Another day, another chapter of this shitty book.  Seriously, I’m throwing my life away here, aren’t I?  Look outside! It’s so beautiful and sunny!  Cold, sure, but sunny, and there are people out there, and I’m sure there’s something fun going on somewhere, and I’m…here, with this book again.  Ah, the mistakes we make in our lives.  I wonder how many years this book has taken off of mine.

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Might as well get to it, though; gotta do what you gotta do.  Even though it’s a bit difficult to convince myself I have to do this at this point…

We start off with Wanda waking up after drug session number two, and she’s not feeling so hot.  Ian is with her, and immediately asks if she’s hungry, so I guess he’s never been with anyone who’s been heavily medicated/sedated before, because yeah, food is pretty much the last thing you’re interested in after just waking up from that.

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Luckily, Meyer does that bit right, instead of making Wanda automatically go for the food again due to her obvious food obsession, so Ian apologizes and explains again why they had to drug her.  Wanda has apparently once again woken up without opening her eyes, which is at least slightly more likely this time than before, but still doesn’t feel realistic to me, so she opens her eyes after her initial conversation with Ian, and tries to figure out where and when she is.  She says the cracks in the ceiling of the room look unfamiliar.

Ian tells her she’s in her room, which obviously confuses her, so she goes searching around in the dark with her fingers, trying to figure out where she actually is.  Her fingers touch Ian’s as she does so, and she describes it thusly:

My searching hand touched his, and he caught my fingers before I could withdraw them.

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So once again, it really sounds, from the way this is worded, like Wanda is not at all interested in having physical contact with Ian, and he’s forcing her into it.  I don’t like this.  I know in this case it’s probably just a misunderstanding on Ian’s part, thinking she is reaching out for him, but even as I say that, I’m not really convinced.

Is Ian supposed to be a love interest here, or just someone who can’t respect boundaries?  I don’t want to call him a rapist, since he hasn’t done anything like that yet so it doesn’t seem fair, but I also kind of feel like that’s where this is leading at this point.  I can’t imagine it actually does, but I think unless things change drastically, if Wanda and Ian become romantically/sexually involved, I’m going to have a very hard time feeling like it’s entirely consensual, given the fact that she always seems to describe his touch in a way that feels unwanted.

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Wanda asks Ian whose room she’s really in, and he again says it’s hers, then explains that it used to be his and Kyle’s, but Kyle is being held in the hospital wing until his tribunal, and he can move in with Wes.  I feel like the “can” here is important, because it’s like a very subtle indication that he will stay with her if she wants, or if she’s not horribly opposed to him remaining there, but if she is uncomfortable with it, he’s got another place he can go.  I’m not sure if that’s what Meyer intended, but if it is, I have to give her credit for it, because she’s not been very good with subtlety so far, but that’s effective.

Wanda says she’s not taking Ian’s room, and then asks when the tribunal is, because she feels she has to be present at it to “explain”.  Ian points out that she means “to lie”, then tells her that the tribunal will be at first light, but that he won’t take her.  She is stubborn as usual and says if he won’t take her, she’ll take herself, which doesn’t surprise him, so he gives up on the argument and gets up to go get some food.  He says he’ll be back before it gets light to help take her to the tribunal, since he knows she won’t wait if he’s not back before then.

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While she waits, Wanda thinks about how she doesn’t like “human drugs” because of how they make her head feel, which implies that the aliens also have drugs instead of alternate treatment methods (or at least in addition to them).  So are all their drugs administered orally or something?  Because I mean Wanda had that extremely negative reaction to the idea of a needle piercing skin before, so it seemed like that was something her kind didn’t do, but if they still administer drugs…ah, who cares; why am I even thinking about this?

Wanda doesn’t go to sleep because she’s been sleeping for most of the last 24 hours, and she suddenly knows that despite not knowing at all how long she was passed out for on the page before this one, and Ian not telling her at any point.  Yay, continuity errors!

