Tag Archive: Stryder

Well, at the end of chapter 10 I didn’t think I could possibly hate Wanderer any more than I already did…but then there was chapter 11.  This really bodes well for the rest of the book, doesn’t it?


Reading this chapter, I’m starting to feel like Meyer wants us to hate Wanderer.  Why else would she write her this way?  I can’t see how anyone, after reading this chapter, could have any sympathy for or a connection to Wanderer; she’s nothing more than a selfish, ignorant, egotistical bitch.  I’m honestly not sure what the point of this chapter was if it wasn’t to enforce that.

But why make us see her that way?  Maybe so we can see how skewed the views of the aliens are, since they think she’s so special and perfect and everything wonderful in the world?  Or is this actually Meyer’s idea of a relatable character?  Because if teens can actually relate to someone like this, please, shoot me now.  Not even kidding; just kill me.


Let’s just dive on into the chapter though, shall we?  It’s gonna be a long trip, I’m guessing, with the length of this one, so we’d better get started.

So the chapter starts with…wait, what?  No, this can’t be happening…oh my god…Wanderer was WRONG about something?!  Holy shit! I could NEVER have seen that coming!  She’s so worldly and wise and spectacular; how could she EVER be wrong?!?! MY WORLD IS CRASHING DOWN!!!


In all seriousness, of course she was fucking wrong.  I don’t even need to know what she was wrong about to have no doubt that she was wrong, because I’ve read the rest of the chapters up to this point, and that’s just the kind of person Wanderer is.  Wrong.  It is quite nice, though, to see her admitting that she was wrong; that’s a first! Character growth, maybe?! I won’t get my hopes up, but hey, it looks good for now.

Since the last chapter, Wanderer apparently decided to completely ignore Stryder’s advice and drive in the wrong direction for a while, resulting in them having to backtrack and running out of gas as a result.  Brilliant.  To add to that brilliance, when the car ran out of gas, Wanderer let it nosedive into a shallow gorge…because not having gas makes a car completely useless in the future, and they couldn’t possibly have, you know, gotten more gas when they finally sorted things with Jared and Jamie, and driven in Jared’s car back to the rental car so that they would have a backup vehicle if need be.  No, it makes more sense to just let the car roll into the gorge.  Realizing you’ve been an idiot once doesn’t stop you from being an idiot again, does it, Wanderer?

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So Wanderer sits in the car, wallowing in her own self-pity, until Stryder convinces her that they have to get going.  Wanderer packs the water bottles into the backpack she ‘bought’, as well as the granola bars, of course doing so very slowly.  She is so fucking smart she hasn’t yet figured out that she might want to hurry the hell up, because she’s wasting daylight and, inevitably, food/water, because the longer she’s dilly dallying around in the desert, the more supplies she’s going to have to go through to be able to keep going.

Stryder pushes her to move faster, understanding the gravity of the situation, and Wanderer complains about her sore back.  Meyer feels she has to point out that the sore back is a result of the way she slept, not the weight of the pack, which of course it fucking is, Meyer, she just put the pack on now! If her back was already hurting from it, she wouldn’t survive five steps!

Stryder tries to convince Wanderer to cover the car so no one will find them, which is AGAIN a smart suggestion, but Wanderer, who not long ago was all afraid someone would help them and they’d get caught, now WANTS to be found so she can ‘get home’.


This woman never fucking thinks ANYTHING through, does she?! She JUST fucked up by not listening to Stryder!  Stryder questions Wanderer on where ‘home’ would be, and instead of actually thinking about that and taking it as a valid point, or learning fucking anything from the last time Stryder was right and Wanderer fucked everything up, Wanderer ignores her again and just walks away from the car.


Her reasoning for doing so is just MORE self-pity, and she refers to what she’d tell a ‘rescuer’, if one found her, as being an ‘honest’ explanation (that she was lost and lost control of her mind and blah blah blah), but it’s completely fucking not, and she knows that!  It’s a flat out LIE, that’s proven by the fact that instead of trying to head back, she IS continuing on with the plan, so how the hell can she consider it an honest explanation?  She’s not lost, she hasn’t lost her way or her control, and she DAMN WELL KNOWS IT!!  She and Stryder even talked about that! God, if she was a real person, I’d have stabbed her by now.

There’s another wonderfully pointless paragraph here about the way that Wanderer is walking, where Meyer refers to it as both her ‘natural rhythm’ and ‘not her walk at all’, which is contradictory and stupid.  Add to that that she’s apparently moving at a speed that surprises her until she gets used to it, despite that she’s the one controlling her body and she’d be walking off of MUSCLE MEMORY ANYWAY, and you have Meyer trying to show you that Stryder has control while telling you that Wanderer does, and there’s really no reason for that at all, since it begins and ends there.


Wanderer starts talking out loud again at this point, and then for the rest of the chapter she seems to switch back and forth between speaking out loud and thinking her communication to Stryder, and I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why Meyer did that.  There’s no benefit to her speaking certain lines out loud and not others, and at one point in this chapter it would actually have been more dangerous for her to say it out loud than to think it, so it just does not add up.  All I can really attribute it to is inconsistent writing and either a terrible editor or a complete lack of editing.  Either way, it annoys me.

Wanderer and Stryder discuss what would have happened if Wanderer hadn’t come that way (meaning driving in the direction of the desert instead of flying or whatever else), which is another completely pointless discussion, and they “flinch together at the thought” twice during this conversation, and that makes my skin crawl, because it’s so fucking stupid.  Stryder begs Wanderer not to hurt Jamie and Jared, even if she does betray Stryder, and Wanderer says she wouldn’t cause she’d rather…die or something.  It was almost a moment to feel like Wanderer actually cared about someone other than herself, until the “than give a few stray humans up to the Seekers” line, which proves that she STILL views the humans as not as good as her, and thinks that she is worth what she knows is either the death or ‘imprisonment’ of multiple humans, one of whom is a child, at least on some level, even if she can’t bring herself to actually kill them or give them up because of guilt.  Well, at least there’s that.

Stryder suggests that they walk in a certain direction, and because she’s STILL learned nothing, Wanderer resists that idea because she wants to be able to easily get back to the highway, which she won’t be able to do if she leaves the connection to the main road, despite that she knows damn well if she was going to go back, she’d have done it already.  There’s a discussion about faith and how Wanderer has none, which I really could not possibly care less about, aside from being annoyed that Wanderer is using entirely the wrong definition of ‘faith’, and then Wanderer is a bitch when Stryder suggests trusting her, which is uncalled for, because Stryder is TRYING to be nice and make her feel better, but what else is new?


In the end, it seems that Stryder does get Wanderer to go her way, and then there’s a lengthy description of how hot it is, which leads up to – you guessed it – more Wanderer being an idiot!! Yay!!!!!!  This time, she’s drinking all the water, despite that Stryder’s repeatedly telling her not to and warning her that she will want it more tomorrow.  Wanderer, being the endlessly brilliant, selfish bitch that she is, doesn’t listen at all despite the start of this chapter, justifying her stupidity by saying:

I’d already given her so much today that I was in no mood to listen. I drank when I was thirsty, which was most of the time.


Holy fuck, I want to kill her.  Can I kill her?  Please let me kill her.  How the hell can she actually think that way?  The beginning of this chapter is her going on about how it’s all her fault that they’re in a bad situation, and now she’s saying she’s “already given her so much today“?  What the fuck did she give her??

Today, so far, she’s sent them in the wrong direction, which made them run out of gas, NOT covered the car like Stryder asked her to, done everything slowly when she should have hurried the fuck up, whined and complained and argued with everything Stryder has said, acted like a bitch when Stryder was nice, and now ignored advice about water consumption from the person who LIVED THIS WAY FOR SIX YEARS.  What the fucking hell is WRONG with her?? She has given NOTHING to Stryder today, or any OTHER day, aside from trouble, and she’s so fucking self-involved and selfish and just….AGGGHH!!! I’m going to break something!! I can’t stand people like this!  Why would you ever write a character so completely hateable??

Even if she HAD done ANYTHING for Stryder today, how the hell does that give her the right or even make it SMART to drink whenever the fuck she feels like it, when she has a limited supply of water and is walking through THE FUCKING DESERT?!?  Oh my god, okay, I need to take a break now.  I’m seriously going to hurt something, or myself.


Alright, I’m okay now, I think.  *deep breath*

Okay, so there’s a few paragraphs of boring description of Wanderer walking through the desert, and what she sees as she does so, then we learn that not only did Wanderer just drink way too much fucking water, she also ate ALL the goddamn granola bars.

…Words fail me here.  I’m trying to keep myself from freaking out the way I did about the water, but my god, SERIOUSLY?!  How many times can one person fuck up in one day and still not become self-aware enough to STOP??

