This chapter makes me sad. Not because it is sad, but because Meyer actually had what felt like a successful buildup of anxiety in this chapter, and had me engaged enough despite the little annoyances that were sprinkled throughout it to want to know what was going to happen, all to drop that anxiety off a cliff and have absolutely nothing happen in relation to the buildup.
Sure, maybe she’s trying to draw it out longer so she can eventually reveal everything later in a more impactful moment, but she didn’t go about it the right way, here. She didn’t keep it building, at least under the surface, until the reveal, she just let it build up throughout the chapter and then switched our focus to something else at the end of the chapter. The anxiety is lost now, and she’ll have to rebuild it later if she wants to actually make an impact…assuming she does have an end goal for all the buildup, that is. I assume she does, but with her track record in this book, I just can’t be sure.
Anyway, on to the recap. Here’s how the chapter starts:
“It was disorienting to wake in the absolute dark. In the past months, I’d gotten used to having the sun tell me it was morning.”
For the past few weeks, she’s been living in a room where the only natural light supposedly comes in through cracks in the wall, and even then it can’t be that much light because otherwise the cracks would compromise the structural integrity of the cave, and before that, she was in a hole in the wall that she described as being ridiculously dark, with the only light being a lantern that I cannot imagine was always present or lighted, because if it was then we’re back to why the hell can’t they light the bathing area again. So how has it been months since she woke in absolute dark? And even if the dark wasn’t absolute, if there was a little light from the lantern, she still wouldn’t have had the sun telling her it was morning for all those past few months, because she said herself that she had a hard time determining if it was day or night during the time she spent in her hole, because it was so dark everywhere!
What the hell, Meyer? You’ve fucked up a lot of things, but how could you possibly not see the problem with that statement? And seriously, once again, who the sweet fuck is editing this book?? Agggh.
Wanda remembers where she is and what happened, and then realizes Jamie has crept down to sleep beside her. She’s really lucky it was Jamie that snuck down, not anyone else, cause apparently she would have slept through it either way, and someone else might have killed her. Yeah, being killed while you’re sleeping on the floor is definitely “going down fighting”; Jamie would be so proud of you for that one.
Apparently Jamie is not nearly as heavy a sleeper as Wanda is, or as Wanda described him in the previous chapters when she was able to fucking lift and move him without him waking up, because this time he wakes to the change in her breathing, or perhaps their “synchronized sleeping schedules”. Yeah, I don’t buy it. Nice try, Meyer. He’s as heavy a sleeper as is convenient for you in any given moment, I guess.
Jamie verifies that Wanda is still there, comments on how dark it is because he’s Captain Obvious now, and then decides he’s hungry and wants to go eat breakfast. He assures Wanda that he has talked to Jared and that Jared will stop “picking on” her, and again, he’s not that fucking young, Meyer! Remember how old your character is, and write him like he’s that age, or perhaps even older considering all he’s had to experience in the past few years and how that would force him to mature more quickly; definitely don’t write him like he’s a naïve, young kid! Jamie knows as well as anyone that you could NEVER claim that what Jared has done to Wanda is “picking on” her, especially since he threw her into the goddamn wall just last night!
Jamie eventually talks Wanda into coming to breakfast with him, after she consults with Stryder, who is completely unhelpful considering she STILL only cares about seeing Jared, which remains unrealistic and infuriating. She warns Jamie that things won’t be the same as before and it might get ugly, but he assures her it’ll be okay, so off they go.
They pass through the garden cavern but there’s no one there, which freaks Wanda out a little, but Jamie is dismissive when she asks him where everyone is, just saying they’re busy. The wound on her face from Jared throwing her is mentioned, but it’s not that important, so Wanda asks Stryder what she thinks Jamie isn’t telling her, and then I hate this entire section:
“You’re human. Aren’t you supposed to have intuition or something?
Intuition? My intuition tells me that we don’t know this place as well as we thought we did, Melanie said.
We pondered the ominous sound of that.”
Pondered the ominous sound of what? Yes, that is just poor wording, but it irks me something awful; she really could have worded that way better to get her point across. And Wanda, once again, you have access to everything Stryder has access to, so if she has intuition, you should fucking have it too. Otherwise, you can pretty well assume she doesn’t know any better than you do!
Besides that, you don’t know the place as well as you thought? What did you think? The layout of the place is still the same, you just don’t know what the people are doing, and you never knew what the people were doing or thinking, you just made shit up for them, and even then you were constantly questioning it, so you know exactly as much as you did before, aside from that Jamie has a secret! You know the place exactly as well as you thought you did, if you assume the secret is something to do with them being out to get you, which you do!
