Words cannot possibly express how little I want to do the recap for this chapter.  I was actually dreading writing this while reading the chapter; that’s how much I hated it.  The title gives away what this one’s about, but it’s only about that eventually, and the pages leading up to it are just absolutely fucking painful, to the point that I would actually prefer to have my brain carved out through my eyes than think about it again.  Agggh!!! And it’s 11 pages long…I don’t know how I’m going to do this…I can’t take more stupid alien crap…

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Blahh, I guess I’m better off just jumping right into it and getting it over with, so it starts off with us discovering that Wanda has, in fact, become the ‘teacher’ Jeb wanted her to be, despite how adamant she was about not doing that.  She doesn’t have a real class, she just answers questions and tells stories after supper each night while she helps bake bread for the next day, which she says she does both to help them out to make up for the fact that what she tells them is sometimes upsetting, and because it gives her time to think of how to answer or avoid answering certain questions.  Personally, I think it’s really only the latter reason, but either way, she does it.

She can’t go three paragraphs without insulting someone, so she feels the need to talk AGAIN about how nobody likes her except Jamie and Jeb, and she has to demean that too by saying that Jamie only likes her because of “some strange chemical reaction that was far from rational”, and that Jeb is crazy again.  Way to shit on the people who care about you, you unbearable fucking bitch.  No one SHOULD like you, and it’s unfortunate that you’re so fucking wrong about them not liking you, because you do not deserve one iota of their attention, given how you think about them.

Butttttt despite how no one likes her, they’ve started talking to her outside of story time and addressing her like a human, and amazingly she’s not a bitch about that, beyond repeatedly stressing how they still don’t like her.  She lists off the different people who ask her questions during her after dinner Q&A sessions, and what types of questions each one usually asks, but I can see absolutely no reason why that information would be important to anyone, so I’m going to just skip over it entirely.  She alludes to the answers of questions Mike and I have had in previous recaps, but she doesn’t actually give the answers, so who gives a fuck about all this crap?

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Meyer tries to explain away the whole “souls don’t use money” thing by saying this:

I tried to explain that it was not so different from life in the caves.  Did we not all work without money and share in the products of our labor equally?

The response to her question is a joke about how it’s different because Jeb has a gun for the slackers, and everyone leaves it at that, but the fact is, yes it is different from life in the caves.  Not only are there billions of people involved in the souls’ society, not just 30 some odd, but those people all have specific jobs that they do, they don’t rotate like the people in the caves are doing.  With all of the things that need to be taken care of on the surface, they can’t possibly all be qualified to do all the jobs, so they require a system of barter and trade to make sure everyone has everything they need, which is not the same in the caves, where everyone has exactly the same things and there aren’t countless jobs that need to be done, only a few, and anyone not pulling their weight can be kicked out.  I could go on, but as with the last time this crap came up, I am just plain not going to.  Meyer did not think this through at all, yet she brought it up more than once.  Smart move.

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And then we get to a section that I absolutely fucking hate and cannot stand, which is the section where Wanda decides that the storytelling situation reminds her of the See Weeds, because her Calling was as a Storyteller there, and then she starts comparing the humans to the See Weeds and talking, once again, about how much more interesting her stories are than the regular lives of the people in the cave.

Yes, Wanda, your stories are so fucking interesting that we need to hear about them for multiple fucking chapters, we get it, move the fuck on! We are not like the See Weeds, and I, for one, am sure as hell not interested in listening to your crap anymore, so kindly SHUT THE FUCK UP!  How is she filling rooms, telling bullshit like this?  I wouldn’t believe it even if I was hearing it from the mouth of an alien, not just from a ridiculously shitty book!

I really do.

I really do.

Wanda has apparently been telling her stories to these people for four weeks by the time any action happens, and dear god, that hurts me for each and every person who had to put up with it.  She says that in her fourth week of doing it life in the caves changed again, but then there’s an entire 2 and a half pages before we get to how it changed.  Why, Meyer, why?? Why can’t we just skip all the random boring crap and get right to the action?  We’ve waited long enough! We’re on chapter twenty fucking six!

