An apology and some fun

So, yeah, I’m pretty behind.  Again.  I wish I could say that it was because I’ve been doing something amazing, or even the justifiable answer of ‘I’ve been sick’ or something, but the truth is that I work 12 hours a day 6 days a week.  When I finish up there, I just have an incredibly hard time picking up a shitty book that I hate after a long day.  I worked the same hours when I started doing this, but we’ve been busier, so I’m more tired when I get home than I was, plus my hatred for this book has increased significantly.

I’m in no way planning to stop doing them, I’m just not sure exactly when I’ll get the next post up.  In the meantime though, I came across this.  It’s an empathy test.  I decided to answer the questions as accurately as I could for Wanderer based on the information we’re presented in the book of her thoughts, feelings and interactions with the other characters.  And this is just for fun, not something I’m seriously planning to use to back up all my statements in the reviews that Wanderer’s actually a massive bitch instead of the saint everyone in the book keeps claiming her to be.

Here’s the results:

Your Empathizing Quotient is 19. Baron-Cohen (2003) suggests that this means “you have a lower than average ability for understanding how other people feel and responding appropriately”.

Your Systemizing Quotient is 6. Baron-Cohen (2003) suggests that this means “you have a lower than average ability for analysing and exploring a system”.

The score for empathy is out of a possible 80.  In fairness that is higher than some I know of.

Feel free to take the test yourself and share the results in the comments if you want!  See if you’re more empathetic than the character that’s supposed to be a saint!  I’ll be back with a new post asap!

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The Host Review: Betrayed (ch 29)

Maybe I should have run the other way.

You’re in a cave with a dead end dumbass.  There is no ‘other way.’

But no one was holding me back now, and though his voice was cold and angry, Jared was calling to me. Melanie was even more eager than I was as I stepped carefully around the corner and into the blue light; I hesitated there.

I HOPE HE STABS YOU IN THE FUCKING FACE.

Stab you in the face

Oh right I was so busy being angry at this chapter that I forgot to open this review.  Yeah, this chapter sucks.  Back to the rage!

“At ease,” Jared said to Ian. “I just want to talk to it. I promised the kid, and I’ll stand by that promise.”

‘At ease’?  Did I miss mention of Jared having been in the military?  He was alone for several years in his early 20’s and before that he was with his dad and brothers alone in the desert for a few more years.  Why would he use terms like ‘at ease?’  A normal person in this situation would say ‘calm down’ or ‘relax’.  But Meyer wants you to think of Jared as a commander, completely in control, well trained, tactical, a leader.  He’s not.

Ian didn’t move.

“I’m not lying, Ian. And I’m not going to kill it. Jeb is right. No matter how messed up this stupid situation is, Jamie has as much say as I do, and he’s been totally suckered, so I doubt he’ll be giving me the go-ahead anytime soon.”

I would just like to keep pointing out that everyone seems to think Jared and Jamie are on equal footing and I stand by earlier assessments that, as immature as Jamie is written, they’re not.  Jamie is Melanie’s flesh and blood, her ward, and has spent his entire life with her.  He’s essentially her son and for Jared, or anyone else, to think that he has as much say as Jamie because they’ve been in love for the last couple of years kind of pisses me off a little.

Pissed off

In matters of pulling the plug on a loved one on life support when there is no living will, the husband/wife of the patient generally gets spoken to first, but any children of the age of majority (given the circumstances in the real world Jamie would already be considered an adult for the purposes of survival, so for the sake of this discussion he doesn’t have to be 16-18, just at least a teenager, which he is) would have right of refusal and their word would supersede that of the spouse assuming there are no extenuating circumstances.  Especially weak would be the claim of a common-law spouse.  And I will mention again that they have to be ‘conjugal’ to be considered common-law in today’s society, so just being in love doesn’t cut it.

So have Jared and Melanie consummated their relationship?  Did they ever discuss what should be done to them if they come back in this state?  Are they even IN a relationship or did they just love each other and never act on it because he’s too old for her?  Did he introduce himself as Melanie’s boyfriend when he got taken in or just Jamie’s impromptu guardian?  These are relevant questions!

“No one’s been suckered,” Ian growled.

Just a reminder that he said she wasn’t a liar, then a few pages later she knowingly and willingly lied.  So, yes, you are being suckered.

Jared waved his hand, dismissing the disagreement over terminology. “It’s not in any danger from me, is my point.” For the first time he looked at me, evaluating the way I hugged the far wall, watching my hands tremble. “I won’t hurt you again,” he said to me.

This is actually the most realistic exchange we’ve seen from him in quite some time.  Colour me impressed.  And skeptical.  I still expect to think he’s a dick by the end of the chapter.

don't be a dick

Ian says she doesn’t have to talk to him, that it’s not a chore she has to do.  This confuses Jared, I assume since he didn’t know she’d been doing chores?  Except when he arrived she was making bread…

“No,” I whispered. “I’ll talk to him.” I took another short step. Jared turned his hand palm up and curled his fingers twice, encouraging me forward.

Oh for fucks sake.  She’s already walking towards you dickface, you don’t have to do that.

Well that lasted long

Well that lasted long

Anyway, she sends Ian off to sleep and he refuses at first but eventually caves.  Though before he leaves he tells Jared that anything he does to Wanderer, Ian will do double to him in return.  It’s not a terrible or unrealistic scene for a change so I’m just waiting for the ball to drop and Jared to start talking like a 50’s gangster or something.

It was silent for a moment as we both watched the empty space where he had disappeared. I looked at Jared’s face first, while he still stared after Ian. When he turned to meet my gaze, I dropped my eyes.

“Wow. He’s not kidding, is he?” Jared said.

‘Wow’?  Bit delayed to be saying ‘wow’…  Also that’s a fairly friendly phrasing considering how much he hates her.  And the fact that he kind of just found out that another guy has a crush on the walking corpse of his girlfriend…  From his perspective that is what’s happening.

“Why don’t you have a seat?” he asked me, patting the mat beside him.

Meyer does realize that if she has her characters act like this out of nowhere in a chapter titled ‘betrayed’ we’re kind of going to figure out that it’s a trick or something right?

I deliberated for a moment, then went to sit against the same wall but close to the hole, putting the length of the mat between us. Melanie didn’t like this; she wanted to be near him, for me to smell his scent and feel the warmth of his body beside me.

I assure you Wanderer, no matter how close you think you two have gotten, Melanie sure as hell does not want you smelling her boyfriend.  The fact that she can only do that through you makes you smelling him a necessary evil that she’s already admitted in earlier chapters bothers her.

I heard him move. He scooted down the mat until he sat right beside me–the way Melanie had hoped for. Too close–it was hard to think straight, hard to breathe right–but I couldn’t bring myself to scoot away. Oddly, for this was what she’d wanted in the first place, Melanie was suddenly irritated.

What? I asked, startled by the intensity of her emotion.

I don’t like him next to you. It doesn’t feel right. I don’t like the way you want him there. For the first time since we’d abandoned civilization together, I felt waves of hostility emanating from her. I was shocked. That was hardly fair.

life's not fair

FAIR?!  You’re going to talk to MELANIE about FAIR?!  You CONDESCENDING BITCH!  YOU HAVE HER TRAPPED.  YOU STOP HER FROM DOING ANYTHING SHE WANTS TO (the fact that everything she wants to do is stupid is irrelevant to this discussion) AND SHE IS FORCED TO EXPERIENCE *HER OWN LIFE* THROUGH YOU!  WHAT RIGHT DO YOU HAVE TO JUDGE ANY HOSTILITY SHE HAS TOWARDS YOU AS UNFAIR?!

On a calmer note, the dumbass is familiar with the concept of jealousy. She should not be this surprised.  Even if I do have to concede that she does have a point that it is kind of unfair.  I just really hate how she treats Melanie, so seeing her calling out Melanie for treating her unfairly after all the times she’s been a bitch to Melanie for entirely unfair reasons, it comes off as hypocritical and it very much bothers me.

Jared asks if Melanie is still alive in there and Melanie goes NUTS.  She apparently starts fighting tooth and nail but of course Wanderer is the voice of reason here and points out that it’s a set up.

She refuses to talk, starts bawling and they slip into a flash back as Melanie compares dickhead Jared to the man she ABANDONED to seek out her cousin she didn’t need to go alone to seek out.  I just wanted to remind you of that because I fucking hate every single person in this book and hope the story ends with the entire planet catching fire and everyone dying slowly and painfully.

Earth+Shaped+Fire+Pit.+I+don+t+want+to+set+the_50b0bb_3439194

In the flashback, they’re sitting around someone’s house while they’re at work and they watch TV because they know they’re safe for a few hours until they get home.  A baseball game is on and the players are having a disagreement about whether or not one should get a penalty.  The one who would receive the penalty is asking to receive it, the other is saying that he doesn’t want to take an unfair advantage, so they best have the refs review the tapes.  It is mind numbingly dull.  Jared and Jamie agree.

I go to Jared. He pulls me onto his lap and tucks my head under his chin.

This feels infantile.  I picture a dad holding his daughter who didn’t want to go to bed to let her fall asleep on his chest as he watches TV, not two adults in romantic love with each other.  I don’t like it.  But I suppose that’s because I prefer women who don’t want to be treated like children who need protection, so maybe that’s just me.  To each his own I guess.

I know that if Jamie and I survived alone for twenty years we would never find this feeling on our own. The feeling of safety. More than safety, even–happiness. Safe and happy, two things I thought I’d never feel again.

I’d really like to know why.  From what I’ve seen there is nothing especially different about what Jared is doing to what you were doing.  He’s just going in during the day when they go to work instead of at night when they’ve gone to the movies.  You never would have figured that out without him?  I know Meyer wants you to think that Jared is somehow this amazing provider and he’s better at everything than everyone but she has provided not the tiniest bit of evidence to support that fact.  As far as I can see he is not doing anything that anyone else couldn’t have easily figured to do.  Apparently he’s just the only person of average intelligence that managed to survive and everyone else is so dumb they need help tying their fucking shoelaces.

This books universe takes place in the episode of Futurama where Fry is the only one unaffected by the giant brains sucking away everyone's intelligence.

This books universe takes place in the episode of Futurama where Fry is the only one unaffected by the giant brains sucking away everyone’s intelligence.

We return to the present, switching back to the past tense, because that still makes complete sense.

He still makes me feel safe, Melanie realized, feeling the warmth where his arm was just half an inch from mine. Though he doesn’t even know I’m here.

HE’S TRIED TO KILL YOU MULTIPLE TIMES YOU DUMB BITCH!

God I hate these characters!

I wondered if Melanie and I would have loved Jared if he’d always been who he was now, rather than the smiling Jared in our memories, the one who had come to Melanie with his hands full of hope and miracles.

I think my brain is trying to escape my head…

Of course. Mel was certain. I would love Jared in any form. Even like this, he belongs with me.

Bull. Shit.  If he had come to you as angry and dickish as he is now when you were young and scared you would never have even trusted him enough to let him drive you anywhere.  Nor would he have trusted you enough to take you anywhere!  And even if he had, he wouldn’t have been as nice to you or Jamie.  Hell, if he’d been alone that long and had gotten hard and cynical, your first meeting probably would have gone a lot differently.  He very well may have just killed you right on the spot.

Apparently Jared’s been talking this whole time and they zoned out not listening to them.  He’s telling them why he’s there, saying it’s unfair for her to let Jamie believe that Melanie is still in there.  But he concedes that Jeb does have a point, wondering why she’s there at all since after this long it’s clearly not to lead seekers to them to infest them.

He basically says it doesn’t matter though, that there’s no point in killing her anymore anyway as long as she’s not hurting anyone.  But he reminds her that Jamie being so attached, especially with believing that Melanie is still in there, that it’ll only cause him pain when she dies.  Wanderer makes note of the fact that he said when, not if.  Don’t title your chapter Betrayed if you want things like this to seem shocking.

I'm sure this will be all the readers reactions when the chapter titled betrayed ends with betrayal

I’m sure this will be all the readers reactions when the chapter titled betrayed ends with betrayal

His words came in a sudden gush. “The part that keeps bugging me is what if they’re right? How the hell would I know? I hate the way their logic makes sense to me. There’s got to be another explanation.”

This part frustrates me.  Not because it’s bad or poorly written, but because I have had almost this exact conversation with myself more times than I can count.  This is exactly how I think when something that defies my sense of logic seems to be the majority opinion and I can’t refute it it just feels wrong.  I fight with myself just like this.  And I don’t want to be able to compare myself to Jared because I hate him.  And having any of Meyer’s characters act like real people bugs me because I know in a page or two they’re just going to go back to being cardboard cut outs!

Jared moved, shifting away from the wall so that his body was turned toward me. I watched the movement from the corner of my eye.

“Why are you here?” he whispered.

I peeked up at his face. It was gentle, kind, almost the way Melanie remembered it. I felt my control slipping; my lips trembled. Keeping my arms locked took all my strength. I wanted to touch his face. I wanted it. Melanie did not like this.

Gee.  I wonder why.  I can’t possibly imagine why Melanie wouldn’t like you wanting to kiss her boyfriend.

Sherlock Sarcasm

If you won’t let me talk, then at least keep your hands to yourself, she hissed.

I’m trying. I’m sorry. I was sorry. This was hurting her. We were both hurting, different hurts.

‘Different hurts.’  Different.  Hurts.  THAT IS A LINE IN A PUBLISHED FUCKING BOOK.  A *best. seller*.

