by woods full of wolves and coyotes and carrion birds, but I’m not a murderer…
He rolled then, and the motion so took me by surprise that I had no time to try to find an advantage in it. He pulled me swiftly over and under and over his body.
Over and under and over. That’s really what it says. It actually took me a bit to figure out what the fuck was going on here. He grabbed hold of her and literally rolled across the floor. He didn’t pick her up and toss her over his shoulder, which would make the most sense. He just rolled across the floor, holding her close to his chest. I don’t even know how to respond to that.
I was dizzy and confused, my head still spinning, but I understood as soon as my face hit the water.
He rolls her across the floor to drown her. While he was rolling across the floor he could have bashed her head on some rocks. He could have just smothered her with his big hands. Instead, he rolled across the jagged rock floor, clutching her to his chest, to drown her. I still don’t know how to respond to this.
My body panicked when the water hit my lungs. Its flailing was stronger than he’d expected. My limbs all jerked and thrashed in different directions, and his grip on my neck slipped.
Well, one of your limbs you described as ‘crippled’, so only some of your limbs should be thrashing, not all. But irrelevant for now. I assume that when he rolled you over to the water, he remained on top of you, and you were face down since you said his grip was on the back of your neck. You do know that your limbs don’t move in all directions right? Why would this cause his grip to loosen on your neck? That doesn’t make any sense.
You do flail when you begin drowning. This is a reaction it’s nearly impossible to counter. Generally the flailing would be an instinctual desire to lift your head or flip yourself over. This should not cause him to lose his grip on her neck. I am actually trying very hard to imagine a scenario where limb flailing would cause him to lose his grip on her neck and as long as she’s on her stomach instead of her back, I just can’t make it work. If she was on her stomach, he would be strangling her while drowning her which would result in him actually limiting the amount of water she could inhale. But from that position, she could be flailing drastically enough that he would pull back from her far enough that his grip on her could potentially be tenuous. Aside from that, just, no.
He tried to get a better hold, and some instinct made me pull myself into him rather than away, as he was expecting.
No, really, I just, I cannot accurately describe to you how much this doesn’t make sense. Here’s the quote from literally the paragraph prior to this that makes this make no sense at all:
His hand locked on the back of my neck, forcing my face into the shallow stream of cooler water that wound its way into the bathing pool.
See? I wasn’t just guessing before when I said she was on her stomach. She is face down in the water and he is holding the back of her neck. Yet now she is pulling herself into him. There is no missing quote in between where she flips over. I promise I double checked.
From her stomach she can push herself into him. She can pull herself into the water. She cannot pull herself into him. It is literally not physically possible. It just isn’t.
He fought to push me back into the stream, but I wriggled and wedged myself under him so that his own weight was working against his goal. I was still reacting to the water in my lungs, coughing and spasming out of control.
She’s assuming she has so much more control over her actions than she actually would. She’s already described her actions as primarily involuntary. Her instinct would not be to wedge herself underneath him, her instinct would be to get vertical. It is incredibly rare for someone to maintain conscious control and rational thought when they’re drowning, and since she has already ingested enough water to kill her if she can’t get it out of her lungs, she is definitely still drowning despite no longer being in the water. As I said, she has already described her previous actions as being instinctual not thoughtful, and the instinct for 99.999999% of people who are drowning is to get vertical as fast as possible. The coughing and spasming makes sense, but it also makes the idea that she intentionally wedged herself underneath him even more unreasonable.
I am tempted to just ignore the most unreasonable part of that paragraph but I suppose I’ve already dedicated so much time to things that make even less sense it would be shitty of me to let this get a pass. His weight could not possibly be working against him here. I assume that what she means to say is that she’s wedged herself under him so he can’t just drag her forward again back into the water. But doing that would cause his weight to be heavy on her torso again which would make it impossible for her to cough up the water in her lungs. She would slowly drown without him having to get her back into the water. Her last moments would be spent feeling like she was being crushed over a blazing hot fire burning her entire torso (water in your lungs burns), unable to scream for help because when there’s water in your lungs the epiglottis covers your throat so you can cough water up but you can’t inhale anymore, also stopping you from taking a breath at all or being able to make a sound. She would die in silence as the lack of oxygen quickly shut down her ability to even attempt to fight back.
“Enough!” Kyle growled.
He pulled himself off me, and I tried to drag myself away.
