Well, at the end of chapter 10 I didn’t think I could possibly hate Wanderer any more than I already did…but then there was chapter 11.  This really bodes well for the rest of the book, doesn’t it?

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Reading this chapter, I’m starting to feel like Meyer wants us to hate Wanderer.  Why else would she write her this way?  I can’t see how anyone, after reading this chapter, could have any sympathy for or a connection to Wanderer; she’s nothing more than a selfish, ignorant, egotistical bitch.  I’m honestly not sure what the point of this chapter was if it wasn’t to enforce that.

But why make us see her that way?  Maybe so we can see how skewed the views of the aliens are, since they think she’s so special and perfect and everything wonderful in the world?  Or is this actually Meyer’s idea of a relatable character?  Because if teens can actually relate to someone like this, please, shoot me now.  Not even kidding; just kill me.

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Let’s just dive on into the chapter though, shall we?  It’s gonna be a long trip, I’m guessing, with the length of this one, so we’d better get started.

So the chapter starts with…wait, what?  No, this can’t be happening…oh my god…Wanderer was WRONG about something?!  Holy shit! I could NEVER have seen that coming!  She’s so worldly and wise and spectacular; how could she EVER be wrong?!?! MY WORLD IS CRASHING DOWN!!!

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In all seriousness, of course she was fucking wrong.  I don’t even need to know what she was wrong about to have no doubt that she was wrong, because I’ve read the rest of the chapters up to this point, and that’s just the kind of person Wanderer is.  Wrong.  It is quite nice, though, to see her admitting that she was wrong; that’s a first! Character growth, maybe?! I won’t get my hopes up, but hey, it looks good for now.

Since the last chapter, Wanderer apparently decided to completely ignore Stryder’s advice and drive in the wrong direction for a while, resulting in them having to backtrack and running out of gas as a result.  Brilliant.  To add to that brilliance, when the car ran out of gas, Wanderer let it nosedive into a shallow gorge…because not having gas makes a car completely useless in the future, and they couldn’t possibly have, you know, gotten more gas when they finally sorted things with Jared and Jamie, and driven in Jared’s car back to the rental car so that they would have a backup vehicle if need be.  No, it makes more sense to just let the car roll into the gorge.  Realizing you’ve been an idiot once doesn’t stop you from being an idiot again, does it, Wanderer?

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So Wanderer sits in the car, wallowing in her own self-pity, until Stryder convinces her that they have to get going.  Wanderer packs the water bottles into the backpack she ‘bought’, as well as the granola bars, of course doing so very slowly.  She is so fucking smart she hasn’t yet figured out that she might want to hurry the hell up, because she’s wasting daylight and, inevitably, food/water, because the longer she’s dilly dallying around in the desert, the more supplies she’s going to have to go through to be able to keep going.

Stryder pushes her to move faster, understanding the gravity of the situation, and Wanderer complains about her sore back.  Meyer feels she has to point out that the sore back is a result of the way she slept, not the weight of the pack, which of course it fucking is, Meyer, she just put the pack on now! If her back was already hurting from it, she wouldn’t survive five steps!

Stryder tries to convince Wanderer to cover the car so no one will find them, which is AGAIN a smart suggestion, but Wanderer, who not long ago was all afraid someone would help them and they’d get caught, now WANTS to be found so she can ‘get home’.

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This woman never fucking thinks ANYTHING through, does she?! She JUST fucked up by not listening to Stryder!  Stryder questions Wanderer on where ‘home’ would be, and instead of actually thinking about that and taking it as a valid point, or learning fucking anything from the last time Stryder was right and Wanderer fucked everything up, Wanderer ignores her again and just walks away from the car.

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Her reasoning for doing so is just MORE self-pity, and she refers to what she’d tell a ‘rescuer’, if one found her, as being an ‘honest’ explanation (that she was lost and lost control of her mind and blah blah blah), but it’s completely fucking not, and she knows that!  It’s a flat out LIE, that’s proven by the fact that instead of trying to head back, she IS continuing on with the plan, so how the hell can she consider it an honest explanation?  She’s not lost, she hasn’t lost her way or her control, and she DAMN WELL KNOWS IT!!  She and Stryder even talked about that! God, if she was a real person, I’d have stabbed her by now.