Oh fuck he KISSES HER!  HOW IS THIS CHAPTER WORSE THAN THE ONE BEFORE?!

The body revolted. I was no longer in control of it–it was in control of me. It was not Melanie–the body was stronger than either of us now.

Oh go fuck yourself.

I hate you

Melanie takes over after Wanderer gets too handsy, kissing back and putting her hands in his hair, and punches Jared in the face.  Though if I were her I’d have punched both of them, even if one of them was also me.  Wanderer is horrified that Melanie used HER body for violence (I’ve ranted about Wanderer’s claim on this body way too many times, I’m not going over it again) and Jared is dumbfounded.

Wanderer evaluates that he had been testing her and had been anticipating a specific result that he didn’t get.  How she gets this from him I’m not sure as she just describes him as looking shocked.  She’s extrapolating information that a first person narration cannot know for the benefit of the audience again, but that’s what third person narration is for goddammit.

Wanderer runs back to the hole.  Jared chases her, but she kicks him away and ‘despair’ chokes her.  A touch melodramatic don’t you think?  She’s horrified at the violence Melanie committed, even though she said it wasn’t enough to really hurt him.  And while trying to run away she intentionally kicks at Jared to try and get him off her, so she did it too.

Apparently she’s also sobbing because she hates that the kiss was only a test.  She wanted him to want to kiss her.  Which we already knew because she kissed back and fondled his hair.  But it still bugs me.  And then she gets mad at Melanie because her grief over what’s happened is making it too hard to focus on her own.

No one’s betrayed you, stupid, I railed at her. I wanted her pain to stop. It was too much, the extra burden of her agony. Mine was enough.

Killing you with my mind

I have never hated a character more than I do Wanderer.  Ever.  In all the literature I have ever read, in every movie or television show I have ever watched, not the most vile of villains or most vapid of dipshits, has there been a character I have despised more than Wanderer.

Jared stands at the mouth of the hole and talks to Melanie.  Apparently her punching him was enough to convince him of the truth.  Fantastic.  I hate this book.

That’s how the chapter ends and we have to wait till next time to find out what he does with this information as though I actually give a shit.

Honestly if I think about it too much I don’t really hate this chapter as much as I hated the last one. At least Jared’s side of the conversation seemed fairly realistic.  If I could just cut Wanderer out of the scene and replace her with a brick instead it would have actually been tolerable.  But every time she thinks or talks or acts I am filled with the most violent of rages!  And she does it SO MUCH this chapter that I can’t help but hate it even more than the last chapter despite what I just said!

Till next time.  Check out The Llama’s take on this chapter.

The Host Review: Tolerated (Ch 24)

Have I mentioned recently that I hate this book?  That it may very well be the single worst thing I have ever read?  And I have read a pretty decent number of books.  About 25% of this book is violent rage inducing, 45% is just incredibly pointlessly dull, 20% is inconsistent characterization moving the plot forward through convenient coincidences, 8% is Wanderer being racist, and 2% is hidden gems of decent writing that make the violent rage inducing and pointlessly dull parts so much worse.

This chapter falls mostly in the pointlessly dull category.

Jacks a dull boy

It was true that I did not smell good.

That is the very first line of this chapter.  Keep in mind that the very first line of a chapter is meant to set the tone for it.  So that’s the tone you can expect, Wanderer smells like ass.  Strong start!

I’d lost count of how many days I’d spent here–was it more than a week now? more than two?–and all of them sweating into the same clothes I’d worn on my disastrous desert trek. So much salt had dried into my cotton shirt that it was creased into rigid accordion wrinkles. It used to be pale yellow; now it was a splotchy, diseased-looking print in the same dark purple color as the cave floor. My short hair was crunchy and gritty; I could feel it standing out in wild tangles around my head, with a stiff crest on top, like a cockatoo’s. I hadn’t seen my face recently, but I imagined it in two shades of purple: cave-dirt purple and healing-bruise purple.

She doesn’t know how long she’s been there, could be less than a week or more than two.  Okay… I have a terrible sense of time, but I’m pretty sure if I was sitting around in a cave hole with nothing to do for several days straight I would keep track of days.  Which could be done by watching when Jared goes to sleep, or how much food is brought, or in severe boredom, actually counting the seconds as they pass…  He only took her to the bathroom at night, so how many times did he take her to the bathroom?  How does she not know how long she’s been there?!

If she’s been sitting in something caked in that much salt for many days, it would have dried her skin to the point of severe pain.  Rashes, cracking, blistering, followed by the pain of literal salt in an open wound.  Pleasant thought isn’t it?!  She makes no mention of any of this.

Purple dirt?  I don’t know what makes purple dirt but last I checked the Arizona desert was brown primarily.  So I have no idea where dark purple came from.

There's apparently purple dirt in Hawaii, but, 1, that's not what I would call DARK purple, and 2, they're not in Hawaii.

There’s apparently purple dirt in Hawaii, but, 1, that’s not what I would call DARK purple, and 2, they’re not in Hawaii.

I ended up with an old but clean flannel shirt of Jeb’s that had the sleeves ripped off, and a pair of faded, holey cutoff sweatpants that had gone unclaimed for months.

That might very well be the single most white trash outfit I have ever heard described.  It suits her.

Several paragraphs of her noticing people glaring at her and describing people she’s already described, she finally gets to take her bath because I care so much that she gets to feel clean.  She hops in wearing her clothes and washes them while she’s wearing them until for some reason she finally decides to take them off.  I understand why taking them off makes sense, I just don’t understand why she wore them into the water in the first place instead.

It seemed as if the places where the bruises had formed were more sensitive than the rest of me

brilliant

Brilliant deduction.  Truly you are a master detective.

It was with a strange mingling of relief and regret that I sloshed my way out of the pool. The water was very pleasant, as was the feeling of clean, if prickling, skin. But I’d had quite enough of the blindness and the things I could imagine into the darkness.

Didn’t you spend an entire lifetime without a sense of sight?  Do you take nothing of your past experiences with you?  Why do none of her past experiences seem to colour her behaviour AT ALL?  Yes, humans lack echolocation and thus the lack of sight would be more troublesome for us than a bat (since she hasn’t yet made me rage quit by telling us what the bats actually were like I’m still working from the assumption that they were bats.) but we still have a very useful sense of touch, smell, hearing, we can detect subtle changes in the motion of the water, the air, etc.  We can detect the low level growls of predators that we can’t consciously hear.  In an echoey, damp cave it would be incredibly difficult for someone to sneak up on her.  And chances are anything in the water is not big enough to hurt her, nor would it want to.

fish3

I felt around until I found the dry clothes, then I pulled them quickly on and shoved my water-wrinkled feet into my shoes.

So she just soaked the shit out of her clean clothes.  Just saying.

“You look better,” [Ian] told me, but I couldn’t tell from his tone if he was surprised or annoyed that I did.

He raised one arm, extending his long, pale fingers toward my neck. I flinched away, and he dropped his hand quickly.

“Sorry about that,” he muttered.

Did he mean for scaring me now or for marking up my neck in the first place? I couldn’t imagine that he was apologizing for trying to kill me. Surely he still wanted me dead. But I wasn’t going to ask. I started walking, and Jeb fell into step behind me.

This right here is what I was referring to earlier in the book by her biases colouring her interpretations of the other characters.  We are forced to look at Seeker’s behaviour through her dickish lens and clearly she just hates everyone and doesn’t know how to interpret inflection and body language.  At all.  She is an unreliable narrator, and in a well written book it would turn out in the end that she was just wrong about everything, but since this is Stephanie Meyer she’ll be right about everything just because.

Hank Green because of reasons gif

Also, she’s still totally bitchy and racist, because the only character in this book that’s completely consistent is the one that sucks the hardest.

“So, today wasn’t that bad,” Jeb said as we walked through the dark corridor.

“Not that bad,” I murmured.

She compared her appearance to a cockatoo earlier, and now she’s behaving like a parrot.  I can’t think of a good joke to put here.  Dammit.

Damn

He makes her eat in the cafeteria and she goes on about how much everyone goes silent because we’re totally not sick of hearing that yet.  The next day they work the fields again and she describes some people some more.  Bored.

Ian worked with us, when it was clearly not his turn, and this bothered me.

He likes you.  It should bother you.  Because it’s going to make this book suck even more than it already does.

When Jamie asked me about my day, the best I could do was stare intently at my food and mumble one-word answers. This seemed to make him sad, but he didn’t push me.

Where the hell is Melanie to yell at her for being mean to Jamie?  Where is her guilt for not being able to be nice to the only people in this book that don’t hate her and the only one in this book that she actually likes back?  Where is the guilt over not being able to display the politeness she says is in her species nature?  Why is she so goddamn selfish and stupid?!

The following day Jeb teaches her to make bread and leaves her alone with 3 women she doesn’t know.  And of course she freaks out waiting for them to kill her because all people are terrible killers.  And, gasp, they don’t!  So shocked!

Joey Shocked

The other women get mad at Jeb for taking so long when he gets back and he just acts smug about it.  And how little I care cannot be adequately conveyed in words.

The NEXT day, because this chapter just goes on forever, they’re cleaning the mirrors with Ian.  When they head to get some food Wanderer notices that Jeb’s not carrying a gun and she actually gasps and starts shaking.  Because weapons are only bad when they’re not protecting her apparently.  He asks her what’s wrong, but she doesn’t answer.

I would have answered if Ian hadn’t been right beside him, watching my strange behavior with fascination in his vivid blue eyes.

For the love of god just have them fuck already I am sick of having to hear about his vivid eyes and soft lips and glistening skin.  I don’t caaaaaare.  Why can’t she describe him in the same vagueness she describes everyone else?  She describes him as much as she describes the fucking rocks in the wandering the desert chapters!

He was a good liar, and I began to wonder if leaving the gun behind today, and leaving me alone yesterday, and all this effort forcing me into human company was his way of getting me killed without doing the job himself. Was the friendship all in my head? Another lie?

Ed Wood

Just, seriously, go fuck yourself.

Anyway they get to the cafeteria and, gasp again, nothing happens.  Everyone continues chatting like normal human beings because after several days of seeing her around, giving her that much attention finally got exhausting.  She’s proven to not be a threat, and they want to just get on with their lives.  But of course it has to be this huge deal.  They start chatting with one of the women and assure her that ‘Andy’ is coming back because Jared is magic.

My interest sparked when he mentioned Jared–and Melanie, so somnolent these days, stirred–but Ian didn’t say anything else.

I’m just curious, has anyone reading this ever even heard the word somnolent before?  Seen it?  Any clue what the fuck it means?  In case you, like me, had not, it means sleepy.  She’s saying Melanie’s been more or less absent.

I would like to point out that she acts like she’s almost disappointed by the fact that people stop caring that she’s there.  I’m going to grab a couple different quotes to explain that one.

They must have been tired of letting me interrupt their lives.

“Things are settling down,” Ian commented to Jeb.

“Knew they would. We’re all reasonable folks here.”

I frowned to myself.

My novelty had apparently worn off.

She seems annoyed that they’re not paying attention to her doesn’t she?  That’s how it reads to me at least…

Guuuuuuys, why did you stop being horrified of my existaaannnceeee, come ooooonnnnn

Guuuuuuys, why did you stop being horrified of my existaaannnceeee, come ooooonnnnn

After they eat she asks Jeb why he’s trying to get her killed and he’s confused.  She mentions him not taking the gun and leaving her alone and he explains that he was just trying to get the people used to her and everything that was obvious to everyone that isn’t brain dead.  She isn’t sure what to think about his answer, but then she asks him why he’s her friend and he says he’s curious.  And then he says this:

And see, here you are, one of the nicest gals I ever met.

Nope.  Not even close.  She’s a racist, mean spirited, self centered bitch.  In fact she just accused you of trying to get her killed after you spent the last couple of weeks being nothing but nice to her and getting her everything she needs and treating her like a regular human being.  She’s a fucking bitch.

Jeb starts sending her alone on tasks and no one kills her some more and blah blah blah.  Ian comes with her to give Doc a message for Jeb at one point and apparently Ian and Doc exchange a glance.  Likely the ‘you want in her pants don’t you?’ look, because cockatoo’s in flannel cut offs are sexy apparently.  She doesn’t know what it means, but that’s most likely the look she’s talking about.  Anyway on the way back, she asks him why he hasn’t killed her yet.  He gives the reasonable response that after having given it some thought and seeing that she’s not a risk, killing her for the acts of her species seemed cruel and unnecessary.

How strange that Ian, of all the humans, should have such a surprisingly gentle interior. I didn’t realize that cruelty would seem a negative to him.

Because he’s been soooo awful to her recently.  Yeah, I berated his choice of actions when he first did try and kill her, but since then he has been very pleasant to her.  He seemed to go out of his way to make up for his behaviour and seemed to genuinely regret the action.  As much as I harp on the fact that he’s so blatantly a love interest that I would rather never came to fruition, that’s just because I just really don’t want to read about it.  He’s actually been a lot nicer to her than Jared and she has more reason to like him than Jared on both a personal and romantic level.

The chapter ends with Ian telling her that he and Doc have been trying to protect her.  This chapter was mercifully short and less awful than the last one but still incredibly boring for its length.  She barely mentioned Jamie at all, and despite him being present and talking to her, he was given zero actual LINES.  Doc had none either.  Only Jeb, the women who didn’t kill her, and Ian.  Because Jamie, Melanie, and the people who are nice to her but are neither love interests nor her crazy old mentor, are not important enough to matter.