“Oh, no, you don’t! ” he spit through his teeth.
It was over, and I knew it.
Had he just stayed where he was she would have died. Instead he got up and created opportunities for her to get away. Listen Meyer, if you can’t make a fight scene where your main character doesn’t die without making your characters do things that no even somewhat reasonable human being would do, just don’t right it. Or use some other plot convenience like Jeb responding to her screams or someone else coming in for a bath. Or Ian having heard her in his room getting her clothes and having followed her just in case. Or have Melanie take over and bash him in the head with a rock. Or instead of having him just end up in the positions you want him in, say he tripped since he is running around in the fucking dark it is entirely believable he would fall in his haste! Don’t just have everything work out the way it has to because you’re bending the laws of anatomy and physics and having the characters be fucking morons!
There was something wrong with my injured leg.
Something of a redundant statement isn’t it?
It felt numb, and I couldn’t make it do what I wanted.
Okay, well, there are a few possible explanations for that. If it’s entirely numb and unresponsive (it was flailing just fine earlier. Consistency!) Kyle may have severed a nerve when he hit you with the rock. This would imply that he hit you very hard with a smaller, possibly pointier rock. You could be bleeding if this is the case. A second possibility is that a large bruise is forming on her leg and this combined with the lack of oxygen in her bloodstream is causing her muscles to not respond as they should, but this would affect all extremities, not just the injured leg. It would be more severe there, but not localized.
It is possible to damage a nerve when hit, but this would be permanent, irreversible damage. Temporary damage that would cause numbness and poor response is generally associated with injury to the spine, not the limb experiencing the problem. Assuming my own knowledge of physiology was lacking (unless I state otherwise, all the weird little factoids I spew at you come from my brain, not the internet. I’m a walking trivia machine), I did several searches of the symptoms she’s expressing here and all of them suggested it’s a brain or spinal cord injury. ALL OF THEM. I couldn’t find a single likely injury that would generally result in these symptoms.
Can you believe we’re not even at the dumbest parts of this fight scene yet? Yeah, that’s right! Meyer somehow gets even worse! I’m just barely over half way through this scene!
He got both my wrists in one hand and wrapped the other arm around my waist.
She’s so small in comparison to him that he can get one hand around both of her wrists, but he couldn’t get a solid grip on her ankle earlier? There certainly are very simple tricks for getting out of someone’s grip that anyone can do, but she didn’t do them. He just ‘slipped’. For the record, all you have to do to get out of someone’s grasp is twist against their thumb. Say someone has a grip on your wrist. What you would do is turn your hand so you can bend towards their thumb and push against it as hard as you can manage. It doesn’t hurt you, and it doesn’t matter how strong they are, short of grabbing you with both hands they can’t prevent it. This also goes for if you’re trying to get something else out of someone’s grip. Always pull against the thumb. It’s a wonderful trick that could save you a lot of trouble in a bad situation or just fuck with someone who thinks they’re stronger than you in a less dangerous situation.
Try that one on yourself! Twist your hand towards your fingers, you’ll get nowhere. Towards what you might naturally think is the weak spot, where the thumb and fingers meet, you’ll get nowhere. Twist towards the thumb, you’ll get barely any resistance at all.
I think it’s neat anyway…
He pulled me off the floor and into his side, like an awkward bag of flour. I twisted, and my good leg kicked against the empty air.
I am trying to picture this. I can picture him lifting her off the ground, lifting her with the arm he had around her waist. I can picture him carrying her at his side. But if her arms are being grasped by his other arm (and I’ll point out that last it was mentioned she was still somewhat aspirated by water in her lungs. It takes almost no water in your lungs at all to drown. She should be passing out by now. At the very least she shouldn’t be able to flail) she should be leaned with her stomach towards him. This would indicate that if her good leg started kicking, she would be kneeing him in the side, not kicking empty air.
The only way she would be kicking empty air would be if he was somehow holding her arms without facing her towards him which wouldn’t be a natural position at all for him to shift her into, or if her back was touching his side, which is even less natural for him to be holding her in. There is just so much wrong with this fight scene I have literally had to pick it apart sentence by goddamn sentence!
This would be my only reaction to this entire chapter if I didn’t have to analyze it
“Let’s get this over with.”
He jumped over the smaller stream with a bound and carried me toward the closest sinkhole. The steam from the hot spring washed my face.