There’s another wonderfully pointless paragraph here about the way that Wanderer is walking, where Meyer refers to it as both her ‘natural rhythm’ and ‘not her walk at all’, which is contradictory and stupid.  Add to that that she’s apparently moving at a speed that surprises her until she gets used to it, despite that she’s the one controlling her body and she’d be walking off of MUSCLE MEMORY ANYWAY, and you have Meyer trying to show you that Stryder has control while telling you that Wanderer does, and there’s really no reason for that at all, since it begins and ends there.

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Wanderer starts talking out loud again at this point, and then for the rest of the chapter she seems to switch back and forth between speaking out loud and thinking her communication to Stryder, and I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why Meyer did that.  There’s no benefit to her speaking certain lines out loud and not others, and at one point in this chapter it would actually have been more dangerous for her to say it out loud than to think it, so it just does not add up.  All I can really attribute it to is inconsistent writing and either a terrible editor or a complete lack of editing.  Either way, it annoys me.

Wanderer and Stryder discuss what would have happened if Wanderer hadn’t come that way (meaning driving in the direction of the desert instead of flying or whatever else), which is another completely pointless discussion, and they “flinch together at the thought” twice during this conversation, and that makes my skin crawl, because it’s so fucking stupid.  Stryder begs Wanderer not to hurt Jamie and Jared, even if she does betray Stryder, and Wanderer says she wouldn’t cause she’d rather…die or something.  It was almost a moment to feel like Wanderer actually cared about someone other than herself, until the “than give a few stray humans up to the Seekers” line, which proves that she STILL views the humans as not as good as her, and thinks that she is worth what she knows is either the death or ‘imprisonment’ of multiple humans, one of whom is a child, at least on some level, even if she can’t bring herself to actually kill them or give them up because of guilt.  Well, at least there’s that.

Stryder suggests that they walk in a certain direction, and because she’s STILL learned nothing, Wanderer resists that idea because she wants to be able to easily get back to the highway, which she won’t be able to do if she leaves the connection to the main road, despite that she knows damn well if she was going to go back, she’d have done it already.  There’s a discussion about faith and how Wanderer has none, which I really could not possibly care less about, aside from being annoyed that Wanderer is using entirely the wrong definition of ‘faith’, and then Wanderer is a bitch when Stryder suggests trusting her, which is uncalled for, because Stryder is TRYING to be nice and make her feel better, but what else is new?

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In the end, it seems that Stryder does get Wanderer to go her way, and then there’s a lengthy description of how hot it is, which leads up to – you guessed it – more Wanderer being an idiot!! Yay!!!!!!  This time, she’s drinking all the water, despite that Stryder’s repeatedly telling her not to and warning her that she will want it more tomorrow.  Wanderer, being the endlessly brilliant, selfish bitch that she is, doesn’t listen at all despite the start of this chapter, justifying her stupidity by saying:

I’d already given her so much today that I was in no mood to listen. I drank when I was thirsty, which was most of the time.

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Holy fuck, I want to kill her.  Can I kill her?  Please let me kill her.  How the hell can she actually think that way?  The beginning of this chapter is her going on about how it’s all her fault that they’re in a bad situation, and now she’s saying she’s “already given her so much today“?  What the fuck did she give her??

Today, so far, she’s sent them in the wrong direction, which made them run out of gas, NOT covered the car like Stryder asked her to, done everything slowly when she should have hurried the fuck up, whined and complained and argued with everything Stryder has said, acted like a bitch when Stryder was nice, and now ignored advice about water consumption from the person who LIVED THIS WAY FOR SIX YEARS.  What the fucking hell is WRONG with her?? She has given NOTHING to Stryder today, or any OTHER day, aside from trouble, and she’s so fucking self-involved and selfish and just….AGGGHH!!! I’m going to break something!! I can’t stand people like this!  Why would you ever write a character so completely hateable??