This book is incredibly poorly written, and yet there is an actual level of skill at play here.  Whether it’s intentional or not (it’s not), Meyer has created a story that is very good at making you focus on the things she wants you to notice.  If you weren’t stopping to think about what you’re reading like I have to do to write these reviews, it would be easy to not notice the things that Wanderer glosses over.  Meyer is carefully bringing attention to the things in the story that she wants you to care about.  I mentioned at length how much more detail Ian gets than everyone else, but it’s maliciously hidden in the story.  If you weren’t analyzing you very well could just not notice that she’s doing that and then later in the story remember how ‘soft’ and ‘shiny’ Ian is so when she falls for him or he makes a pass at her, or however this plays out, you would be primed to WANT it to happen.

Doc has been really nice to her too but we don’t know what he looks like, we don’t get to listen to him talk so we don’t know how pleasant he is to her for certain.  No, we only actually TALK to Ian.  We only have to listen to descriptions of Ian.  He is the important focus.  He is the one you have been primed to think about when you’re hoping for a romance to blossom because I assume anyone that actively chose to pick up this book was expecting a romance.  I was hoping for something tonally closer to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (technically it’s science fiction and about humans trying to make sure that the people around them are also humans, not secretly androids, so there is a comparison there, even if it’s a loose one…) but I knew it was a romance going in so I guess I was watching for it too.  But I also have to actually THINK about the things I’m noticing.

My brilliance is a burden

ANYWAY, final note, go read Philip K Dick and I’ll see you next time!

Don’t forget to check out The Llama’s review!

 

The Host Review: Named (ch 21)

Chapter 21.  This book is finally old enough to drink in the states it takes place in.  Too bad I can’t, it might make this easier to get through… This particular chapter is especially terrible.  For reasons I thought we were done with chapters and chapters ago.  In short I spend most of this chapter choking on my own rage.  Enjoy!

We start where we left off but Wanderer mercifully skips over most of the rest of the tour, just saying she was paranoid the whole time waiting for Ian or Doc to murder her.  Though she does spend an entire paragraph describing in significant detail the things she says she’s not focusing on.

My attention was not focused on the second set of gardens he led me through–one with corn growing waist-high in the blistering heat of the brilliant mirrors–or the wide but low-ceilinged cavern he called the “rec room.” That one was pitch-black and deep underground, but he told me they brought in lights when they wanted to play. The word play didn’t make sense to me, not here in this group of tense, angry survivors, but I didn’t ask him to explain.

If she really wasn’t paying attention she could have said ‘the second set of gardens and the ‘rec room’.  But she had to say the height of the corn and the brilliance of the mirrors.  Wanderer also displays her idiocy here further.  Because humans never need to just unwind with some fun and games right?!  Especially not in tense situations?  Or stuck in a cave with no internet, books, movies, music… We would neeeeeeeever want to play a game!  We’re so angry and horrible, having fun isn’t possible!

I assume this is what she thinks they do in their spare time.

I assume this is what she thinks they do in their spare time.

The next couple of pages are just her describing how paranoid she is and the looks on Jamie’s face.  It’s incredibly dull and there are much worse things in this chapter to dwell on so here’s the summary: ‘I’m so scared of these people who are being nice to me and all humans ever are just cruel and murderous except Jamie who I’ve hurt and I am so horrible for doing that to him.’ Melanie does show up for a four sentence conversation about Jamie, but she’s only there to give Wanderer a chance to get emo about how much she’s hurt him and I’m really sick of everything being about Wanderer.  Melanie isn’t a character, she’s a sounding board.  The background characters aren’t characters, they’re plot devices.  I’m sick of it and it’s boring as all fucking hell.

They get to the end of the tour, which happens to be the ‘hospital’ area, and of course Wanderer flips the fuck out thinking that they’ve tricked her into walking into the torture chapter and to that I say fuck you Wanderer, you dumbass.  If they wanted to torture you they could have done it in the hole.  If they wanted to torture you they could have dragged you off.  If they wanted to torture you they could have done it when he said he was taking you to the bathroom.  If they wanted to fucking torture you they would have done it when you fucking thought they were torturing you over the Seeker shit!  I AM SICK AND FUCKING TIRED OF YOU DISTRUSTING PEOPLE WHO HAVE SHOWN YOU NOTHING BUT KINDNESS YOU SELFISH BITCH!  I need a stronger insult than Bitch.  It really doesn’t cut it anymore.

Somebody buy me this.  I need it for this book!

Somebody buy me this. I need it for this book!

Everyone goes out of their way to make her feel better and calm her down and I say they should just punch her in the face.  She’s the alien invader who took over the body of their loved one and sought out their home.  They took her in, protected her, nursed her back to health, and she repays their kindness with distrust and spiteful ignorance.  She deserves anything they could have done to her, but she didn’t get it.  And for that she’s treating them like cruel murdering psychopaths.  Wanderer needs to go fuck herself.  SICK OF YOUR SHIT WANDERER.  SICK OF IT.

Sick of your shit

After they get her calmed down Doc asks if she knows anything about alien medicine.  Apparently the parasites threw out all human medicine when they arrived.

I took a deep breath, then whispered, “I’m not a Healer. I don’t know how they–the medications–work. Only that they do work– they heal, rather than merely treating symptoms. No trial and error. Of course the human medicines were discarded.”

There is no end to how angry this makes me.  Our medications generally don’t just treat symptoms.  MOST medication DOES actually cure the disease.  Yes, there are some diseases we currently can’t cure so we just manage the symptoms, like viral issues.  But in general that is not how medication works.  How can there be no trial and error?!  Our anatomy would be vastly different than the see weeds.  There are some medications that are more or less effective based on what race you are.  There are some medications that work on monkeys or rats but kill humans.  You can’t just claim that the medications ‘just work’ on every single species in the known universe!  THAT’S NOT HOW BIOLOGY WORKS!

fascinating

YES the aliens probably WOULD have better medical equipment than us.  YES they would probably be able to cure illnesses we couldn’t and heal minor damage faster and better than we can.  But only AFTER arriving and learning about our anatomy and adjusting their medication accordingly.  But Meyer just said ‘fuck it, she’s not a healer, so I can do whatever I want and never have to figure out how it works because Wanderer will just say she doesn’t know!’  Perfect get out of jail free card.  Except it isn’t.  It’s weak, pathetic, cheap writing.  It’s fine to not explain everything.  Just make up words that sound medical instead of just saying ‘medicine’ and don’t bring attention to the fact that you don’t know how it works!  Don’t SAY you don’t know how it works dammit!

AND FUCK YOU FOR THE THIRD TIME THIS CHAPTER WANDERER.  Don’t you act so goddamn FUCKING SMUG.  You look down on people every chance you fucking get.  You think you’re so much fucking better than humans you self-righteous miserable excuse for a character.  I hate you.  I hate you so much words do not adequately express it.

All four of them stared with blank expressions. First they were surprised when I didn’t answer, and now they were surprised when I did. Humans were impossible to please.

I knew I wasn't done with this gif yet

I knew I wasn’t done with this gif yet

She says some more things that make me wish they would strap her to one of the medical beds and rip open her skull to tear her out of Melanie’s head, and to put off the stroke this book will inevitably cause me before I’m through reading it, I’ll just move along.  You’re not missing anything but me saying ‘go fuck yourself’ repeatedly.  I lack creativity this review.  This chapter has literally given me a headache.

Anyway, they get back to the start and Jeb sends Doc and Ian off and puts Jamie on guard duty.  Jeb hands Jamie his gun and Wanderer has a hissy fit.  This exchange lasts a while and it’s meant to be important but it’s incredibly uninteresting until the very end when it’s clear to the reader but not Wanderer that Jeb has figured out Melanie is still alive in there because of the way Wanderer cares about Jamie.  I’m skimming because there are rants coming for worse parts of this chapter and I only have so much rage before my headache turns into an aneurism.

Jeb leaves, and after an hour or two of awkward silence Jamie asks about the other alien planets.  Wanderer blathers on about the see weeds again.  She keeps it short though because he wants to know about the other alien species!  Let the rage begin.

She skims over the bats and bears and flowers, thankfully, but dear lord do I wish she skimmed over what comes next.

“How did you come here, then–if you weren’t the little green guys, who were you? You had to have bodies to move and stuff, right?”

“Right,” I agreed, surprised at his grasp of the facts at hand. I shouldn’t have been surprised–I knew how bright he was, his mind like a thirsty sponge. “We used our Spider selves in the very beginning, to get things started.”

No, no it's not better dammit

No, no it’s not better dammit

Ooooookay, deep breaths.  Remember, many, many chapters ago, I talked about how they needed to have been in the bodies of another species to have infected the first few humans, and how there was no way that that wasn’t traumatic enough to cause as many problems for the first wave as Melanie’s emotions caused Wanderer?  WELL!  Now we know it was fucking SPIDERS.  Or at least something with enough resemblance to a giant spider that seeing that before you ‘die’ would cause so much terror that there is no way in fucking HELL that ANYONE wouldn’t be traumatized enough to cause problems for the parasite!

Imagine yourself getting abducted by giant fucking ALIEN SPIDERS who are trying to put a glowing silver centipede into your brain and try and tell me that you wouldn’t struggle and fight and be filled with adrenaline and powerful emotions!  You can’t!  Because that’s fucking not goddamn possible.  Even if you aren’t afraid of spiders, which the majority of humans ARE to varying degrees.

I told him about the Spiders–a fascinating species. Brilliant, the most incredible minds we’d ever come across, and each Spider had three of them. Three brains, one in each section of their segmented bodies.

“Arachnids are further distinguished from insects by the fact they do not have antennae or wings. Their body is organized into two tagmata called the prosoma, or cephalothorax, and the opisthosoma, or abdomen. The cephalothorax is derived from the fusion of the cephalon (head) and the thorax, and is usually covered by a single, unsegmented carapace.”

Spiders only have two body segments.  I know that Meyer already said that there was a new species referred to as dolphins when they really resemble dragonflies, but I’m really fucking sick of this bullshit.  Why would you use the names of Earth species if they don’t actually resemble those species at all?  I know Meyer just didn’t want to name things and she tossed in the dolphins that look like dragonflies because she wanted to have people not picturing giant spiders, but, it’s really fucking lazy.  It is beyond lazy.  They could easily have come up with names for these new species.  None of the humans that used to be biologists or science fiction authors had any names for them that they could use?  They had to just go with something that was relevant for only the loosest associations?

These distinctions exist for a reason!  This is why we have varieties of dogs instead of calling Chihuahuas and German Shepard’s all just ‘dogs’!  BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT THE SAME FUCKING THING!  They’re all dogs because they can interbreed somehow, but they are not the same fucking thing!  So we don’t CALL them the same fucking thing!

English motherfuckers

We have come up with millions of names for everything from the tiniest single cell bacterium to the blue whale, and they have access to our entire language and how we’ve named things so they couldn’t use any of that knowledge?!  NOTHING?!  Couldn’t even just say ‘insectoid’ or, hell, call them cephalopods!  That would make more sense!  Insects only have 6 legs, these fuckers have 8, but arachnids only have 2 body sections.  She makes no mention of whether or not they have a carapace, so cephalopods have multiple limbs and some of them have multiple bundles of neurons that could be considered primitive brains, making octopus a MUCH better comparison than fucking SPIDER.

Though I will say I’m glad she didn’t call them that because I actually like octopi and that would have tainted them.

We’d yet to find a problem they couldn’t solve for us. And yet they were so coldly analytical that they rarely came up with a problem they were curious enough to solve for themselves.

What?!  WHAT?!  I can’t even articulate how much of a problem I have with this statement!  Cold and analytical does not equal incurious!  In fact it kind of means you ARE curious!  Does Meyer not know what the word ANALYTICAL means?!

This is the degree of non-logic that this statement suffers from.

This is the degree of non-logic that this statement suffers from.

Of all our hosts, the Spiders welcomed our occupation the most. They barely noticed the difference, and when they did, they seemed to appreciate the direction we provided.

TEXT IS INCAPABLE OF ACCURATELY REPRESENTING MY RAGE! HOW THE FUCK DOES THIS BULLSHIT WORK!?  HOW DID THEY NOT NOTICE?!  YOU WERE KILLING THEM!  OR WAS THEIR CONSCIOUSNESS STAYING ALIVE INSIDE ONE OF THE OTHER TWO BRAINS!?  HOW THE FUCK DOES THIS SHIT WORK!? I DON’T GET IT!

The few souls who had walked on the surface of the Spiders’ planet before implantation told us that it was cold and gray–no wonder the Spiders only saw in black and white and had a limited sense of temperature.

Okay, well, here’s the evidence that the spiders couldn’t have survived on the fire eaters planet, and probably not Earth either.  I mentioned in the chapter about the fire eaters that the spiders couldn’t have lived there.  This is why.  That planet’s temperature would be drastically different.  ‘limited sense of temperature’ is a really fucking dumb statement.  They wouldn’t notice the cold.  That would have been their base state, it would have been fine.  It would make no sense whatsoever for them to have evolved to be able to deal with the HEAT if they lived on a COLD planet.

As well, the fact that the planet is gray and cold implies that it is far from its sun and probably doesn’t have much atmosphere.  A fiery planet filled with sulphur would suffocate the spiders, and since they ‘weren’t curious’ SOMEHOW they likely wouldn’t have invented space travel without the dumbass parasites coming along.  This would mean that they likely wouldn’t be aware of the other species and wouldn’t be prepared for the differences.  Their insides would probably boil and kill them before they even realized that there was something to worry about.  I’ll spare you a gif of that image.

