Well, this chapter was…a thing I read. I’m really not sure where the book is going, at this point. I thought this was supposed to be a sci fi romance, but it’s just really not looking that way anymore; I mean, we’re two thirds of the way through, and there’s been very little actual romance (and even less that wasn’t creepy and rapetastic), the science has all been complete crap, and now, with this chapter, we seem to be straying even further from anything that could resemble a romantic plotline. I just…don’t know what to think at all.
I guess to Meyer’s credit, the most memorable thing about this chapter was how surprising it was to me when I read it, not because of what happened (because let’s face it; we all expected this was going to happen at some point), but because of the extent of Wanda’s reaction to it. I expected a reaction, for sure, and even one along the same lines as the one she had, but this went pretty far beyond what I was expecting at one point.
Honestly, I tried very hard to like her reaction, but I just couldn’t see it as realistic, no matter how hard I tried. Parts of it, yeah, but other parts…I don’t know. I’m trying not to be hard on this chapter, but I think I might end up being anyway.
Sorry if this recap doesn’t make much sense, by the way; I’m trying to type it while my son is building a birdhouse, and anyone who knows my son knows he talks almost constantly (he’s 3), especially when he’s working on something, so it’s a bit hard for me to think clearly at the moment. Hopefully it doesn’t make this too confusing or disjointed, but if it does, I apologize.
When we left Wanda, she was running down the tunnel, so we pick up with her still in the tunnel, trying to keep from being noticed by the people whose voices she has started to hear nearby. They’re discussing something they “keep doing” and Jared and Doc’s roles in it, so it sounds like this is the same type of thing that they were talking about earlier in the book (removing the aliens from the hosts), especially since Geoffrey mentions that Jared is “more motivated” with regard to it.
The people discuss how disgusted they are about it and walk away, so Wanda keeps going, hoping to figure out what’s going on before Ian catches up to her (because she somehow hasn’t caught on to what’s going on yet, and he somehow hasn’t intercepted her yet, despite knowing exactly what she was going to do and that she probably shouldn’t do it).
She makes it to the entrance of the hospital and hears someone crying, with Jeb comforting them. This seems odd to me, because when Wanda was crying, Jeb didn’t really comfort her at all, because he was apparently uncomfortable with doing that. So he’s more comfortable comforting a man than a woman? A full grown adult than his own niece? Really? I find that hard to believe.
Wanda describes the things she hears and smells in a very vague and kind of stupid way, and then Stryder convinces Wanda to stop hiding and just go around the corner into the room, because the worst anyone could do to her is make her leave. No one notices her when she does this, so we get a description of the scene; Doc crying on the floor with Jeb comforting him, as we already knew, Jared and Kyle setting up a stretcher, and things on cots covered with blankets.
Wanda describes the things on the cots as “long and irregular, with familiar curves and angles“, yet she doesn’t figure out what they are, because she cannot piece together the things she’s heard, the place she’s standing, Doc’s emotions, and the memories I would assume Stryder would have to have of bodies lying in hospital beds covered with sheets after death, since she would have at least seen something like that on TV or in the movies at some point in her life.
There’s more description of the scene, telling us about Doc’s medical tools, and then finally the important part of the description – shimmering silver segments of souls splattered all over the room. Though Meyer describes it much more vaguely than that.
I hate this bit of it: “tiny silver strands plucked and naked and scattered“…but other than that, it was better that Meyer described it the way she did rather than simply telling us straight out that souls were splattered on the walls. She never actually directly says it was souls, but we can figure that out on our own, so yay, Wanda used her brain, and for a split second, we were allowed to use ours as readers too!
Wanda starts to scream, and this whole section is the bit I don’t like about her reaction. She is, indeed, having a “fit”, as someone describes it, and she is obviously experiencing severe panic and trauma, but…there was just something about the way this section was written that really bothered me. It didn’t feel realistic, it felt WAY over the top, and I just couldn’t get into it.
Basically, what happens is that she starts screaming, as mentioned, people notice her, the room starts spinning (from her perspective), she starts to feel like the walls are trapping her no matter which way she goes, and she starts throwing up. When I summarize it like that, it all sounds like reasonable things that COULD happen to someone who saw something as traumatizing as that would be for her, but there’s just something about the way that Meyer describes it that feels very wrong, and throws off the whole scene for me. I wish I could be clearer about what it is, but I can’t seem to put my finger on it. It just doesn’t work.
Apparently at least some of the ‘body parts’ of the souls that she can see belong to a baby, and that’s the most traumatizing thing for her, and the thing that ends up making her throw up. Someone holds onto her while she throws up, at Doc’s order (so she won’t hurt herself), and then she yells at them to get away from her because they’re all monsters and torturers.