Even if she HAD done ANYTHING for Stryder today, how the hell does that give her the right or even make it SMART to drink whenever the fuck she feels like it, when she has a limited supply of water and is walking through THE FUCKING DESERT?!?  Oh my god, okay, I need to take a break now.  I’m seriously going to hurt something, or myself.

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Alright, I’m okay now, I think.  *deep breath*

Okay, so there’s a few paragraphs of boring description of Wanderer walking through the desert, and what she sees as she does so, then we learn that not only did Wanderer just drink way too much fucking water, she also ate ALL the goddamn granola bars.

…Words fail me here.  I’m trying to keep myself from freaking out the way I did about the water, but my god, SERIOUSLY?!  How many times can one person fuck up in one day and still not become self-aware enough to STOP??

So she ate the chips she bought before the trip even began, and by day two, has indulged in WAY more water than it’s safe for her to give up, and ALL of the granola bars.  There’s no mention of what happened to the roll of donuts she bought, and when she was packing her backpack at the car, she only put in water and granola bars, so I’m guessing she was snacking away on those while driving in the wrong fucking direction all morning.  What does that mean?  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, she ate ALL THE GODDAMN FOOD IN ONE DAY.  Forethought.  It’s a thing.  Get some.

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My god, this woman.  At this point, she deserves to die from starvation.

After Wanderer’s most recent act of complete and utter stupidity, night begins to fall, and Stryder finds a place for them to sleep.  She’s very thoughtful about it, scouting out the best spot for their safety, rather than just deciding to make Wanderer lie down anywhere.  Wanderer, on the other hand…oh, Wanderer.  Wanderer, Wanderer, Wanderer.  How the FUCK are you SURPRISED that you have to sleep on the ground?!!?!  What the hell did you THINK would happen if you were walking through the desert and needed to rest?  Suddenly lush hotel beds would just pop up from the ground?

She is seriously the most vapid person I have ever encountered.  I do not understand how someone this stupid can exist, even in a fictional world.

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Stryder tries to make Wanderer feel better about the sleeping arrangements by pointing out that it’ll be more comfortable than the car, and that no ‘critters’ will bother her…and somehow, in these two days and one night they’ve been going through the desert, it seems they’ve never encountered a single insect, snake or other creature even once, and Wanderer has also COMPLETELY forgotten that she once was one of those ‘critters’, because she freaks out over the idea of them.  Consistency, consistency, consistency.

Either way, Stryder’s attempts to comfort Wanderer about the situation fail, because Wanderer is the most negative person EVER, and she becomes afraid of the ground and getting killed by wild dogs, which of course has to lead to her bringing up yet ANOTHER stupid fucking alien species and planet.

“The claw beast on the Mists Planet, sure.  At least there’d be some dignity in being taken down by that.”

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…I cannot put into words how much I hate this segment.  I mean, where do I start?  Maybe I just shouldn’t even bother starting.  That’s probably the safest bet.  This is long enough as it is, and I don’t even think I’m halfway through the chapter.  Yeah, I’m not gonna touch this one.  It would be bad.

Stryder tells Wanderer to stop being a baby and get some rest, Wanderer responds in a bitchy, sarcastic manner, true to form, and then there’s this:

She was turning into a tyrant.  It made me think of the human axiom Give him an inch and he’ll take a mile.”

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Once again, what the FUCK have you GIVEN her?  You made your OWN decision to look for Jared and Jamie, and all she asked of you was that you don’t hurt them if you succeed in that mission, and other than that, all you’ve done is be a bitch and fuck her over!  My god, Wanderer, you are so fucking delusional it hurts!

And Stryder is a tyrant?  REALLY?  All she did there was try to calm you down and make you feel better when you were freaking out about sleeping on the ground, and tell you to get some sleep!  I have to assume you have NO idea what that word actually means! It applies to YOU far more than her!

Agggh all of the anger! This chapter is the worst yet, and I didn’t think it could get much worse than it already was!  I am seriously longing for the good old days, when I was still reading chapter eight…

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Despite all her complaints and paranoia, Wanderer yet again falls asleep quickly, so I’m hoping she’ll just stop whining all the time and go to sleep right away from now on…but I don’t see any evidence that Wanderer ever learns from anything, so I’m not going to hope for that too much.