What would be the point of evolving three brains if they’re not using them?!  Not everything that succeeds through evolution has a useful purpose, but three brains would use up a lot of energy.  On a cold, gray planet, without emotion or the need to process much sensory input (the brain power needed for black and white vision is much less than colour, and remember, humans are somehow the only species with a sense of SMELL and she said the idea of any senses outside our base 5 seemed stupid) if they’re not curious what would be the need of having multiple brains?  Why would evolution favour the massive waste of energy?  It would give them no advantages at all.  There’s no reason for it to have happened!  Every species on Earth with a larger than average brain also has high levels of curiosity.  Because that brain is there for a REASON.

Brain weight versus energy requirements

It processes sensory input and extrapolates what that sensory input could MEAN in context.  If the species doesn’t need to process emotions, it has limited sense of temperature indicating limited sense of touch, it doesn’t need much brain power to process what it sees, it doesn’t have a sense of smell, and it doesn’t care about figuring out what’s going on around it, what possible reason could there be for 3 brains?  It may have evolved at some point, but she says later they’ve been self sufficient for thousands of years.  That’s long enough for those extra brains to stop being useful and start to shrink like the appendix.  That’s how evolution works.  After a while, something unnecessary gets weeded out.  They would be smart enough to put off the death of their species until something evolved to take advantage of the fact that they wouldn’t notice or care about anything in their environment that didn’t make sense.  Get close enough, murder the shit out of their entire species before they even got up off their asses to do anything about it.

The Spiders lived short lives, but the young were born knowing everything their parent had, so no knowledge was lost.

Headdesk

I just smacked my head against my headboard.  On purpose.

NO.

NOPE.

I apologize to my fellow arachnaphobes, but this gif was just way to appropriate to pass up

I apologize to my fellow arachnaphobes, but this gif was just way to appropriate to pass up

DOESN’T MAKE SENSE.

PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE.

MOVING ON.

The last five quotes from the book are all the same paragraph.  I’m finally done with that paragraph.

I don’t understand why they took over this species.  She claimed that they only took over humanity because they were a danger to themselves and their planet and deserved it.  But them taking over the spiders implies that they just take over the primary species of a planet with no regard whatsoever to the wants and desires of that particular species.  They make it sound like the spiders didn’t even care but they make it sound like that mattered.  Like the spiders stayed spiders somehow.  There is so many plot holes to the motivations of this species that I cannot even begin to wrap my head around how it even could pretend to work or delude itself into moral justifications.

This is the only way I can figure out how these parasites can exist in their moral vacuum.

This is the only way I can figure out how these parasites can exist in their moral vacuum.

Wanderer talks about how she only lived one lifetime there, but we already knew that.  Why do we have to have her keep repeating things she’s already mentioned?  Does she think everyone reading this book has the attention span of a humming bird?  That would certainly explain why there are so many positive reviews for ‘rocks are pointy and humans are evil; the book’.

She actually says that the planet had been self-sufficient for thousands of years.  The ‘spiders’ didn’t need the parasites.  The parasites needed them.  They took them over because they wanted the knowledge that the species of geniuses had, but admitting that would require them to admit that they did something for selfish reasons and so they couldn’t continue to claim their moral superiority.

The Spiders’ bodies were almost as useful as their minds: four long legs to each segment–from which they’d earned their nickname on this planet–and twelve-fingered hands on each leg. These six-jointed fingers were as slender and strong as steel threads, capable of the most delicate procedures. About the mass of a cow, but short and lean, the Spiders had no trouble with the first insertions. They were stronger than humans, smarter than humans, and prepared, which the humans were not.…

take-a-deep-breath-sherlock-calm-down

More deep breaths… Oh god this chapter is causing me literal physical pain.  I wish I was joking for dramatic effect but nope, physical pain.

First of all, she said they had three body segments.  That would indicate it has 12 legs, not 8.  Also that it has legs coming out of its head.  I’m still assuming she means that it has 4 legs for each BODY segment, and no legs coming out of its head making a total of 8 legs, but that statement is incredibly unclear.

I don’t think Meyer knows what hands are.  Hands are grasping appendages (including a thumb) on the forelimbs.  They cannot have hands on all of their limbs.  They would be prehensile feet or paws or something.  Not hands.  I know that particular complaint is incredibly nitpicky, but she has fucked up so much science in the last 3 paragraphs I feel the need to point it out. The hands don’t even sound like anything I would refer to as hands.  It sounds more like each ‘finger’ is closer to a prehensile tail than a finger.

How can they be lean and the mass of a cow?  Does Meyer not know what the word lean means either?!  Or maybe it’s mass that she doesn’t understand.  I suspect she’s using it to imply overall size, but, that’s not what mass means.  Taken literally, these spiders that walk on their 12 fingered hands are the relative weight of a COW, yet they’re short and skinny.  So are they incredibly dense?  That would suggest that their limbs would have to be very strong to support their weight.  But she describes them as long, and if the legs are what caused the comparison with Earth spiders, probably skinny too.  Keep in mind that unlike mammals, spider limbs don’t sit underneath the center of mass, they’re off to the side, which affects the weight they can support.

Don't know what it means

The fact that they’re stronger than humans is relevant.  It implies that they had to overpower the first humans.  Insert the physical description of the spiders into the scenario I mentioned earlier and tell me how you would react to seeing that forcefully attacking you.  Go ahead and try and claim that wouldn’t be traumatizing and probably brain shatteringly terrifying.

After this Melanie cuts her off because Jamie is crying, since she just went into how they came in and over powered the humans.  Wanderer berates Melanie for not stopping her sooner, because everything is about Wanderer and how DARE you even IMPLY that she is not the one you should feel bad for!

Woe is me

She apologizes and Jamie says it’s alright, he had asked after all.  Wanderer wants to wipe the tear from his face, but holds back at first.  She goes on and on about how this is all her fault and woe is her, and feel bad for her ‘cuz she feels bad!  She gives in and hugs him and prattles on about how powerful motherly love is making me want to stab her in the face because she has no right to talk about this at all.

Jeb shows up while they’re still hugging to save me from having a stroke ranting about how angry it makes me to see Wanderer go on about how mothering she feels.  He breaks the awkwardness of his timing by non-chalantly chastising Jamie for letting the gun roll to the floor the way he did.

Before Jamie runs off in embarrassment he asks Wanderer her name and she finally tells them what to call her.  Jeb asks if he can call her Wanda instead.  Then she actually surprises me for a change.

He waited this time for a response. Finally, I shrugged. It didn’t matter to me whether he called me “kid” or some strange human nickname. I believed it was meant kindly.

She actually believes he’s not being a jerk!  IT’S A MIRACLE!

Festivus Miracle

But don’t worry, it only lasts that one paragraph.

He grinned that huge, cheek-stretching grin, and I couldn’t help grinning back, though my smile was more rueful than delighted. He was supposed to be my enemy. He was probably insane. And he was my friend. Not that he wouldn’t kill me if things turned out that way, but he wouldn’t like doing it. With humans, what more could you ask of a friend?

This is her version of being nice.

Anyway that’s how the chapter ends.  This is by far the most infuriating chapter yet.  I skipped over most of the chapter because I cannot properly convey just how angry reading this chapter makes me.  If I had actually talked about the whole thing I may have broken my laptop and I need that for work.

Llama tells me the next couple of chapters are painfully dull.  I’ll take that over high blood pressure inducing rage though, so I look forward to being bored!  Till then, happy Halloween!

Slenderman

The Host Review: Freed (Ch 20)

Chapter 20! A full third of the way through this crap!  Oh the small joys to take…  Having said that if anyone has any suggestions for non-romance bad books I’m open to changing things up to help make these recaps a little more tolerable.

As always this chapter starts off less than 5 seconds after the last chapter ended.  Wanderer cries and Jeb lets her for a while.  He waits till she’s done and then invites her to come out and stretch.

Ironically, considering my week of maddening silence, I wasn’t in the mood for company. But his offer wasn’t one I could refuse. Before I could think about it, my hands were pulling me through the exit.

You know, I never got the sensation she was ever in the mood for Jeb’s company.  I know how it feels to be upset and want everyone to just fuck off and leave you alone, but really, did anyone ever get the feeling that she actually wanted Jeb around, ever?  I might find this more revealing of her mental state and more emotionally impactful if she didn’t act like she hated the person she was saying she didn’t want around.  And just for reference, she doesn’t get any more pleasant to him later in this chapter despite everything he’s about to do for her.

Annoyed

How long had it been since I’d seen Jamie? And how was he now? My already sore heart gave a painful little lurch.

There is one paragraph between this one and the last one I quoted.  She doesn’t want to see Jeb, but she sure as hell wants to see Jamie.  Meyer couldn’t even keep her consistent for two paragraphs.

Why am I not surprised

“It’s going to be okay, you know.” He grinned a wide, face-stretching grin. “That stuff I said to Jared… Well, I won’t say I lied, exactly, because it’s all true if you look at it from a certain angle, but from another angle, it wasn’t so much the truth as it was what he needed to hear.”

I just stared; I didn’t understand a word of what he was saying.

“Anyway, Jared needs a break from this. Not from you, kid,” he added quickly, “but from the situation. He’ll gain some perspective while he’s away.”

Jeb is a kind, thoughtful man, and Wanderer is an idiot.  That’s the only purpose for me pointing out this particular selection.  I just want to make sure you keep this in mind for everything she says about him further into the chapter.  And I just like pointing out that she’s dumb as a post.  I miss Kathy.

I wondered how he seemed to know exactly which words and phrases would cut at me. And, more than that, why should Jeb care if his words hurt me, or even if my back was aching and throbbing? His kindness toward me was frightening in its own way because it was incomprehensible. At least Jared’s actions made sense. Kyle’s and Ian’s murder attempts, the doctor’s cheerful eagerness to hurt me–these behaviors also were logical. Not kindness. What did Jeb want from me?

The relevance of that last selection is obvious immediately, as it’s directly followed by this one.  Where Wanderer, dumb as she is, continues to be confused by Jeb’s behaviour towards her.  He has been nothing but nice to her.  He has explained to her that he does not view her as a prisoner, but a guest.  He has even explained why.  He specifically said that any parasite hosts that come in are subject to the will of their next of kin.  Jared opted to not kill her, and it was implied at the end of the last chapter plus the first trip to the bathroom that the only reason she was where she was was for her own safety not as a prison cell.  Jared never specified that she was a prisoner, he was keeping her safe from those who would kill her.  He was just also wrestling with his own justifiable, yet still admittedly childishly displayed, anger and frustration.

Jeb is treating her as a guest because that’s what he told her, and everyone else, that she was right from the start.  He’s not acting odd or unpredictably.  He’s not acting suspiciously.  I could accept this distrust at first, but my god.  They’ve had multiple interactions up to this point and he has gone out of his way to help her, to protect her, to be friendly to her, and to anticipate her needs.  There comes a point where justifiable confusion and distrust turns into just being a paranoid bitch and Wanderer passed that point around the time Jeb took her to the bathroom multiple chapters ago.

Come on Wanderer!  You saw that behaviour was legit!

Come on Wanderer! You saw that behaviour was legit!

Since that came up, I’ll point out that in the first twelve chapters of this book, Melanie was captured, healed, infested.  Wanderer became a teacher, saw a therapist, reported the existence of uninfected humans, and went off to kill her host.  Melanie and Wanderer bonded (sort of, the book says they did anyway, doesn’t actually show us the bonding but that’s irrelevant to this discussion…) and decided to make the life threatening decision to meander into the desert to follow vague directions to a place that might not even exist.  They then walked through the desert for days with limited supplies and nearly died.  And I thought all of that seemed slow paced and dreadfully dull/repetitive.

The last eight chapters have taken place over a week with Wanderer stuffed in a hole.

WTF

Anyway, Jeb implies that he’s going to get Wanderer a proper room with a proper bed.  Wanderer continues to be confused.  She says she basically keeps waiting for him to go ‘lol j/k’ and shove her back into the hole.  I want her to stop hating on Jeb but it really is never going to happen.

As if anticipating her confusion (she is pretty predictable at this point so not a surprise) Jeb states that she won’t have to go back into the hole so not to worry.  I kind of thought that was covered by ‘we’ll get you a bed’ and ‘that hole is normally used for storage and when Jared comes back with the supplies we’ll need it again’, but I’m not as dumb as Wanderer so I just don’t need it spelled out for me like she does.  I swear to god this book is written so people with the IQ of small children can follow it without feeling even the least bit challenged to actually think.

stupid

This is the main difference between showing and telling.  This book tells you everything it wants you to know, not allowing you to make your own conclusions at all.  It doesn’t allow you to actually think about anything because everything is spelled out for you, and put in such simple terms that it’s impossible to misunderstand what the author wants you to take from a scene.  But that doesn’t get you to think at all.  It’s the book equivalent of reality television, which is the television equivalent of junk food.

She cries again when it finally sinks in that he’s not joking and Jeb gets uncomfortable, but tries to comfort her as best he can.  After she stops, he says that they’ve just got to stick to the hallway till they’re sure that Jared is gone, but after that they’ll have some fun.  Wanderer is horrified, saying his idea of fun is a Mexican standoff.  For one moment she allowed herself to weep at the idea that he was being nice to her, and then immediately assumes he’s going to hurt her again.  I would say I couldn’t possibly hate Wanderer more than I do, but I thought that earlier in the book already and she proved me wrong then.  I won’t taunt the universe again.

