I hate this chapter. It is cheesy, and stupid, and creepy, and poorly written, and I absolutely do not want to write a recap of it. Why is this book not over yet? This chapter was almost entirely unnecessary, and the unnecessary things Meyer added don’t even make sense; why do I have to keep going through this?! Agggh, this is SUCH a terrible book, for so many reasons! I don’t understand why it’s a bestseller!
Please excuse me if I rush through this one as much as possible; I don’t think it deserves the attention I’d have to give it if I were to do anything but that.
Picking up where we left off last chapter, this one starts with Jamie sitting up, then Ian asking him how he’s doing and explaining what’s going on, while pushing him to lie down again. He then gives him water, because you should totally drink water while lying down, not sitting up. Doc is too shocked by Jamie’s quick recovery to notice that, though, so he just stares as Wanda joyfully explains that it’s the No Pain that has done it. Imagine that; a painkiller curing pain!
Once Jamie gets a grasp on what the situation is, Doc informs him that he and Wanda are going to clean his wound, which he agrees to. Doc and Wanda ask him to tell them if it hurts when they cut the wound open, but Jamie just says it feels “weird”. Meyer’s description of the oozing blood and pus here is pretty disgusting, but it’s brief, because Wanda is already spraying the Clean in the wound as soon as it’s cut.
Doc is amazed as he watches the Clean work at destroying the pus, and the skin around the wound return to a more normal shade of red, and then Wanda pulls out the Heal and pours a bunch of it on Jamie’s skin.
Remember how a few chapters back, when Jamie initially got hurt, his wound was described as being quite small, and that’s why no one really thought it would amount to much? Well, apparently that small wound required Wanda to pour half the container of Heal onto it to fix it. Wanda claims that that much is “surely twice as much as was needed“, but unless these are REALLY small containers (which I can’t imagine they are, because the aliens are supposed to not be wasteful, remember?), I’d think half the container would be way more than twice as much as he would need for a small wound.
So Wanda’s being incredibly wasteful with a very important commodity that they have in limited supply, and no one cares at all; they probably just trust that she knows what she’s doing. Hint: Wanda never knows what she’s doing. Don’t trust her with this shit, especially where her emotions are involved.
On that topic, though, why is there such a limited supply available to the humans? Have they never found these medications in the aliens’ homes, or did they just not take any of the alien medication when they found it on their raids? I would assume the aliens should have some; it’s not like this stuff is any harder to use than our medications are (as I said before, it’s pretty much the exact same stuff we have, it just works faster, and if we can figure out how to use our meds, surely the ever so wonderful aliens can too)…and I can’t imagine the aliens only get hurt when they’re in close proximity to Healing facilities.
I mean, what if one of them had an encounter with a human and got injured, but they weren’t close enough to a hospital to get there in time? Or even just fell down a hill while hiking, like Wanda claimed to have done? Would the aliens really risk their kind dying rather than have them keep some medicine on hand in their homes/cars? We sure as hell keep first aid kits on hand for that reason; you’d think they’d be smart enough to do the same. Do they just not keep it in their homes so that raiding humans can’t get at it? Because that’s a pretty big risk for them to take just for that.
It seems like this stuff is so easy to use that they wouldn’t even need Healers for it, they would just need a bit of common sense to apply it (which explains why Wanda doesn’t understand it…but if it’s hard for the aliens to figure out, they could just do as we do and put instructions on the containers), so I’m not really sure what the point of having Healers even is except to guard the meds to keep them out of human hands, and perform insertions/major surgeries.
So either the aliens don’t keep any medication on hand at home, and therefore are quite stupid given the risks that poses, or the humans never bothered to take any of what the aliens did have during their raids, which makes absolutely no sense, one because they know the alien medications work better (somehow; still haven’t figured out how they knew this before Wanda showed up), and I’m sure at least Doc would be interested in studying them to see how and perhaps even why they work…and two, because they do have emergency situations, and it’s better to have alien medications in a pinch than nothing, if the aliens truly did destroy all the human medications for some reason.
Butttt having Jared and Wanda only need to raid an alien’s empty house to find medications would not have been nearly as needlessly dramatic as all this, so of course, that was not an option for Meyer. I’ll just be pissed if later in the book they’re suddenly stealing meds from the aliens’ houses.