So she ate the chips she bought before the trip even began, and by day two, has indulged in WAY more water than it’s safe for her to give up, and ALL of the granola bars.  There’s no mention of what happened to the roll of donuts she bought, and when she was packing her backpack at the car, she only put in water and granola bars, so I’m guessing she was snacking away on those while driving in the wrong fucking direction all morning.  What does that mean?  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, she ate ALL THE GODDAMN FOOD IN ONE DAY.  Forethought.  It’s a thing.  Get some.


My god, this woman.  At this point, she deserves to die from starvation.

After Wanderer’s most recent act of complete and utter stupidity, night begins to fall, and Stryder finds a place for them to sleep.  She’s very thoughtful about it, scouting out the best spot for their safety, rather than just deciding to make Wanderer lie down anywhere.  Wanderer, on the other hand…oh, Wanderer.  Wanderer, Wanderer, Wanderer.  How the FUCK are you SURPRISED that you have to sleep on the ground?!!?!  What the hell did you THINK would happen if you were walking through the desert and needed to rest?  Suddenly lush hotel beds would just pop up from the ground?

She is seriously the most vapid person I have ever encountered.  I do not understand how someone this stupid can exist, even in a fictional world.


Stryder tries to make Wanderer feel better about the sleeping arrangements by pointing out that it’ll be more comfortable than the car, and that no ‘critters’ will bother her…and somehow, in these two days and one night they’ve been going through the desert, it seems they’ve never encountered a single insect, snake or other creature even once, and Wanderer has also COMPLETELY forgotten that she once was one of those ‘critters’, because she freaks out over the idea of them.  Consistency, consistency, consistency.

Either way, Stryder’s attempts to comfort Wanderer about the situation fail, because Wanderer is the most negative person EVER, and she becomes afraid of the ground and getting killed by wild dogs, which of course has to lead to her bringing up yet ANOTHER stupid fucking alien species and planet.

“The claw beast on the Mists Planet, sure.  At least there’d be some dignity in being taken down by that.”


…I cannot put into words how much I hate this segment.  I mean, where do I start?  Maybe I just shouldn’t even bother starting.  That’s probably the safest bet.  This is long enough as it is, and I don’t even think I’m halfway through the chapter.  Yeah, I’m not gonna touch this one.  It would be bad.

Stryder tells Wanderer to stop being a baby and get some rest, Wanderer responds in a bitchy, sarcastic manner, true to form, and then there’s this:

She was turning into a tyrant.  It made me think of the human axiom Give him an inch and he’ll take a mile.”


Once again, what the FUCK have you GIVEN her?  You made your OWN decision to look for Jared and Jamie, and all she asked of you was that you don’t hurt them if you succeed in that mission, and other than that, all you’ve done is be a bitch and fuck her over!  My god, Wanderer, you are so fucking delusional it hurts!

And Stryder is a tyrant?  REALLY?  All she did there was try to calm you down and make you feel better when you were freaking out about sleeping on the ground, and tell you to get some sleep!  I have to assume you have NO idea what that word actually means! It applies to YOU far more than her!

Agggh all of the anger! This chapter is the worst yet, and I didn’t think it could get much worse than it already was!  I am seriously longing for the good old days, when I was still reading chapter eight…


Despite all her complaints and paranoia, Wanderer yet again falls asleep quickly, so I’m hoping she’ll just stop whining all the time and go to sleep right away from now on…but I don’t see any evidence that Wanderer ever learns from anything, so I’m not going to hope for that too much.

Wanderer wakes up and decides to drink more water, once again ignoring Stryder’s disapproval of that idea, but finally realizes that surprise surprise, she’s been an idiot and has already downed more than half of the available water.  She is alarmed by this (despite her own thought that she would drink when she was thirsty, and she was thirsty a lot), presumably because she really is incapable of putting two and two together, but luckily that alarm leads her to decide not to take a drink after all, so it all works out.

She finds herself feeling too hungry to ignore it after what seems to be only a short time walking, which is definitely a good sign, and by the afternoon, she’s in pain.  Stryder reminds her that they’ve been hungrier, and Wanderer bites back that she (meaning Stryder) has been, because how dare Stryder say anything without Wanderer whining about it, and then Wanderer sees the next landmark they’ve been looking for.


Apparently they just have to see the landmark and then turn in the next direction, not actually reach it, so I guess that’s easier?  I’m not sure I’d really feel so safe about these directions, but meh, best they’ve got.  Meyer had to come up with some way of getting them there, after all, and you can’t conveniently move people with no explanation more than once per book.

Stryder basically cheers Wanderer on to keep her going despite her tiredness, and Wanderer has finally submitted to letting Stryder control when she drinks, so they conserve water better.  Yay, things are making sense for once!  Wanderer is proud of herself for being so tough, which is the most laughable thing I could possibly imagine, given everything she’s done so far, so she decides to reward herself by walking along a dirt road because it’s easier, despite Stryder’s wariness about it.  Well, that period of intelligence was short-lived.


Stryder doesn’t put up a huge objection to it, though, just feels uneasy about it, so Wanderer goes ahead toward the road, though she feels paranoid, which makes her pay more attention to her surroundings.  Doing so rewards her when, after a whole bunch of pointless description that Meyer really shouldn’t have bothered with and that I really kind of hated because vision doesn’t work that way, Wanderer realizes that there’s a small, weathered building ahead of her.  Huzzah!

There is an ENTIRE PAGE of Wanderer and Stryder going back and forth about whether the building is abandoned or not, and what would happen if they encountered a human or an alien there, padded by even MORE bullshit about how the aliens “live for society”, because we haven’t been over that three million times already!


As always, Wanderer fucking blames Stryder for “making her into” a transient person, despite yet AGAIN saying right before that that she has a long history of being that way, and I’m led to wonder why the FUCK Meyer keeps shoving this down our throats.  We fucking GET IT, Meyer, the “souls” are social people and she’s not, she’s so fucking different and misunderstood and we should cry rivers of tears for her because she can’t fucking take responsibility for her own actions, words or even her own PERSONALITY, and it’s oh so hard for her!

She says right the fuck in this pointless bullshit that she doesn’t WANT to belong with them, and I’m pretty sure since she never has in all her lives, she never did, so how can she STILL be blaming Stryder for this?  How many times does she have to THINK about this stuff before it actually sinks in for her?  Does Meyer just completely forget that she’s already been OVER this, every time she brings it up??

Oh wait, now she’s blaming the PLANET too, either for making her like this or revealing that it’s how she is…no, fucking idiot, it has already been revealed that this is what you are REPEATEDLY, and that you already knew that about yourself!  GET OVER IT.


I am slowly going stabby…

Anyway, yes, there is a page of bullshit and argument between the girls, which is, indeed, pointless, since in the end they (of course) end up deciding to go into the damn abandoned shack anyway, and then there’s a discussion about weapons.  Stryder wants to look for something they can use as a weapon, which might be smart considering how freaked out they both just got about running into someone of EITHER of their kinds, and because a weapon could be useful in capturing food for themselves, but Wanderer shudders and rejects the idea anyway.

“No weapons“, she says, because her people aren’t like that…because it wasn’t mentioned right in the first couple of chapters that the Seekers chased down Stryder with weapons, which Wanderer saw the memory of, so they both could have pulled that to mind even if they had nothing else to go on regarding this topic.


Stryder asks how “such spineless creatures” could beat the humans, and Wanderer answers that they did it with stealth and superior numbers, which makes exactly as little sense as we’ve already been over about the infiltration in previous chapters, so I’m leaving that paragraph as it is, because fuck it.

There’s the equivalent of another page just describing the little shack, but I’m not going to knock it, because I totally understand why it was done, there’s just not much for me to say about it.  I am surprised that at no point are any bugs described as being in a place as run down as the shack is, but meh, that wouldn’t have added a whole lot to the scene anyway, I guess, so who cares.

Wanderer tries to use the sink, though both she and Stryder know that won’t work (Wanderer for much more egotistical reasons than Stryder, but there’s no surprise there), and then goes through the cupboards looking for anything useful.  She finds some old newspapers which detail how horrendous humans are, and I sincerely hope there’s never been a paper with that much bad in it all at once, and where a child being burned alive didn’t make the front page, but if the last chapter is in any way a valid view of what things are like in the US, it may just be very different there in terms of their media coverage than it is in Canada.  I just hope not.  Either way, while things may generally suck and bad things do happen a lot in our current world, I have a hard time believing that it has EVER been that bad, all at the same time.


Stryder tells Wanderer that those are the exceptions, not the norm, which is true, because it’s gratefully a very small percentage of the human race that is actually capable of committing acts like those outlined in the newspaper she finds.  Wanderer still tries to use this to back up why her kind thought they could do better with Earth, because we didn’t deserve it, but that still doesn’t make it okay that the aliens did what they did, for reasons I’ve outlined before, especially when it’s the exception, not the norm.