Wanderer wakes up and decides to drink more water, once again ignoring Stryder’s disapproval of that idea, but finally realizes that surprise surprise, she’s been an idiot and has already downed more than half of the available water.  She is alarmed by this (despite her own thought that she would drink when she was thirsty, and she was thirsty a lot), presumably because she really is incapable of putting two and two together, but luckily that alarm leads her to decide not to take a drink after all, so it all works out.

She finds herself feeling too hungry to ignore it after what seems to be only a short time walking, which is definitely a good sign, and by the afternoon, she’s in pain.  Stryder reminds her that they’ve been hungrier, and Wanderer bites back that she (meaning Stryder) has been, because how dare Stryder say anything without Wanderer whining about it, and then Wanderer sees the next landmark they’ve been looking for.

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Apparently they just have to see the landmark and then turn in the next direction, not actually reach it, so I guess that’s easier?  I’m not sure I’d really feel so safe about these directions, but meh, best they’ve got.  Meyer had to come up with some way of getting them there, after all, and you can’t conveniently move people with no explanation more than once per book.

Stryder basically cheers Wanderer on to keep her going despite her tiredness, and Wanderer has finally submitted to letting Stryder control when she drinks, so they conserve water better.  Yay, things are making sense for once!  Wanderer is proud of herself for being so tough, which is the most laughable thing I could possibly imagine, given everything she’s done so far, so she decides to reward herself by walking along a dirt road because it’s easier, despite Stryder’s wariness about it.  Well, that period of intelligence was short-lived.

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Stryder doesn’t put up a huge objection to it, though, just feels uneasy about it, so Wanderer goes ahead toward the road, though she feels paranoid, which makes her pay more attention to her surroundings.  Doing so rewards her when, after a whole bunch of pointless description that Meyer really shouldn’t have bothered with and that I really kind of hated because vision doesn’t work that way, Wanderer realizes that there’s a small, weathered building ahead of her.  Huzzah!

There is an ENTIRE PAGE of Wanderer and Stryder going back and forth about whether the building is abandoned or not, and what would happen if they encountered a human or an alien there, padded by even MORE bullshit about how the aliens “live for society”, because we haven’t been over that three million times already!

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As always, Wanderer fucking blames Stryder for “making her into” a transient person, despite yet AGAIN saying right before that that she has a long history of being that way, and I’m led to wonder why the FUCK Meyer keeps shoving this down our throats.  We fucking GET IT, Meyer, the “souls” are social people and she’s not, she’s so fucking different and misunderstood and we should cry rivers of tears for her because she can’t fucking take responsibility for her own actions, words or even her own PERSONALITY, and it’s oh so hard for her!

She says right the fuck in this pointless bullshit that she doesn’t WANT to belong with them, and I’m pretty sure since she never has in all her lives, she never did, so how can she STILL be blaming Stryder for this?  How many times does she have to THINK about this stuff before it actually sinks in for her?  Does Meyer just completely forget that she’s already been OVER this, every time she brings it up??

Oh wait, now she’s blaming the PLANET too, either for making her like this or revealing that it’s how she is…no, fucking idiot, it has already been revealed that this is what you are REPEATEDLY, and that you already knew that about yourself!  GET OVER IT.

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I am slowly going stabby…

Anyway, yes, there is a page of bullshit and argument between the girls, which is, indeed, pointless, since in the end they (of course) end up deciding to go into the damn abandoned shack anyway, and then there’s a discussion about weapons.  Stryder wants to look for something they can use as a weapon, which might be smart considering how freaked out they both just got about running into someone of EITHER of their kinds, and because a weapon could be useful in capturing food for themselves, but Wanderer shudders and rejects the idea anyway.

“No weapons“, she says, because her people aren’t like that…because it wasn’t mentioned right in the first couple of chapters that the Seekers chased down Stryder with weapons, which Wanderer saw the memory of, so they both could have pulled that to mind even if they had nothing else to go on regarding this topic.