Anyway, Wanda has Doc hold the edges of Jamie’s wound together after she applies the Heal (which Jamie says tickles), and then she applies Seal to the wound and watches it fuse together. Jamie asks if he can see what they’re doing, so Wanda tells Ian to let him up, and she explains what she’s doing as she applies the Smooth.
Jamie asks Wanda where she got the medication because “it’s like magic” (just like Jared -_-), and Wanda tells him that Jared took her on a raid. He thinks that’s awesome, and despite the fact that I use the word “awesome” a lot, something about this exchange just feels very childish again. Meyer has to realize how old she’s made this character. If she wanted him to be a little kid, she should have made him younger. But of course a little kid couldn’t have gone on a raid, and that needed to happen for all of this, right? He couldn’t just fall down in the cave and hurt himself…nope, not at all…
Doc decides he needs to smell the Smooth, because that’ll definitely help him understand how it works, and then getting back to the unrealistic and annoying dialogue, Jared starts talking to Jamie about how “incredible” Wanda was on the raid.
Sharon and Maggie apparently take off at this point, without even saying anything to Jamie, and I have to agree with Wanda when she says it’s sad that anyone can have so much hate that they can’t get past it enough to appreciate the good that has happened. She says it too dramatically, of course, but still, it is pretty atrocious that they’re both such horrible people that they care more about Wanda being wrong and evil than they do about Jamie’s health. Enjoy your bitterness, bitches.
With them gone, Jared goes on to explain to Jamie what Wanda did, except that he doesn’t know what she did, because he was hiding under a blanket in the car, so he’s just making all this up. And he’s using the stupidest phrasing to describe it; Jared does not usually talk this way, and Jamie is, once again, not young enough to warrant people talking to him in more childish terms. He’s 14 years old, people; all of you need to grow up.
Jamie loves the story though, and Stryder is sad because she realizes that she couldn’t have saved Jamie or gotten a stockpile of medication for the people in the caves, which means (in her mind) that Wanda is of more value to them than she is. Wanda reminds her that she wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for Stryder, so in that sense she saved him too, but she doesn’t do it to make Stryder feel better, she does it because she’s happy and has decided that if she’s happy, no one is allowed to be sad or feel jealous. Not because she doesn’t want them to be sad or jealous, but because she just doesn’t want to deal with it right now. So caring.
Wanda tries to downplay the experience, as she always does, and refers to herself as “a bugger” because Jared referred to the alien receptionist that way, and I absolutely hate this. I’m not actually quite sure why, it just bothers me. A lot. I hate that I keep getting that feeling from this book.
Doc asks how Wanda explained the scar on her face, and she quite matter-of-factly states that she needed to have fresh injuries so they wouldn’t be suspicious (and I still can’t help but immediately remember how the aliens are “not suspicious”…sorry), and tells them that she said she fell with a knife in her hand, like Jamie did.
Wanda gets all blissful about the situation and the people around her, and she starts to list off the people she loves. She says she loves Jamie and Jared and Ian and Jeb, and it bothers me quite a bit that Ian is on that list, considering how little he respects her and all the rest of it, but what bothers me even more than that is how she ends this list:
“Even Doc belonged in this perfect moment.”
What?! Even Doc? Doc has been NOTHING but nice to you, he took care of Jamie all that time while you fucked off in the games room, he did what he could to keep him alive after that; he’s never done anything wrong to you! And if you want to bring up the ‘butchering of souls’ thing, you know why they did that, and that Doc was upset about it…and even that it wasn’t his idea! He deserves to be in that “perfect moment” more than most anybody else there! I hate you so much, Wanda.
Ian is angry about the fresh injuries Wanda mentioned in regard to her face, so Wanda explains to him that it was necessary because she had to hide her scar and learn how to heal Jamie. Jared changes the focus from her face to the cut she made on her arm, probably to avoid anyone finding out that he was the one that caused the injuries to her face. He says she “about hacked her hand off” and that he thought she’d never use it again, but I didn’t think the cut had been that bad or that far down her arm, the way it was described. I don’t care enough to go check, though, so whatever; we’ll let Jared have his drama.