Stryder suggests that if the aliens had wanted to cleanse the planet, they should have blown it up instead (which would certainly be preferable to alien mind control, methinks), and Wanderer makes a “joke”:

“Despite what your science fiction writers dream, we simply don’t have the technology.

…You…don’t have the technology to blow shit up, but you have the technology to travel the universe in cryogenic tubes and take over the body of anything you want when you reach your destination?  You are capable of such stealth that you can take over EARTH, but you can’t blow shit up?  What?  Maybe this goes back to the whole “no weapons” thing, and you don’t have the technology not because you’re not that advanced, you just don’t have it because you’re oh so peaceful and kind and don’t use weapons…but you used them on Earth, and WE have the technology to destroy ourselves, so if you were going to fuck us anyway, why didn’t you just blow us up using our own technology?


I still don’t get why these aliens go where they do in the universe.  At this point, it just seems to be because they, for some reason, think they ‘deserve’ all these worlds more than the planets’ original inhabitants do, so I guess if that’s the case, they wouldn’t blow it up, so it’s got nothing to do with technology anyway.  Oh wait, yeah, Wanderer also says it’s because Earth is such a lovely planet (though of course she needs to add a complaint in there about the desert), so it’s really just more selfishness on their part.  Yep, they’re pure and wonderful and perfect, alright!

And the reference to science fiction writers…I have a hard time believing Wanderer has experienced much, if anything, of our science fiction writers, for various reasons…but oooookay, Meyer…


Stryder informs Wanderer that the aliens making everything all perfect and peaceful and whatnot is exactly how the humans figured out they were there, because it was suspicious, and…okay, yeah, I’ll give Wanderer that one; that kinda sucks for us as humans.  It’s really kind of terrible that in reality, if things were suddenly far better on Earth, we would know something was wrong.

Yep, that’s depressing.  Well, thanks for that, Meyer.


Still, that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t have fought back when we did notice their presence, and I’d be willing to bet we’d have been the ones to come out on top, even if they had superior numbers, because we are both willing and would be, in that case, extremely motivated to use weapons.  We’re surprisingly resilient, and yes, we kill shit when we’re really angry.  It would not go well for you, ‘peace-loving’ aliens.

Anyway, Wanderer opens another cupboard and finds crackers! Yay! Considering the age the newspapers supposedly are, these crackers must be outlandishly disgusting, but meh, she’s probably going to eat them anyway.  I guess anyone would without any other options for food, though maybe not after only one (not even full) day.  She also finds Twinkies, because this is a post-apocalyptic book, and Meyer needs to draw on every post-apocalyptic cliché she can.  I didn’t even mention that the shack has a ‘dogs playing poker’ painting in it, because it is really that clichéd (not that that one has anything to do with the apocalypse; it’s just used/mentioned in everything).

I’m really not sure that so many people actually have Twinkies that they’d be something found in a shack in the middle of nowhere, but hey, maybe it was supposed to be a shelter for the apocalypse in the first place.  Strange that there wouldn’t be more of use in it if that were the case, but still possible.  We’ll go with that, for simplicity’s sake.


Stryder notices three bottles of bleach at the back of the cupboard, and Wanderer can’t figure out why she’d be interested in them, so of course her mind naturally goes to violence, because that is completely in line with everything else we’ve learned about the peace-loving aliens, and definitely matches up with Wanderer’s disapproval of the idea of getting weapons.  Yep, consistency; this book has it.

Wanderer gorges on the stale crackers, as expected, having still somehow learned nothing from the water and granola bar incidents (and having not considered that salt will dry her out when she has only a limited supply of water), while Stryder explains that her dad used to store water in bleach bottles because it kept the water from growing anything, which is a pretty useful thing for him to have done and her to have remembered.  Clever.

Wanderer manages, with some effort, to open one of the bleach bottles, and finds that Stryder is right: It is water.  Stagnant water, as it is described, but water nonetheless, so Wanderer drinks it.  No, sorry, she guzzles it.  Again with the not learning anything.  At this point, I’m pretty sure she never will, so we’re going to have to keep seeing this happen.

Stryder manages to get Wanderer to slow down on the water, which Wanderer is okay with because she “wanted something solid now that the salt burn had eased“, so she turns to the Twinkies.


Why.  Why are you still not learning? Why. You just gorged on the first food you’ve come across all day, rather than trying to conserve any for tomorrow, then guzzled down water you were lucky to find, and now the only other thing you’ve found to eat, you’ve decided to eat too instead of saving it?  Please die now.  Just, please.  Put us all out of our misery.

I’m not actually too sure whether she eats the Twinkies or not, because Meyer’s description is just:

“I turned to the box of Twinkies and licked three of the smooshed-up cakes from the inside of the wrappers.”

It sounds like she didn’t eat them, but that’s incredibly hard to believe, especially since licking them wouldn’t satiate her desire for something solid, but that sentence is so poorly worded that I’m just not sure.  The end of it is just…anyway, whatever.

Finding nothing more in the cupboards, Stryder wants to leave, so Wanderer packs up, gets rid of the empty water bottles she’s been carrying (hey, at least she doesn’t litter), and out they go.  Wanderer mentions how heavy the bleach jugs are, but that she’s comforted by their weight because it “meant I wouldn’t stretch out to sleep on the desert floor thirsty and hungry again tonight“.


…When have you done that before, Wanderer?  You’ve only slept on the desert floor for one night, and that was just after drinking over half the water, eating ALL the granola bars, and presumably all the donuts, too, so you sure as hell shouldn’t have been thirsty or hungry when you went to sleep.  Meyer, even if you’d done one quick proofreading scan here, you’d have seen this error.  Come on, now.  This is ridiculous.

I’m also pretty sure that it shouldn’t still be “bright afternoon” when Wanderer leaves the shack, since it was afternoon way back when it was mentioned how her hunger had become painful, and then there was a bunch of stuff described after that that made it sound like she walked for a while longer, but that’s a small detail, so meh.  Just another thing Meyer probably should have proofread to catch.  I’m now even more sure than before that she didn’t have an editor for this book, or that if she did, they didn’t actually read the book.

And finally, thankfully, that is it for the chapter.  My god, that was painful, and took approximately FOREVER to get through.  I beg of this book not to have any more chapters that long…I don’t think I can handle that again…


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

The Host Recap – Turned (Chapter 10)

Chapter 10 starts with Stryder and Wanderer in a convenience store, gathering supplies for their trek to the mountains to find Jared and Jamie.  Wanderer is all freaked out because she’s defying her kind and feels that she’s being a criminal, so the palms of her hands feel cold even though the room she’s in is hot, because that’s a thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.  I’ve felt the backs of my hands or my fingers get cold when the rest of me is hot, but the palms?  Pretty sure I don’t feel temperature specifically in those too much, especially not temperature differing from everything else around me, unless I’m laying the palm of my hand on something that is a certain temperature.  But remember, Wanderer is special.


Wanderer and Stryder are both suddenly referring to themselves as “we” and “us” in this chapter instead of “I” (right from the second line), and that doesn’t feel right to me, because they’ve only just started working toward the same goal, and there’s no guarantee they’ll even continue doing that.  It just seems a bit quick to jump into “us” territory, for two people that hated each other moments ago; like calling someone your boy/girlfriend when you’ve only spoken once…but maybe I’m just dangerously commitment phobic.

I also find myself feeling uncomfortable every time they really interact with each other, because it feels like two preteen girls, the way Meyer makes them talk, and picturing that with everything that’s gone on, that’s going on and that I know is to come just doesn’t feel right to me.  In other words, there’s nothing about this chapter that feels right to me, and I’m not looking forward to this being the way the book is for the next…50 chapters :(


I am glad, though, that Wanderer finally refers to herself as pathetic.  She is definitely pathetic, and it’s nice that she’s finally realizing it.  And the one good part about Stryder and Wanderer being so suddenly completely connected is that at long last, someone else is laughing at Wanderer and her emo, self-absorbed bullshit aside from just me.  Well, and Mike, and all the rest of the people who read this book without falling all over themselves about how wonderful it is, I guess.

Anyway, Wanderer tries to convince herself that she’s not doing anything wrong in doing what she’s doing, and that she’s actually just doing it so she can provide more information to a Seeker (but not her Seeker, of course, though we still can’t fucking give that woman a name to make this easier, apparently), but that’s obviously a complete lie and everyone knows it, including Wanderer and Stryder, so Stryder pays no mind to it.

Wanderer decides that the fact that Stryder knows that Wanderer’s lying to herself must mean that it’s “too late” for her, I’m assuming because she thinks Stryder feels she’s got that much control, and not just that she knows that Wanderer is fucking weak and will, of course, go along with the Jared plan now because she got all sappy about it.