1. Never assume the worst is past.

1. Never assume the worst is past.

Jeb sees that she’s being judgmental again but just laughs it off telling her not to worry.  He offers her up the mat that Jared’s been using as a bed this past week and tells her she might as well get some more comfortable rest while they wait.  Despite her previous reaction, she gets teary eyed yet again at his kindness, because you are supposed to see her as grateful and pleasant despite her being judgmental and speciest…specist…bigoted against humans in general.  I don’t think it counts as gratefulness if you do nothing but assume the worst about someone’s kind gestures.

When I woke up, I knew that I’d been solidly asleep for a long time–a longer stretch than I’d slept since coming here. No pains, no frightening interruptions. I would have felt pretty good, except that waking on the pillow reminded me that Jared was gone. It still smelled like him. And in a good way, not the way I smelled.

Uhh… He hasn’t had a shower in a week.  He’s been fighting, and stressed, and it’s supposedly warm and muggy in that cave… I don’t think Jared would smell particularly pleasant after a week.  I don’t know anyone that smells good after a week without a shower or deodorant.  I don’t see how it would smell like him ‘in a good way’.  Does Jared not sweat?

I remembered my dream only vaguely, but I knew it had featured Jared, as was usual when I was able to sleep deeply enough to dream.

You know you don’t actually dream when you’re asleep deeply right?  You dream when you’re in that fuzzy grey area between consciousness and deep sleep.  That’s why are capable of remembering your dreams at all, because your conscious brain isn’t entirely shut down at the point in the sleep cycle it’s occurring during.  In fact after a week of barely any proper sleep at all she probably would have barely dreamed at all when she was finally in a position to sleep as restfully as she could on a mattress.  She would probably pass quickly into the deepest sleep without any dream at all until she was near waking a few hours later.  But that’s just a nit-pick.

Sorry hippo

Sorry hippo

Jeb says Jared is gone, and that he’s going to take her on a tour.  She starts wondering why he thinks she needs to know her way around since she’s not going to last long.  But, I really don’t get why they think she’s not going to last long to be completely honest.  The people did vote for her death, but the main guy they sent to kill her is away, and Ian doesn’t seem intent to try again.  The doctor certainly didn’t seem like the type to just attack, and the masses didn’t swarm her to kill her when Jeb took her to the bathroom, so what reason does she have to believe that her life is threatened now?  Honestly?

Meyers has done a terrible job at establishing a threatening atmosphere.  Kyle is the only one that seemed likely to take her out and he’s gone with Jared.  Ian was certainly cruel to her, but he’s been established now as feeling guilt and regret for that action.  Brandt (was that even his name?  He left so little of an impression that I’m genuinely not sure and I really don’t care to check) has had no lines and the only thing he did in the one scene he was in was hold Jared’s arm and he sucked at even that much.  The random unnamed background characters didn’t so much as form a lynch mob, they sent assassins, so clearly they’re cowards who are incapable of getting blood directly on their hands.  And Jeb, Jamie and Doc have been nothing but nice to her.

Jeb starts basically talking to himself wondering which part of the cave he should show her first.  She continues to not say a word.  Which honestly I find quite rude and disrespectful.  I know she’s scared but she’s been there for a week and I think I’ve done enough to establish Jeb’s harmless intentions, so her continued fear of him and unwillingness to talk just makes her seem rude and I don’t like it.  I have a thing about rudeness.  Nothing irks me faster than people not even being willing to show the smallest modicum of respect.  It’s such small gestures, but that’s really the point!  You can’t even do that much?!  In this case it’s even giving a one or two word response to acknowledge him when he knows full well she can talk!  She spoke to Jamie at length.  She had a reason to not talk to Jared, he didn’t want her to.  This is just her being distrustful and self centered.

thread-derailed-o

Got off track…

Jeb kept right on chatting at me, either missing or ignoring my terror.

Or maybe I didn’t.  See?  He’s being nice to her, treating her like a human being, which I will remind you she actually isn’t so it makes sense not to do so, and showing her the most kindness he can and she’s just thinking about how he’s treating her badly.  He’s not ignoring her terror, he knows he can’t alleviate it so he’s attempting to at least mitigate it by acting normal.  If you coddle a pet or a child and assure them that everything is fine and comfort them, you’re actually reinforcing in their minds that there is something worth worrying about.  It’s a safe assumption that the same goes for adults.  If he took the time to comfort her more than he already has (I will remind you that he has actually assured her everything would be fine multiple times, just not at length) then it would just make her feel like he believed they were taking a risk and he was just trying to make her feel better.  By just taking her along as if nothing was wrong, he’s essentially telling her subconscious that nothing is wrong.

Jeb talks about how the carrots should be sprouting today as they come to an open area.  He says how beautiful it is to see the ‘spring green’ which it probably very much is in a cave in the desert for more reasons than aesthetics.  He invites Wanderer to take a look and as she looks she makes sure to remind you how all 15 people working the carrot fields are looking at her with hostility before she notices the sprouts.  Because we have to genuinely worry about her, except I don’t.  At all.  Like I said earlier, if these people had any intention to actually hurt Wanderer themselves they’d have fucking done it already.  But she does actually say something here!  She says ‘Carrots?’  Hey, it resembles progress…

Small victory high five!

Small victory high five!

As I predicted, the people in the fields basically just ignore her after the initial shock wears off.  Wanderer says they glance at her occasionally but they just go back to work.  Yup, these people are definitely going to all come in the night like cowardly ninja’s and slit her throat.  Because every human is totally a brutal, merciless killer.

Jeb explains that the light they get down here is a bunch of mirrors drilled into the side of the walls that line the holes going up to the surface, redirecting light into the cave.  I thought this was already established when she said that when she looked at the light source at night she saw a bunch of mini moons.  Did anyone not figure out that they were mirrors from that?  How did she not figure that out?  Though I will point out that that would never work in an actual desert unless all the holes into the cave somehow were sand free since the blowing sand from the desert above wouldn’t just make the mirrors dirty, it would buffer and erode the surface.  The mirrors would have to be replaced pretty much constantly.  But that’s the least of this books inaccuracies so I’ll move on.

These aren't the nitpicks we're looking for

These aren’t the nitpicks we’re looking for

They enter an area Wanderer hasn’t been yet and she freezes up.  Jeb assures her there’s nothing to fear once again and tells her that she’s ‘third to the left’ so to not get lost.  She gets confused, he explains that he means her room is third to the left.  He’s giving her a room.  A room with a real bed.

“That’s right. Don’t forget. It’s easy to get lost around here, and that wouldn’t be safe for you. Folks’d just as soon stab you as send you in the right direction.”

I shuddered. “Thanks,” I muttered with quiet sarcasm.

He laughed as if my answer had delighted him. “No point in ignoring the truth. Doesn’t make it worse to have it said out loud.”

It didn’t make it better, either, but I didn’t say that.

You didn’t have to say it Wanderer.  It’s so well established that you’re a bitch I’m pretty sure everyone already guessed that’s how you felt anyway.  Could he have put that better?  Yeah, probably.  But why?  She already knows the truth.  He’s trying to make her feel at home, but there are legitimate dangers for her here and while he wants her to be comfortable, she also has to be mindful of reality.  Also, Wanderer being sarcastic is consistent with the character we’ve been shown so far but it sure as fuck isn’t consistent with who they keep saying she is.  That’s really aggravating.

He takes her to her room which is apparently quite nice for what it is, and he tells her that it’s available for a few weeks so he’ll put her up in there and figure out an alternative when the time comes.

The room he revealed gave me a strange feeling of vertigo–probably because it was so much taller than it was wide. Standing inside it was like standing in a tower or a silo, not that I had ever been in such places, but those were the comparisons Melanie made.

This is something I’m noticing more and more frequently.  Melanie’s thoughts are no longer getting a voice.  Wanderer is just stating them in this manner seen above.  Melanie is so unimportant now that Wanderer just takes center stage 100% of the time, with just enough mention of Melanie’s existence to remind you that she is, in fact, still there.  I’m not terribly fond of Melanie, but I like her a lot better than Wanderer, so I find this frustrating as well.

It also makes me wonder what the fuck is the focus of this goddamn story?  It’s hardly a romance novel at this point.  It looked like it might be about their struggle for dominance and who would end up winning, but things like this make it pretty damn clear that Wanderer will never be in danger of being taken over.  Jamie has only been in one chapter so far, so it’s not a mother-son/brother story.  Even if he was in it more, since Melanie is being back burnered if they tried to make it one between Wanderer and Jamie I would have to set someone on fire

Shit I only made it mad...

Shit I only made it mad…

(I already know I shall eat those words soon enough.  You have been warned. Not this chapter though thankfully.)  Is it about Wanderer’s struggle to be accepted?  I sure as fuck hope not, there’s still forty more chapters of this crap.

So, twenty chapters in, there is no central plot focus.  There is no driving force to keep you invested outside the draw you’re supposed to feel for the main character.  The main character I have called a bitch four times already in this review alone.  Lovely.

Anyway, Wanderer gets uncomfortable at being set up in the room of someone who probably hates her.  Jeb tells her to stop being so scared and uncomfortable, that this is his house and if the other guests don’t like it that’s their problem because he will decide who stays where in his home.  And good for him.  She’s proven to him she’s not a threat.  The general populace knows the seekers have stopped looking for her, and while they certainly are free not to like her or want her around, they have no justification for violence or fear, and even if they felt they did have justification for it, Jeb allows them to stay there.  He can allow them to leave if they no longer feel secure.

Anyway, they make their way to the kitchen and Wanderer describes stuff some more, and is terrified of nothing some more, and describes stuff some more.  Then she describes the people she’s terrified of.  Ian is there.  Remember how I was horrified that he might be a secondary love interest?  Now he’s going to be alone with her for a couple of weeks.  I’m so shocked that something in this book was so predictable.

Shocked

Jeb acts passive aggressively at everyone’s reaction to Wanderer, calling them ‘easily distracted’.  He’s attempting to make them feel silly for thinking she’s a threat, and it seems to work as most of the people in the cafeteria return to ignoring their presence.  But then they see Jamie.

Oh, Jamie, Melanie thought. She hated the sad, adult expression on his face, and I probably hated it even more. She didn’t feel as guilty as I did for putting it there.

If only we could take it away. She sighed.

It’s too late. What could we do to make it better now?

Establish trust and then reveal that Melanie isn’t dead?  Just a thought.  And a prediction as to what’s going to happen as well, because of course it will.  Jeb will realize it first because he already seems to suspect there’s something off there, but then Jamie won’t be far behind because his only scene before this was establishing a bond between him and Wanderer.

Jamie asks Jeb if he can tag along on their tour.  Sharon and Maggie are in the cafeteria as well, and Sharon shakes her head no at Jeb, but he ignores her entirely and says sure.  Have I mentioned that I like Jeb yet?  Because I really do.  Please don’t let that change…

As they walk away, Ian and Doc race to catch up and after Wandanie tries to protect Jamie and Jeb takes out his gun, they ask if they can join the tour too.  I actually find this surprisingly reasonable.  She is a fucking alien goddammit.  I know they’re a hostile species that took over the world, but come ON!  She’s an ALIEN!  And they have a chance to learn more about her in a safe, non-threatening way!  Would you pass up that opportunity?!  If I had no emotional connection to the host body I certainly would want to ask a few million questions!

Curious Owl

The chapter ends with Jeb making a joke about missing killing people so for them to not try anything.  Wanderer takes him seriously of course because she still thinks he’s the worst human being on the planet, just waiting for the opportunity to strap her to a torture device.  The next chapter starts off with them continuing the tour, because we all already knew that.

There is so much nothing happening in this book.  There is so much happening in this universe, but this book is just page after page of nothing.  But we’re a third of the way done and dammit I will finish this garbage!

Till next time, check out The Llama’s review of this chapter as well!

The Host Review: Abandoned (ch 19)

Well this chapter is less painfully boring than the last one…  It is possible to convey boredom without killing the reader’s interest in the book, but Meyer sure as hell didn’t pull it off.  I was talking to The Llama about it after finishing the review for that chapter, managed to sum the entire first 2/3rds of it into two sentences: ‘Jared took over watching me all the time from that point on, not even letting Jeb stop by.  A week past, I only got to leave the small cavern that was my prison at night when Jared took me to use the latrine.’

If you can sum up the majority of a chapter in less than a paragraph without losing a single bit of the impact there is something very very wrong!  But this chapter, while still terrible, is at least slightly more relevant.  Only slightly though.

just-a-little-bit-himym-o

Anyway this chapter continues immediately where the last chapter left off.  That happens a lot in this book and I actually find it quite annoying.  It seems she just cuts up the scenes where ever she thinks it’s going to leave the reader with a cliffhanger instead of actually having there be a reason for the section split.  It’s like watching the season finale to a drama series where they end on a cliffhanger that’s supposed to keep you on the edge of your seat for the 3-4 months where there’s no new episodes coming out and then they wrap it up in the first 5 minutes of the new season.  Only there’s no 3-4 month gap between chapters.

