Previously in The Host, Wanderer was sort of on a hunger strike because Doc and the other survivors have been trying to vivisect living humans to try to remove the souls from them and bring back the people they used to be. Moral ambiguity all up in here.
Chapter 41: Vanished
Ian sits with Wanderer during her period of mourning. To, you know, mourn with her. Totally for no other reason.
The first day, I woke to find my head and shoulders cradled on his lap. I recoiled from him, shuddering so violently that he did not repeat the gestures.
Remember that Jezebel article on “Nice Guys” I linked to in Ariel’s post yesterday? And its first category of “nice guy”, the “predatory bestie”?
All those assholes you keep dating who are definitely just doing _________ to get in your pants, unlike Predatory Bestie, who is most definitely not just hanging around waiting for you to be single and vulnerable so he can make a move and then guilt you into having sex with him.
With Ian, that blank is currently filled in with “mourning humans and aliens who died because they were vivisected during a horrible period of war”. Classy.
Ian gives up after three days and gets this novel’s instant solution to everything, Jeb, who explains that, what, did she think the humans had just given up?
“Did you expect us to just give up, Wanderer? […] Of course we want to find a way to get our minds back. […] This is our world. We’ve lost a war. We are about to be extinct. We’re trying to find ways to save ourselves.”
God, Jeb, how unreasonable.
I couldn’t deny the truth of what he was saying, or the sense of it. The shock had worn off, and I was myself again. It was in my nature to be fair. […] Of course they would think violence was the answer.
Let’s, uh, just remember that the souls took over the human race in a war. If they were so goddamn opposed to violence at the very core of their being, they could maybe have just, you know, not taken over the human race if violence was the way to do it. OH AND ALSO let’s remember that the souls have to be surgically implanted in hosts, which totally isn’t also violent.
“Hacking up [soul] babies won’t save anyone, Jeb. Now they’re all dead.” […]
“Your kind don’t spare our babies.”
Throughout the first half of this book, one of my biggest complaints was that the souls were adversaries without any real motivation. But the more of this book I read, the more it seems like the real issue is that the souls are just naive hypocrites, which is… somehow worse? I dunno. Let’s pretend Star Wars was written like this and see if we can tell.
- Antagonist has motivation: Darth Vader fights rebels because he believes in absolute power the Emperor offers. Makes sense!
- Antagonist has no motivation: Darth Vader fights rebels because that’s JUST WHAT DARTH VADER DOES, OKAY. Seems flimsy.
- Antagonist doesn’t understand their motivation is completely hypocritical: Darth Vader fights rebels because fighting is bad. Well, I have no idea what’s going on in this version of the story – OMG JUST LIKE THE HOST OMG
Ariel says: God, Matt, they just want to experience life! They just want to watch Parks and Recreation and eat muffins and stuff.
Anyway, want to actually know what was going on in the room with the dead humans and souls? Because Wanderer only actually tells us now in conversation with Jeb, because apparently the reader isn’t important enough to tell this sort of thing to.
“That’s what’s happening, isn’t it? Doc slices up my family, and their limbs shred through the brains of yours.”
Wait, is that what happened in that room? Geez, Wanderer, an explanation of what was horrifying about the scene when we were at the scene could have been useful.
Ariel says: Wanderer didn’t know that’s what was happening then, though. All she saw were baby souls all torn apart. Jeb told her in this scene what was actually going on and then Wanderer was like, “Oh, so that’s what’s going on.”
“Jeb, we are relatively tiny creatures, utterly dependent on unwilling hosts. We wouldn’t have lasted very long if we didn’t have some defenses.”
Also you wouldn’t have lasted very long if you had any natural way of entering a host instead of being completely dependent on a surgical procedure you can’t actually perform yourselves, but that’s just, you know, science. It’s clearly way more important to acknowledge natural selection by talking about a defense mechanism in which a parasite incapable of surviving outside a host body with no independent means of acquiring another can kill its host- wait, this doesn’t make any sense either.
Jeb takes this into consideration and determines that they’ll stop cutting people up, since that approach won’t work. Ian comes back and talks with Wanderer about what she’s learned from her newfound perspective on the human side of the war.