Stryder points out that no, it is not “too late”, however much she might wish it was, because she still can’t control her own body; Wanderer still has that power.  Wanderer describes these retorts from Stryder as “a moan of frustration“, and that is not a way I’ve ever heard a sentence described.  Her thoughts can’t be a moan; a moan is a moan and is a sound of its own.  It could accompany the thought, but that’s not what Meyer says here.  Nitpick, sure, but it’s annoying.


This is followed by Stryder giving “the mental equivalent of a snort” to another pointless thing Wanderer thinks, and I’ve gotta tell you, I’d love to hear what the mental equivalent of a snort would sound like.  I’m going to have to get into Meyer’s brain sometime and figure out what goes on in there, because it doesn’t seem to be at all the same as what happens in a normal person’s brain.

Wanderer grabs a flat of water bottles, and she’s somehow too stupid to realize they might be heavy, because of course in however many months she’s spent being a human, she’s never had to pick up anything that had any sort of weight to it.  Come on, now, Meyer; we’re still switching back and forth between “she can pick up concepts easily and has experienced everything” and “the simple concepts of fucking GRAVITY and WEIGHT are too hard, and she’s never had to experience them”.  Even if she’d never picked up a flat of anything in her months in her host body, Stryder would sure as hell have memories of carrying heavy shit (in fact, she mentions that she has just a few paragraphs later) – possibly even that exact kind of shit – so Wanderer should have been able to call on those memories to figure it out!  And that’s leaving aside that muscle memory should have figured it out FOR HER!


Wanderer complains out loud when she drops the water, like a child, and another customer offers to help her, but she turns him down.  Stryder is not pleased with Wanderer for suggesting a smaller flat of water, which makes sense because it would be fucking stupid to get a smaller amount if even that amount would only last you three days (whether that makes any sense or not), and you’d likely need it to last for longer than that if you’re going to go trekking through the desert.  She is also displeased that Wanderer has let “their” body go soft.  It’s her body, and I don’t like that she’s letting Wanderer take any ownership over it, but meh, keeping the peace and whatnot.  Or maybe she’s just confused.

Wanderer, in all her weakness, manages to get the flat of water onto the counter, and adds a bunch of junk food to it, which is definitely a great idea when you haven’t eaten anything all day, and stand to eat nothing else for the next however many days.  Especially the chips.  Yep, chips are what you need, Wanderer, not real food.  In the desert.  Don’t listen to Stryder when she says it’s a stupid idea or anything; no, you know all, and the person who did this for at least six fucking years knows jack shit.


Stryder tells her to get a map, which is smart, and all their goods are scanned by the store “employee” (I use quotations because he’s not really an employee if he doesn’t get paid, which he must not if they don’t use money, as we find out that they do not on this page…so y’know, he apparently just chose to be a cashier for his Calling, because that’s exciting), who is very kind to them.  There are a few issues with this next section, and they’re pretty big issues, so bear with me here.

The first issue is that three times in this chapter, someone attempts to help Wanderer with something (the man who offers to help her when she drops the water, the ‘cashier’ who gives her advice on where the trailhead is for her ‘hike’ in the mountains, and then the same man as the first time again, who helps Wanderer load what she ‘bought’ into the rental car), and the first two of the three times, Wanderer reacts very rudely to the men.  Well, maybe not the first time so much; she just doesn’t thank him for his offer, which I find rude, but the second time she outright cuts the guy off while he’s trying to give her advice.


Now, I get it; she feels uncomfortable being around her kind, given she’s betraying them, and she wants to get the hell out of there as soon as possible.  But does that really mean she has to act like a bitch to them when they’re only being nice to her, which she definitely knows is what they’re doing because she tells Stryder that?  I mean, here she is, trying to convince Stryder it’s okay that these men are treating her nicely because they’re just concerned about her welfare and are trying to help, while acting like an ungrateful bitch to them for that very care and help.  Not only is that horrible, it also would, in my mind, raise suspicions in the eyes of other aliens, because it’s in their nature to be helpful and kind (or so Meyer keeps telling us), and someone acting completely the opposite of that, or being visibly uncomfortable when they are being treated the way a soul should treat another (and thusly expect to be treated, I would think), would seem very odd.  If she wants to seem like she’s not doing anything wrong, she should probably react to them appropriately instead of just explaining how it’s okay to Stryder, but outwardly acting like it makes her more uncomfortable than anything ever has before.


Coming to the second issue, if all aliens/souls are supposed to be so kind and sincerely concerned about each other’s welfare, again, why the FUCK did nobody help Wanderer out when she was stumbling around outside Kathy’s office before throwing up in the bush?  I know I brought this up when it happened, but this just reinforced for me that that was completely fucking weird behaviour.  Everyone there ignored her and assumed bad things about her (or so she says, anyway), and she thought there was absolutely nothing wrong with them acting that way, yet the way they are supposed to act is as they have here, which is going out of their way to help her out and be kind to her, to the point that she’s actually worried, later in the chapter, that someone will stop to help her when she does nothing more than pull off on a side road, because that’s apparently so very much a part of what they do! These things do not add up!  Are the aliens in San Diego just all dicks?


The third issue with all of this: What the hell is wrong with the world, if anything in this chapter is accurate?  I don’t mean this to be offensive, I really, really don’t, but is this really representative of the way Americans think?  Stryder thinks it’s “very creepy” that these men offer help and advice, and can’t seem to wrap her head around the concept that they’re just being nice and concerned for the welfare of another of their species, to the point of having to be repeatedly calmed down by Wanderer.  If that is actually accurate in terms of how Americans view one another and respond to one another in public, that scares me, and I feel very sad for them, though I sincerely do not believe that’s the case.

The way those men behaved is normal behaviour in Canada – being decent to each other, being polite and offering help when you’ve got help to offer – and I can’t imagine living in a world where it was not! I really can’t imagine being called creepy for doing that!  I never, ever thought there was such a vast difference in that between the US and Canada, but the way Meyer writes this makes it seem like it’s abnormal to have people treat you that way.  Stryder certainly thinks it’s weird, to the point of “thinking sulfurous thoughts about the kind old man“, and insinuating that completely ignoring someone who’s talking to you is better than “talking to strangers” – even if they’re people that are serving you, and the conversation is harmless!  Wtf?!??!

Meyer, I feel sad for you and the life you lead, if it’s really like that for you.  I truly, truly do.  I’ve been to the US a couple of times and never experienced rudeness enough that it would seem abnormal to me if someone was nice, so I have to think this is just your experience of life and other people, and if that’s the case, you might want to think about being nicer so others can return the favour.  Cause this shit ain’t right.


This is obviously all just a setup for Wanderer to get mopey again about how there “are no strangers” among her kind, except, of course, for her; booooo hooo hoo hoo…even though we’ve heard repeatedly that she has no friends intentionally, and doesn’t know everyone in the world, and hell, she REFERRED TO THE PEOPLE IN HER CLASS AS STRANGERS AS EXPLANATION FOR WHY SHE DOESN’T TALK TO THEM SOCIALLY, SO THERE ARE OBVIOUSLY FUCKING STRANGERS AMONG HER KIND.  So that’s bullshit, but I’ll let it slide for where Meyer was trying to go with it and for the fact that it’s another fucking contradiction, and I doubt anyone is actually surprised.

This is followed by more guilt on the part of Wanderer about how “everyone is perfectly honest” except for her, when she is telling Stryder that they only scan the items they ‘buy’ for inventory purposes, since they don’t actually pay for them…because she didn’t already tell us that Seekers have to lie as part of their profession, and since Seekers are a part of “everybody”, that’s a bold-faced lie right there.


Now, to the bigger problem in that bit about everyone being honest, which is this line:

Besides, what’s the point of money when everyone is perfectly honest?

…Really, Meyer?  Fucking REALLY?  Do you understand NOTHING about how the world works, at ALL?  I mean, okay, the science shit you didn’t know I could maybe forgive, though you probably shouldn’t have written a goddamn science fiction book if you don’t understand science, and maybe the philosophical shit I could let slide from time to time, because you may not have been exposed to as much of it as others might have been, and some of it is subjective anyway, and hell, even the writing issues I could give you a little leeway on because not everyone who has a story to tell is a perfect author, but…REALLY? You don’t even know how fucking money works, and why it’s important??  And you couldn’t have taken two seconds to research that??

There’s PLENTY of point to money when everyone is perfectly honest! Money was not created because we couldn’t trust people not to steal our shit, and actually, when I try to think of it that way, it doesn’t even make sense!  I was going to get into a whole big thing on what the point of money actually is, but you know what?  Fuck it!  It is not worth my time to say even more about this shit when Meyer didn’t even bother to THINK about what she was saying, and instead just figured that everyone would accept her stupid blather without using their own brains.  Why should I bother doing the work for her?  Especially since the sales of this book suggest that her tactic worked!