But no, instead of getting to the action, Meyer feels the need to describe the goddamn uncooked rolls in painful detail, then go on about how Wanda sometimes gets Jamie to tell the stories for her, when she knows he knows a story well.   This leads to Jamie telling us all about the fucking Dolphins that I thought we were done with forever ago, including descriptions of how hilariously fucking stupid they are, with their multiple sets of wings depending on how old they are, and the variations in the amount of legs they have based on which of three genders they are, and, of course, a mention of how sad it makes the humans to think about the Dolphins, because they’re mirrors of themselves in the first year of occupation. Ugggh.  Oh, and in case you didn’t think all this stuff was stupid enough, their water is less dense than ours, so they fly through it, because everything must fly in Meyer-verse!

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Dragonflies, my ass.  They’re not like dolphins or dragonflies, especially not because they conveniently have “hands that can build all kinds of things“, including cities out of underwater plants, because Meyer can’t let one of her stupid alien species not have hands, because then they wouldn’t be able to perform insertions and that would just be an obvious flaw! You know, LIKE THE REST OF THE DESCRIPTIONS OF THIS CRAP.

For some reason, Meyer starts talking about the rolls again, and bothers to mention how much jostling it takes Wanda to get the new tray of rolls into the oven, and how hot she is by the fire.  God, this is useful information.

This MUST be how Meyer thinks.

This MUST be how Meyer thinks.

Wanda hears a commotion coming from somewhere down the hall, which leads Jamie to jump up and leave all of a sudden.  Wanda moves to go with him, but Ian keeps her there and asks to learn more about the Dolphins, because he hates me, I’m pretty sure, since I can’t see any other reason why he’d want to know more.  Wanda wants to know what’s going on, but Ian doesn’t know, so he basically shrugs it off, and Wanda goes back to explaining about the Dolphins and all their grandparents and more stupid shit like that.

Her story is thankfully interrupted by a gasp from somewhere in the room, which causes her to look up and notice that someone is standing in the entrance to the room with Jamie and Jeb.  Oooh, I wonder who the fuck this is?  Sorry, but come on; why is Meyer trying to make this a mysterious reveal when it’s perfectly goddamn obvious who it is??  Dirty or not, there’s no one else we would give a shit about showing up but the dream team who went out for supplies, and if it’s a guy standing with Jeb who has Jamie clung to his arm excitedly, who else could that be but Jared??

The dirty man Jamie was still clinging to took a step forward.  One of his hands rose slowly, like an involuntary reflex, and curled into a fist.

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This is ridiculously dramatic.  Nothing like this happens in real life, so all I can picture is a cheesy movie scene.  That seems to keep happening in this book, which makes me think the movie adaptation of this book is probably just going to be a giant pile of clichés and annoying crap.  Wait, I’m reading the book; unless they’re vastly different from one another, I know it will be…

Anyway, dirty guy is, of course, Jared, who decides he must announce his arrival by asking Jeb what “the meaning of this” is, because that’s directly in keeping with my unrealistic movie cliché thing, and then Wanda starts having a panic attack, which is exactly what she should be doing right now…not childishly squeeing over Jared being home like Stryder does.  Yep, wasn’t worth the effort to Stryder to say anything for the last few chapters, but “Jared is home!” was absolutely necessary.  It legitimately disgusts me when she acts like this.

Because they’re related, Jamie needs to act like an idiot too, apparently, so he starts excitedly telling Jared about how Wanda is teaching them about the universe.  It seems he has completely forgotten how uncool he knew all along that Jared would be with this stuff, and has also completely ignored Jared’s obvious anger in the current moment.  How is that possible, when Jared just angrily asked what the “meaning of this” is? Jamie can hear, for god’s sake, and he understands tones and emotions well enough!  Or at least he should, by age 14 or whatever he is!

