Last time, things really heated up with the love…square? It’s actually only a love shape because of the shared body, otherwise there’s not that much drama. Melanie and Jared both love each other. Wanderer only loves Jared because Melanie basically forced her to. Ian loves Wanderer, and Wanderer probably would love him back (I think) if Melanie didn’t rightfully interfere because it’s, you know, her body.
Matthew says: It’s actually kind of weird how close this story came to being a thoughtful allegory about consent, but then Stephenie Meyer wrote it.
Chapter 39: Worried
We jump ahead by a month, with Ian and Melerer in the dining hall, sharing some expository dialogue. Jared and Jamie have gone on a raid with some other cave dwellers and have been gone for the past week. Melerer is angsty and missing them. Ian is, of course, there to comfort her and try to earn some brownie points. What a fucking Jacob.
“I could sleep with you— Oh, calm down , Melanie. You know what I meant.”
Ian always noticed when Melanie’s antagonism made me cringe.
Man, ever since Ian came out of the Jacob closet he’s a lot more annoying. I didn’t like last chapter when he was trying to get on Melanie’s good side by addressing her in his condescending, smarmy way, and I don’t like it now. There’s something so patronizing about the way he talks to her, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised because there’s often something patronizing about the way the men talk to women in the books we blog about here.
Matthew says: Ian’s behavior since he came out as a Jacob reminded me of that Jezebel article “A Field Guide to ‘Nice Guys’” and (god, this is going to look like shameless self-promotion) a post Ariel wrote on her blog about a year ago about “nice guys“, specifically this part:
eventually we realize that the only reason you’re being so damn nice is because you want something from us. And that’s annoying. It’s completely understandable if you’re not interested in our friendship, but when you actively strategize and decide to get close to us in hopes of something more happening, it’s stupid. No one feels bad for you when that doesn’t work out.
He acts like now that his “true feelings” are known that they’re some kind of goddamn higher moral standard. Like he’s a Jehovah’s Witness and if he just keeps telling Wanderer the message long enough, eventually she’ll see the light of the one true path. Okay, I don’t know anything about religious sects, but I hope that my point got across anyway.
“Do you think Melanie would make you very uncomfortable if I were to kiss you right now?”
Dude, what about whether it would make, I don’t know, WANDERER uncomfortable if you kissed her? Because you TRIED THAT and it DID make her uncomfortable. You don’t go back to the house that slammed the door in your face and act like they witnessed Jehovah anyway- okay, I need to go Google Jehovah’s Witnesses. I have no idea what I’m talking about.
Ian tells Melerer he needs help on a special project…and it’s to play more soccer! With Lily and Wes. One of Matt’s favorite characters has returned! Matt, on a scale of one to Batman, how happy are you?
Matthew says: Well, Ben Affleck is Batman now, so… I have no idea how this scale works anymore.
Wanderer reluctantly agrees to play some soccer, and Melanie is unhappy when Ian hugs them to say thanks. Also, some awkward trash talk occurs.
“Ready to be humiliated, Wanda?” Wes taunted. “You may have taken the planet , but you’re losing this game.” Ian laughed , but I didn’t respond.
Too soon, Wes, too soon.
Melerer and Ian crush the competition, and then something happens, which I think is supposed to be a surprising reveal but actually reads no more interestingly than anything else in this book.
“Don’t be a sore loser,” Lily said, reaching out to tickle Wes’s stomach playfully. He caught her fingers and pulled her closer to him. She laughed, tugging away, but Wes reeled her in and planted a solid kiss on her laughing mouth.
Ian and I exchanged a quick, startled glance.
You mean to tell me that two characters who I care nothing about (sorry, Matt, I know Lily is your favorite) are dating now?!?!?! SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!
Matthew says: Yay, my favorite character Lily! Get some!
Melerer and Ian then play some one-on-one soccer, and at first Ian is letting Melerer win. Then she tells him if he wins he gets to sleep in her room with her so that he’ll play better and actually give her a challenge…so he wins. Melanie is not pleased. I don’t blame her.
“Tired?” he asked, the innocence in his tone a bit overdone. Being funny. He stretched. “I think I’m ready for bed myself.” He leered in a melodramatic way.