This is an incredibly short chapter, yet she’s got so much bullshit in it that it’s taking forever for me to get through a recap of it, so I’m not wasting any more time on this than necessary.  MONEY DOES NOT EXIST ONLY BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE DISHONEST, Meyer, and it seriously simplifies our system of barter and trade, which is NECESSARY FOR SURVIVAL, and that’s all I’m going to say about it.

Anyway, where were we?

So yeah, cashier is friendly to them and tries to help, Wanderer reacts in her normal bitchy way, Stryder is freaked out by how creepy it is when people are nice, Wanderer gets guilty over the wrong damn shit again, Stryder worries that that guilt will make Wanderer change her mind on finding Jared, then they leave the store.  Then Stryder gets freaked out AGAIN when the guy helps them load their stuff into the car, not two seconds after Wanderer explained to her that she shouldn’t be freaked out by it, because no one here can use their goddamn brains for longer than a millisecond, and they get into the car and eat chips and pretend to be looking at the map.


They look at the mountains and figure out what the lines were referring to, even though they already DID that, so this whole thing was completely unnecessary, and then Wanderer convinces Stryder (who agrees ‘complacently’) to take the car instead of walking into the mountains.

Stryder was on her own at least two years before meeting Jared, then with Jared for four years after that, still ‘on the run’.  Why the hell wouldn’t she have thought that it would be a better idea to take the car BEFORE WANDERER DID?  She would know how hard it is, she would know how long it would take to get there, she would know she’d have to be worried about food/water supply, she would know they should conserve energy as much as possible, she would know that they couldn’t just pop out and leave the car at the convenience store without risking people coming after them because that shit looks suspicious, and she would remember how relieved she was when she discovered Jared had a car, so she would know that it would be a FUCKING STUPID IDEA to just get out and walk right away!  Why does Meyer think her readers are falling for this bullshit that Wanderer is all smart and kind and making awesome decisions?  If Stryder was a believable character, she’d NEVER need to have Wanderer suggest taking the car, because she’d NEVER be stupid enough to suggest otherwise!

Hell, even if she hadn’t been on the run before, NO ONE would think their best bet, when they have a car and need to go a long distance, would be to WALK!   Yes, Stryder is excited, but she’s not THAT stupid!  Uggh, I can’t even…


The next bit has more “who gives a fuck” information about how the road would have been overgrown in a place with more vital vegetation, because that is so relevant, and then Wanderer goes into the path on the map that connects with where they want to go, worries that someone will help because the aliens are like that here apparently, and off they go, with more pointless bullshit about Stryder singing the names of the desert plants.  This book is over 600 pages long, Meyer; we don’t need more filler! Unless it’s going to develop the character or the story, don’t bother with it, and singing the names of plants is NOT FUCKING CHARACTER OR STORY DEVELOPMENT.


Meyer mentions that Stryder:

“…itched to be on her feet, loping through the safety of the baking desert.

Y’know what, Meyer?  I HIGHLY DOUBT THAT! Why would she itch to be walking, when she’s in a fucking car, which is much faster and safer, and she really, really wants to get to her brother and boyfriend?  When you’re in a rush to get somewhere, you don’t “itch” to take the slowest and most potentially dangerous method of transportation possible, no matter HOW much you love the scenery, you just want to fucking get there! Especially if you haven’t seen them in months, and the last you knew you were going to die without ever seeing them again, and now you may actually get to be with them! You don’t want to “lope”, you want to teleport, if you possibly could; you just want to go from where you are to where they are with NO time in between!  Why does nothing ever make sense in this book??

And now we find that Stryder longs to walk even though she won’t be fulfilled by it because it’s not her controlling her body? Then why the hell would she want to walk?!  Even more so than before, she’d want to just get there and get the travel over with, so what the sweet crap is the point of all this bullshit, Meyer???


Yes, Wanderer finally sees what it must be like to be trapped inside a body and have no control over it, but as mentioned before, how the fuck has she not noticed that BEFORE?!  And hell, even now, when she’s faced with the DIRECT THOUGHT, what does she do?  Does she apologize to Stryder?  Does she vow to try to change things amongst her kind, so they stop DOING this to everyone?  Does she do anything of any fucking merit?  NO! Of course not! No, Wanderer, in her infinite fucking selfishness, tries to stave off the things she feels about this epiphany, and FUCKING BLAMES STRYDER AGAIN!

Of course, none of the others had stuck around to complain about the situation.

So because Stryder stuck around, it’s HER fault you have to face the HORROR of the PRISON (your own words) you put these humans in, it’s HER fault you feel guilt for what you are (a part of a terrible, terrible species each of whom deserves to die a slow and painful death for what they’ve done)!  Even when you feel that guilt, you still don’t take any goddamn responsibility! Arrrrrrrrrghhhhh!!!!!


I know we’re supposed to be happy here that Wanderer is seeing things for what they are, but how can we, when she’s still acting like all would have been fine if the humans hadn’t fought back?!  Ignorance is bliss??

I have to move on now. I’m getting stabby again.

The chapter continues with more stuff that I can’t believe Stryder would do, even in excitement, with the knowledge and experience she has, and Wanderer acting like she believes she intends to return to civilization, when we’ve been OVER THIS ALREADY IN THIS CHAPTER, and we know she won’t because there’s no way in hell she can.

Wanderer imagines the Seeker looking for her, and it amuses her to think of the Seeker not being able to find her, because she continues to be a cruel bitch and thinks it’s funny to make people worry about her.  She imagines that the Seeker will just be in a state of “furious irritation“, but she’s expressed genuine concern for Wanderer in the past, whether Wanderer wants to believe it or not, so she won’t just be irritated, she’ll be upset and worried.  Of course, Wanderer won’t consider that, or how it’ll upset and worry Kathy, her husband, Fords, or anyone else she may have tricked into caring about her to some degree.


Stryder tries to get Wanderer to go a certain way toward their goal and Wanderer, of course, disagrees, because she disagrees with everyone all the time, even if she KNOWS they know more about the subject than her, because she can’t stand to not have things her way ALL the time.  Stryder “silently shouts”, which just hurts me, but gives up on arguing with Wanderer because she knows Wanderer is a stubborn bitch and won’t give up herself, and Wanderer tries to get Stryder to show her the rest of the lines.

Stryder of course doesn’t agree to do that, because it would be an INCREDIBLY stupid move, and Wanderer, in the greatest act of hypocrisy thus far in the book, accuses Stryder of being “childish”.  Stryder doesn’t answer because she’s TAKING THE FUCKING HIGH ROAD, and Wanderer decides that means Stryder is sulking.  I assume she’s probably actually trying not to laugh at how absolutely ridiculously hypocritical you are, Wanderer! How can YOU call ANYONE childish? Yes, Stryder has been, but NO ONE in this book has been more childish than you at ANY point! You can’t go a page without being childish; what right have you to accuse anyone else of being childish?


It gets dark out and Wanderer starts to turn on the headlights, but Stryder stops her because she is not NEARLY as brain-dead as Wanderer is, and doesn’t want anyone to see them.  Wanderer, since she can’t drive anymore because it’s too dark, tries to think of something she can do other than turn off the car and go to sleep…not because she’s not tired, but because she doesn’t want to sleep in the car, because she really fucking thought this trip through before leaving the convenience store.  I can’t WAIT to see how much she bitches and moans when she has to sleep on the ground when they don’t have a car anymore to travel in!

In another act of extreme pointlessness, Wanderer starts whining about how the whole trip is crazy and a waste of time, because they won’t find anybody, because THAT is incredibly productive when no matter how you feel about it, you’re already out here and are going to have to spend the night!

Stryder, in yet ANOTHER show of intelligence (seriously), ignores Wanderer’s bitching, and Wanderer finally decides to just shut the fuck up and try to go to sleep (though she makes sure to mention that she doubts she’ll get to sleep and complains about how vacant and uninteresting her brain is when she’s not allowing herself to think about things because they might force her to face who she actually is and how horrible the things her kind do are), which she is infinitely more successful at than she expects to be.  I assume this is Meyer trying to show us that Wanderer is wrong about EVERYTHING, ALL THE FUCKING TIME.


Annnd scene.  Finally.  Oh good, the next chapter’s really long.  That’ll go well.

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

I did not enjoy this chapter, and that makes me sad, because I’d really hoped I would after the glimmer of something I didn’t hate in the last one.  I mean, this chapter wasn’t terrible, but it was definitely incredibly boring, and not enjoyable at all.


…I might need to rework my definition of “terrible”.