I guess that’s why people say they find her books such fast reads?  I guess if you can ignore all the crap in it and you somehow manage to feel engaged you would just keep reading till you were finished because at the end of every chapter you want to know what happens.  But even if this was a good book that I actually wanted to read I would still find that frustrating.  I can’t put down a book mid chapter.  I can’t do it!  It’s not a natural thing to me.  But if I actually like a book and want to know what happens next, being left with a cliffhanger, I would read the next chapter to know what happens next!  Then I would realize 20 chapters later that it was 5 in the morning and I had to get up for work in a half an hour!

no-sleep

It doesn’t give you a point at which you feel you can stop reading for the night.  It’s a book.  After you get them to buy it you don’t need to get them to read it as fast as possible unless you have a back log of other books ready to be released for them to want to consume with the same fervour.  But this book has been out for a couple years now and there’s been no follow up because Meyer is afraid she can’t do it without killing one of her characters and she’s not capable of doing that (I did more research for this blog than Meyer did for this book.) so there’s no need to suck you in and have you NEED to know what happens next RIGHT NOW unless there’s something really important happening.  She’s relying on false tension to trick the reader into thinking they care about this book more than they actually would if they stopped to think about it for a few minutes.

…Right, there’s a chapter to read.

Who is the Seeker in black? Why is it still searching?” Jared’s shout was deafening, echoing at me from all sides.

This brings up something interesting I’ve noticed in books, movies, tv shows, pretty much every form of media that involves violence.  I’ve noticed that the humans keep calling her, and now the seeker, ‘it’ rather than their host’s gender.  In this case I get it, I do.  I’m actually not trying to criticize the book here.  I just find it an interesting habit that when it comes to displaying the side of a fight that the observer is expected to support, the other side is always dehumanized.  They lack a face, they lack names, in shows where the main characters are animals the enemies are usually also animals, but despite in the actual animal kingdom, the predator animal is considered more intelligent, in the show or movie it’s portrayed as a mindless killing machine while the (generally herbivorous) protagonist is as smart as a human.  Just an observation.  I’ll discuss it someday in a non-review post.

Not today

For some reason Ian, who I will remind you is the one that cruelly tried to strangle Wanderer to death a few chapters back, choking her for a good 1-2 minutes, lifting her off the ground, is being nicer to Wanderer than Jared is.  I said back in the chapter where she was attacked by Kyle and Ian that I understood that Meyer was using strangling because it was a way to make it seem like she was in a genuinely threatening situation but not have her die before someone would have a chance to save her, but that knowledge doesn’t make this feel any less inconsistent and wrong.

Ian tries to get Jared to be nicer since Wanderer is clearly terrified, but Jared punches him and goes back to asking about Seeker.  Who I’ll say right now, still doesn’t get a name in this chapter.  Because fuck making her easier to talk about.  She doesn’t need a name!  Names are for people!  She’s not a person, she’s a plot device.

I dropped my hands and stared into his pitiless eyes. It bothered me that someone else had suffered for my silence–even someone who had once tried to kill me. This was not how torture was supposed to work.

Wanderer, there is a difference between a questioning and torture.  Currently no one has tortured you.  No one has threatened to torture you.  In fact every mention of torture was your own imagination.  Every time you have thought they were going to torture you they fed you and gave you water and took you to the bathroom.  He didn’t punch Ian to make you talk, he punched Ian because he wanted Ian to piss off.

Jared’s expression wavered as he read the change in mine. “I don’t have to hurt you,” he said quietly, not as sure of himself. “But I do have to know the answer to my question.”

If I didn’t know the inconsistencies were because Meyer is a shitty writer, moments like this would make me wonder if Jared’s kind of horrible behaviour isn’t just Wanderer’s overly active imagination like how in earlier chapters Wanderer kept reading everything the Seeker did as being bitchy while it didn’t come off as bitchy at all if you took away her analysis of it.  But I know now that it’s just that Meyer sucks as a writer, and her characters are just whatever she wants them to be in the scene they’re in and for the last few chapters she’s needed Jared to be a dick so you would pity Wanderer.  And now she needs him to come off as still being slightly human because he’s still the love interest and we can’t have the reader hate him!  He has to come off conflicted!

I imagine this was something the actors in the movie adaptation had to ask a lot...

I imagine this was something the actors in the movie adaptation had to ask a lot…

This book is emotionally manipulative writing for dummies.

Was I truly a coward? I would rather have believed that I was–that my fear of pain was stronger than anything else. The real reason I opened my mouth and spoke was so much more pathetic.

I wanted to please him, this human who hated me so fiercely.

Having said what I just said I’m not entirely certain the purpose for phrasing this the way she does.  It sounds, to me, like we’re supposed to be disgusted by this.  Like it would be better if she was a coward than a suck up.  But why?  This seems to imply, to me, that we’re supposed to hope something bad happens to Jared and she gets with someone who doesn’t treat her like shit.  Is it supposed to set up that she’s better than him?  When she herself sees it as a weakness?  Maybe it’s supposed to set up that Jared will finally start to soften to her as she keeps being a ‘good’ person despite him being a dick to her.  Now if only she would stop being a bitch and actually start being a good person instead…

Please

As I read, the level of description Ian gets seems to be evidence he’s a secondary love interest.  The only characters that have gotten described in the same level of detail have been Jared and Jamie.  And she’s focusing on his eyes.  Personally I find eyes kind of boring…  There are so many more interesting body parts to focus on.  Get your minds out of the gutter, that’s not what I meant.  But it is what I wanted you to think.  That’s the subtlety of Meyer’s emotional manipulation.  Subtle as a brick to the face.

Ian is being nice to her, concerned for her emotional well-being, and has ‘vivid blue eyes’ and ‘pale lips’.  Because there always needs to be a second love interest.  I don’t care!  Parasites invaded the planet and body snatched 99% of the population.  The humans are struggling for survival in a cave system in the middle of the desert and we’re focusing on the bitchy alien and her love… square!  There are so many more interesting stories in this universe… Follow what happened to Jared after Melanie disappeared.  Follow Kathy and her husband as they struggle to survive in the beginning of the invasion.  Follow Jeb as he finds and builds their shelter and how he found out there was an invasion and how he dealt with it.  Follow Sharon and her mother as they struggle in Chicago.  Do a prequel to this book following Melanie and Jamie!  ANYTHING other than the story she chose to tell using the obnoxious character she chose to write!

She explains that she ran away from Seeker because she didn’t like her.  The guys are as confused by this as I was and ask questions about it and she’s as clear on the answer to them as she is during the scenes she has with Seeker.  Meaning Wanderer calls her annoying.  But if being annoying is all it takes for her to hate someone she sure as hell isn’t loving and patient and accepting.  But we already knew that since she judges comforters and parasites that need them as weak and pathetic, and views Jeb with suspicion based on no evidence whatsoever other than her prejudice.  She needs to just accept that she hates everyone and move on.

No one in the world I don't hate

They start asking about what she did and did not tell the Seeker and she reveals that she couldn’t access all the memories, and didn’t learn about a lot of Melanie’s secrets or what the lines were until after she decided she hated Seeker and wasn’t going to tell her anything.  Jared asks why she didn’t tell and she clams up, not wanting to admit that she’d fallen in love with Melanie’s memories.  I won’t say she fell in love with Jared because she didn’t.  She fell in love with Melanie’s nostalgic visions of Jared.  Big difference.  But not relevant as Jared just moves on to the next question.

Jared asks if not being able to access all the memories of the host is normal.  She lies and tells him that it was because Melanie’s brain was damaged in the fall.  Apparently she’s a shit liar.  Jared wants to know why Seeker won’t give up looking for her which is when Wanderer calls her annoying and says she’s not normal.  When he asks if Wanderer is normal, she looks at him implying that that was a stupid question, then curls into a seated fetal position and clams up.

Jared and Ian go back and forth for an entire page talking about whether or not she was lying.  Jared says she is, Ian says she isn’t, except the one time when she actually did.  The discussion bores me.

Bored Now

“I felt guilty –guilty as hell–watching her flinch away from us. Seeing the black marks on her neck.”

You fucking should you prick.  You chose one of the slowest, most painful ways to kill her!  You have every reason to feel guilty!

Ian leaves and Jared mumbles to himself about how ridiculous Ian is.  Wanderer goes to sleep and there’s a section break.  If this was a normal book written by a normal writer, this chapter would be the conversation at the end of the last chapter and it would end here.  It’s like the natural chapter points were split in half and glued to each other.

After the section break, she wakes up to Jared brooding.  Of course she wakes up just in time for Jeb to show up to talk to Jared.  She didn’t wake up because he was there, she woke up, noticed Jared, then heard Jeb coming.  She’s that good.

Anyway Jeb wants to talk to Jared about not Wanderer.  Except it’s totally about Wanderer, he just wants to manipulate Jared into pissing off for a bit.  And Jared is too dumb to catch on.  I seem to recall Melanie saying he was smart…

Jeb tells him that they need a ‘comprehensive’ supply run because they’re running low.  Jared suggests Kyle, Jeb ‘agrees’, but gets comfy against the wall.  He’s not even being subtle that he’s there to get Jared to do it.  I suppose I could defend Jared and say he probably does know what Jeb is doing, he’s just trying to fight it, but since he’s still being an ass I don’t feel like being kind in my assessment.

The gloves are off

The gloves are off

Jared caves and says Kyle is too much of a hot head to do it.  Jeb suggests Ian and Jared says he thinks too much and is likely to get his ass caught.  Brandt apparently gets panicky after ‘a few weeks in’ which leaves me wondering where the hell they’re getting their supplies.  I drove across Canada this time last year, only took 6 days.  Even if they aren’t hunting for supplies close to home to avoid suspicion they should still be able to get stuff a day or two’s drive away and be back in under a week.  Get supplies, cover their tracks, get back.  So what the hell are they doing that takes weeks?

Despite that there seems to be about 40-50 people living there, apparently they’ve only got 4 guys they would even consider sending out for supplies and Jared is the only competent one among them.  How the fuck did they survive!?  More examples of Meyer’s shitty writing.  Of course only the people we’ve met are competent!  Couldn’t even just toss out a random name we haven’t heard yet?  There’s no slow and steady Steve?  Rough and restless Ralph?  Poised and prepared Peter?  Nope, just Kyle, Ian and the cannon fodder.

Jared caves and Wandanie makes me want to punch them in their shared face again.

“You’re the best,” Jeb agreed. “You changed our lives when you showed up here.”

Melanie and I nodded to ourselves; this didn’t surprise either of us.

Jared is magic. Jamie and I were perfectly safe while Jared’s instincts guided us; we never came close to getting caught. If it had been Jared in Chicago, I’m sure he would have made it out fine.

There is so much wrong with this…  How DID they survive before Jared got there if NO ONE else can be trusted to get supplies?!  ‘Jared is magic’ comes off as less love than hero worship.  It’s creepy.  If you’re so sure things would have been fine if you took Jared with you WHY DIDN’T YOU TAKE JARED WITH YOU?!  You STILL haven’t given an answer to that that actually justifies it!

It makes no sense!

It makes no sense!

Jared jerked his shoulder toward me. “What about… ?”

“I’ll keep an eye on her when I can. And I’ll expect you to take Kyle with you. That oughta help.”

“That won’t be enough–Kyle gone and you keeping an eye on her when you can. She… it won’t last long.”

See?  He cares when Meyer wants him to care.  He doesn’t want her to die, because, reasons, but he hates her and wants her to suffer.  But her dying would be sad.

It seems that Wanderer can see into the hallway when it’s convenient too.  Most of the time it’s so dark she can’t see anything at all.  In fact a lot of the time she can only see Jared at all if he’s within a foot of the entrance.  But throughout this chapter and the last one she can see them in varying degrees of detail down the hall.  Right now she can see him well enough to notice his breathing and she sees everything that Jeb does, but they’re at the end of the hallway.

If you’re going to write a book in the first person perspective you can’t have you character wake up just in time to get the exposition dialogue and you can’t describe things that they have no way of seeing!  If you want to be able to write like that have a semi-omnipotent third person narration.  Focus on Wandanie, but give yourself the freedom to describe the things around her without her having to see them.  The narrator doesn’t get to know everything that’s going on just because you want the reader to.

Jared resigns himself to the idea that Wanderer will die while he’s away and he seems to be the right level of relieved and melancholy for realism, wrong for his characterization thus far.

I knew the human exaggeration for sorrow–a broken heart. Melanie remembered speaking the phrase herself. But I’d always thought of it as a hyperbole, a traditional description for something that had no real physiological link, like a green thumb. So I wasn’t expecting the pain in my chest. The nausea, yes, the swelling in my throat, yes, and, yes, the tears burning in my eyes. But what was the ripping sensation just under my rib cage? It made no logical sense.

The moment his heart breaks

Why do you keep talking about things you know nothing about!  Stop!  Please!

The term ‘a broken heart’ refers to actual pain.  It is by no means hyperbole and it does have a physiological link!  Loneliness lights up the same sections of your brain as physical pain.  Sadness and depression have a direct link to stress hormones, immune responses, healing abilities, even intelligence.  Basically, not being in a happy relationship of some kind can actually kill you.  Losing a loved one, through a death, a break up or a forced split, can, and has, caused so much negative physical affects that it can be considered the cause of death.  So just shut up about things you know nothing about!