It washed your face? What? Steam burns. Steam could be described as caressing your face or seeping into your pores. It could be described as hitting you in the face, or blowing into your face. She could say it was washing across her face if she’s determined to use that word, but ‘flowing’ or ‘blowing’ would still be better.
He was going to throw me into the dark, hot hole and let the boiling water pull me into the ground as it burned me.
“No, no!” I shouted, my voice too hoarse and low to carry.
Just a note: she still wouldn’t be able to say anything at this point. And it’s not just a matter of willpower or adrenaline, it’s not a matter of her being ‘special’. Unless by ‘special’ you mean ‘her body lacks the basic instincts that keep human beings alive and have been aiding her in this fight already up to this point until it gets to the point where the natural processes that happen independent of conscious thought aren’t dramatic enough’. Except they would be. Here’s a way to put that where it’s anatomically accurate and adds to the drama of the scene:
The tears rolled down my cheeks as I tried to scream, tried to beg him for my life, but the only sound I could make was another choked cough that burned my throat.
It really is possible to write a tense action scene that also actually resembles something that’s physically possible in the real world. I promise.
I writhed frantically. My knee knocked against one of the ropy rock columns, and I hooked my foot around it, trying to yank myself out of his grip. He jerked me free with an impatient grunt.
At least that loosened his hold enough that I could make one more move. It had worked before, so I tried it again. Instead of trying to free myself, I twisted in and wrapped my legs around his waist, locking the good ankle around the bad, trying to ignore the pain so that I could get a good hold there.
…When did that work before? How is she doing this? From this paragraph I assume he must be holding her with her back against his side, not her front, which as I described earlier is already stupid. But from there, she hits her knee off a thin pillar, tries to hook it with her foot, but since that’s a fairly tenuous way to grab anything, he dislodges her with almost no effort at all, but that somehow makes him loosen his grip? Why? He’s got to tug her. In order to tug someone effectively you have to tighten your grip, not loosen.
So when did locking her legs around something work earlier? At no point in this scene has she done that before. The closest she’s done is hooking her leg on the pillar which failed miserably. I keep having to double check this chapter to make sure I didn’t miss something and I am really not missing anything. It’s just that badly written.
Oh how I wish…
Your leg can’t be both numb and in incredible pain. You described it earlier as numb. Is it actually numb or was it just tingly earlier like when you’re regaining feeling after your leg falls asleep? Because that’s entirely different, I assure you. And if she couldn’t stand on the leg, and it wasn’t moving when she wanted it to, how is she hooking it onto the other leg? It should be letting go immediately. Or can she hook onto her bare foot with her shoed foot better than he could hook onto her bare foot with his massive hands?
Also, how the fuck did she get turned to face him again?! Did she somehow do a 180 in his arms without him able to stop her while he’s got a grip on her waist and her arms? Because the only way she could have had the front of her leg hitting on a post is if she was facing away from him or he phased through the column! STOP IGNORING THE LAWS OF PHYSICS MEYER!
“Get off me, you –” He fought to knock me loose, and I jerked one of my wrists free. I wrapped that arm around his neck and grabbed his thick hair. If I was going into the black river, so was he.
So what happened to not being able to fight? Grabbing someone by the neck and trying to drag them into a pit of boiling water seems a lot harsher than throwing a rock. More importantly though, how the hell does she jerk only one of her arms free? Either he’s got a solid grip on both her wrists or neither of them.
Kyle hissed and stopped prying at my leg long enough to punch my side.
I gasped in pain but got my other hand into his hair.
He was prying at her leg? When did she say that? She said he fought to knock her loose, not that he was prying at her leg. And if he was prying at her leg she would have come loose if her leg was anywhere NEAR as injured as she’s implied it is, especially if he’s as big as she’s implied he is since her grip around his waist would already be tenuous at best. Also, when did he let go of her other hand? Again, this quote is what follows immediately after the last one, so there’s no information in between.
He wrapped both arms around me, as if we were embracing rather than locked in a killing struggle.
‘killing struggle’? Does she mean murderous struggle? Struggle for her life? Deadly struggle? ‘Killing struggle’ makes no sense.
Then he grabbed my waist from both sides and heaved with all his strength against my hold.
His hair started to come out in my hands, but he just grunted and pulled harder.