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Stryder asks how “such spineless creatures” could beat the humans, and Wanderer answers that they did it with stealth and superior numbers, which makes exactly as little sense as we’ve already been over about the infiltration in previous chapters, so I’m leaving that paragraph as it is, because fuck it.

There’s the equivalent of another page just describing the little shack, but I’m not going to knock it, because I totally understand why it was done, there’s just not much for me to say about it.  I am surprised that at no point are any bugs described as being in a place as run down as the shack is, but meh, that wouldn’t have added a whole lot to the scene anyway, I guess, so who cares.

Wanderer tries to use the sink, though both she and Stryder know that won’t work (Wanderer for much more egotistical reasons than Stryder, but there’s no surprise there), and then goes through the cupboards looking for anything useful.  She finds some old newspapers which detail how horrendous humans are, and I sincerely hope there’s never been a paper with that much bad in it all at once, and where a child being burned alive didn’t make the front page, but if the last chapter is in any way a valid view of what things are like in the US, it may just be very different there in terms of their media coverage than it is in Canada.  I just hope not.  Either way, while things may generally suck and bad things do happen a lot in our current world, I have a hard time believing that it has EVER been that bad, all at the same time.

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Stryder tells Wanderer that those are the exceptions, not the norm, which is true, because it’s gratefully a very small percentage of the human race that is actually capable of committing acts like those outlined in the newspaper she finds.  Wanderer still tries to use this to back up why her kind thought they could do better with Earth, because we didn’t deserve it, but that still doesn’t make it okay that the aliens did what they did, for reasons I’ve outlined before, especially when it’s the exception, not the norm.

Stryder suggests that if the aliens had wanted to cleanse the planet, they should have blown it up instead (which would certainly be preferable to alien mind control, methinks), and Wanderer makes a “joke”:

“Despite what your science fiction writers dream, we simply don’t have the technology.

…You…don’t have the technology to blow shit up, but you have the technology to travel the universe in cryogenic tubes and take over the body of anything you want when you reach your destination?  You are capable of such stealth that you can take over EARTH, but you can’t blow shit up?  What?  Maybe this goes back to the whole “no weapons” thing, and you don’t have the technology not because you’re not that advanced, you just don’t have it because you’re oh so peaceful and kind and don’t use weapons…but you used them on Earth, and WE have the technology to destroy ourselves, so if you were going to fuck us anyway, why didn’t you just blow us up using our own technology?

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I still don’t get why these aliens go where they do in the universe.  At this point, it just seems to be because they, for some reason, think they ‘deserve’ all these worlds more than the planets’ original inhabitants do, so I guess if that’s the case, they wouldn’t blow it up, so it’s got nothing to do with technology anyway.  Oh wait, yeah, Wanderer also says it’s because Earth is such a lovely planet (though of course she needs to add a complaint in there about the desert), so it’s really just more selfishness on their part.  Yep, they’re pure and wonderful and perfect, alright!

And the reference to science fiction writers…I have a hard time believing Wanderer has experienced much, if anything, of our science fiction writers, for various reasons…but oooookay, Meyer…

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Stryder informs Wanderer that the aliens making everything all perfect and peaceful and whatnot is exactly how the humans figured out they were there, because it was suspicious, and…okay, yeah, I’ll give Wanderer that one; that kinda sucks for us as humans.  It’s really kind of terrible that in reality, if things were suddenly far better on Earth, we would know something was wrong.

Yep, that’s depressing.  Well, thanks for that, Meyer.

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Still, that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t have fought back when we did notice their presence, and I’d be willing to bet we’d have been the ones to come out on top, even if they had superior numbers, because we are both willing and would be, in that case, extremely motivated to use weapons.  We’re surprisingly resilient, and yes, we kill shit when we’re really angry.  It would not go well for you, ‘peace-loving’ aliens.

