So in case you forgot, at the end of the last chapter we found out that Wes was killed by a Seeker.  This chapter starts with these words from Wanda:

I killed Wes.

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Is anyone surprised that that’s how this starts?  Cause I’m not.  Meyer obviously feels it’s been too long since she’s made Wanda take the blame for something she didn’t do for the sake of reminding us of how wonderful, selfless and caring she is, so here we go again.

Skipping her emo crap about how it’s all her fault, everyone except for five people are in the kitchen eating, having just finished unpacking the truck.  I’m not entirely sure why Meyer felt it so necessary to point out that there are exactly five people missing, or to point out what the people present are eating, but hey, she’s the author, and I’m on chapter 49; I guess I really should be used to this sort of thing by now.

Jeb and Doc are explaining what happened to Jared, Ian and Kyle (because apparently Wanda already knows somehow, even though they all came in together and she claims to have helped unload, so I’m not sure when she would have found out that the others wouldn’t have), while Jamie sits with Wanda, patting her back, because he should totally be comforting his older sister instead of the other way around.  Though I guess the pain is freshest for her at the moment, or something.

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We learn that Wes died four days ago and was since buried, and then there’s more about Wanda’s grief and crying before we get the rundown on where all the other random background characters we hardly ever care about are.  The only one that seems relevant at all is Lily, since she just started dating Wes the last time we heard about him, so now we know why Meyer randomly shoved the two of them together and forced us to read about it even if it seemed highly irrelevant at the time; so we would give a shit who Wes was later when she killed him.

…Except that the scene with Lily is really the only scene I remember him from at all, so as much as I know it would suck to lose your boyfriend, it’s hard for me to feel anything here because there was really nothing in the book at all that made me feel a connection to Wes.  Wanda acts like he was some super close friend to her, but unless I’m remembering it wrong, she barely gave much thought to him at any point, so Meyer’s efforts at recreating the real emotion generated by Walter’s death have completely failed here.

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It seems that Wanda has some sort of psychic power, as she is able to describe a scar that Brandt has in detail, despite that he’s not in the room with her, and she hasn’t seen him since she got home.  The scar was caused by a bullet that I can only assume the Seeker shot at him, as it seems Wes was killed by a bullet as well; Brandt just got lucky in that his hit beneath his collarbone and not his brain, like Wes’s did.

I’m not going to bother getting into how unlikely it is that he could be shot where she describes and not sustain severe damage, because it does happen, but I will question why the hell Doc used up most of the Heal they had trying to get the bullet out, rather than performing surgery to remove the bullet since he’s a doctor, and then using the Heal to heal the wound afterward.  Now they’ve got pretty much no Heal, for no good reason.  I’m sure that’s going to come up later as something Meyer needed to happen to create her idea of tension, because otherwise it’s just stupid.

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Anyway, Brandt is fine, Wes is dead, and Brandt now has the Seeker’s gun as he and Aaron guard her (I’m not even going to pretend it’s not Wanda’s Seeker; who else could it possibly be?) in the same place that Wanda was imprisoned when she was first brought to the caves.

Meyer wastes time going on about how she and the Seeker have evened out the number of people in the caves since two have died since her coming there, acting like no one would have died ever if she hadn’t showed up.  Except two people at least would still be dead, because Walter was going to die anyway since he had cancer, and Jamie would have died of his infection without the medication that Wanda got.  So…we’re really going to go on for a page about how horrible it is that Wanda ever went there, when it really wouldn’t have been all that different in the end anyway, except maybe a little bit worse?  Great…

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Skipping all of that crap, because why would I bother, and also skipping the bit where Stryder decides to join the pity party and blame herself too, we find that the Seeker is a gigantic fucking idiot, because she thought it best to tear through the desert in an SUV to invade their cave, because when you think one of your kind has taken up with humans and you don’t know if she’s survived or not, the best thing to do is to announce your presence in the most obvious way possible so they know to come out and kill you.

Though, in her defence, it seems that’s not what happened, because despite how many people were in the caves, and the fact that they had a gun and advance notice that she was coming, she somehow managed to hurt one human and kill another before they captured her (which makes me think she must have gotten inside the caves before the attack).  I’m not sure if that’s impressive on her part or pathetic on theirs.  Going to have to go with the latter, though, honestly.