Jamie is worried at the idea of Wanda cutting herself, but she tells him it’s okay because she knew it would be healed soon after she did it, so it wasn’t bad. Jared keeps going on about it though, and again, his dialogue in this chapter drives me up the wall, because it’s so unlike him…and generally terrible in the first place. I wish Meyer could keep a handle on her characters, and stop losing their personalities/making them contradict themselves. I’m going to keep praying for consistency until this book ends, and I’m pretty sure I’m never going to find it, but this is just getting ridiculous.
Apparently Jared is stroking Wanda’s arm as he talks, and then while he’s still doing that, Ian brushes his fingers across Wanda’s cheek, and she leans into it because it feels nice. Uh…what? Now both guys are gently, romantically touching her, and she’s encouraging both? Where is Stryder on this one, and why are neither of the guys bothered by the other touching her? I don’t care if it’s the No Pain or the joy or fucking crack cocaine that’s got her so high; what is going on here?! Seriously, did Wanda and Ian start dating at some point here or something, or is she just too used to all this from him?
Ian tells her there will be no more raids for her, as if that’s his decision to make, and Jared argues with him on that, saying of course she’ll go out. He says she was phenomenal, and he can’t even imagine all the possibilities there could be with her with them. This angers Ian, and he grabs Wanda by the shoulder and pulls her away from Jared. Okay, now he’s adding not only possessive but potentially abusive to the list (which, if you forgot, was creepy, disrespectful and rapetastic); is this really what happens when Meyer tries to write a romantic love interest?!
Ian yells at Jared about “letting” her “almost hack her own hand off“, and begins to grip Wanda’s shoulder harder. Yes, hurt the girl you’re railing on Jared for letting hurt herself. Brilliant plan.
Wanda is upset that Ian’s anger is ruining her ‘glow’ (happiness), and she tells him that it wasn’t the way he thinks; that it was her idea, and she did it because she had to. That doesn’t calm Ian down any, though; he says “of course” it was her idea, because she has no limits when it comes to Jared and Jamie, but Jared shouldn’t have let her do it.
Jared asks Ian what other choice there was, and if he thinks Wanda would be happier if she’d been unhurt but Jamie had been gone, and I do not know why the hell they are having this argument in front of Jamie. The poor kid; he probably felt bad enough that Wanda hurt herself for his sake, and now everyone’s yelling about it in front of him…hasn’t he been through enough??
Ian responds that he doesn’t think she would be happier, but he still doesn’t understand how Jared could “sit there and watch her do that to herself“. What the hell else did he expect Jared to do? He just admitted that he doesn’t know any other way things could have gone and that it was better off this way, so what the fuck is he still going on about? SHUT UP, IAN! Shut up for the rest of this book, and stop touching people!
Ian starts to ask what kind of man Jared is if he can watch Wanda do something like that to herself, but Jeb interrupts him and says that it’s a ‘practical’ kind of man that can do that. And then here we go again, hearing about how Jared is magic. Yayyyyy.
“Jared’s the best at getting what we need because he can do what needs to be done…”
Yeah, yeah, yeah; we know he’s awesome, we don’t need to hear it again. But at least this time there’s a good reason why this is coming up, and that’s Jeb’s point that sometimes it’s harder to watch than to do, and Jared was able to do that because he needed to.
Having said his piece, Jeb changes the subject, saying he figures that most of the people present probably haven’t eaten in a while, and asking Jamie if he’s hungry. Jamie says he’s not sure if he’s hungry, and Wanda says that’s because of the No Pain and that he should eat, which Doc agrees with, saying he needs lots of liquids too.
And this is where things start getting really stupid.
Apparently, Jeb disappeared without anyone knowing at some point in the very short time it’s been since Jamie was healed (it can’t have been more than a few minutes), and brought back an ‘unwieldy’ box, which he drops onto the mattress at this point. He tells everyone to ‘dig in‘, as whatever is in the box is supposed to be to celebrate Jamie’s recovery.
Jamie looks through the box and finds a bunch of dehydrated meals, which is apparently exciting. Where did they get a whole box of these things? I mean, it’s possible, sure, but…oh, never mind, who cares. They’ve got dehydrated meals, everyone’s happy, Jeb wants garlic chicken and makes a completely expected garlic breath joke; whatever.
