“Inserted“. Well, okay, that’s definitely a way to start a romance novel; skip right to the goods. Stephenie Meyer does not fuck around!
Oh, wait, none of this is about sex, it’s about inserting a soul into a human body. That’s far less exciting than I had expected, but probably also more interesting. Okay, so here we are with Fords Deep Waters…wait, Fords Deep Waters? Seriously? I don’t know why, but that name threw me so much that I had trouble keeping track of what was going on in the scene at first, and had to reread it a couple of times to get it clear. Fords’ assistant’s name is Darren, which is far more normal, but ‘Darren’ is apparently just the name of his human body, not his soul, so I guess Fords Deep Waters is the name of this guy’s soul. And he’s a Healer. This is probably going to seem incredibly racist, but it almost seems, at first glance, like this is some sort of stereotypical Native joke. I doubt that that’s the point of him being named that way, but I’m not really sure what the point is, so suffice it to say I wish he had a different name. I’ve got to say, though: His name, in combination with being a healer, reminds me of one of my World of Warcraft characters. She is a Shaman healer, who heals using water, and would probably be fairly well suited to a name like that. …Sorry, I’m done being a nerd.
Anyway, Fords is a Healer, as mentioned, and he’s inserting a soul into the body of a girl who apparently met a horrible ‘end’ (but is not dead?), which he seems to know just a little too much about (“…accident.”). Why is he doing this? Apparently there’s something important she has to do, “for the greater good” (though Fords doesn’t seem to think it’s actually the greater good for some reason), and she needs a human body to do it in. I can’t say I really understand that, since the soul he’s inserting has apparently been in a bunch of other bodies before, all so different that I can’t really see a defined purpose to any of them. Maybe that will be explained later in the book, but even if it is, I don’t really understand why all of the other host bodies this soul has been in apparently span 7 different planets – including ‘the Origin’; ooooh, that must be something we care about for some reason (other than the fact that it reminds me of Guild Wars, of course) – yet all are species found on earth. That seems a little strange, given that even our current knowledge of the universe is such that it would be very hard to believe that any other planet has the exact same life as us, nonetheless *all* the planets…and especially that despite being alien civilizations, presumably with their own languages and naming constructs, they would all somehow give these creatures the same names that we give them here on earth. Do they just use our names because they’re in human bodies?
I guess “A See Weed” throws off that idea; I have no idea what the hell that is. I mean, at first glance I assumed it was supposed to be ‘seaweed’ (though why they’d bother going through the process of inserting a soul into seaweed is beyond me), but it’s not only spelled wrong and capitalized, there is also an “a” before it. “A See Weed”. I just…don’t even know. If it’s any type of weed at all, by our definition, why would it need a soul? Was she somehow changing the world as a weed? Or as a flower, since she’s apparently been one of those too? I mean, she’s supposedly this exceptional, brave soul that does amazing things, but what could she possibly have done as a flower that was remarkable? Those things pretty much pop up, be pretty, and get killed by something. I don’t see why you’d bother going through the trouble to give them souls if they didn’t have them already.
Even aside from the flowers and ‘see weed’, I really, really want to know what purpose is served by doing this ‘body snatching’. These souls are portrayed as being good entities, but this seems like quite an involved process if you’re just gathering data or something, as even though these guys are alien healers, they still use traditional human medical techniques to perform insertions. So what happens when they aren’t in human form? Do they still insert the souls this way, or do they somehow change to a different technique when they don’t have the capacity to use human tools, methods, or…fingers? Or are the Healers always in human form, but other souls aren’t? Considering they use cryo tanks to transport their souls, they would have to always be in a human-like form, at least, to create and manipulate such devices…but if the Healers are always in human form, how did they get to be that way in the first place? Wouldn’t someone have had to insert the Healers themselves, the first time? And what could you possibly be doing that is GOOD that requires you to take over every human on earth?
What are these souls, in the first place, and where do they come from? Are they souls in the way that we generally define souls here on earth? Are souls created out of nowhere and named, and remain sentient beings as souls without bodies until they are inserted into a host? If so, as asked before, why do they need the host body in the first place? Is it just because they need ears to know their names, since apparently they can’t hear without human ears? Do they all remember their original soul names after insertion into a host, or do only Healers remember? Because if they can remember their names, wouldn’t they also retain memories of ‘past lives’? It sounds as if Darren and Fords have memories of previous insertions (though it also sounds as though Fords has been in his current body for some time), but how can this be so if souls are completely pure and innocent? In order for that to be true, a soul would need to remember absolutely nothing, or else it would be tainted, but Healers would have to remember something throughout all their lives, or they would never be experienced Healers, they would always be starting at square one (and taught by who? Souls who have never entered host bodies, or are still on their first body? Do Healers only ever get one host body, and it just happens to be human in this case?).
I mean, souls are described as being basically pure, innocent and everything good in the world, but are then corrupted by the host bodies to become anxious and irritable and all things bad, and it is mentioned that when the soul enters a host it will remember all of the host’s memories…so if the physical body of the host corrupts a soul because it contains the human experience (which is apparently corrupt), why would they want to use host bodies? Especially those they know have been through horrible ordeals? Does this imply that our bodies house everything that makes us, as humans, us, and that our souls hold nothing of us? That seems backwards. And did Fords just get lucky in getting a host body whose only flaws are that he sometimes gets anxious and irritated? That would have to be a very lucky human, I’d think; at least up until his ‘accident’.