It starts where chapter 8 left off, of course, with Wanderer still driving toward Tucson, still planning on getting rid of her host body, and still trying to deal with the idea of being a skipper.  Now, though, she’s got some sympathy for Stryder, and she intends to try to keep Stryder out of the Seeker’s hands, even though she knows that’s impossible.  It’s nice to see her actually caring about someone other than herself for once, at least.

I have to wonder how the removal process would work, though I’m pretty damn sure I’m not going to see it at any point in this book, since as I said, it can’t happen or the story would be almost over already, and I can’t imagine there being anyone else we’d care about it happening to.  I mean, would the Healer have to do surgery again and remove the soul, like a tumor?  I assume the Seeker’s soul would need to be inserted in the same way that Wanderer’s was, so I guess you could just open up the host body, pull one soul out and send another in, but I feel like that’s got to be pretty traumatic for the host body, especially its brain.  I would think that would cause more problems than it was worth, especially because I’d think the host’s consciousness would have to still be active then, and would cause problems.

Maybe they sedate the host?   But how do they keep the Seeker’s host body alive but not active as a human for long enough to allow the Seeker to do her business in Stryder’s body (since she said they were going to ‘hold her host’ for her)?  Do they just let the host become human again and imprison it or something?  If so, they’d kind of have to face the horror they’re putting the humans through, so why wouldn’t that make them second guess how peaceful their takeover really has been?


I guess it doesn’t matter since it’s not going to happen anyway, so moving on.

Wanderer attempts to promise Stryder she’ll try to protect her, but Stryder is still too caught up in her memories of Jared to hear her.  Wanderer tries to separate herself from the memories so that she doesn’t have to experience them anymore because they’re too painful, and I’m not even going to bother taking cracks at this because it’s all been said before.  She’s super emo, the writing is over the top for what it is, and I just don’t care anymore.  I feel, right now, like this book has sucked the life from me.


Wanderer decides she should stop for dinner somewhere at some point, since she hasn’t eaten all day, and because she wants to delay meeting up with the Seeker when she gets to Tucson.  Why she didn’t just not tell the Seeker where she was going and go when they were separated (it had to happen sometime, at least for a few minutes) I don’t know, but that’s probably just more of the whole ‘not being so intelligent’ stuff.

She checks the map while driving, which is fine because she was already pretty much driving blind, and she admitted that, so what does it matter if she doesn’t look at the road for a few more minutes…and sees a place on the map called Picacho Peak, which has a rest stop in it.  The name of that place strikes a chord with Stryder, even though she tries to hide it, and the sight of it does even more so, but Wanderer can’t figure out why the place is important because Stryder has the connection to and memory of it boarded up tightly enough that Wanderer can’t access anything more about it.  Personally, I just think Stryder really liked Pokemon before the whole end of the world business.


Wanderer is once again disturbed by Melanie’s somehow growing strength, but keeps trying to figure out what Stryder’s connection to this mountain is, so Stryder throws a memory at her to distract her.  Interesting that she can do that and Wanderer can’t block it out, when Wanderer doesn’t seem to be able to do anything similar to her. Guess she is stronger.  Than Wanderer, at least.

In the memory, Stryder is hiding in the trees, apparently, waiting to leave Jared and Jamie to go to what we know is her final destination as a human, and it’s finally explained why they were in Chicago.  No explanation yet as to why they’re not now, but it’s good at least that there’s a reason they were then.

The writing here is, once again, not great, and not realistic for someone of Stryder’s age, even though she’d be 20 or whatever it is by the time of this memory…and the relationship between Jared and Stryder is a bit too mushy for people who would have been together for 3 years already.  Maybe being all each other has after the end of the world makes you appreciate each other every day the way you did when you first met, though; that’s both somewhat reasonable and surprisingly appealing, so I’ll let it slide.

I will admit that I like Jared’s comment about her looking like a dryad.  It’s sweet, and the flirting they do regarding it is pretty cute, even though I don’t know what he’s referring to when he says “One of them“, unless he’s just repeating himself.   It’s an awkward thing to say, but the compliment itself was cute, so meh.  ‘A’ for effort.

And just for fun, here's a dryad.

And just for fun, here’s a dryad.

It’s revealed that it is the ‘eve of their separation’, which is a bit of a dramatic way to word it, however true, so Stryder begs Jared to keep Jamie safe while she’s gone, and he agrees, though he believes nothing bad will happen.  Stryder insinuates that it’s meaningless for Jared to say that nothing will happen and that she shouldn’t worry, and then:

But his voice is worth hearing, no matter the message.”

I don’t like this line.  It’s so fake and over the top and unnecessary, and it feels like Meyer was trying way too hard.  This is the kind of stuff you see in crappy, cheesy romance novels; the stuff no one would ever really say or think, especially after so long together.  It just grates on me.

There are more promises from Jared and an obviously very important description of his scent, and then Jared proves that he can’t be completely serious even in the most serious moments, and I honestly find that pretty endearing.  His jokes are lame, but it’s still cute, and he is trying to make her smile at a difficult time, so again, I appreciate the effort.  So far, I actually like Jared as a character; he’s my favourite.  I liked Kathy, but I’m pretty sure her part is done now, so I’m gonna hope Jared keeps up the way he’s been so far.  He’s perhaps naively positive, especially given what he’s been through, but his dialogue isn’t quite as horrible as everyone else’s, he’s more realistic than anyone else thus far, and he’s very caring and supportive.  All good things.


So the reason they’re in Chicago is because they were apparently watching TV at some point while raiding someone’s house for food, because they like to check the weather (I don’t care how boring the aliens’ “everything is perfect” news reports are to you; they could easily be more important than the weather for multiple reasons), and Stryder caught a glimpse of someone she thought might be her cousin Sharon.  Yep, that’s the kind of surety I like to have when leaving my brother and boyfriend, the only people I have in the world and am lucky to have at all, when it’s very likely that doing so will kill me.   This cousin better be pretty spectacular to be worth risking all that.

Anyway, Sharon was in Chicago, trying to pretend she was one of the aliens, though I have no idea how she could be successful at that if she was visible enough to be on the news; either it’s easy to hide amongst the aliens and therefore a lot of other people should already have been doing it, or it’s not, and she should have been caught.  One look at her eyes would tell them she’s a human, even if there was no other way they could figure that out, and if she’s noticeably not blending in, enough that someone seeing her in a quick glimpse on TV could recognize it, she should have been found out by now.  Meyer claims it’s the hair that made Stryder recognize her, and that she noticed her not fitting in after that, but either way, if she was trying so hard to fit in that it was obvious that’s what she was doing, some alien should have noticed by now.  They are stupendously dumb, though, from what we’ve seen, so maybe I’m giving them too much credit there.


But yeah, Sharon is in Chicago, and Stryder wants to find her, especially if that means there might be other humans with her too, and she knows that Sharon will run from anyone but someone she knows, so Jared can’t go with her.  She also thinks she knows where Sharon would be hiding, which is useful, so that’s where she’s planning to go when the memory ends.

There’s apparently no time for Wanderer to catch her breath or wipe away her tears before the next memory starts, cause you totally can’t do either of those things while thinking, so Wanderer gets to experience Stryder’s sad goodbye to her brother, who doesn’t want her to go.  She promises everything will be fine and that she’ll come back, which we again know isn’t true, and that’s about all that happens in that memory.  There is a line I don’t like about it smelling “like dust and sun“, which just…no…but there’s really nothing else to say about that section.  It is, indeed, sad, especially the part about their dad, and the fact that Stryder’s pretty much just abandoning her brother to the same fate again, though it’s a bit hard to believe that a boy of her brother’s age would still be snuggling up under his sister’s arm.  A hug, sure, but that’s a bit much.  Again, though, post-apocalyptic, so I guess you never know.  I’d just figure he’d be tougher after what he’d have experienced in the last few years on the run.


Then there’s another memory, of Stryder writing the note that was referenced way back however many chapters ago that it was too late for the Seeker to find, and we’re informed that it’s exactly what we would have expected it to be; a note to Jared and Jamie saying she wasn’t fast enough and that she loves them…and also warning them not to go home to the canyon house, because she knows that if they do, when the aliens take her body, she will lead them to Jared and Jamie.  Luckily for her (and them) she’s managed to keep that from happening, but it was good that she had the forethought to warn them about that.  Someone needed to think ahead at some point, so yay!  Though it might have been nice if she’d thought ahead before even going to Chicago, so none of this would have been necessary.  Can’t win ’em all, I guess.

Wanderer interrupts the memories by saying something out loud, which I’m not sure why she would do because she can talk to Stryder through thoughts, as has already been proven…maybe she couldn’t break the memory any other way?  But that doesn’t make sense, because she had to have the thought to say the words…I dunno.  Anyway, she does, and she talks out loud to Stryder for the next while, which is weird to me.


