Chapter 31: Needed
Even though Walter was apparently asking for Wanderer, he immediately mistakes her for his deceased wife Gladys. In case there was still doubt as to whether Wanderer is a good soul or not, Meyer again force feeds us more annoyingly selfless acts by Wanderer. If I have to read one more time how she throws herself into a fight, sleeps somewhere less comfortable or refuses to take food she doesn’t think she deserves or how she spends the night with a dying man out of the goodness of her fucking heart, I’m going to barf all over my computer.
This goes on for awhile until this random guy Brandt shows up freaking the fuck out because the Seeker is circling the area in a helicopter. That bitch just doesn’t know when to quit!
He insinuates that Wanderer is going to attempt to escape and lead the Seeker there and suggests they tie her up. Doc tells Brandt to go away, and he does. Meyer constantly creates temporary tension where it seems like we’re supposed to worry that something is actually going to harm Melerer. Even though she gets slapped around a bit, for the most part every situation is resolved by another cave dweller being like, “Leave her alone.”
In the next scene, Wanderer tells us what a bad day she’s having. The combination of the Seeker, Brandt, and Walter dying does sound like a real bummer. But couldn’t it at least be an interesting bad day?
Let’s in check in on Melanie while all this is going on:
Melanie was far away, knowing she could do nothing useful. I would have hidden, too, if Walter hadn’t needed me. I was all alone in my head— exactly what I had once wanted. It made me feel lost.
Well, I guess since it has nothing to do with Jared, Melanie is out for the count.
Matthew says: Much like I guessed at the end of the last chapter, Melanie once again only gets involved in the story if Jared is. I bookmarked every single time Melanie was mentioned in this chapter, and literally every single time she does anything, it is only because someone said Jared’s name. Here’s my favorite one:
Doc cursed under his breath. “Where’s Jared?” he muttered.
I stiffened at the name. Melanie stirred and then drifted again.
This is actually kind of gold, you guys. Melanie’s like, “Jared! Oh, no Jared. Just a guy dying of cancer. Booooring. Peace, y’all.” and leaves. It’s almost impressive how one-dimensional Stephenie Meyer’s female characters are.
Don’t worry, though, he walks in two paragraphs later, so Melanie is interested again. The agony of a dying man isn’t enough to grab her attention, but Jared’s mere presence sure is!
Melanie jolted into awareness. She pored over his features, trying to read the thoughts behind the mask.
Knowing Jared he’s probably just thinking Big Angry Thoughts
and about Cheetos.
Oh! Oh! This is interesting! Euthanasia comes up here. Jared was able to retrieve some morphine, but he says that the solution isn’t to give it to Walter in doses, it’s to ease his pain once and for all. The frustrating thing is, again, instead of teasing out something that could potentially be an issue or a dilemma, everyone in the room just agrees to it. They’re sad, but they all recognize it’s the right thing to do.
Matthew says: I have a similar, but slightly different complaint about this part. While everyone agrees to euthanize Walter, Wanderer is the only dissenting voice. But instead of being an interesting debate about Euthanasia in times of crisis as Ariel suggested, it becomes another goddamn “Humans think death is the answer but a SOUL could NEVER condone such a barbaric solution!” attempt at exploring the human condition, which is less “debate exploring the human condition” and more “two diehard fans screaming about how their love for either the Backstreet Boys or NSYNC is the only correct choice”
So then the tension goes back to the love triangle.
Because I was in love with him, no matter that it was unwilling, I had to look at Jared before I left. Mel wanted this, too, but wished that she could somehow exclude me from the process.
Dying man shmying man. How do you stop someone from checking out your man when she shares your eyeballs with you?
Matthew says: Meyer’s truly asking the deep questions.
Doc agrees to wait for Wanderer to go bathe and then come back to say goodbye before he puts Walter out of his misery. That’s kind of fucking selfish.
Chapter 32: Ambushed
Wanderer is a mess since she hasn’t slept in a while.
Every time I tried to focus on a subject— Walter, Jared, breakfast, chores, baths— some other thought would pull my head away in seconds. Melanie was right; I needed to sleep. She was just as muddled. Her thoughts all spun around Jared, but she could make nothing coherent of them, either.
It’s not even a secret that Melanie has two elements to her character. One, she loves Jared. Two, she gets mad at Wanderer for also having feelings for Jared. Bravo to Meyer for creating the likes of Bella Swan and Melanie Stryder as well as inspiring our beloved Anastasia Steele.
After taking her bath, Kyle shows up to kill Melerer. The men in this book clearly are watching too many horror films with cliche killers in the local cave movie theater. Remember what Jared said before?
“Knock, knock ,” a familiar voice called from the dark entry.
“Good morning , Ian ,” I said. “I’m just done. Did you sleep well?”
“Ian’s still sleeping,” Ian’s voice answered . “I’m sure that won’t last forever, though, so we’d best get on with this.”
To her credit, Melanie is just like, “Let’s protect ourselves any way we can. Grab a rock.” Wanderer is a huge fucking wuss, so she tries to let Melanie handle this, but for some reason the rules of sharing one body have changed yet again.
In desperation , I tried to unlock Melanie , to let her out. I couldn’t find the door— my hands were still my own, clutched uselessly around the objects I could never make into weapons.
Well, isn’t that convenient.
Matthew says: I almost found how Wanderer wanted Melanie to take over interesting (in a kind of “I knew this was coming but hey here it finally is” sort of way), but lost interest immediately because the rules of body-sharing are so inconsistent there was nothing to give Wanderer’s desire to give up control any lasting weight. Ultimately, it’s more interesting how Melanie goes an entire scene without mentioning Jared once, and, boy, THAT is not a good sign for this novel.
Wanderer ignores Melanie and tries to run away, only to be overpowered by Kyle. He starts to drown Melerer, but she gets free. The next time he grabs her, he takes her over to the hot spring portion of the fabulous cave spa to burn her alive. Somehow, though, during their wrestling…Kyle breaks the cave?
Kyle abruptly jumped into the air and came down with a thud. The jarring impact had the effect he wanted: my legs came loose.
But before he could take advantage, there was another result.
The cracking sound was deafening. I thought the whole cave was coming down. The floor shuddered beneath us. Kyle gasped and jumped back, taking me—hands still locked in his hair— with him. The rock under his feet, with more cracking and groaning, began to crumble away.
Basically he gets knocked out and starts to fall, but Wanderer tries his life because that’s what she does. Isn’t she just perfect, you guys?
You know, this all could have probably been resolved with sex like in the Crossfire series. I bet you anything a blow job would have dispelled all of Kyle’s animosity.
Matthew says: So, yeah, I realize this is mostly a joke, but Ariel got me thinking about this! If anybody’s watched Orange Is The New Black, there’s this one scene where a lesbian character kisses a homophobic, god-fearing female inmate, knowing that the mental anguish she’d suffer would be decent revenge. So this could be like that, except with, uh, aliens? WAY TO MISS THIS GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO EXPLORE THE HUMAN CONDITION THROUGH ALIEN BLOW JOBS, MEYER.
Anyway, she’s struggling to save him from falling on her own, so the chapter ends with her desperately calling for help. Cliffhanger! Literally.