Also, does the soul always have to be inserted into the brain of its host? If so, what happens when the host doesn’t have a brain (flowers, etc.)? And how does this work if the host isn’t dead first? I mean, it would also cause some issues if the host was dead, I would think, but if they’re not dead, wouldn’t they already have a soul? The girl whose body this is is described by Darren as ‘soulless’, so do souls only belong to aliens, and humans never have them unless the aliens insert them? Are they even aliens? If I am in a human body, and I have a soul, and I’m walking down the street and I meet someone who is in a human body but doesn’t have a soul, somehow…is that basically what’s going on here? Humans are just empty shells, void of souls, and therefore also void of love and all that…but from what I understand of this book, this girl is supposed to fight against the soul’s intrusion into her body because of the guy she loves. If souls are pure and innocent and all about love, wouldn’t that be their goal, instead of to keep someone away from love? It sounds like the ‘souls’ are more soulless, by both our real life definition and the book’s own definition, than the ‘wild’, ‘soulless’ humans are, if that’s the case.
How can it be argued that this body didn’t have a soul before, if it still retains love and passion and all those good things that apparently make a soul a soul? “Compassionate, patient, honest, virtuous, and full of love.” That’s the book’s definition of a soul, and yet is also somehow something the human girl could not have been before a soul was inserted into her, since she was soulless, despite that she is (and was before insertion) full of enough love that she’s going to fight off the ‘soul’ that’s invading her body for a guy. How is that not any or possibly even all of those things described? As mentioned, if she is still alive (as is assumed by the fact that he refers to her as ‘unconscious’, not dead), she would need to already have a soul to still feel the love that defines a soul…in which case, humans had souls in the first place and none of this is valid, because the souls aren’t the way they’re described in the book at all, they’re just evil entities, pushing out the original souls of humans to take their places, and humans were never ‘soulless’ in the first place.
So many questions…the name of this blog has already become relevant. I guess we’ll see what comes of chapter 1; maybe it will answer some of these. Honestly, though, I don’t have a whole lot of hope, because it seems like there are altogether too many loose ends here. When I compare all this, in my brain, to the general idea of what souls are and what happens with bodies when they die in our reality (at least as far as anyone has guessed), it just doesn’t quite add up. I can see some tie-ins, but…it just doesn’t work.
Annnyway, setting aside all the questions I have, back to the story: Fords is inserting a very beautifully described soul into this apparently once mangled, now healed female body, while being observed by students who are supposed to be learning to heal as well, and instead are mostly just annoying Fords with their noobishness, because he doesn’t think they should even need to see how this is done because it’s so simple (especially the cutting into the subject’s skull bit, I’d wager. We’re all natural pros at that). I’m not really sure about all this, because it’s mentioned that the students have never seen a ‘grown human’ before, meaning someone who is adult yet still ‘soulless’ (as they are all in ‘grown human’ bodies), implying that souls are generally inserted into the young, not adults. The writing suggests that the students have seen humans who aren’t ‘grown’ (which suggests that humans are born soulless and then have souls inserted, not that they are born with souls…but if a host body with a soul mates and has a child, will that one still be soulless?)…but then at the same time, he says that anyone could do this in an emergency. For one, what kind of emergency would call for that, and two, if this is usually done in the young, the students would NOT be familiar with it in an adult, and Fords should be able to understand exactly why they’re interested in it, because chances are he hasn’t done it much either. Or has he already done it to most of the humans on earth before the students showed up? If so, again, why?
Fords shows concern for the soul, feeling that it does not deserve all the hardship it’s going to endure by being in this new host body (so…the girl who died to give up her body for this cause deserved what happened to her, then? Oh wait, she’s an ‘insurgent’, because somehow the original owner of the body has less authority over her own body than these ‘souls’ do…), but inserts it anyway, watches it expertly manoeuvre itself into place, wishes it luck, and that is that. We learn that it’s apparently Fords’ “Calling” to be a Healer, but that that is not enough for him, because he’s a “true Healer”. I’m guessing that means he’s basically the purest of these pure souls, who wishes nothing bad on anybody ever…except, of course, if they are human, despite that the souls are all trying to invade human bodies for some reason.
I don’t know, I appreciate how this prologue was written, because despite that it seemed a bit pretentious at points (meaning that it read a little bit as though the author was thinking about what a good writer she was while she wrote it…though that may not make sense to anyone but me), and despite that I found the dialogue to be lacking, especially where the students were concerned, the description of the soul was extremely pretty…I’m just not sure this story is going anywhere I want to be. I feel like it’s going to be very contradictory and hypocritical as it goes, but I’m still hoping not. We shall see. Onwards and upwards!
Oh, and I apologize if any of these questions seem stupid or the answers obvious; every time I think about this I feel like I’ve answered some of my own questions but then created more, so I figure I’ve got to just leave it at this and stop thinking about it, so I can move on to the next chapter.
(See Mike’s take on this prologue at http://emptystress.wordpress.com!)