But wait, there’s more! Not only did Jeb bring a box of dehydrated meals, he also brought a bunch of bottles of water, and several portable stoves. What the hell? How – and why – did he carry all that stuff up there by himself? I can’t imagine he left while they were healing Jamie, so if he didn’t leave until after, he knew Jamie was well enough to go eat somewhere on his own…but even if he hadn’t been, I can’t imagine why Jeb wouldn’t have someone else help him carry all that crap down. I don’t even know how he could carry it all on his own. Is it really necessary to have several stoves anyway? Can’t they share?
Anyway, everybody crowds into the room, which puts Wanda in the position of being wedged between Jared and Ian, with Jamie on her lap. Yep, on her lap. She flat out mentions here that Jamie is much too old to be sitting on her lap, but says she has him there because she and Stryder had to feel their arms around him…but this is still stupid; he’s 14, he’d be too heavy for her, and potentially even tall enough that she wouldn’t be able to see past him if he sat on her lap. Gahh, this feels so awkward and wrong to picture! Couldn’t she have just held his hand or something??
Wanda begins to feel happy about everyone being there, even though they were violently angry at her just a few minutes ago, and even though one of the people in the room is Kyle. Kyle’s welcome too now, apparently. Everyone waits for Jeb to prepare the food for them, and…wait, Jeb is preparing all the food? Why isn’t anyone else preparing anything? And why did he need multiple stoves if he was going to be the only one doing any cooking? Why can’t this scene make sense even a little bit?
Stryder sighs contentedly, so happy to have Jamie on her lap and Jared still stroking her arm that she ignores that Ian still has his arm around her shoulders. This still fucking bothers me. A lot.
The next few paragraphs are stupid sappy crap between Stryder and Wanda, and then Wanda going on at length about what it is about human love that’s so much better than alien love, and I just do not fucking care, so I’m not going to bother going into detail about this section. It’s ridiculously cheesy, unnecessary, attempts to make humans look worse than aliens again at one point, and with how much the rest of this chapter has already fucking sucked, I just cannot deal with more crap right now. Sorry about that.
The only part I will mention is this one:
“This love was tricky; it had no hard-and-fast rules – it might be given for free, as with Jamie, or earned through time and hard work, as with Ian, or completely and heartbreakingly unattainable, as with Jared.”
I hate the way this is worded. She won Ian’s love through “time and hard work“? I think I get where Meyer was trying to go with that line, but it doesn’t sound the way she means at all; it sounds like Wanda took the time and effort to make Ian love her, or that Ian’s time and effort made her love him, when neither of those things are true. Wanda wasn’t ever seeking his love (nor did she want it, up until recently, apparently, out of fucking nowhere), and if she feels anything for him now, it’s not love, it’s fucking Stockholm Syndrome, so no, his time and effort didn’t make her love him, it just made her so used to his constantly fucking touching her that she stopped fighting back or pulling away.
I refuse to believe she could love him after how he’s treated her, and I absolutely hate that Meyer broadcasts these sorts of messages to her audience. Many guys know that women read these books and get all swoony over them, so women look at these and see that this is how a man is supposed to treat you if he loves you, and men look at it and see that this is how women want to be treated. But Ian is a little abusive, very rapey, very creepy, does not respect boundaries, and is incredibly selfish and manipulative, as well as overly possessive; this is not the type of person anyone should ever want to be or be with! It’s horrible! This is not love! I repeat, to all Meyer’s readers: THIS IS NOT LOVE!!
Aggh, this makes me angry, uncomfortable, and worried about so many people I do not and will not ever know. I hate this book for so many reasons, but I also hate Meyer too, for convincing young readers that this shit is romantic.
After Wanda’s rant about love, everyone eats their food and then decides to go to bed. A bunch of people leave, but some stay, deciding to sleep on the floor instead of going back to their own beds for some reason. There is absolutely no good explanation for why they’d do this; Jamie is fine, and they didn’t even do that when he wasn’t fine. Oh, wait, plot convenience. Of course! How could I forget? -_-
Wanda lays with her head on Jared’s stomach, his hand in her hair, and she has Jamie’s head on her chest (actually, she says his face is against her chest, which is a bit disturbing when it’s your sister, but whatever), his arms around her neck. Of course, that’s not enough; Ian has to be in the mix somewhere…so Ian lays with his head on Wanda’s stomach, and her hand is on his face. This is SO FUCKING WRONG. I mean, if they were polyamorous it would be fine, but they’re not! This is just weird, and I don’t know how either guy or Stryder are okay with this!