If he was pulling with all his strength not only could he not pull harder, but if he’s that much bigger than her, pulling with all his strength would dislodge her almost immediately. At best she would get a chunk of his hair, most likely him grabbing and throwing her that hard would result in all the wind getting knocked out of her and her letting go of his hair instinctual. If he yanked that hard, she would possibly also suffer from whiplash as her head whips backwards when her torso reached the end of his reach but her head and legs kept going from the momentum of the motion.
The river room is apparently not dark. I thought it was since, a: that fits better with what’s happened up to this point in this chapter, and b: when Jeb was showing off this room he said she had to be incredibly careful where she walked because the river room was too dark to see in and if you fell in the water you would die. But apparently she can see the rage on Kyle’s face and the steam billowing. I seem to recall several chapters ago this was a problem as well where Wanderer could see and hear things she had no right to be able to see or hear based on the setting. I bitched about working within the limitations of a 1st person narrative or not using it. Meyer clearly doesn’t care.
I felt my bad leg giving. I tried to pull myself closer to him, but his brute strength was winning against my desperation. He would have me free in a moment, and I would fall into the hissing steam and disappear.
Desperation only goes so far. Those events you hear about of women lifting cars off their kids? First of all, odds are that they couldn’t do that same thing to save their own lives, mothers are pushed farther to protect their kids than themselves because of humanities instinct to continue their genetics into the future. Those events are also incredibly rare. Only certain types of people can do them, even under extreme circumstances. Also, it doesn’t matter how much adrenaline you have in your system, fighting someone more than twice your muscle mass, while seriously injured, while your only defense is a grip on short hair and a weak ankle, sorry, but you really are just plain fucked. There’s no amount of desperation that will make you win that fight.
There are things she could do. She could get her hand in his mouth and yank down on his lower jaw, desperation, surprise and gravity could easily be enough to rip it off its hinge or at least force him to let go of her waist to try and save his face. She could claw at his eyes, she could punch him in the testicles, kick him behind the knee, punch him in the solar plexes (just below the ribs)… Depending on the angle she’s at, she could punch him in the nose or box his ears (basically slap the side of his head. Depending on whether or not you do it right you can do anything from just give him a sore head to completely rupture his eardrums which I can pretty much guarantee would end this fight right then and there) and several other wonderful little tricks that require a little more knowledge than she has so aren’t worth mentioning.
Jared! Jamie! The thought, the agony, belonged to both Melanie and me. They would never know what had happened to me. Ian. Jeb. Doc. Walter. No goodbyes.
I’m pretty sure the chunk of hair you’ve taken out of the side of Kyle’s head would give him away, don’t worry.
Kyle abruptly jumped into the air and came down with a thud. The jarring impact had the effect he wanted: my legs came loose.
…That is almost as dumb as him rolling around on the floor.
But before he could take advantage, there was another result.
The cracking sound was deafening. I thought the whole cave was coming down. The floor shuddered beneath us.
The floor was so weak just jumping on it was enough to break it? And this has never happened before? With about 40 people living in the caves including some children, and no one ever jumped in there before? Or dropped anything? Or slipped and fell? The person who died in the river hadn’t slipped and fell, cracking it? Sure.
Kyle gasped and jumped back, taking me–hands still locked in his hair–with him. The rock under his feet, with more cracking and groaning, began to crumble away.
He dislodged her legs, so she is literally holding on by just his hair. The hair that should already be half yanked out from him pulling with all his strength. She’s apparently got the mother of all grips and his hair is apparently as strong as he is. Which I will point out is unlikely because of the levels of testosterone in the average body builder (even without the steroids). High levels of testosterone lead to thinner hair on the head. Everything in this chapter is physically impossible. Or at best, incredibly unlikely.
I keep wanting to skip bits to get this over with sooner, but there’s just so much wrong with all of this I’ve only skipped one paragraph since Kyle showed up. This is ridiculous.
Our combined weight had broken the brittle lip of the hole. As Kyle stumbled away, the crumbling followed his heavy steps. It was faster than he was.
So it’s behaving like cracking ice? I suppose I can buy that, but, seriously, if the floor was already that weak that it’s crumbling as they run away, that would be a large portion of the river room that was destroyed by this. It really does bring up serious concerns about the structural stability of this room prior to this. If the floor above the rushing water was so thin that it would just crack and fall away, how has that not happened yet? There have been points in this book prior where multiple people were in there together carrying things.