So basically, pretty much everything is wrong with that section. Good job, Meyer; your writing only gets worse as this book wears on!
Wanda hears people in the kitchen, which gives her opportunity to whine about how she doesn’t want to see anyone but Jared cause she’s a moron, but at the same time, she doesn’t like how no one is around and she doesn’t know what’s going on, so into the kitchen they go. Wanda is surprised that the kitchen isn’t even half full; she says it’s “an oddity for this time of the morning”…but then just a few paragraphs later, Lucina mentions that the eggs she cooked “tasted better an hour ago“, which means it’s not the normal meal time, it’s an hour later than that, so why is it odd that there would be less people there an hour after breakfast was ready? Most of them probably already ate and left, Wanda. Not everything is suspicious.
Oh, wait, that’s actually Meyer’s fault, not Wanda’s; Meyer wanted us to take note of the fact that not everyone is in the kitchen that should be so we can continue to think something’s going on, but she forgot what time of day she chose for the scene and didn’t bother rereading her own writing to find out, so she destroyed her own point. Again with the good writing.
Most of the next few paragraphs are about the eggs; Lucina and Jamie discussing them, Jamie asking Lucina if everyone has eaten and her telling him that yes they have, and that “they took a tray down to Doc and the others“, which is obviously part of the stuff Jamie isn’t telling Wanda…then Lucina noticing Wanda’s wounds, Lucina giving Jamie a plate of eggs but silently refusing to give any to Wanda even though she’s hurt because Lucina is kind of a bitch, Wanda trying to get Jamie to forget about giving her eggs, because Lucina clearly doesn’t want her to have any and she once again doesn’t feel like she deserves them because they are for everyone else and she’s such a fucking martyr, and then Jamie dismissing Lucina and telling Wanda she deserves them as much as anyone else because she does work for them, and if she doesn’t eat them they’ll get thrown out anyway.
Jamie fills a bowl for Wanda, and then they have a really childish, petty argument about eating where they do the whole “you don’t eat, I don’t eat” crap, and I really, really hate this. They’re both too old for this. It drives me nuts how often Meyer writes these characters in ways that totally go against their age, either in making them seem much older and wiser or MUCH younger and more immature. It’s not consistent and it’s fucking annoying. Pick an age and stick with it.
“We stared at each other for two long minutes, both our stomachs rumbling as we inhaled the smell of the eggs. Every now and then, he would peek down at the food out of the corner of his eye.”
Wow, Jamie is capable of both staring at you for two minutes and looking down every now and then at the same time? Fucking impressive, Jamie! How many eyes do you have?! Oh no, you’re not one of Meyer’s stupid alien species, are you? You do have hands…oh god…
Anyway, Wanda feels bad about how Jamie is obviously longing to eat the eggs, as he should be, so she finally agrees to eat them. They start eating them, and then Wanda stupidly says that “this body lived for the present“, and I’m not even going to touch that because it’s pissing me off to an irrational degree, so I’m just going to move on now.
Blah blah blah, they both enjoy eating, then Wanda notices that no one in the kitchen is happy, but it amazingly enough doesn’t seem to be about her (shock and awe! they have lives outside of thinking about her!); they look genuinely sad, and Sharon is even crying. Wanda asks if something is wrong with Doc, which is a surprisingly intelligent correlation, unlike how Wanda usually thinks, but Jamie says that Doc is fine. Wanda asks about some other people, but Jamie says they’re all fine too, so she asks him what’s wrong and why he’s upset, since she realizes he’s as sad as everyone else is.
Jamie doesn’t respond, though, he just keeps eating, and then when they’re both done eating, they put their bowls in with the dirty dishes. Wanda decides she’ll do the dishes, so she takes them with her and heads to do them, with Jamie by her side, acting as her bodyguard. Ian shows up then, covered in dirt, obviously tired, and also looking sad like everyone else, and immediately grabs Wanda by the arm and takes her and Jamie into the darkness of a tunnel.
After a few seconds, Wanda hears somber voices passing by outside of where they are, so Ian holds more tightly to her. She recognizes the voices as Jared and Kyle’s, so Ian has to hold her back because she and Stryder are so incredibly fucking stupid that even after he threw them into the wall, they want soooo badly to see Jared’s face that they’re willing to risk him seeing them again. Dear fucking god, I hate this shit.
Jared and Kyle seem to be talking about Doc and some failure he had at figuring something out that he was sure he had, which led him to start drinking excessively, which apparently they’re allowing despite having limited resources because “he’ll pass out soon enough“. God, you are all so caring, aren’t you?