Ian shows up again before first light and asks if Wanda is feeling any better, then asks if she thinks it’s her reacting to the morphine or Stryder’s body.  Apparently it’s Stryder’s body, because she reacts badly to most painkillers, and knowing that leads me to think too much about it when it doesn’t matter at all, so I’m going to stop talking about that right now.

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Ian comments on how odd it is dealing with two people at once, then asks if Wanda is hungry.  She thinks she’s okay to eat, so Ian gives her a bread roll and helps her sit up to eat it.  She discovers, in the process of sitting up, that her chest is bandaged, so she asks if her ribs are broken, to which Ian responds that Doc isn’t sure, but he’s doing as much as he can.  Not much can be done about ribs anyway, so I guess as long as they didn’t puncture anything, she’s pretty lucky.

Wanda tells Ian that she feels bad for not liking Doc before, so they briefly discuss how amazed Ian is that she likes any of them, and she is that anyone likes her, and then she eats some bread before Ian presents her a special treat of Cheetos.  What is it with the Cheetos, Meyer?  Why do you keep bringing them up??  I mean, Wanda says she’s been dreaming about Cheetos after she eats one….who does that?  Did you get paid for plugging these, or are you just really obsessed with Cheetos?

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Wanda finishes all the Cheetos and the bread, and thanks Ian for everything he’s done for her.  Suddenly, the light in the room is enough that she can see Ian, so that we can have a moment where Wanda tries to search his eyes for his feelings for her, since there seems to be more behind his “you’re welcome” than courtesy.  So she does know, at least to some degree, that he’s interested, so she must really not be…

Since it’s coming to first light, Ian asks again if Wanda really needs to go to the tribunal, which of course she says she does, so he helps her up and they head out.  Stryder tells Wanda she thinks Ian likes her too much, which surprises Wanda because she never hears from Stryder anymore when Jared isn’t around, but of course, Stryder is only speaking up so she can whine, because that’s the most important thing for these characters to do EVER.

This time, she’s whining about the fact that she’s in the body too, and she doesn’t think Ian cares about that.  She doesn’t mean that she doesn’t think Ian believes her, though, so…does she mean that she’s jealous that Ian doesn’t have a crush on her too?  If so, what?  Or is she offended that he has a crush on Wanda because he’s supposed to be Jared’s friend, and Jared is with Stryder, who is also in the same body?

That would make more sense, though it didn’t seem to be how this was presented, but even then…they are two different people.  Very different, in a lot of ways.  I don’t know why Ian would be attracted to Wanda, but to each their own, and she’s not at all like Stryder, so…Stryder should at least understand that much.

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Anyway, Stryder doesn’t explain herself and Wanda doesn’t get it, even though she just had the thought that there seemed to be something else besides courtesy in what Ian was saying to her, so we go back to walking.  Blah, blah, blah, the places they do and do not go, and then they get to the game room that Jeb took her to on the tour, so we get another description of that room and the placement of the lights in it and whatever.

We get to learn about the exact placement of everyone in the room, and how Ian lets Wanda walk on her own once they get there so everyone can see the state she’s in (even though she can only see the shapes of the others in the room, not their faces, so it’s a little unlikely they could all really see her hobbling in).  A few of Wanda’s friends scurry up to sit near her, asking how she is, then the rest of the people show up, and they begin.

Jeb says they’re going to do a majority vote on whether to kick Kyle out or not, but as usual, he will have veto power if he doesn’t like the decision, since it’s his house.   He asks who is speaking against Kyle, so Ian stands, despite Wanda’s efforts to stop him, and explains how Kyle was warned not to hurt anyone in the community, how those rules applied to Wanda too, and how he knew what the penalty for murder was beforehand.

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Kyle argues that “it” is still alive, so Ian says that’s why he’s not asking for Kyle’s death, just for him to leave, since he’s a murderer at heart, then sits down again.  Brandt makes the good point that if Kyle is sent out, he might get caught and lead the Seekers back to the cave without warning, but Kyle says they’ll never get him alive.  Someone points out that that means it’s a death sentence after all, but Kyle says he’s survived on the outside before.