Jared tries to calm her, but for once, even Jared isn’t able to have an effect on her, as she accuses him of being a monster as well. Doc says she’s hysterical, which sounds about right, and someone (who I’m assuming is Doc) slaps her to try to bring her around. I’ve…never heard of that actually being a thing that works or is beneficial to do when someone is hysterical, outside of in movies (in fact, it can be more damaging), but hey, it’s not the first time these characters have done things that might look good on the silver screen but would be horrible ideas in real life. It’s good to know that Meyer’s readers will know how to deal with these kinds of situations if they ever find themselves in them. Yep, kids; Doc’s medical training taught him that he should slap someone if they’re panicking, in shock and/or hysterical. Definitely.
Of course, because everything in Meyer-verse is 100% convenient, Ian shows up right as Wanda is slapped, and yells at them, asking what they’re doing to her. Someone (who I assume is Jared) says that “it” (okay, maybe not Jared; I don’t know) is “having a seizure or something“, and I weep for the complete lack of medical knowledge that apparently exists in this place. A seizure? Seriously? No. Ugh, I want to hurt myself.
“My ears were ringing, but not from the slap. It was the smell – the smell of the silver blood dripping down the walls – the smell of the blood of souls.”
…What?! What the hell is this shit? Her ears are ringing from the smell of something? Is this a thing that happens that I’ve just never heard of? Because I have tinnitus, and when I was diagnosed, it sure as hell was never explained to me that I could get ringing in my ears because of a smell! Your ears are ringing because of the goddamn slap, you stupid fucking alien, you just don’t want to admit it because then you can’t whine about the baby blood anymore! I mean fuck, I get it, the baby blood is traumatizing, but do not blame it for your ringing ears, when that’s clearly because of the slap! Why does this bother me so much?
She describes how the room is still spinning, throwing in some random memories from other planets she lived on as it does so, and this is where I totally lost any connection to this scene, and it lost all believability for me. I’m not saying something like that wouldn’t happen, I’m saying every goddamn time she mentions the stupid fucking creatures from other planets, I lose my ability to give the slightest of shits about this book or what’s happening in it. It immediately pulls me out of the story and makes me want to throw the book out the window.
She also inserts Doc smiling and reaching for her with silver trickling from his fingertips into her visions, and that’s just incredibly fucking cruel and unfair. Doc is the only one she sees in the room who is showing any emotion (well, I guess Jeb is showing empathy, but other than that it’s all hard faces), and it’s a lot of emotion; he’s clearly very upset about what has happened, so how dare you act like he is some sort of fucking murderer! You heard the people in the hallway say that Doc didn’t want to do it, it was Jared, so why the hell isn’t Jared the one you see coming at you that way??
Okay, okay, I do know the answer to that, but it still fucking pisses me off since Doc has been nothing but nice to her every step of the way, and she should have fucking picked up on that by now. She heard him crying before she ever entered the room; she should have registered that, and it should have made a difference to her. I’m very defensive of Doc, I’ve just learned.
The room spins again, then Wanda passes out, and we have a section break.
After the break, we find that Wanda conveniently does not stay passed out for very long this time; only a few seconds instead of the lengths of time she normally does. Because yeah, trauma, horror enough that you become physically sick, hysteria and getting slapped will definitely make you pass out for only a few seconds when less has made you pass out for much longer. It’s so nice to be able to bend things to suit your needs, isn’t it, Meyer?
Oh, and apparently immediately after waking from passing out, she is “all too lucid”! Yeah, totally believable given the rest of this scene! Okay, I’m seeing more and more why I didn’t like this as I read on.
Wait, okay, she was only passed out for a few seconds, but it was long enough for someone to pick her up and carry her into somewhere where it’s too dark to see anything, that’s far enough away that she can’t smell the hospital anymore? What?? Aggggh!
The “someone” carrying her is Ian again, of course, and he’s carrying her away from the hospital, because she can’t require medical attention for Meyer’s plotline to work, despite that with the evidence we’ve had of Doc’s character so far, there’s no way in hell he’d let her go without checking to see if she was okay first! He might not keep her in the hospital with the souls splattered everywhere, but he would definitely go with her and Ian to check her over and keep an eye on her, even if it would risk scaring her. But is he there? Fuck no. Just Ian and Jared.
When she wakes, Jared and Ian are talking. Jared says he thought she’d have guessed what they were up to, because yeah she sure as hell should have been able to rub two brain cells together well enough to figure that out, but she didn’t, but Ian doesn’t think that’s the point, because that’s not what she’s upset about…and he is right.
I hate to say that, because I really, really hate the way Ian talks here; one because he’s talking, once again, about how gentle and wonderful and innocent Wanda is, and how concerned she would be about humans because she’s sooo lovely, and that drives me up the fucking wall, but also because he’s very “holier than thou” toward Jared, and I don’t like that…but still, he is right. Wanda is not upset because she’s afraid that Doc is going to do the same to her, she’s horrified because of the mutilation that’s been done to the souls.