And it wasn’t just ripping, but twisting and pulling in different directions. Because Melanie’s heart broke, too, and it was a separate sensation, as if we’d grown another organ to compensate for our twin awarenesses. A double heart for a double mind. Twice the pain.

go fuck yourself

First of all, there is no reason at all for Wanderer to love him outside Melanie’s nostalgic memories of him.  He hasn’t acted anything like he did in her memories and he has given Wanderer no reason to fall for him.  She fell for the memory of him.  So she’s not losing anything.  Second of all, IT’S MELANIE’S HEART!  WHY DO I HAVE TO KEEP SAYING THIS?!  I wish she would stop talking about Melanie’s body as though it belongs to her and all of the sensations it feels are hers, not Melanie’s.  Melanie’s body is reacting to MELANIE’S emotional response.  Wanderer’s just getting the side effects of it.  So she can fuck off and stop pretending that Melanie is the parasite that she has to endure.

After Jared is out of earshot Wanderer breaks down and cries and the chapter ends.  Yay, it’s over!  This chapter fucking sucked.  But at least it was a little more engaging than the last chapter.  Seems Jared will be gone for a bit and Jeb will be around for a while, but that makes me a little nervous.  I liked Jared at first too, then he hung around long enough for him to start to suck and I’m worried that will happen with Jeb too.

Hopefully the next chapter will suck less.  But I already know it doesn’t, so, fuck…

Till next time!

The Host Review: Assigned (Ch 16)

WARNING: I get into some fairly graphic discussions of violence in this post so if you’re bothered by that, skip down.  I’ll put in another bolded indicator of when I’m done talking about the fight scene where I’ll give a quick summation of what you missed, minus the violence.  Trust me, if you’re even a little tempted to heed the warning, you’re not missing anything good, so just skip on ahead.

We’re officially beyond the quarter-way point!

Applause Sign

I was starting to think that would never come.  Only… 3 quarters of the book remains…  Yay.

Begrudged applause

The ledge of the rock exit was worn down, but it scraped my palms and shins as I scrambled through it.

‘Rock exit’.  Does she mean the alcove entryway?  The bubble’s door?  The hallway?  ‘Rock exit’ makes it sound like there’s a boulder door.

I had to get in that dig, sorry.  The opening of the chapter is where the last one left off and that is the opening line.  It’s not a very well worded statement.  She’s saying the hallway is worn down, but it cut her up anyway, only leaving out any description of any jagged areas makes it sound like she’s cutting herself on smooth rock.  Apparently Melanie was one of those kids who couldn’t even be trusted with safety scissors.

I looked for only one thing–where Jared was, so that I could put myself between him and his attackers.

Awkward wording is awkward.  ‘I didn’t care about anything but where Jared was’ would have been a less awkward way to word that.  I suspect I’ll have a lot of complaints of awkward wording in this chapter.

They all stood frozen in place, staring at me. Jared had his back to the wall, his hands balled into fists and held low.

Bad form!  When you’re preparing for a fist fight, keep your hands high and your head low.  Your fisted hands should be level with ears.  Especially if your back is to the wall because your options for dodging are limited so you want to be able to block, plus you can get a stronger swing from a raised fist than one down by your stomach.  The only time your hands should be low is if you’re planning for an upper cut, but those really aren’t practical in no rules fighting.  Protect, evade, power.  Limit exerted energy and limit the risk of blows to the head and you’re much more likely to come out on top.  Also, if I were Kyle or Ian in this scenario, I would try and take advantage of the distraction and kill Wandanie now that she’s presented herself as an easy target, but that’s just me.

See where the guy in red is holding his left hand?  When not striking the right should be in a similar position.  Most non-professionals tend to slack and keep their hands a little lower, but still raised.

See where the guy in red is holding his left hand? When not striking the right should be in a similar position. Most non-professionals tend to slack and keep their hands a little lower, but still raised.

It does go on, implying Jared just punched Kyle in the stomach (told you it wasn’t Jared who got hurt) which I assume is Meyers excuse for Jared having his hands low, but any boxer will tell you as soon as you pull back from the blow, you bring your hand immediately back to your head.  If you’re aiming for the stomach, you lower your entire body, not just your hand.  You get a lot more strength, you anchor your center of gravity better making your blow a lot more solid, plus you continue to have the ability to block if there’s a retaliatory hit.

This isn’t really a criticism of the book as it’s entirely probable that Jared was never formally trained in boxing, I just wanted to talk about it.  It’s a fight scene and I have varying levels of training in multiple types including ‘just fuck their shit up’, and I work with a lot of women who prefer shopping and jazzercise over boxing and Tai Kwan Do (not being sexist, it’s actually come up) and men whose main experience with fighting is watching WWE (which I do enjoy on occasion, but it sure as hell isn’t real fighting), so I don’t get to talk about it much.

That part of the fight scene is literally over before we get anything but this tiny little glimpse though, so let’s move on to things actually happening.

Wandanie steps between Jared and Kyle, defending Jared, from the guy Jared just punched hard enough to make him double over.  Clearly Jared is the one in need here!  Though I suppose if he doesn’t know how to fight his getting in a good stiff shot might have been a fluke and he’d get over powered by the two other guys (apparently there’s a third, unnamed guy) pretty quick so, reasonable enough.  Plus Wandanie has no reason to give a shit about what happens to the three musketeers, but that’s a hypocrisy I’ll come back to later.

Kyle was the first to react. I was less than a foot from him, and his primary instinct was to shove me away. His hand struck my shoulder and heaved me toward the floor.

I call bullshit.  There’s no description between Kyle being hunched over and Kyle shoving her.  Nothing to indicate he was getting back to a full upright position.  He was doubled over clutching his stomach literally the paragraph before this, so assuming he didn’t get back up and he was the first to get back to his senses, and being that closer to her, he would be shoving her in the stomach, not the shoulders.  Not unless there’s a massive height disparity between them.

Before I could fall, something caught my wrist and yanked me back to my feet.

More bullshit.  From the position it implies they’re in and how close they would have to be, well, first of all grabbing her wrist and yanking while she’s headed in the opposite trajectory would probably pop her shoulder out of place and/or break her wrist.  Secondly, is no one else reacting at all?  Kyle is right there, only a foot in front of her, he’s already struck her, dipshits 2 and 3 are close enough that they should have been out of shock by now.  All 3 of them are just watching as Jared catches her, sets her back on her feet, and then this is followed by uninterrupted Jared acting like she has cooties for a few seconds?  They’re just sitting there watching?  No attempts to kill her?  Punch her?  Use the distraction against Jared?  Nothing?  How the fuck are these the people that survived the invasion?!

Apparently just sitting there and watching is exactly what they do.  Jared has enough time to have his cooties reaction, tell her to get back to her bubble cave, turn her around and shove her back, without any of the 3 dipshits doing anything.  No yelling, no fighting, no nothing.  They just watch.  What. The. Fuck.

Make-plot-happen

A small lamp–powered by what, I couldn’t guess–lit the hallway dimly from the ground.

Apparently after this ordeal she stops to notice what everything looks like, because of course she does.  Everyone would notice the décor in this situation right?!  As for what the lamp is powered by, let’s see; batteries that are solar charged?  They are in a desert.  Get a couple solar panels and you’d have enough energy year round to keep the place lit up.  Since Jeb was a survivalist long before the invasion I would be pretty surprised if he didn’t have any.

It cast strange shadows on the features of the men, turning them into scowling monster faces.

That would be your hyperactive imagination reacting to your bigotry towards the human species.  You believe humans are monsters, so you see them as such.  Because you’re racist.  But, as with before, we’ll come back to that.

Wanderer ignores Jared’s demands, tells them to leave Jared alone since she’s the one they want, and they stare some more.  For a small angry mob they don’t seem terribly angry or mobbish.  Ian says she’s a ‘tricky bugger’ which I read with a British accent because I have only ever heard that phrase in an English accent.  Jared tells her once more to go back to her hole in the ground.

I turned halfway, not wanting Kyle out of my sight. “It’s not your duty to protect me at your own expense.”

Why don’t you want Kyle out of your sight?  You’ve offered yourself up to him.  Did you think doing that wouldn’t result in you getting hurt?  Was that not part of your plan?  Not to mention the fact that since he’s had more opportunities than I can count to kill you already and all he’s done is shove you when you were in his personal space (less than a foot away you can feel someone else’s breath.  In the best case scenario that would be uncomfortable, and this was far from worst case) are you really that worried that’s going to change now?

The way she phrases that is incredibly stupid as well.  But that seems to be par for the course.  Not to mention that since it’s not his duty to protect her at all she could have just left off the awkward sounding ‘at your own expense’ and the sentence wouldn’t have lost a thing.

Jared grimaced, one hand rising to push me back toward the cell again.

I skipped out of the way; the motion moved me toward the ones who wanted to kill me.

Awkward

Everything about this chapter so far is a combination of awkward and wrong.  This is the third time in this chapter that someone has tried to shove her with only one hand.  How much smaller than them is she?!  Most of the time when you shove someone you do it with two hands.  Not necessarily because you aren’t strong enough, but because it’s easier to control the force and momentum of the shove that way, and it’s a lot more natural a motion.  And why would she phrase it this way?  I do not understand why Meyer writes these sentences so awkwardly.  Do people really not find this jarring to read?  I find it hurts the flow when the sentence structure seems forced and it slows me down.  Am I alone in that?

Ian grabbed my arms and pinned them behind me. I struggled instinctively, but he was very strong. He bent my joints too far back and I gasped.

Is… is he hugging her?  She was facing him, and this is the only sentence describing this.  He didn’t spin her around, he didn’t grab one hand, tug her towards him and grasp the other.  The only way this makes sense is if he grabbed both of her hands with both of his, pulled her towards him, and was essentially holding her in a bear hug.  But he couldn’t bend her joints too far back in that position, the only way he could do that is if her back was facing him…  This doesn’t work.

Meyer spends entire pages describing in excruciatingly monotonous detail every single rock she passes, but she skips important information in actual actions taken.  She does the same with emotional development.  The shape of the bushes outside her house is more important than any of the characters motivations.

Talking about Wanderer’s house reminds me.  Why did she move from Chicago if the Seeker wanted information from Melanie?  Staying in the area could have triggered memories.  But she had to be near Arizona for plot convenience and Meyer couldn’t even be bothered with coming up with a legitimate reason.  This book sucks.

Kyle caught him and spun him around into a wrestling hold, forcing his neck forward.

How does she know it’s a wrestling hold?  Why do we care that it’s a wrestling hold?  If he knows wrestling holds, that implies he does know how to fight, which suggests that in the real world this fight would have been over about 5 seconds after Jared forgot to hold his fists up while he fought.  If you’re holding your hands up, the advantage is you can still protect your core.  If they aim for your stomach you bend at the elbow and out, knocking away their blow.  If your fists are low, it’s harder to block the momentum of incoming blows aimed at your stomach and impossible to protect your head fast enough.  If Kyle knows how to wrestle he would have that much of a basic knowledge.  Wrestlers keep their body low and their hands poised for similar reason.  Take a look at any boxing or real wrestling, when not striking, the elbows are always bent, and generally closer to the head.

I genuinely didn’t mean to go back to the lowered fists thing, but seriously, it indicates he doesn’t know how to fight, and this indicates Kyle does.  This scene is only drawn out because if anyone was acting the way normal people actually would Jared and Wandanie would both be dead.

Jared’s free elbow rammed into Kyle’s stomach. Kyle gasped and lost his grip.

Hmm… It’s possible I’m thinking of the wrong hold, but if this hold is what I think it is, jabbing Kyle in the stomach wouldn’t cause him to lose his grip because his hands aren’t what’s holding Jared’s head.  I’m trying really hard to think of a hold that would fit the description where jabbing Kyle in the stomach wouldn’t come with the risk of Kyle breaking Jared’s neck and I’m failing miserably.  I know that people don’t always react the way they want to in a fight, but, that’s exactly why he’d be more likely to snap his neck than let go.  In a fight with rules, where you’re focused on winning, but not killing the other person, you’re a lot more conscious about making sure you do everything right.  In this scenario, any hold where the neck is thrust forward, the odds of breaking it are high enough without the extra force of him doubling over again from being elbowed in a forming bruise.

I’m not saying this description is impossible, it could work I suppose, maybe I’m just not thinking of the right hold.  But the wording is so unclear that it’s difficult for me to ignore and just assume I’m picturing it wrong.  I imagine Meyer just has some imagery in mind that seemed impressive to her and at no point did she ever actually consider the logistics.

Jared spins around and breaks Kyle’s nose.  People really don’t realize how dangerous that is.  If you hit it wrong, it’s scarily easy to send a chunk of cartilage right up into the brain.  If you ever aim for someone’s nose, make sure the motion you’re using is downward, not upward, unless you want to be arrested for murder.  But honestly breaking the nose is not the best thing to do.  Everyone ends up covered in a shit ton of blood but unless it kills him, it’s not really going to stop the fight at all.  It is, however, going to make the fight more dangerous with everyone covered in slippery blood.

I honestly never thought I would get to talk so much about violence in this book.

“Finish it, Ian!” Kyle yelled. He put his head down and hurtled into Jared, throwing him into the other man.

He headbutted him into who?  Ian?  Or the unnamed guy?  If he tossed Jared to the unnamed guy, why is he telling Ian to finish it?  Is he telling Ian to kill Wanderer?  That’s really unclear.  But this at least does back up what I said about how breaking someone’s nose doesn’t help, so kudos for getting something right Meyer.

Here is my kudos dance.

Here is my kudos dance.

“No!” Jared and I cried at the same moment.