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Stryder mentions what I did about how Jamie would have been dead without Wanda, and tries to argue that Jared would be too because of what happened with the Seeker stopping their truck, but that actually wouldn’t have happened because they never would have gone on that run without Wanda.  Still, though, I guess she was the one that informed Jared that souls don’t drive over the speed limit, so he might have been caught at some point anyway, but that’s not quite what Stryder is saying here.

Wanda starts to moan about why the Seeker had to follow her, acting like it’s unfair that she would do so when she (Wanda) is not hurting the souls and is potentially even helping them by keeping Doc from experimenting on them, but she knows damn well that’s not why the Seeker was following her in the first place, so what is the point of this?

Stryder doesn’t understand why the other humans haven’t killed the Seeker yet, and somehow, Stryder questioning that leads Wanda to the realization that she shouldn’t be afraid of the Seeker because she’s not as strong or fast as even Wanda is, and the humans now have her own gun trained on her, along with the one they had before.  Where the Seeker’s gun came from, lord only knows, since she didn’t have it back when she was with Wanderer, but she brought one with her when she invaded the caves and the humans got it from her in the end, so yeah, she’s in a pretty bad position.  From that realization, Wanda figures out that the reason the Seeker is still alive is simply so that the two of them can talk before the humans kill her.

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She runs through the valid fears that the humans have about being found as a result of the Seeker’s disappearance, and describes how the Seeker’s car was left so it would look like she’d been killed by wild animals the way that it looked like Wanda had been.  She says that everyone knows the souls will not see the same thing happening twice in the same area as a coincidence, but I thought they weren’t suspicious creatures?  Why are they constantly suspicious of things, if they’re not suspicious?!

Besides, if they didn’t want to chance that the aliens would be suspicious, why didn’t they just hide her vehicle and things somewhere instead of leaving them to be found?  She took off from the other Seekers to continue her stalking of Wanda; it wasn’t like anyone was paying attention to her anymore…they probably wouldn’t have even noticed she was missing if evidence hadn’t been left behind.  Kind of a stupid move, guys.

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Wanda has the strange feeling that the Seeker will be the one who walks away from their confrontation while she (Wanda) will die, and she’s not sure why she feels that way, but it makes her want to avoid talking to the Seeker.  She doesn’t want to let the humans know she doesn’t want to talk to her, though, because they’ll shoot her or try to remove her soul.

…So?!  I mean, they wouldn’t do the soul removal because they promised not to with Wanda there, so that’s moot, which Stryder reminds Wanda of (well, not really, she just says they’re just going to shoot the Seeker, but good enough), so what’s wrong with killing her?  You’re not so innocent that you wouldn’t want to kill her when she’s a threat to you and everyone you love, and has already killed one of your own, Wanda!  You did try to kill Kyle when he was trying to kill you, after all!  And imagine if it had been Jamie or Jared she’d killed?  Or hell, even Ian, apparently?

Stryder tries to remind Wanda why the Seeker needs to die and why she should want it, and Wanda knows Stryder is right that the Seeker can’t be left alive or things will only get worse and everyone in the caves will die, but she still doesn’t seem convinced somehow.

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Jamie shakes Wanda out of her thoughts, and she realizes that Jeb has been trying to get her attention.  He asks her if she has any questions for the Seeker, because the guys that are guarding her are done with guarding and want to be with their friends so they can mourn properly.  Definitely can’t blame them there.

Wanda tells Jeb that she’ll go see the Seeker at once and gets up, despite Stryder reminding her that she doesn’t actually have any questions for the Seeker.  She says she’ll think of some, and Stryder is angry about that, because she realizes that Wanda is just postponing in an effort to find some way to save the Seeker.  Wanda says the Seeker’s death is inevitable, so Stryder makes sure to force the truth of that point home to her, which makes Wanda cringe.  You really need to get your priorities straight, Wanda.  49 chapters in, and you’re still full of shit.

Jamie and Jeb verify that Wanda is okay with what she’s about to do, and Jamie and Ian try to come with her, but she won’t allow either of them to.   As they go, Jeb tells Wanda what a complainer the Seeker is, which is “not like” Wanda…except it kind of is, the Seeker is just complaining about different things (that might seem less important) and doing so out loud, while Wanda whined endlessly where only Stryder and the poor, unfortunate readers of this book could hear her.

None of us do.

None of us do.