Doc is laying on the floor next to Wanda, and Kyle is apparently touching her somehow (that better not be a thing that happens more than once, or I’m going to lose it), and Jeb is in Jamie’s bed, proving that it’s not about caring for Jamie, because if that’s why they were all there, Jamie would be in the bed.
Jeb comments on what a nice night it’s been and thanks Wanda for that, but she’s half asleep, so she doesn’t really respond. Kyle says he wants to come the next time she raids, so apparently he’s now a fan of Wanda too (so realistic!), and that stirs up shit with Ian again, because he’s right back on the “she’s not going out again” train.
Wanda strokes Ian’s face to calm him down and says she won’t go unless she’s needed because she’s fine with staying the caves. Ian says he’s not keeping her prisoner and that she can go jogging on the highway if she wants, but not on a raid. He says it’s because he wants to keep her safe. So…jogging on the highway alone would be safer than going on a raid with a bunch of guys? Oookay…
Jared says that they need her, and the argument starts all over again; Jared arguing that she can get important things that no one else can, and Ian arguing that they survived without her raiding before, and she’s not a tool. Yeah, try to make Jared look bad and you look like the hero, Ian. I’m totally falling for it.
Jeb interrupts again and says it’s up to Wanda if she wants to raid, but Ian doesn’t like that; he doesn’t think the decision should be left up to Wanda. What is she, a child? How dare you say things like that about her? Jeb reminds Ian that Wanda has her own mind and can make her own decisions, but Ian argues that too, and starts to question Wanda to prove his point.
He asks her if she wants to go on raids, and she says she should if she can help, and can’t understand why that’s the wrong answer when he’s displeased with it. Ian says she’s not taking into account her own wants, happiness or health, she just does anything they ask, even if it might get her killed. He says it’s not fair to ask her to do things the same way they’d ask one another to do them, because they think of themselves but she doesn’t.
OH YES SHE FUCKING DOES, IAN. Far more than you know. And even if that was the case, you still don’t get to make decisions for her. If she wants to sacrifice herself, she can sacrifice herself. Fuck off.
Everything goes silent for a bit, and then Wanda pipes up and says that it’s not true that she doesn’t think about herself; in fact, she thinks about herself all the time. That might be the most truthful thing she’s said in this entire book! Hallelujah!
She says she wants to help; that it made her happy to help Jamie…and asks if she can find happiness the way she wants to. Ian tries to use that as an example of why she can’t make her own decisions again, but Jeb ignores Ian’s “point” and says he can’t stop Wanda from going if she wants to, because she’s not a prisoner anymore.
Ian continues to try to get his way by saying they don’t have to ask her to help, because then she won’t do anything, and because Jared’s not replying, Wanda says no one needs to ask, she volunteers. She says the other souls were very kind to her, and she’s not afraid of them, so it’s easy. Ian tries to interrupt, but she cuts him off and tells him cutting herself was an emergency, and there won’t be any more of those, so it’s irrelevant.
Ian finally gives up and says if she’s going, he’s going too, because someone has to protect her from herself. FUCK OFF, YOU CREEPY BASTARD! You do not have her best interests at heart; we know you don’t! You want to protect her from Jared, not herself! You don’t want her to be in love with him instead of you, and she juuuuust might be if she raids with him without you, isn’t that right??
Kyle makes a comment about being there on the raids to protect everyone else from Wanda, which seems to have been a joke, but someone hits him anyway. Jared says he’ll be there to bring everyone back alive, because he is FUCKING MAGIC, and that’s the end of the chapter.
Yeeeeah, I’m much more annoyed now than I thought I would be at the beginning of writing this, and that’s impressive. Fuck, I hated this chapter so much. It was worse than I’d even thought the first time around, and I kind of failed at making this a quick recap because of that! This book would have been much better if this chapter wasn’t in it at all…though I don’t expect the chapters are going to improve very much after this one. Hopefully a little, though, at least…for my sanity.
Till next time.
(See Mike’s take on this chapter at http://emptystress.wordpress.com!)