I’m…not entirely sure how any of the people involved here were stupid enough to think that just covering the human bodies would be enough to keep her from freaking out if she saw anything, and that leaving the souls in plain view would be okay, but Jared is actually even stupid enough to not figure out that that’s what upset her even after seeing her reaction. He needs Ian to spell it out for him (and even then, it takes him a minute to understand somehow), because we have to think Ian has some good qualities so we don’t hate him when he’s drooling all over Wanda, but I still do. Especially because, as I said, of his attitude here, when he’s going on about how them doing those experiments “turns his stomach”. What a change of heart you’ve had, Ian. And I’m sure it’s all entirely selfless, too.
Anyway, yeah, I hate all the dialogue here, but Ian gets his point across, and then follows it up by talking about how humans have seen “human vivisection” (there is no way in hell he would use that term ever in real life), with body parts and blood splattered everywhere, in movies and TV and stuff, so they would be more accustomed to it than poor little Wanda, who has never seen anything like that before. He says she’s “never been exposed to anything like that in all her lives“, and I’m instantly reminded of the bear creatures, Vultures, Claw Beasts or whatever the fuck, etc., that should have done things like that, but of course no, because souls are all nonviolent, so just fuck.
If she truly has never experienced anything like that before, okay, he’s got a point, but I assume she has…but either way, this would still be traumatizing for her because she may never have seen it in their actual soul form, she would never have seen people she trusted and even loved being the cause of it, I would imagine, etc., etc. Not hard to figure out, Jared. Use that big, sexy brain you supposedly have that I have yet to see proof of.
Ian talking about the “vivisection” gives Wanda flashbacks to the sights and smells she’s just experienced, and she feels like she’s going to be sick again, so she tells Ian to put her down. Ian resists, apologizing to her and saying he’ll take her to her room, but she fights back, yelling at him and shoving and kicking to get away, like a child having a tantrum. She fights so much he drops her, and she lands in a crouch somehow, then takes off running immediately. Because she never has to feel the effects of anything that happens to her at any point unless it’s plot convenient, remember?
Ian calls after her as she runs off, and Jared tries to stop him, apparently wrestling with him. Wanda keeps running, thinking once a-fucking-gain about how they’re humans so of course they’re fighting, because violence is pleasure to them. Oh, for fuck’s sake, back to this fucking bullshit again. Is that what’s happening now? We get to the last 20 chapters of the book, and we’re going to spend them going back to square one to teach Wanda how to love humans again? Fucking Christ, WHY DOES ANYONE LIKE THIS BOOK?? I cannot understand! I truly need this explained to me!!
Meyer describes Wanda running through the tunnels, and every human she encounters is described as a “monster”, but she avoids them all and just keeps aimlessly going. She goes back down the tunnel toward the game room, trying to find somewhere to be alone, and thinks about how different running down there is now, compared to earlier when she was running through excited because Jared and Jamie were home. Apparently the stones have turned evil now. Cool.
Luckily for her, the game room is empty, so she runs to the farthest end of it and – oh for fuck’s sake, more whining about how she could possibly have done shit with the humans and seen the smiles on their faces but not seen how fucking horrible they were underneath all the while because she still does not fucking understand how humans work in any way at all, even though she spends most of her time being bitchy on the inside but nice on the outside to a MUCH greater degree than any of the humans, and I’m SO FUCKING SICK OF REHASHING THIS. 40 chapters is WAY more than enough! FUCK OFF, MEYER.
She trips into a spring, then backs out and finds the wall, where she finds a depression that she curls up into. Stryder tries to calm her down, explaining that Doc wasn’t hurting anyone on purpose, but Wanda just yells at Stryder to get out of her head (-_- fuck you, bitch, it’s her fucking head you need to get the hell out of) and somehow gags her so she won’t have to hear her. Well, that would have been useful before, now wouldn’t it, Wanda?
Apparently she’s only able to do that because Stryder has become weak throughout the months of friendliness, and Wanda realizes how much she’s been allowing and encouraging Stryder to do that she should have just stopped from the beginning. I’m…not even going to get into that, because I think I’ll have an aneurysm if I do. Let’s just bask in the plot convenience again instead, shall we?
Wanda whines again about how she’ll never get the image of the alien blood out of her head, and this proves to me that Meyer carries these scenes on for far too long. I had sympathy for Wanda when she initially experienced this, but hearing over and fucking over about it is just too much. We do not need an entire chapter on just this, Meyer. We get it. We really do.