That’s basically all Wanda can make out of their conversation, so they wait until Jared and Kyle are sufficiently far away before Ian releases Wanda, and then Jamie is upset because Jared promised something, but Ian says that Kyle didn’t. What the hell is going on? What is Doc trying to figure out? See, up until this point we’ve had the anxiety of trying to figure out what’s going on, and that just heightens it, but is Meyer going to tell us? Fuck no!
So we don’t get to know what Doc is doing that went so horribly and that Jared and Kyle are involved in which breaks a promise to Jamie, so Ian leads Jamie and Wanda out of the dark and tells her there will be no dishes now because they need to give Jared and Kyle time to clean up and move on. So clearly she still can’t be around them without risk to her wellbeing, despite what Jamie said.
Wanda thinks to ask Ian why he’s dirty, but realizes he probably won’t answer the way Jamie won’t answer anything, so she doesn’t bother. Ian notices the wounds on her face and is very upset by them, and especially by the fact that if he hadn’t been there to see the truth about her, he might have gone with the guys and then caused the wounds himself when he came back. I still think that’s unlikely, because I still think Ian only does things like that at Kyle’s direction, and Kyle would have just done it himself if it was a choice between him or Ian doing it…but whatever.
Wanda dismisses his concern, so Ian tells Jamie he should go to school, which they have a minor disagreement over, but inevitably Jamie does go, leaving Ian to watch after Wanda. Ian takes the dishes from Wanda, and when she argues with him about doing that, this happens:
“He grinned again. ‘I feel silly standing here with my arms empty while you lug these around. Chalk it up to gallantry. C’mon – let’s go relax somewhere out of the way until the coast is clear.’
His words troubled me, and I followed him in silence. Why should gallantry apply to me?”
Hooooly fuck, you stupid fucking bitch; it applies because he’s been nice to you for a while now, and you just haven’t been smart or appreciative enough to recognize it! The words that should trouble you are “until the coast is clear“; why the hell would the idea of someone being gallant to you be troubling? Or are you sincerely afraid of him having romantic interest in you? It kinda seems that way, given that you keep pulling and flinching away from him, so maybe that’s it…
They walk to the cornfield and then sit down in the middle of it. Wanda asks if they should be working, and Ian tells her everyone is taking a break today, so things must be *really* bad, whatever the problem is. Wanda mentions that Ian looks like he’s been working, but he brushes that off, and when she mentions that Jamie won’t tell her what’s going on, he says he won’t either and that it’s nothing she wants to know. So, of course, the reader doesn’t get to know either, and here is where the anxiety is dropped pretty much completely and I stop caring what’s going on because Meyer is clearly not going to tell us. She’s lost my interest, and is going to have to work hard to regain it on this subject.
Ian says he wants to ask Wanda a question, which she welcomes. He mentions that he knows that Wanda is not a liar, which is COMPLETELY FUCKING UNTRUE, but I guess he wouldn’t know that, so he says he’ll believe whatever she tells him, and then asks her if Stryder is still in her body with her. He says he didn’t believe it before, but Doc and Jeb seem pretty convinced, so he wondered if it was true.
Wanda, of course, tells him that it is, because it’s not a secret anymore (and it’s not the secret that matters, like her other secret she supposedly has that she feels the need to bring up again here like she’s taunting us with it, even though I don’t give a fuck about it anymore because Meyer drew it out way too long without telling us what it is), and she trusts Ian not to tell anyone who would kill her for it. I don’t know who that would be, since Jared and Kyle clearly have other reasons to want to kill her, but there you have it.
Ian questions her about what it’s like for her and Stryder to live that way, but we already know this because we’ve read the book to this point, so this is just another pointless conversation. She explains all the other stuff we already know about how the humans can only fight back like Stryder if they know what’s going to happen, and how the aliens are no longer using the adult bodies as hosts because of the problems they cause, but apparently they will use them for Seekers to find information with, then discard them when they’re done. Nice. Such benevolent creatures.
Finally, Wanda sees how disgusting that is, when she realizes how casually the aliens get rid of bodies that they feel are ‘defective’ just because the body doesn’t work as well as they’d like, the host spirit inside is too strong, or the host’s mind is poisoned in some way (mental addictions and “malevolent yearnings” are her examples); that they treat the bodies of actual people like trash, just because they don’t suit their purposes. Good; maybe she can finally start to see that her kind are the enemy here.
Ian asks what would happen if the Seekers caught her at this point, and she tells him what we, again, already know; that they would remove her and put her in another host, maybe even on a different world instead of Earth. He asks if she would be herself, and she says she still is, and that Stryder hasn’t changed that.