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Jared does not respond well to Jamie referring to Wanda as ‘Wanda’, which is good since I don’t either, and then Meyer switches focus from Jared to the others behind him, who are apparently all angrily muttering to themselves.  Paige has an outburst about her boyfriend being back, they hug, blah blah blah, no one cares…oh wait, apparently they do, because they all start welcoming back the guys who went away instead of paying any more attention to Wanda and Jared.  Yeah, that’s exactly how it would go in the real world.  Definitely.

At least the people who were listening to Wanda before the group showed up look guilty about having done so as they greet the others.  Guilt makes everything better, doesn’t it Wanda?

Ian tries to comfort Wanda, and when he does, she notices that he does not look guilty, he looks defensive.  Awwwww, Ian cares about her! SURPRISE SURPRISE!  That won’t go well for him, though, because who’s back but his brother, who storms in and acts far more like you would expect than Jared did.  He asks if they’re all crazy for letting “it” tell them “its lies”, and if they’re parasites, and everyone is ashamed except for the people that aren’t, including Walter, who tries to calm Kyle.  Good ol’ meth fiend, he is.  But of course, Kyle ignores him, because nobody respects the drug trade.

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Kyle storms toward Wanda, but it seems she has not yet learned how to stop being an idiot since she doesn’t look at him, but instead keeps staring at Jared, because that’s useful when someone’s coming to hurt you.  She blames her distraction on Stryder’s love, which is another HUGE surprise, but whatever the truth of the situation is, it doesn’t matter, because Ian gets in between her and Kyle anyway to protect her.

Ian tells Kyle that things have changed and that Wanda is not a threat to them, so Kyle asks him if the Seekers came, because he figures there could be no other explanation for their integrating her into their society, and then pulls out a flashlight to check Ian’s eyes.  Wanda thinks the flashlight is a weapon at first glance, so she tells Ian not to get in Kyle’s way, which he ignores, and then we get to hear about how Wanda is surprised that she cares whether or not Ian gets hurt.  She damn well should, given he’s trying to protect her and has been for some time now (well over a month at least), but I guess she doesn’t feel that way, and Meyer feels it necessary to quantify how much she cares about him getting hurt as compared to Jared and Jamie so you don’t think she’s being unfaithful to them.  Even though I’m sure she will be later on.

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After verifying that Ian is not a parasite, Kyle asks how “it” “got to” him, so Ian tells him to calm down and they can talk about it.  Jared butts in at this point and says no to the suggestion to calm down, then walks toward Wanda with loathing in his eyes that is apparent even to childishly acting Stryder and somewhat to Jamie, though Jamie is still bewildered for some reason that is completely not believable at all given the last few chapters, and the fact that he’s not 4 years old.

Wanda gets emo about how Jeb wasted his efforts to get people to accept her on the wrong people, because no one in the world matters except Jared, and then Jared tells Jeb to give him the gun, presumably because he’s had enough of all this and is going to shoot Wanda.  Please, Jared, PLEASE go through with it!! I know you won’t, but pleeeeeease…

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Wanda decides it’s over for her, so she steps to the side so Ian won’t be in the way when Jared tries to shoot her, and closes her eyes to prepare for the worst.  Jeb doesn’t have the gun, though, so Jared starts angrily whistling through his nose (oooh, so threatening), then steps toward Wanda, talking about how it will be slower “this way”, and more humane if Jeb finds the gun.

Ian tries to stop Jared, asking him to let them talk, but Jared says there’s been too much of that, and that Jeb left the decision to him, and he’s made it.  But Jeb steps in and reminds Jared that he said that whoever the body “belonged to” got to make the decision, and he thinks there’s someone else there with just as strong a “claim” to Wanda as Jared has, if not more, and a part of me hoped that would be Stryder or Wanda or whatever, because I hate the way Meyer is wording this, but of course it’s not, it’s Jamie.