Ug, seriously, now that the cat’s out of the bag with Ian’s crush, he’s so gross and annoying! Maybe if he hadn’t been so creepy during the conversation where he revealed his feelings for Wanderer I’d find this line cute. However, I really do not like him or find him amusing. Just totally icky.
Ian keeps flirting, but he’s interrupted by someone informing Melerer that Jared and Jamie are back from the raid. Silly Jamie fell on his leg while holding a knife, so he’s injured! Melerer asks why Jamie isn’t with Doc, and he says he’s just come from there but was told to go rest in his room. Melerer thinks something funky is going on because people are acting weird. She’s probably not wrong, and the chapter ends with her going to investigate.
Chapter 40: Horrified
Well, we don’t have to wait to find out! Man, can you imagine if you had to wait until tomorrow to find out what’s going on? I bet you wouldn’t even be able to sleep.
As Melerer gets closer to Doc’s, she hears people talking and saying things like, “This was Jared’s idea this time” and “Jared’s actually invested in this now,” and “Did you see the latest episode of Dexter? Now that the souls have taken over they won’t let him be a serial killer anymore, so the show’s gotten really dull.” Melerer then hears Doc sobbing and smell something…suspicious and familiar. No, it’s not a fart. It’s this:
Brighter than these were other silver things. Shimmering segments of silver stretched in twisted, tortured pieces across the table… tiny silver strands plucked and naked and scattered … splatters of silver liquid smeared on the table, the blankets, the walls…
I totally totally get that Wanderer is seeing her own kind dead after clearly being tortured, which is horrifying. But all I can think of are like super yucky bugs being torn apart, and I’m kind of gleeful. I hate nothing more than worms and creepy crawlies. DEATH TO THEM ALL!!!!!
Matthew says: Speaking of Dexter, is anyone else a little weirded out by how Wanderer describes the smell of Soul blood as “it should be familiar”? And that’s if you ignore the fact that all species smell things differently due to the physiological differences in their olfactory systems (like like how dogs and humans can smell different things), so because this is her first time in a human body, yeah, no, she hasn’t smelled soul blood before. Maybe you’ll science better next time.
Wanderer has a melt down, and everyone tries to calm her down but she blacks out. When she comes to, she hears Jared saying that he kind of figured she already knew what they’d been up to! It’s just a misunderstanding, you guys. He totally thought she knew they were torturing her kind in the name of Science, which makes it okay!
Jared and Ian argue over what exactly caused Wanderer to freak the fuck out. I get why Jared thinks that it’s simply because she’s scared they’re going to remove her friend Melanie’s body, but why wouldn’t he put two and two together about the souls’ bodies on the table? Ian has to point this out to him, and it’s like, come on, Jared, are you really that fucking stupid?
Basically, in terms of Jared vs. Ian, I think it’s down to which of them can be the least idiotic and least creepy at the same time. This is apparently very fucking difficult to achieve.
Matthew says: Technically what Ian had to explain to Jared was that what upset Wanderer wasn’t just the soul corpses, but that human corpses would upset her too. Once again this is because Wanderer is JUST BETTER THAN EVERYONE.
Wanderer runs away from them both and goes to hide in the tunnels. Melanie tries to make things better, but Wanderer is having none of that shit:
It wasn’t what we thought. Doc wasn’t hurting anyone on purpose; he was just trying to save—
GET OUT OF MY HEAD! I shrieked.
As I thrust her away from me— gagged her so that I wouldn’t have to bear her justifications— I realized how weak she’d grown in all these months of friendliness. How much I’d been allowing. Encouraging.
It was almost too easy to silence her. As easy as it should have been from the beginning.
At this point I’m not surprised when Meyer throws in another new element to the body sharing that’s super convenient for the plot.
The cave dwellers finally find Melerer, and Jared shoos them away so he can talk to Wanderer. He apologizes for her finding the bodies, which is just one of those shitty “I’m not sorry for what I did but that you found out” apologies that we all know and love.
Ian comes and makes Jared leave, and he just sits there in silence with Wanderer. Whomp whomp.