Anyway, Wanderer opens another cupboard and finds crackers! Yay! Considering the age the newspapers supposedly are, these crackers must be outlandishly disgusting, but meh, she’s probably going to eat them anyway.  I guess anyone would without any other options for food, though maybe not after only one (not even full) day.  She also finds Twinkies, because this is a post-apocalyptic book, and Meyer needs to draw on every post-apocalyptic cliché she can.  I didn’t even mention that the shack has a ‘dogs playing poker’ painting in it, because it is really that clichéd (not that that one has anything to do with the apocalypse; it’s just used/mentioned in everything).

I’m really not sure that so many people actually have Twinkies that they’d be something found in a shack in the middle of nowhere, but hey, maybe it was supposed to be a shelter for the apocalypse in the first place.  Strange that there wouldn’t be more of use in it if that were the case, but still possible.  We’ll go with that, for simplicity’s sake.

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Stryder notices three bottles of bleach at the back of the cupboard, and Wanderer can’t figure out why she’d be interested in them, so of course her mind naturally goes to violence, because that is completely in line with everything else we’ve learned about the peace-loving aliens, and definitely matches up with Wanderer’s disapproval of the idea of getting weapons.  Yep, consistency; this book has it.

Wanderer gorges on the stale crackers, as expected, having still somehow learned nothing from the water and granola bar incidents (and having not considered that salt will dry her out when she has only a limited supply of water), while Stryder explains that her dad used to store water in bleach bottles because it kept the water from growing anything, which is a pretty useful thing for him to have done and her to have remembered.  Clever.

Wanderer manages, with some effort, to open one of the bleach bottles, and finds that Stryder is right: It is water.  Stagnant water, as it is described, but water nonetheless, so Wanderer drinks it.  No, sorry, she guzzles it.  Again with the not learning anything.  At this point, I’m pretty sure she never will, so we’re going to have to keep seeing this happen.

Stryder manages to get Wanderer to slow down on the water, which Wanderer is okay with because she “wanted something solid now that the salt burn had eased“, so she turns to the Twinkies.

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Why.  Why are you still not learning? Why. You just gorged on the first food you’ve come across all day, rather than trying to conserve any for tomorrow, then guzzled down water you were lucky to find, and now the only other thing you’ve found to eat, you’ve decided to eat too instead of saving it?  Please die now.  Just, please.  Put us all out of our misery.

I’m not actually too sure whether she eats the Twinkies or not, because Meyer’s description is just:

“I turned to the box of Twinkies and licked three of the smooshed-up cakes from the inside of the wrappers.”

It sounds like she didn’t eat them, but that’s incredibly hard to believe, especially since licking them wouldn’t satiate her desire for something solid, but that sentence is so poorly worded that I’m just not sure.  The end of it is just…anyway, whatever.

Finding nothing more in the cupboards, Stryder wants to leave, so Wanderer packs up, gets rid of the empty water bottles she’s been carrying (hey, at least she doesn’t litter), and out they go.  Wanderer mentions how heavy the bleach jugs are, but that she’s comforted by their weight because it “meant I wouldn’t stretch out to sleep on the desert floor thirsty and hungry again tonight“.

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…When have you done that before, Wanderer?  You’ve only slept on the desert floor for one night, and that was just after drinking over half the water, eating ALL the granola bars, and presumably all the donuts, too, so you sure as hell shouldn’t have been thirsty or hungry when you went to sleep.  Meyer, even if you’d done one quick proofreading scan here, you’d have seen this error.  Come on, now.  This is ridiculous.

I’m also pretty sure that it shouldn’t still be “bright afternoon” when Wanderer leaves the shack, since it was afternoon way back when it was mentioned how her hunger had become painful, and then there was a bunch of stuff described after that that made it sound like she walked for a while longer, but that’s a small detail, so meh.  Just another thing Meyer probably should have proofread to catch.  I’m now even more sure than before that she didn’t have an editor for this book, or that if she did, they didn’t actually read the book.

And finally, thankfully, that is it for the chapter.  My god, that was painful, and took approximately FOREVER to get through.  I beg of this book not to have any more chapters that long…I don’t think I can handle that again…

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(See Mike’s take on this chapter at http://emptystress.wordpress.com!)