Jamie starts begging Jared not to kill Wanda and Stryder, which again seems WAY more childish than his actual age, especially given that he’s just been given a fair amount of power over the situation by Jeb at this point, but either way, Jeb points out that Jamie is not in agreement with Jared, so because he has as much say as Jared, Jared can’t kill her.

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Jared asks Jeb how he could let this happen, and I think he’s referring to the pain it’s clearly causing Jamie more than anything else at this point (or at least I hope he’s being that compassionate), and Jeb just says that there’s need for them to talk, but that he should go have a bath first.  Smart man, diffusing the situation and giving Jared some time to calm down…as long as he keeps a close eye on Wanda, that is, in case Jared decides to go after her on his own anyway.  Or Kyle does…or anyone else, at that.

Jared glares at Jeb, and Wanda feels the need to make another jab at humans at this point, though she uses Jesus and Judas as one of her examples for that, and I could get into the problems with that, but I won’t.  Jared calls Kyle to come with him and leaves, so everyone else who was on the expedition with them follows, and then the people who were obviously feeling guilty about listening to her when Jared showed up leave too.  Only the core group stays, which is Jamie, Jeb, Ian, a bunch of people I don’t remember because as I said, just listing off their names and minute facts about them does not make them memorable, and my lovely friend Walter.

Everyone is silent until they can’t hear the others’ footsteps anymore, then they discuss what a close call it was, and that Jeb figured this sort of thing would happen soon so he hid the gun.  Jamie is visibly upset, so Wanda goes to comfort him, of course taking a shot at everyone in the fucking room who has just stood up for her and been on her side by saying that those left in the room were “those I had to count as friends“.  HAD to?  You ungrateful goddamn bitch, those people don’t HAVE to be your friends, and you sure as FUCK don’t deserve them, so how DARE you act like it’s an imposition on YOU to be their friend!

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My god, seriously, how does ANYONE like this character? This must be some sort of test by Meyer to see how horrible a character she can create and have people still like them just because they’re braindead (I assume they must be, anyway), because there’s no way you can write a character who inserts all these little bitchy sentiments in EVERY SINGLE TIME someone is nice to her, and still expect people to actually connect with and even LIKE her.

So frustrating.  So incredibly frustrating, and this character needs to die, 25 chapters ago.

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Jamie continues acting like a child, clinging to Wanda as she tells him it’s okay, and telling her that Jared won’t hurt her because he won’t let him.  Sweet, sure, but seriously, when it’s done tearfully like that, it doesn’t sound like the statement of a teenager, it sounds like something a very young child would say to his mother.

Anyway, because she is the hugest fucking bitch in the history of the world, and Meyer can’t, as I said before, let three paragraphs go without reminding us of that, Wanda thinks this:

Jared was right – how could Jeb have let this happen? If they’d killed me the first day here, before Jamie had ever seen me…Or that first week, while Jared kept me isolated from everyone, before Jamie and I had become friends…Or if I had just kept my mouth shut about Melanie…

That last sentence does NOT make up for the fact that she just mentally chastised Jeb AGAIN for protecting her.  She didn’t WANT to die, and he saved her from that, but now how COULD he?  If this was such a big deal, she should have just killed herself when she got her freedom, or tried to run before so they would kill her, or hell, even jumped into the goddamn stream that Jeb told her she would not survive in if she tried to use it to escape, way back when he took her to the bathroom the first time!

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If she really thought it was so much better that she die that she’s gonna say “how could he” about Jeb keeping her alive, she should have fucking killed HERSELF! Stop blaming everyone else for trying to help you and only taking responsibility for things that have NOTHING TO FUCKING DO WITH THE PROBLEM!

The fact she said something about Stryder still being alive to Jamie has ZERO to do with Jared’s anger; that sure as hell is not why the other people were listening to her stories, that was because of her, Jeb and Jamie! So yeah, Jeb is a PART of it, but SO ARE FUCKING YOU, WANDA. Get it through your head that everything isn’t always someone else’s fault! Grow the fuck up!!