A piece of the floor disappeared from under his heel, and he went down with a thud. My weight pushed him back hard, and his head smacked sharply against a stone pillar. His arms fell away from me, limp.
I’m not sure what just happened here. He went down with a thud? If the floor is giving way because of the rushing river underneath it, and it fell out from under his heel, he should have fallen backwards. Into the rushing river. To his death. With Wanderer still clutching his hair, she should also have fallen backwards. Into the rushing river. To her death. That is apparently not what happened here for some reason. And why were his arms on her?
I thought we already established that he’d let her go and she had only gotten away from him because she was still attached to his head by her vice like grip? Why did his head hit a pillar? Where the hell was the pillar? Why did he fall forward? Why wasn’t she still attached to him? Did she let go? She didn’t say she let go. She does say her weight pushed him back hard, but that would imply her weight was leaned against him and, again, that both of them would have fallen to their watery death. Why are they both on solid ground?
If he did fall forward instead of back, the floor should still have been crumbling beneath him and crumbled even harder and faster thanks to his and her weight hitting the floor like a sack of potatoes. So what the fuck is happening here?
The cracking of the floor settled into a sustained groan. I could feel it shiver beneath Kyle’s body.
I was on his chest. Our legs dangled above empty space, the steam condensing into a million drops on our skin.
Okay, so he did fall backwards. Is this another case where somehow they ended up facing the opposite direction from where they should be because that’s the only way Meyer could make the scene work out? Probably.
You’ve got to get off him. You’re too heavy together. Carefully–use the pillar. Pull away from the hole.
Does she mean the stone pillar Kyle cracked his skull on? And since Kyle fell onto his back, indicating he fell backwards, suggesting he fell towards the hole? Therefore if she wants to get away from the hole she should not be heading towards the pillar because that would be towards the hole?
I wonder what the people that like this book think is happening in this scene…
Whimpering in fear, too terrified to think for myself, I did as Melanie ordered. I freed my fingers from Kyle’s hair and climbed gingerly over his unconscious form, using the pillar as an anchor to pull myself forward. It felt steady enough, but the floor still moaned under us.
Okay, so she was still attached to Kyle’s head. I’m so very confused as to what happened when the floor crumbled… I keep trying to think of a way that it could work and I’m just failing miserably.
I pulled myself past the pillar and onto the ground beyond it. This ground stayed firm under my hands and knees, but I scrambled farther away, toward the safety of the exit tunnel.
There was another crack, and I glanced back. One of Kyle’s legs drooped farther down as a rock fell from beneath it. I heard the splash this time as the chunk of stone met the river below. The ground shuddered under his weight.
So, the floor fell out from under him. He fell on his back, which somehow involved him falling on the side of the crack that was in front of him, not behind him. Somehow the crash of him and Wanderer falling together onto the floor in the direction it was cracking towards did not cause further cracking and kill them both, yet still weak enough to continue crumbling.
The rushing, previously boiling water should be burning his foot now at the very least, which should be enough sensory input to wake him. The fact that it isn’t implies he has a serious concussion from which if he does wake, he should be suffering from serious problems like an inability to recall basic words, if not much worse. It also would give him a high risk of dying of a number of issues such as aneurisms, blood clots, strokes, paralysis… Assuming he’s even still alive at all. She hasn’t checked. But what do you think are the chances he’ll have zero repercussions from this whatsoever?
Anyway, finally some shit I can skip over happens as Melanie tries to convince Wanderer to let Kyle die, but she loses. She actually makes a fair point that since they have to share this body and the outcome affects her, she should get an equal say in what they do, but Wanderer ignores that fact because Melanie’s life matters less than the attempted murderer’s. This is Wanderer being selectively ‘kind’ again by denying Melanie any agency over what happens and only sparing Kyles life after having attempted to take it herself earlier when she tried to drag him down into the boiling water herself.
She hooks her ‘good’ leg around that teleporting pillar again and tries to drag him to safety, but her shifting his weight causes the floor to break ‘faster’ (yet somehow still not enough to crumble away and kill them both because that would be inconvenient). She yells for help and the chapter ends.
Alright, I’ve said enough about this awful, awful chapter. I will attempt to get back on time with these reviews from here out.
See you next time where I spend significantly fewer words talking about how to kill people! …I hope.