She tells Stryder that she has made her point and that now she can’t live without Jared or Jamie either, which is a weird thing to say in this circumstance, especially as childishly as she does it.  She tells Stryder that her only choice is to get rid of her body, because otherwise the Seeker will be inside her, and nobody wants that.

This exchange raises a question for me; one I’ve had before but not delved into at any length: Why has the Seeker not yet been given any name at all?  Even when Wanderer is talking about the Seeker out loud, to Stryder, who would know what the Seeker’s name is because she’s been around for all those months dealing with her, Wanderer still refers to her as “the Seeker”.  I can’t imagine that’s what everyone calls her, since she’s not the only Seeker in the world, so why hasn’t she been named yet?  Is it just because Meyer didn’t want to, or was too lazy to come up with a name for her?  Or is there some important plot device that somehow has something to do with her name?

It just doesn’t make sense to me, and I would think it would feel very awkward for Wanderer to call her “the Seeker” all the time, instead of her name, given in their world, “Seeker” is a profession/calling, not a name.  Or maybe that’s just Wanderer being a bitch again and degrading the Seeker by not using her name…who knows?  Just seems like with all the trouble the Seeker has made about Wanderer’s name, and her surprise that she kept that name, that she, herself, would have been named by now.

Maybe she just wanted to be a part of this show.  It *is* terrible...

Maybe she just wanted to be a part of this show. It *is* terrible, just like her…

Anyway, Stryder reveals that there’s another option besides Wanderer ‘getting rid’ of her, and makes her look at the mountain that was so secretly important earlier. Wanderer figures out that the ‘lines’ from the previous chapter were not lines on a map, they were lines on the mountain, and she could find the boys that way.  I’m honestly very surprised she figured that out so quickly, given how slowly she’s figured out everything before this, but maybe Stryder helped more than we are shown here.

Stryder reveals that she still knows more than she’s shared with Wanderer, so Wanderer can’t find Jared and Jamie without her, and Wanderer asks how it’s possible that the mountain can lead them to the boys, getting excited now about being close to Jared and Jamie for some reason.

The next part is another of Stryder’s memories that shows that there’s actually no proof that they are close to Jared and Jamie, just that Stryder assumes they must be because Jared is smart so he probably pieced things together before she did, even though she has personal memories to draw off of that he wouldn’t have, so I don’t know how he’d figure it out, but either way, I think Wanderer’s reaction to knowing they’re close is strange.  She’s only just come to feel anything for them, and what she feels is not love, it’s sympathy; shouldn’t she be a little more disconnected?  Oh well, who cares.


The whole memory sequence that’s put forth here, I hate.  I can’t stand reading it; it feels very tedious.  It’s Jared and Stryder trying to figure out what the lines mean by running through her family history and memories and whatnot, but it’s just not interesting, and I hate that they keep referring to her family as ‘crazy’ and ‘loony’ when they obviously know they weren’t crazy, because they were right about what was going on.  That’s a nitpick, though, I guess.

Apparently Sharon’s mom had “hidey holes” with booby traps, and it’s assumed that one of them is where Sharon is, so that’s where Stryder was going when she got caught/jumped down the elevator shaft.  And…yeah, the rest is just about the lines, which we already know what are, so bothering to say all this and connect it to the other memory that comes in here later just feels very drawn out and boring.


The lines will lead them to somewhere safe, supposedly, that Stryder assumes Jared has already found, as mentioned before, so that’s where he’ll be…which is the Stryder Ranch conveniently located at Picacho Peak, the mountain Stryder and Wanderer are currently driving toward.

Stryder slips in defending her thoughts and Wanderer sees her entire journey with Jared and Jamie to Chicago, and also sees the building where Stryder believes Sharon to be hiding there.  She admits it was a mistake to let Wanderer see that, because Wanderer will turn Sharon in, which Wanderer agrees she will do because she ‘has to do her duty’, even though she already promised to try to keep Stryder safe from the Seeker, which is a betrayal of her duty, so I don’t know why she’d give a fuck if she betrayed it again.  Especially after feeling sympathy for these people; she should understand now how horrible it is for them and how much her kind have taken from them and not be willing to give Sharon up.  But continuity is not something Meyer can make work.


Wanderer tries to decide what to do now; stop for lunch, keep going and reveal everything to the Seeker (which she decides not to do because it’s so repellent it causes her to stop her car in the middle of the highway, which is really stupid, and she really should never have been allowed to drive), or go after Jared and Jamie.  She goes back and forth on moral shit that shouldn’t matter because she’s already been immoral, and who gives a fuck anyway since she hates the Seeker and supposedly can’t live without Jared and Jamie, and there’s more annoying shit about how it’s impossible for her to be a traitor when she’s a soul, despite that that seems to be the very nature of them, and arrrgh.

Anyway, in the end she’s speeding toward the peak, so it’s assumed she decided on going after Jared because she ‘can’t separate herself from her body’s wants’.  And that’s it.  Fuck, I really hated this chapter, even more now that I’m done.  It’s funny how I’m always nicer to the chapters at the beginning than at the end…rereading them just hurts me that much.

I apologize that this recap wasn’t good, funny or interesting; I just don’t have it in me today, whether it’s just the chapter or me that’s the problem.  Hopefully it’ll be better next time.  In my defence, this chapter was incredibly fucking boring…


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

The Host Recap – Followed (Chapter 6)

So Wanderer is still in therapy at the beginning of this chapter, and the assumption is that she’s been going through everything with Kathy for a few hours by this point.   I’m not really sure what they’ve been talking about, though, because the first thing mentioned in this chapter regarding Wanderer’s problems is the exact same thing they left off on last chapter.  Maybe they took a nap for a few hours, and then came back to it, and that’s why they’re “no closer to an answer than before”.


Anyway, Kathy makes a new suggestion; that perhaps Wanderer doesn’t have enough friends (since she has absolutely none and doesn’t speak to anyone outside of her work), so she should get some.  Surely social interaction would bore Stryder into submission, because everyone hates social interaction, even if she did just say that human hosts need it.  She reasons it out that Stryder would be bored if Wanderer socialized because she gets bored when Wanderer teaches, but I’m not sure that’s a sound correlation, because Stryder may just really hate history.  It’s less likely that she hates social interaction.  But who knows; maybe she’s right, and it is a good point that it would keep Wanderer from focusing only on her problems with Stryder, at least.  So, friends it is!

No, wait, maybe Wanderer should go one step better and GET LAID!! Yes, sex is the solution to ALL LIFE’S PROBLEMS, so how has this not been brought up before??  I’m so very confused by this section.  How much of a nympho is Meyer that she thinks the sex drive in humans is THAT strong?  I mean, sure, it’s a strong drive in us, but she says she’s “never seen or heard of their equal“, when I’ve heard of a few species with higher sex drives than us…and I don’t know how it could be so difficult to “conquer the mating instinct” when you’re in the middle of war and the occupation of a planet.  I think you’d be a little too distracted to be thinking about sex all the time, and even then, humans can control themselves, so it can’t be that bad.  Maybe there’s just something wrong with me that I don’t think about “mating” with every individual I pass, which seems to be what Meyer is implying here.


“Believe me, the humans noticed when you didn’t.

Didn’t what?  Conquer the mating instinct?  How did they notice that?  And if you mean noticed when you didn’t have sex, again, how?  What kind of humans was this woman meeting that took such an intense interest in the sex lives of others??  Is this Sex and the City, all the time?  Because life doesn’t really work that way!  At least not for everyone!   Unless the aliens, upon entering their host bodies, started randomly raping people on the street because they couldn’t control their sexual urges, I can’t see how anyone would notice anything about them in terms of sex.  I certainly don’t notice it about people I’m not intimate with, unless we’ve outright discussed it.

Anyway, Wanderer admits she’s never been sexually attracted to anyone as yet, and this whole thing is a little awkward for me for some reason; I think I feel awkward on Wanderer’s behalf, because this stuff usually doesn’t make me feel weird.  Kathy says, “Trust me.  You’d notice”, meaning she would notice if her body had “responded” to anyone on “strictly a chemical level”, which again implies that when a human finds someone attractive, the sexual urge is so strong they can’t help themselves…which, again, is not my experience with humans; at least not without the actual promise of sex looming, which isn’t the case if she’s talking about just “coming across” people.

Also, how has Wanderer never been part of a species that would have had a mating instinct?  Bears do, at least in mating season, and I can’t even remember all the other things she’s been, but I’m sure some of them do too, so shouldn’t she be at least a little familiar with it, beyond Stryder’s sexy dreams of Jared?  Maybe they’re just not good enough, because the emotions and instincts of humans are sooo much stronger, all the time, in every way.  Meyer keeps shoving that idea down our throats, so I’ll go with that.