Oh, wait, no, that’s not the end of Wanda blaming everyone but herself for what’s happened:

Melanie was just as aghast. My poor baby.

I told you it was a bad idea to tell him everything, I reminded her.

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Wanda then goes on about how much more horrible and traumatic it will be for Jamie now when she dies than it was or would have been before, and how the only thing they can do is not die, but holy fuck, she just blamed Stryder for telling him when STRYDER FUCKING DIDN’T, SHE DID.  Stryder can’t speak without all the effort, remember?  Remember how she has been fucking absent for the last however many chapters for that very reason, and Wanda straight up admitted that SHE was the one who told Jamie about it?

It doesn’t matter if Stryder asked Wanda to, either way, WANDA FUCKING DID IT, so even if it wasn’t her idea initially, she’s still responsible for the fact that she DID do it! If she felt so strongly about NOT doing it, she could have just NOT DONE IT, but that’s not what happened, so she needs to suck it the fuck up and accept that SHE DID THIS and she has to stop blaming Stryder, Jeb and everyone else all the fucking time for her own goddamn decisions!  Besides that telling Jamie everything is NOT EVEN THE PROBLEM HERE IN THE FIRST PLACE!

I’m sorry for all the swearing, but I am SO FUCKING SICK of Wanda doing this.  Is this ever going to stop?  I think I’ll probably have an aneurysm from all this before I finish the book, if it keeps up this way, which I assume it will.  I can’t stand this shit!

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Moving on, Wanda and Stryder despair over the likelihood of their survival, which is pointless since we’re still not even halfway through the book, so they’re clearly going to live, and then Ian and Trudy try to comfort Jamie and tell him he’s not alone and that they’ll make the others see reason.  Oh, look Wanda, the evil, violent humans are showing compassion and helping out someone else! Quelle surprise!

Apparently Meyer doesn’t even remember who she put in the room with Wanda, and can’t be bothered to flip to the last page she wrote, because she has “someone” saying something here, and then Jeb, Ian and the others discuss how Jeb should find the gun, where Wanda should stay for the night, and who will protect her.  Wanda butts in at this point and acts like a martyr, saying  they all belong there, so they shouldn’t fight because of her, because that’s consistent with her personality even within this same fucking chapter.

Wanda pulls away from Jamie and says she needs to be alone, and that they shouldn’t have to “discuss strategy in front of the enemy“.  Wtf?  They’re not discussing how they can take her out, they’re discussing how best to protect her; how does that statement make ANY sense AT ALL?? And why does everyone just let her wander off on her own at this point?  That is the most unrealistic bullshit I can possibly imagine, for so many reasons!

I'm really asking, Meyer.

I’m really asking, Meyer.

But let her go they do, and no one even tries to follow her, because they “see the wisdom of letting her go“, apparently, which is complete and utter fucking horse crap, so off she goes into the tunnels.  She goes on for a bit about how she’s never found the way out of the tunnels in all the time she’s lived there, and ponders whether or not she’d even want to leave if she could find it, which is all more pointless drivel because of course we know she won’t find her way out, and won’t even try, because that would lead to her end, and again, we’re not even halfway through the book yet.

So as expected, Wanda decides that she can’t leave Jamie and Jared, even though Jared wants to kill her, but she also finally acknowledges that Jeb, Ian, Doc and everyone else are actually her friends, and she’s nice about it for once…oh, wait, no she’s not; she refers to all of them as “strange humans” because she can’t talk about nice people without at least one insult ever.

Wanda puzzles ONCE AGAIN over why anyone would protect her, chalking it up yet again to curiosity, because we haven’t been over this five million times, and then keeps going through the “blackest darkness imaginable” (-_-) toward her destination, which I can only guess will be her old prison hole, because that’s the stupidest fucking thing I can think of, so it has to be what she thinks of.

I’m pretty sure I hate this book more with every passing chapter.  And the chapters sure as hell aren’t passing quickly enough.

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