He says the Seeker also threatens a lot, in what sound like stupid, overdramatic TV villain ways, but that she never tries to escape, instead backing down whenever a gun is draw at her.  He says he thinks she wants to live “pretty dang bad“, which is pretty much the worst thing to say to Wanda when she’s torn on whether to let her be killed or not, but Wanda just changes the subject, asking if Jeb is sure the place they’re keeping her is the safest spot for her to be.

It’s at this point that we learn that the place they were keeping Wanda all along was actually very close to the entrance, they just managed to confuse her enough that she didn’t realize it.  Meyer goes on at length about this, though it’s really not that important (certainly not important enough to warrant all the detail she goes into), so I’m just going to skip over all that.  The Seeker is being kept close to the entrance, the same way Wanda was, but they don’t worry that she’ll escape because Wanda didn’t, and because she’s being guarded.  There, that’s all you really need to know.

Our first reintroduction to the Seeker has her spitting out a snappy, immature line and throwing her food dish like a child, which really does not seem at all in keeping with the character she was at the beginning of the book.   She was annoying then, but she wasn’t “four years old” annoying.  She continues to spout immature insults as Wanda moves closer to her, and then Wanda can see her, pacing at the end of the tunnel while the boys hold their guns on her.

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Apparently, instead of making her go into the hole they had Wanda in, they’re just letting her roam free at the end of the tunnel, and they’ve given her a mat and a pillow.  What the hell?  Why are they giving her a bunch of comforts that they never gave to Wanda?  I’m not looking at this in a “this is unfair” sense, but in a “what the fuck, this person tried to kill you and you’re giving them a bed and food?” kind of sense.  I mean, it’s also unfair, yes, especially because Wanda had done nothing to them when they captured her, but this is just fucking ridiculous even without considering that.

Is there going to be a good reason why they did this?  I sure as hell hope so.  I know Meyer made sure not to put her in the hole because it would disrupt the drama of the scene when Wanda has to confront her, but that doesn’t explain the rest of it.  And I demand an explanation, Meyer!

Wanda and Stryder both feel stung by how unfair it is that the Seeker is getting treated better than they did, and that sting becomes worse when Brandt asks Wanda if she wants a moment with “her”.  Why?  Because they’re referring to the Seeker as a female, where Wanda was referred to as “it” for the longest time.  I’d say this is unnecessary whining, but honestly, I feel it’s kind of justified; the Seeker is being given a lot more respect after killing someone than Wanda was when she’d done nothing.

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Perhaps it’s because they now realize that there’s a chance the human host is still inside, or they just understand that the aliens themselves are “people” with personalities and feelings and whatever, but that still doesn’t explain why they’d give a murderer such good treatment.  Hell, Kyle got worse treatment (at least temporarily) for just trying to kill someone, where she succeeded; this doesn’t make any goddamn sense.

Wanda says she does want to speak to the Seeker, so Aaron warns her to be careful as she walks down toward her.  The Seeker glares at Wanda and starts to taunt her, calling her “Melanie” and trying to incite her to anger by insinuating she’s a lesser soul.  Wanda tries to convince herself the hate she feels is not her own, though she knows it is, and stops a few feet from the Seeker.

Wanda makes note of the fact that she doesn’t feel safe and comfortable around the Seeker, as she usually does with those of her kind, which makes sense given she just killed someone and that prior to all of this, she kind of made Wanda’s life a bit of a living hell…and it’s probably a bit awkward and nerve-wracking facing one of your kind that knows you’ve given in to your host anyway.

This is making me wonder, though, whether any of the souls are actually as good as they think they are.  I mean, Wanda sure as hell isn’t, Seeker sure as hell isn’t…where is the proof that any of them are any nicer, kinder or gentler than any normal human you would meet?  They’re certainly very suspicious for creatures who claim to not be suspicious.

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Again, the feeling that the Seeker will live longer than Wanda will passes through her, but Stryder tells her not to be ridiculous and to just ask the Seeker whatever questions she’s come up with.  The Seeker presses for the same thing, and then asks Stryder if she asked permission to kill her personally, but Wanda lets her know that she’s now called ‘Wanda’.

She looks the Seeker over and gets a bit jealous/hurt once again when she realizes that the Seeker is also unharmed, which she wasn’t when she entered, but in the humans’ defense in this case, Wanda was only harmed because Stryder reached out to Jared, and I’m fairly certain if they hadn’t been able to capture the Seeker without hurting her, they wouldn’t have hesitated to do so.  So that’s not really as fair to hold against them as the other stuff was.