Annnd then there’s an entire page on mourning. How Wanda doesn’t know how to mourn here, how she can’t mourn in human ways about souls she’ll never know (why the fuck not? I’ve mourned for people I’ve never met when they’ve died tragically; why the hell can’t you?), and then a whole long, fucking annoying rant about how she doesn’t know how it was done on the Origin, but this one time in the Singing World she had to mourn for someone who died accidentally, and fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck FUCK. Fuck off with the other worlds shit! I’m going INSANE!
I’m not going to bother saying anything more about that whole bit about the fucking bats than I just did because I will seriously LOSE MY SHIT, so I apologize, but goddamn, you can read it yourself if you feel like being tortured. Remember, the bats are fucking blind again, so it’s fitting to be in a dark cave! Hahahahahahahahahahhahahaha!
Oh god, I need help.
So Wanda mourns in the way of the fucking bats, and thinks about how the souls’ horrific deaths wouldn’t have happened if she’d found a way out and let the Seeker know about the caves, which was never something she was ever going to try to do, so is pointless to think of. And of course she doesn’t give a second’s thought to the dead humans in the hospital wing, or the horror of what her people did to them (and all the other humans), and I’m pretty sure we’re supposed to forget that too in favour of having sympathy for her, but that is NOT GOING TO FUCKING HAPPEN, Meyer. You and Wanda can both fuck off.
Wanda wants to cry, but won’t let herself because that’s the “human way” and she wants nothing to do with humans at all anymore, I guess (again), and then complains that her mourning is “stolen” from her when the humans arrive, even though it takes them a few hours to find her. Really? You had hours to mourn and when they show up you consider your mourning stolen, even though if they never had come looking for you you ABSOLUTELY would have whined about that and used it as further proof of how they’re monsters? And how did it take them hours to find you there, anyway? Oh, fuck it.
Blah blah blah, descriptions of what she heard when people were looking for her, descriptions of the goddamn lights which are for some fucking reason so important to explain, mention of how they had to search the same damn room *three times* before finding her, which speaks to a special level of incompetence, and then someone (“another monster” -_-) finds her.
Someone asks where Ian is, someone else asks if they should get Jamie, but it’s decided that they shouldn’t because of his leg, and then Wanda feels pain from thinking of Jamie because he’s a monster just like the others. Wow. A fucking child, who has done nothing to you, and protected you every step of the way, you’re shuddering about and claiming is just like the rest of them, just because he’s human. Fucking wow. I hate you so much.
Jared shows up and shoos everyone else out, because he wants them to give her some air. They leave after repeatedly being told to, without so much as a “thanks” from Jared for finding her, and then Jared tries to talk to Wanda. He tells her it’s just them, and apologizes for what she saw, telling her they never wanted her to see it.
Wanda says nothing, but mentally scoffs at Jared for saying he’s sorry, since she heard Geoffrey say it was Jared’s idea. So…she did register that, but still blamed Doc. Awesome. She seems to hate Jared now, by the way she’s thinking about him slashing her up to “keep his favourite monster alive with him” (Stryder…and what a thing that is to say about her, given all they’ve been through).
Jared tells her it’s okay if she wants to be alone, and that he’ll just keep the others away from her if she wants, but she still doesn’t respond at all, so he touches her shoulder. She pulls away, and unlike Ian, he apologizes and stops, then walks away. Respect for boundaries! Jared understands it! Yayyyy!!!
Ian shows up then, asking where she is, and Jared tells him she wants to be left alone. Ian, as before, doesn’t respect boundaries, so he tells Jared not to get in his way, cause he’s obviously just gonna storm right the fuck in there and be there for her whether she likes it or not. Yep. Hate this guy.
Jared points out that she won’t want comfort from a human, so Ian argues that he wasn’t party to what happened, but Jared retorts that he wasn’t this time, but he’s one of them, and she sees them as monsters now, so she’s not going to want the comfort of the enemy.
Surprise of surprises; Ian doesn’t listen at all, because it’s not what he wants to hear. He demands the light, then goes and finds Wanda, who huddles into a tighter ball because she expects him to touch her. She doesn’t want him to so badly that she curls up trying to become smaller just to get away from it, but she expects it to happen. What does that tell you about how she’s felt about Ian touching her? Yeah, that’s right; that it’s exactly as rapey as it seemed. Dear god.
Amazingly, Ian doesn’t touch her this time, he just sits down somewhat near her and turns off the light. The chapter ends with Wanda waiting for him to speak, then realizing he’s not going to, and returning to her mourning. Well, at least in the end he was halfway respectful. Though I doubt “respect” was the actual motivation.
So, there you have it. Things happened, but all they did was take us back to the drawing board, and I do not fucking want to relive all the shit we’ve done so far. I want to give up on this book. I want it over. I’ve done enough, haven’t I?
I don’t want any more chapters 😦
(See Mike’s take on this chapter at http://emptystress.wordpress.com!)