Stryder and Wanderer are both disgusted by Kathy’s suggestion that Wanderer “look around for that (sex) specifically“, which is totally reasonable, because yeah, that’s just…no.  Then Kathy pisses Wanderer off by suggesting Stryder’s controlling her again, so Wanderer lashes out at her about her “partner”, shit gets awkward, and then Kathy starts suggesting that maybe Jared will be found, and then she and Jared can get back to boning.  Neither Wanderer nor Stryder are happy about this; Wanderer cause it’s a bit too fucking weird to think of being that intimate with her host’s boyfriend when she’s seen her host’s memories, and Stryder because she feels that Jared becoming a host and having to deal with a soul as she does would be killing him.  Which is reasonable.

Wanderer takes off out of Kathy’s office and into the street, intending to head home but somehow getting lost even though her home is super close and she’s been there for months.


I guess she’s just super distressed to the point of not knowing which way is up, which makes the people she passes whose judgment she’s so worried about (because they claim to be a completely non-judgmental species so she should definitely have to be worried about that) not “polite” for ignoring her panic and suffering, but actually complete assholes because they don’t even attempt to help someone obviously in need.  Who cares if it’s that she’s having trouble adjusting to her new host (if that is, in fact, what they think); help her!  That would be the decent thing to do! Loving species, my ass…

Anyway, she eventually gets turned in the right direction and heads toward home, but she starts to feel sick on the way.  Though she can see the door of her house, she decides it’s much better to throw up in public on the sidewalk, like normal people, so she stops at a well-trimmed hedge (these people care about their property! Even better!) and barfs all over it.  Luckily for her, the Seeker that was present when she initially woke up after her insertion shows up just as she starts vomiting, so she gets an audience for her illness! Yayyy!!  Of course, the sight of said Seeker causes her to throw up even more, which given how much of a bitch she was in the previous chapters, makes perfect sense…even though the Seeker is actually being nice in this scene.  It’s also at this point that we learn that the story is no longer taking place in Chicago…or at least I didn’t notice that until now, if it did come up before.  So I’m not really sure where we are anymore.


Anyway, Wanderer realizes that if the Seeker has come to see her, it must be because of something to do with Jared/Jamie, so she starts to panic and question the Seeker on her presence, completely losing any semblance of self-control and grabbing the Seeker by the collar of her shirt as she does so.  The Seeker amazingly lets that slide, and they go back and forth a bit about whether or not Wanderer should go to a Healing facility (remember how in chapter 3 I said they probably even cure colds?  Point for me!).  Wanderer keeps being incredibly rude and actually violent (at least in her own head), and somehow manages to justify all of that to herself even though the Seeker has expressed concern for her here, so she turns and walks back to her house, her decision about not going to a Healer final.  “I need no Healer, she says, speaking once again in a manner that no normal person would.  Ahh, I love you, dialogue.

Because this is apparently a completely normal thing in the world of Stephenie Meyer, the Seeker starts following Wanderer, so she just leaves the door of her house open when she enters, since she knows the Seeker will come in anyway, even if she closes it.  Why the hell is stalking such an acceptable practice here, to the point that a person has reason to think, ‘Oh, I might as well just leave my door open; they’ll come in anyway’??  I’d say it’s because they’re both aliens and the aliens are supposed to be all peace loving and wonderful, so there’s no threat to it, but the last time this happened was between two humans, so that doesn’t work…and besides, the Seeker is clearly the villain in this story, at least to Wanderer, so she’s not one I can even imagine Wanderer would feel safe with!  Especially since Wanderer describes her as “the most confrontational soul I’d come across in nine lives”.


After sufficiently boring the Seeker by standing at the sink for a bit (no wonder she’s so pissy all the time; she must have zero patience if she gets bored that easily…or maybe, Wanderer, it wasn’t that she was bored, it was that it was fucking awkward being in a silent, tense room with you), Wanderer and the Seeker get to talking again.  First, the Seeker insults her a bit (cause that’s an awesome thing to do when you’re “comfortably nestled” into someone else’s couch, in their home that they didn’t verbally invite you into), though she claims she means no offense, so that might just be Wanderer twisting everything in negative ways again because she’s already decided she hates this woman.

Then Wanderer returns to questioning the Seeker about why she’s there.  She finds out that the Seeker didn’t get her email about Jamie because she didn’t check her email, which shows some serious intelligence, since her reasoning for coming to visit Wanderer is because she’s made no headway on the case of Jared (she is apparently the one ‘assigned’ to find him), and keeping up to date on the method of communication Wanderer uses to give her information about Jared might have been a good idea.


At this point, apparently Stryder has succeeded in speaking for Wanderer – which it was just mentioned hadn’t happened yet and would be bad if it did – trying to downplay the information in the email so that the Seeker won’t put too much stock into it.  Wanderer allows this to happen because her pride is more important than letting anyone know she needs help; another great lesson from Stephenie Meyer.

The Seeker is kind of glad there’s someone else to find, since it means the world isn’t completely at peace, and that pleases her.  I can completely understand why; if they did achieve complete peace, and rid the Earth of all ‘wild’ humans, what would the individuals with the Seeker Calling do with their lives?  Switch to a different Calling, somehow?  More likely, they would start stirring things up that destroy the peace, because they are more violent and confrontational than the others of their species, and they require the drama.  Then Earth would be covered in another batch of creatures just like humans again, who are generally good but find their society tarnished by the more violent and confrontational individuals who start problems and wars!  Everything comes full circle!  Can’t imagine how anybody could have predicted that.


Apparently, the Seeker has made such a bad impression on Wanderer that she actually begins to side with Stryder, and they have an internal conversation about not going further with the denial of Jamie’s existence, because it would be too obvious.  So now Wanderer is protecting Jamie!  Shit just got real.

Wanderer and the Seeker have a discussion about lines and road maps, and the Seeker insults her because it’s apparently the only thing she’s good at, so Wanderer starts to ignore her, and thinks about the ‘lines’ she’s seen for herself.  She starts to figure out what the lines mean; they’re lines to Jared and Jamie’s location, obviously, but apparently not in the way she once thought, though the complete answer is interrupted by Stryder’s blocking it.  How the hell did she never consider before that that’s what the lines were for?  How dumb are these aliens??

The Seeker comes back with another obviously completely necessary insult about expecting more of Wanderer, Wanderer shoots back a sharp retort, and then we get back to MORE FUCKING TALK ABOUT THE SEE WEEDS.


Dear god, when will it end?? This is all just a bunch of random crap history about the See Weeds that nobody gives a flying fuck about! Let it go, Meyer; I know they’re the ONE alien species you actually bothered to make up rather than stealing it from Earth’s biology and pretending it’s something different, but for the love of god, please realize they are not interesting, and no one cares!!  The only important part of this entire page about the See Weeds is this line:

A thousand sentient beings, closing their eyes forever rather than accept us.”

How completely self-absorbed must these aliens be that that was not an obvious sign to stop doing this?!  The humans were willing to both kill and die rather than be taken over by you, and it’s not the first time, because your last hosts did the same thing, and I’d be willing to bet the same thing has happened before, too!  When will you realize that you’re not bringing peace or happiness to anyoneLeave them alone! If they were there first, it’s their planet, their species, their bodies, and you need to fuck the hell off.  You are not ever going to be more deserving of their bodies than they are, and if they’d rather die than deal with you inserting yourselves into them, you need to smarten the hell up, open your eyes and see what you’re doing.  See how much anguish and destruction you’re causing with your ‘peaceful’ ways.

And how the hell did you improve their planet, if you’re using that as the excuse as to why you’re taking over Earth?? They’re fucking plants, rooted in the ground; I’m pretty sure they weren’t at war or screwing each other over in some way that would make them ‘not deserving’ of their own goddamn planet, as you put it, so how the hell did you justify stealing their bodies?  Especially when you saw them commit mass suicide over that and you didn’t even give a shit about that beyond that it was a ‘waste of bodies’, which proves that you don’t care about anything else at all, you’re just willing to go wage war on a species, drive them to suicide, and consider it a loss for your own selfish reasons!  Hypocritical bastards.


Anyway, Wanderer manages to turn the snarky remark by the Seeker about the See Weeds back against her, because apparently it was the Seekers’ faults that the See Weeds killed themselves, though I’m not even going to bother getting into why, because I just do not care at all.  Having the blame put back on those in her Calling appears to shake the Seeker, so Wanderer tries to get her to leave, but the Seeker makes it clear that she’s got nothing better to do, and is, therefore, probably going to just continue stalking Wanderer.

And that’s that.  All in all, nothing much really happened in this chapter, when I think about it.  I’m guessing it’s supposed to set the groundwork for things later on, but…meh.  It wasn’t at all interesting, especially because the goddamn See Weeds were in it again.  The only good part about it is that now that I’m finished it, I’m officially over 10% done this book.

…Oh god. x.x


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

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