The Seeker asks again what she’s waiting for, and if she’s going to kill her with her bare hands or her gun, but Wanda tells her she’s not there to kill or hurt her, and explains that the humans have only kept her alive because they didn’t want to kill her until they knew if she (Wanda) wanted to talk to her first.

The Seeker presses again to find out what Wanda wants, and Wanda finally asks her why she wouldn’t just let her (Wanda) be dead, and why she was so determined to hunt her down when she wasn’t hurting anyone.  The Seeker jumps up and begins to yell at Wanda, telling her that she did so because she was right that there was “a vile nest of killers” out in the desert somewhere, and that she (Wanda) was with them.  So basically, she just wanted to be proven right since none of the other Seekers believed her.  Ah, pride.

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Wanda keeps questioning the Seeker, even though she retreats for the most part after her outburst, and Wanda seems to gain more resolve as her questions go on.  The Seeker does not answer the questions, but Wanda can see the answers in her eyes, as she confirms that after the aliens give up on finding the Seeker, they’ll lose interest altogether and the humans will be safe, because the other Seekers never believed her about the nest of humans in the first place.

Wanda can see the fear in the Seeker’s eyes as she realizes that Wanda is right, and Wanda feels better because she knows that the humans in the caves will be safe if that’s the case, though she still does not feel any safer herself.  She thinks about walking away from the Seeker, and wonders how soon they will kill her after she does, and in thinking about this, she realizes just how much she hates the Seeker and never wants to see her again.  Then:

The hate that made it impossible for me to allow her to die.

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What?  How does that make any sense?  If you don’t allow her to die, she’ll kill everyone.  And why would you not want her dead if you hate her?  Wtf is this shit?

Wanda begins to talk to the Seeker more quietly now, so that no one else in the room can hear what they’re saying.  She tells the Seeker that she can’t think of a way to save her, and the Seeker responds exactly the way I would like to, asking why she would want to save her since she’s one of ‘them’ (humans).

Wanda agrees that she is one of them, but says that she’s also herself, and she doesn’t want…something.  She doesn’t finish the thought out loud, but in her head she rejects the idea that she doesn’t want the Seeker to die, because she does, but realizes that what it is is that she doesn’t want to hate the Seeker so much that she wants her to die.  She doesn’t want to feel responsible for the Seeker’s death if she dies because Wanda hates her.

What the fuck?!  This is the most twisted bullshit I’ve ever heard; how is this supposed to be at all believable?  SHE IS NOT THAT SELF-SACRIFICING, Meyer!  She has not been yet, she is not now, and it’s fucking stupid to think she should feel that way!  She doesn’t want someone to die because she’ll feel responsible, even though she has said it’s her fault that the innocent person who did die died at the hands of the monster she doesn’t want to kill?  She wants to risk more lives to save one that wouldn’t save any of them?  That has made it clear how she hates them?  What is WRONG with her??

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Stryder asks Wanda if she’s insane, which she clearly fucking is, and Wanda starts thinking about the damage the Seeker has caused to everyone in the caves, and how she would definitely kill the rest of them if she was allowed to live.  But then she goes back to stupidity again and starts considering who she would be if she let her die when she could have saved her.  Umm, a person who cares about their fucking family and friends?!

Stryder goes in completely the wrong direction when she tries to get Wanda back to the side of logic by saying that they’re in a war and Wanda needs to decide which side she’s on.  Wanda says it’s clear what side she’s on, and Stryder agrees, telling her that’s who she is, but Wanda is still stuck on the idea of saving both the Seeker and everyone else for some fucking stupid goddamn reason.

Then she figures out how she can do just that, and Stryder starts to panic as she realizes what Wanda is thinking of doing.  She wants to do a trade; a life for a life.  I would think that logically that would just mean killing the goddamn Seeker because she took a life, but with Stryder’s reaction it’s clear that Wanda means to take her own for some reason, so…what the fuck kind of stupid idea is that?  Does she really think that will help anything at all?  This is the stupidest fucking shit yet.

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That’s the end of the chapter, by the way.  It ends infuriatingly, so I can go on to the next chapter wishing Wanda would die just because she deserves to for making such a stupid decision, even though, guess what, there are still 11 chapters left in the book, so that won’t fucking happen!

God I hate this book!  Where does Meyer come up with this shit?  It’s terrible writing!  Come on, 11 chapters; this cannot possibly end soon enough!

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

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