No, really, what the hell was Wanderer expecting to happen when she said ‘I’m the one you’re after, not him.’?  Why is she acting surprised and horrified to find out that the people who came to kill her intend to kill her after she gave herself up to them?  Also; that third guy seems useless as tits on a bull.  Literally the only thing he has done so far is hold Jared’s arm and that lasted half a paragraph.  Other than that the only other mention of him at all was that he was there.  This scene could have easily been written without him and nothing would be lost.  So chances are he’s a throw away character who’s just there because Meyer wanted the odds to seem more stacked against Jared.  Because it has to be that he’s out numbered, not that he doesn’t know how to fight.  Except he also doesn’t know how to fight, Meyer just thinks he does because she wrote all her characters to behave like morons.

Ian dropped my arms, and his hands wrapped around my throat, choking off my air. I clawed at his hands with my useless, stubby nails. He gripped me tighter, dragging my feet off the floor.

Perfect example of the moronic behaviour.  If you want to kill someone quickly, don’t try and strangle them.  It takes 2 minutes of oxygen deprivation to knock someone out, and 5 minutes to kill them.  He could snap her neck and she’d be dead in seconds.  Did they not bring any weapons?  Kyle had a machete a few chapters back.  No gun, knife, baseball bat, nothing?  What was their plan?  To beat the girl to death?  If that was the plan I kind of agree with Wanderer picturing them as monsters because that’s a pretty heartless way to kill someone who isn’t directly attacking you or a loved one.

The strength with which he is described as squeezing her neck, combined with the implied passage of time, she’s said to still be clawing at his hands fairly animatedly before he lets go but she should be nearing passing out.  She shouldn’t still have the strength she does.  She’d be gasping, her body would be spasming, her limbs would start to tingle and ‘fall asleep’ and she’d have lost the ability to hold her arms up to claw at him.  Strangulation is an incredibly slow, painful, and cruel way to kill someone.  Even in this post-apocalyptic scenario I have a hard time believing that these people could do this to someone who was not a direct threat to them.  At no point since they arrived at the bubble cave have they seemed to be in an irrational rage that would justify this choice when there is a much easier, faster way to do it.

END OF VIOLENCE DISCUSSION:  You missed Kyle, Ian and an unnamed guy (who is named right at the point I chose to cut this as being Brandt.) getting their asses whooped by Jared, Wandanie coming to Jared’s defense despite that he’s winning, and nearly getting herself and Jared killed, as the only time Jared gets hurt at all during the fight scene is after he’s distracted by Wandanie.

Jeb readies his shot gun and tells the attackers to back off.  They don’t.  Jared takes advantage of the fact that they stop moving though at least, and throws a punch.  Wanderer thinks he’s aiming at her, but he hits the guy holding her instead and then as she’s crumpled on the ground catching her breath, Jared walks away from her, which as far as I can gather means he’s still leaving her in a position they could easily kill her.  But since I assume they’re not dumb enough to keep up this fight (though their behaviour so far sure as hell doesn’t back that up) Jeb reminds them they’re guests in his home and he told them not to touch her.

Jeb refers to Wandanie as his guest and says he doesn’t want any of his guests killing each other.  The brothers argue, and Meyer feels we need a reminder of how gruesome the results of violence are.  But considering the worst thing that happened to any of them is a broken nose it’s not that gruesome a sight.  It’s just blood.  She also makes sure to say his anger is controlled.  Which means my assessment of the unnecessary cruelty of their actions at the end of the past scene really is kind of horrific and I have to begrudgingly admit Wanderer has a point in this particular case.

Iron Man Did His Best

Kyle says Jeb is keeping Wanderer as a pet which causes her to think about whether or not Jeb wants her dead.  She seems shocked at the thought that Jeb doesn’t want her dead, but considering so far all he’s done has been help her, this really makes her come off as a bitch.  Again.  Because that’s such out of character behaviour for her.

Jeb says what happens to her isn’t up to him, so he doesn’t have the answers to his actually pretty justifiable questions.  Kyle had said that they had a right to know what they were going to do with her because they had to be able to make up their minds as to whether or not this place was still safe.

The third guy, Brandt, was already named out loud in this chapter, but Wanderer still thinks of him as just ‘the one I didn’t know’.  If this were a science fiction tv show or movie he would be the next to die.

I'm not saying he's a red shirt, but he's a red shirt.

I’m not saying he’s a red shirt, but he’s a red shirt.

Apparently the cave people had a vote and the 3 amigo’s were appointed to deal out the result.  Jeb says it wasn’t up for a vote either.  As nice as Jeb is being here, I have to say as a leader of people he kind of sucks.  Kindness without explaining how you’re going to stop it from affecting the greater good tends to lead to revolt/mutiny.  He should have talked to them and at least explained to them why he wasn’t killing her or at least locking her up.  Assure them that they’re still safe and he will put the safety of the colony ahead of this one non-person, as all the people will see is that unlike in the past when he’s killed the aliens, he’s keeping this one, who happens to be his niece, alive and unjailed.  They have a right to doubt his decision and worry for their continued safety.

Jeb’s eyes finally flickered–to another face and then back to Kyle. “It’s Jared’s decision.”

Everyone, me included, shifted their eyes to stare at Jared.

He gaped at Jeb, just as astonished as the rest, and then his teeth ground together with an audible sound. He threw a glare of pure hate in my direction.

“Jared?” Kyle asked, facing Jeb again. “That makes no sense!” He was not in control of himself now, almost spluttering in rage. “He’s more biased than anyone else! Why? How can he be rational about this?”

Anyone else?  Really?  You think Jamie would be more rational than Jared?  Does everyone just forget that the now teenaged kid who Melanie basically raised is still alive and they’re talking about the fate of his adoptive mother without getting his input at all?  He’s not still 10 you know book!  He’s a teenager now!  He’s grown up with this reality.  He at least has a right to have his opinion considered if everyone else in the colony does.

I’ve heard that Twilight is sexist, but this particular passage implies that Melanie is Jared’s.  Her brother/son isn’t even as important as her boyfriend/husband (basically).  She has no right to even speak on her own behalf.  I know they think she’s a lying alien, but if Jeb is trying to be fair here, and if they’re democratic enough to hold a vote, she doesn’t at least get to speak?  Perhaps I’m reading too much into this.  I’m biased by all the horror stories I’ve heard about how bad Twilight is, so perhaps I’m looking for it…

Jared doesn’t seem to want this responsibility, and since he wasn’t the one who found her, he didn’t bring her back, he didn’t ask for Jeb to allow her to stay and he actually suggested they kill her, I’m really not getting why she’s Jared’s responsibility.  Again, it’s really hard for me to not see this as Jeb saying she belongs to the guy she’s fucking.  It would make more sense to me if it was Jamie because at least he’s her closest living relative.  And he’s NOT a kid anymore.  I have to keep saying that.  Given the time frame of all this he’s in his mid-teens.

Jeb tries to get Kyle, and me, to understand his thought process by asking how Kyle would feel if it was ‘Jodi’ who we are left to assume was his wife/girlfriend.  Jeb asks if Kyle would want her fate decided by a vote he wasn’t involved in.  Kyle bites back that Jodi is dead.

“Well, if her body wandered in here, it would still be up to you. Would you want it any other way?”

Like I’ve said three times now, this thought process makes sense to me. If we ignore the fact that Jamie exists and she’s being kept in an unprotected alcove.  I do agree that the loved ones of the infected should have more of a say than the majority, as long as they can be handled in a way that makes sure they’re not risking the others.  Honestly if Jeb is this non-chalant about safety I’m left wondering how he managed to survive this long…

“If, unlikely as it may be, somehow this ever happens again, whoever the body belongs to makes the call.”

Well that makes it easy, the body belongs to Melanie and she doesn’t want to die.  Case closed!  Yeah, I wasn’t reading too much into it, this shit is pretty awful.

Wanderer thinks about all of Jeb’s actions so far.  She’s incredibly sceptical of him, but she concedes that he’s one of two people here that don’t want her dead.  She keeps implying she’s still afraid of him though, but she makes no indication of being afraid of Jared despite that her fate is now in his hands and she says out right that she knows he could decide to kill her any second.  But Jeb is the one she’s afraid of.  Because logic.

Fuck logic

However, as much as I wanted to believe that Jeb was bluffing, while I watched the three men disappear into the darkness away from me, it was obvious there was no way he could be. Under the front he presented, Jeb must have been just as deadly and cruel as the rest of them. If he hadn’t used that gun in the past–used it to kill, not just to threaten–no one would have obeyed him this way.

Context matters.  The Llama already talked about this specific section at length better than I could and this review is going to be by far my longest one yet so I’ll send you to hers and move on.

Melanie finally appears for the first time this chapter, failing miserably at defending Jeb’s actions that they don’t even know he’s actually taken, and then Wanderer tells her to shut up.  She doesn’t have time for your shit Melanie!

Jared tries to talk Jeb out of leaving the decision to him, because he knows she’s dead but he can’t bring himself to kill her.  The scene is actually fairly well written and emotional, but then Meyer ruins the moment by having Wanderer be a bitch to Melanie again.

Jeb is sympathetic, tells him he should try and think about something else for a while then, and that he’ll be there to help.  Jared asks what they’ll do in the meantime, the answer is apparently watch her round the clock for a couple of weeks until everyone stops freaking out over the fact that she’s there.  Jared points out how unrealistic that is, and in another actually human moment, Jeb admits he knows that, and that he hasn’t figured that part out yet.

Despite the sexist slip up earlier, Jeb and Jared are still my favourite characters so far now that Kathy’s part is done.  They’ve been the most realistic so far, the most human and relatable.  I’d guess that part of the decision to leave her in the hands of Jared is because he didn’t want to kill his niece either and that absolved him of responsibility.  He may genuinely feel that Jared has final say, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we found out part of it was his own connection to her.  And Jared is appropriately conflicted, angry, and frustrated.

Jeb starts talking to Wanderer like she’s a child.  I can actually understand this from two points of view.  One; that she’s an alien and he does genuinely look down on them, or two, that he remembers her as his little niece.  He remembers her as a child.  He hasn’t seen her in at least 6 years after all.  Probably closer to a decade, considering the last time he saw her her dad was still uninfected.  Not to mention the fact that she keeps staring at him and not giving much indication she understands him.  That doesn’t help.

Anyway, he assures Jared that she doesn’t need to be locked up because she’s not dumb enough to wander out knowing that everyone but the two of them wants her dead.  He clearly doesn’t know what she did on her journey to find them.

Jared says he won’t take responsibility for Wandanie and tells Jeb to kill her if he thinks that’s best, then he leaves.  Jeb tells her to get some sleep and after a half an hour of being curled in the fetal position she decides to listen to his advice.

She wakes up to food, which Meyer thankfully decides not to describe in detail for a change, but she does spend a paragraph describing the bad taste of the water.  Eventually she needs to pee and starts rocking back and forth, unwilling to speak up.  I assume she looks like a little kid doing the potty dance since Jeb picks up on it without her saying anything.  Though as if to debate my attempts to defend why he would talk down to her, he words it the same way you would a dog, asking if she needs ‘out’.  It’s almost like Meyer wants me to hate everyone.

hate-it-when-it-does-that

Wanderer continues to not say a single word to him, even when she has actual important things to bring up.  Jeb says that to get to the bathroom, they have to go right through the main hall and she thinks he should just bring her a bucket but says nothing.  As they get up to leave, she wonders if she’s supposed to bring the light, but says nothing.  As they wander the halls and she’s curious about everything, she doesn’t say a word.

“Easy,” he murmured, not turning. “They’re more afraid of you than you are of them.”

I doubted that. And even if there were any way that it could be true, fear turned into hatred and violence in the human heart.

Funny, I don’t recall hating or punching my last dentist…  In fact, despite being afraid of him, as I am all dentists, he was being very nice and trying very hard to help me feel relaxed.  I felt bad that I was afraid of him.  People don’t automatically hate the things they’re afraid of.  They hate you because you’re an avatar of the beings that have taken their loved ones, their society, their lives.  They don’t hate you because they’re afraid of you.  The two are not intrinsically connected.  Nor is violence always attached to hatred.  In fact most people just avoid the things they hate.  Not because they think they’ll punch it in the face, but because they hate it so they don’t want to be near it because it sucks.  They’re violent to you because you’re a threat and they wish to protect their loved ones.

It was fundamentally wrong for me to feel grateful to that hideous weapon in Jeb’s hands… but I did.

It would only be fundamentally wrong for you to feel grateful to the gun if he was using it to hurt others to protect you.  Its presence as a deterrent is not fundamentally wrong.  It’s presence in this scenario is nothing but a symbol of her being under Jeb’s protection.  It’s not hurting anyone.  Recognize the difference between protection and violence please Wanderer.  Just once.  Because I’m really fucking sick of you making it sound like the humans are the bad guys here.  Especially Jeb.

No one attacks them.  No one speaks up.  Wanderer spends a page and a half describing each individual’s specific glare at her, but they make it without incident.  Jeb describes how he found the place.  Apparently he fell through a hole and landed in it.  The caves are in an active volcano somehow.  He says what’s coming up is everyone’s favourite part and the chapter ends without telling you what, because every single chapter has to end with a fucking cliffhanger.

cliffhanger

In terms of reading this chapter it’s actually one of the best so far in the book.  There’s actually things happening, almost everything that’s said feels like it has an actual purpose for being in the book.  It does make these reviews harder though because there is so very much that I have a lot to say on but if I wrote about everything that I had something to say about this review could quite literally pass as a novella of its very own and I just do not have the time to write that much about one chapter.

The next chapter is no shorter though, so let’s see how that one goes! Till next time.