He then asks a valid but kind of stupid question given her last answer: Would they discard her? Because they obviously should, since she should be considered ‘defective’ for becoming sympathetic to a human, and it seems like something equivalent to that, if done by a human, would definitely be cause for discarding her…especially since she’s at least close to seeing her own kind as the enemy. But Wanda says they wouldn’t discard a soul because they have no punishment at all for her kind, so they would just try to save her. She says she always thought trying to save the soul would be the right way, but she’s a traitor, so she should be discarded.
Ian disagrees with her referring to herself as a traitor and says that he thinks she’s more like an expatriate, since she hasn’t turned on them, but I don’t know, I think in the eyes of the aliens, that would still be traitorous behaviour, whether it is by definition or not.
They stop talking for a bit while Wanda tries to convince herself Ian is right, and then Ian starts talking about getting Doc to look at her wounds when he sobers up. Wanda finally actually lets Ian touch her, so we might be seeing some progress here in terms of their relationship, and they talk about the wound and how it’s not so bad for a minute, before Ian suggests that Kyle is probably finished cleaning up and has gone to bed, so they can go do the dishes now.
Off they go to the bathing room, where Wanda washes the dishes while Ian bathes (oooh, sexy; if she could only see him, she’d probably be all over him…though I’m confused as to why it doesn’t bother Wanda or Stryder that they’re in the same room with him while he’s naked, even if they can’t see him), and then Ian helps her finish them up when he’s done. Must be hard doing the dishes without light.
They head back to the kitchen, where people are having a lunch of bologna sandwiches which, of course, Meyer needs to describe every tiny detail of, but everyone is still sad, apparently. Jamie has food for himself and Wanda ready when she gets there, so Ian grabs some for himself, and then they join Jamie to eat. Wanda is not at all grateful for Jamie getting food for her, as we’d expect; she just rolls her eyes at his ‘stubbornness’ because he has refused to eat until she got there. Oh, what a horrible thing for him to do; making sure you eat. Stupid bitch.
“The food tasted so good it was hard to imagine a reason for conversation – or anything else that would empty our mouths.”
…What? Why the hell was the last part of that sentence necessary? What else would they be doing that would empty their mouths; throwing up all over the place? Ugh, I seriously hate this shit.
Wanda only has two sandwiches, but apparently Ian and Jamie eat until they’re in pain, because it’s always good to be in pain, and then Ian tells Jamie to go back to school. Jamie tries to get out of that and take over looking out for Wanda instead, but Wanda too tells him to go to school, because she wants him a safe distance from her. Jamie goes, but not without trying to comfort Wanda:
“‘I’ll see you later, okay? Don’t worry about…about anything.’
‘Sure.’ A one-word lie wasn’t quite so obvious. Or maybe I was just being sarcastic again.”
-_- If you were being sarcastic, you’d know it, and I don’t know how the fuck your other lies weren’t obvious. That’s all I’ll say about that.
Wanda tells Ian to go get some rest, so he asks where she slept the night before so he can go sleep there and she can stay there with him. She briefly argues with him, but then gives up and tells him where she was, and though Ian doesn’t like that, they go back there anyway.
Oh, what the fuck. Why the hell is Ian being stupid now too? Why would they go there, especially when she’s already been found there before, and I have to assume they’re getting the supplies for these meals from somewhere, which should be there if it’s the storage area! Either that or there are more storage areas and therefore even more stock, which would make me question even more how they got it all there. Ugggh.
Either way, while they walk to the storage area, Wanda basically tries to convince Ian that he shouldn’t bother protecting her because she should die, since it’ll just hurt Jamie more the longer she lives before inevitably dying. Ian tells her her death isn’t an inevitability because they’re not animals, even though they were going to kill her before, and he even tried to himself.
They stop talking then, because they see a blue light coming through the tunnel from around a corner, so Ian tells Wanda to wait and then goes ahead. He apparently finds Jared there, and feigns surprise at seeing him, which makes it sound like Ian led Wanda into a trap, but I don’t think that’s the case at all.
Jared says he knows “it” is with Ian, and then raises his voice so everyone will hear him as he mockingly calls out, “Come out, come out, wherever you are“, because again, this book is full of fucking clichés, and that was supposed to be scary, but it instead just annoyed me because of how fucking stupid it is! Yay!
With that, the chapter ends, meaning that after just one more chapter we’ll be halfway through the book, and I still absolutely hate it and do not see what everyone likes about it at all. This book is painful in so many ways. I thought this was a masochistic endeavor at the start, but lord, I had no idea…
(See Mike’s take on this chapter at http://emptystress.wordpress.com!)