There is a bit of arguing over the risk that sending him off poses, and whether Kyle did anything wrong or not since Wanda is not one of them, and then Jared suddenly blows up about how the tribunal is not about Wanda.  He says that she’s not on trial, and no one has a complaint about her because she hasn’t harmed anyone…and in fact saved Kyle’s life just after he’d tried to kill her.  He asks if anyone else in the room would have done the same, and points out that she won’t even speak against him.

Everyone looks at Wanda when Jared says that, so he asks if she will speak against Kyle.  Wanda is stunned that Jared used her name, not Stryder’s, and that he’s speaking on her behalf instead of against her, and Stryder is overjoyed by Jared’s kindness, but torn because he said Wanda’s name.  Oh my god, really?  He’s talking to her; she did it, not you, Stryder!  Why the hell would he say your name?  You have nothing to do with what’s happening now, and that’s exactly the point!  For god’s sake, get your narcissistic head out of your ass!

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Wanda eventually speaks, saying it was all a misunderstanding and that they both fell when the floor caved in.  Ian laughs, and Jared smiles, then points out that she’s even trying to lie in Kyle’s defense.  Maggie is not convinced that it’s a lie, because there’s no proof of that, then says:

Who can prove that it’s not the truth that sounds so false on its lips?

Again, Meyer, nobody talks like that in real life.  Not in the modern day, anyway.  Seriously, the dialogue in this book is terrible.

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Maggie continues, saying that there’s no reason for them to be at the tribunal since no human was attacked and the “insidious trespasser” offers no complaint, and wow, she’s an incredibly huge fucking bitch.  Sharon seconds what she says, though, which hurts Doc, and then Trudy says they can’t house a murderer, but Maggie says that’s a subjective term; that she only considers it murder when something human is killed.

Ian puts his arm around Wanda, obviously scared of what’s going to happen, as Jared argues that “human” is a subjective term as well, and that he had thought its definition embraced compassion and mercy.  Once again, I’m going to leave this alone, because as you can see, I really cannot be bothered fighting these battles anymore.  I’m sorry if that makes these posts less interesting, but come on, we’re on chapter 35; there shouldn’t still be enough problems to make up the length that these posts are…and there are still 25 chapters left.  I’m doing the best I can.

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Sharon asks for a vote, which I’m glad for because I’ve had enough of this pointless arguing, so people start raising their hands to vote for Kyle being allowed to stay with no penalty for the “misunderstanding”.  Wanda tries to raise her hand, but Ian holds her arms so she can’t.  It doesn’t matter anyway, though, because the clear majority votes to keep Kyle.

Jamie comes over to Wanda and puts his arm around her too, then starts to chastise the others in the room, but Wanda stops him.  Jeb says he’s inclined to go with the majority and keep Kyle, so Jared and Ian try to protest, but Jeb shuts them down with “my house, my rules” again.  Of course Kyle had to stay, because where is the dramatic tension if Wanda doesn’t have at least one huge enemy?

Jeb tells Kyle and Maggie that anyone who tries to hurt Wanda again will not get a tribunal, they’ll get a burial, which pisses Maggie off, but Kyle accepts it.  Jeb tells everyone the trial is over, and asks who’s up for a game, which is odd, but meh, breaks the tension I guess.  And that’s the end of the chapter.

I didn’t get too worked up in this chapter, mostly because I didn’t allow myself to care enough about the things that would have worked me up, but also because the chapter was largely boring and ended exactly how I’d expected it would.  As I said, how could Meyer write out Wanda’s one real enemy?  There are still 25 chapters left; something else has to happen.  I hope, anyway.  But where will Wanda sleep now, if Kyle is going to stay?  He’s going to want his room back, I’d think.

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Anyway, that’s that.  Another one down.  On to the next…

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

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