“All’s fair in war,” I murmured, trying to smile.
He grinned weakly back. “And love. You forgot that part.”
Oh shut the fuck up, Ian.
Ariel says: I second that motion. I fucking hate this guy!
The rest of the chapter deals with how Jamie got an infection on the raid and they don’t have medicine so they can only let him rest and wait it out and I honestly just don’t care. Look, Jamie’s nice and all, but I don’t believe for a second that his life is actually in danger in this book. Let’s just get to the part where Wanderer realizes Melanie’s been gone for a while and she’s worried she lost her, so she does the only logical thing to try to bring her back.
I pulled [Ian] into one of the dark corridors, picking at random. It was deserted. […]
“I need you to kiss me, Ian. Now. Please.”
Ariel says: So she’s doing this to test whether or not Melanie is still in her head, I guess. She and Ian seem to be on equal levels of douche.
Chapter 42: Forced
Okay, she does acknowledge to Ian that it’s not fair to Ian, but she doesn’t explain what’s going on until after he kisses her and there’s still no sign of Melanie.
“No, Ian. Really kiss me. Like… like you’re trying to get slapped. Do you understand?”
Goddammit, can we read one book for this blog where BDSM doesn’t come up at some point?
Ian’s uncomfortable, so Wanderer goes in for the kiss herself. Rawr. Until she realizes it’s not working, then she explains what’s going on to Ian, who reacts to the news with his penis.
“Calmly. Okay. Now, what do you really want? I know you don’t want to upset Jamie, but he’s going to be fine regardless. So, consider – would it be better, just for you, if-“
Ian knows that the last time Melanie was drawn out was when Wanderer was really flustered. And for a horrible moment, it looks like Ian’s plan is to try rounding another base or so (because Ian), (Ariel says: Ian’s like, “So you have to be overwhelmed…like really overwhelmed…and I thought for sure he was gonna be like, “So let’s bone!” I’m glad Matt thought the same thing was about to happen) but then it thankfully turns out to be something much more hilarious when he leaves and comes back:
“Just think of it as… an experiment,” Ian was saying.
“Are you crazy?” Jared answered. “Is this some kind of sick joke?”
My stomach dropped through the floor.
Wanderer explains the predicament to Jared.
“You lost her!”
I nodded miserably. […]
Deep breath. “Why does Ian think I have to kiss you?”
I was about to compliment this scene on actually being really funny, then it occurred to me that maybe it’s supposed to be serious?
His cheek pressed against mine, the skin burning where we were connected, and he whispered in my ear.
“Melanie. I know you’re there. Come back to me.”
See, it looks to me like this has to be hilarious! But maybe it’s supposed to be tense because Melanie might be dead? Romantic because of Jared’s love for Melanie? But then again, hilarious because seriously read how silly this is:
He pulled his mouth free and pressed his lips to my ear again.
“Melanie Stryder!” It was so loud in my ear, a growl that was almost a shout. “You will not leave me. Don’t you love me? Prove it! Prove it!Damn it, Mel! Get back here!”
His lips attacked mine again.
Also, does Jared’s more-than-a-little-creepy dialogue interspersed with the kissing remind anyone else of, uh, Christian Grey?
The power of Jared’s love and/or the intensity of the makeout brings Melanie back from the brink of death. This is an actual sentence I just wrote describing an actual thing that happens in this novel. Of course, Melanie doesn’t see it that way.
What the hell, Wanda? she screeched at me.
Where have you been? Do you have any idea what I’ve been going through trying to find you?
Yeah, I can see that you were really suffering.
Oh, Melanie, what would we have done without you? Aside from notice Jared a lot less. Actually that might be it. Nevermind, guys, I answered my own question.
Ariel says: The lesson of this chapter is that LOVE is going to save the human race. Or something. Maybe it’s just passionate making out. Imagine what sex would have done!
Also, Wanderer is stupidly sad that Jared wishes that she would, you know, leave his girlfriend’s body so they can be together again. Shut up, Wanderer.