Wanderer and Melanie Have Dumb Plans: The Host Chapters 9 and 10

Posted on June 7, 2013 by

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I left you guys on a cliffhanger earlier this week. Not with any of the books we’re reading, just with funny things in my life, such as this house I’m renting a room in this summer, because, guys. This house. I’m renting a house with four other interns from someone who just bought it, so it’s barely furnished. There’s like a couch, a picnic table, and mattresses and that’s it. Except then there’s other weird stuff that’s like the polar opposite. Like how there are four bathrooms in this house (three if you don’t count the one that doesn’t have a shower), two wine racks (one if you’re only counting the wine cooler), two refrigerators (one if you don’t count the one with a water dispenser that lets you set the exact amount of water you want in ounces, cups, or mL – actually), and – my favorite – two sets of washers and driers. This house, you guys. I don’t understand it. Speaking of things I don’t understand:

Chapter 9: Discovered

Wanderer got all kinds of feels from learning about Melanie’s boy troubles and starts going native. This is actually the plot, I guess.

I wasn’t sure exactly what I was in a hurry for, though. To be out of this, I supposed. Out of pain, out of sadness, out of aching for lost and hopeless loves. Did that mean out of this body? I couldn’t think of any other answer. […] If I could find a way, I would keep Melanie out of the Seeker’s hands. […] I promised her this, but she wasn’t listening. She was still dreaming.

Melanie notices weakness in her enemy – or is, um, sleeping – and bombards Wanderer with ANOTHER MEMORY OF TWU WUV.

“You look like a dryad hidden here in the trees,” he whispers in my ear. “One of them. So beautiful that you must be fictional.”

First, there’s the issue with sentence structure here – one of what? Whether he’s saying Melanie looks like one of the dryads or one of the trees, why would she assume she looked like more than one? I can’t tell if this is Jared trying to make sure Melanie realizes she isn’t more than one person, or if it’s actually a veiled insult, like “You’re only beautiful as, like, one dryad. No more than that.” Second, I have no idea what a dryad is. I googled it, and they’re like tree women or something? I dunno, it looks like some freaky /b/ porn shit.

uh

“This is a weird compliment, Jared…”

After comparing his underage girlfriend to tree porn (lest we forget Stephenie Meyer threw that in here too), it’s inferred – incredibly vaguely – that Melanie is leaving to go on some dangerous journey with little hope of success and also survival. This coupled with Meyer’s tendency to think she’s writing in medias res when she’s actually just leaving out rather important details to understanding why anything is going on makes all of Melanie’s decisions very confusing, even when she’s questioning them herself.

Why am I leaving him? It’s such a long shot that Sharon is still human.
But when I saw her face on the news, I was so sure.
It was just a normal raid, one of a thousand. As usual when we felt isolated enough, safe enough, we had the TV on as we cleaned out the pantry and the fridge.

STOP JUMPING AROUND. I have no idea how to answer Melanie’s question, neither from context clues because Melanie won’t explain who Sharon is nor from the reader’s own logical understanding of the situation because Melanie won’t explain who Sharon is. So, yeah, knowing who Sharon is is kind of important, so why do all of the following sentences read like I’m pulling them out of a hat at random? Even when we do eventually get to the part of the paragraph where she begins to explain the situation, it’s still nonsensical.

I can still see the look on her face as she peeked at the camera from the corner of one eye. The look that said, I’m trying to be invisible; don’t see me.

If you have a look that says that, you’re doing a really bad job of it.

Melanie skips ahead to another one of her memories that she can force upon Wanderer who has no means of resistance for some reason that it’s just occurred to me how Meyer is kind of making up the rules for how the two can/can’t access/force their memories upon the other one. This time it’s Melanie saying goodbye to her younger brother Jamie, and – low hanging fruit though it is – this part kind of tugs at the heartstrings a little.

“You’ll be fine with Jared.” I have to sound brave, whether I feel that way or not.
“I know that. I’m scared for you. I’m scared you won’t come back. Like Dad.”

Although Meyer kind of ruins the horror of a parent coming back with a bodysnatching alien having taken over him by doing a lot of telling instead of showing, except in Meyer’s usual way of trying to show and not tell by being vague and ultimately doing a poor job of either.

I flinch. When Dad didn’t come back – though his body did eventually, trying to lead the Seekers to us – it was the most horror and the most fear and the most pain I’d ever felt.

Melanie then throws another memory at Wanderer about how she felt like she let down Jamie right before she was captured, and then Wanderer gives up. No, seriously, like, completely 100% gives up, having apparently been swayed by the power of true love.

“Enough,” I said out loud, cringing away from the whiplash of pain. “Enough! You’ve made your point! I can’t live without them either now.”

Melanie’s next step, logically, is to, uh, help Wanderer reach the exact location of Jared and Jamie?

There is another way, Melanie thought softly. […] This was the first line, the starting point.
I could find them.
We could find them, she corrected me. You don’t know all the directions.

And so Melanie’s plan is to lead the alien that stole her body and is maybe going to let her die directly to her surviving human friends who have no means of resistance against the rest of the aliens, while Wanderer’s plan is to help Melanie find her friends to make Melanie happy and then to turn them all in to the aliens and just kind of hopes the disparities between the two plans will sort themselves out when she gets there. These two are idiots.

Chapter 10: Turned

Much like the chapter title suggests, after being bombarded with Melandie’s memories of her brother Jamie and her boyfriend Jared, Wanderer is now completely swayed by the power of wuv.

twu wuv, in fact

twu wuv, no less

Amazingly, the novel gets even more painful to read at this point because now all that’s happening is Wanderer and Melanie preparing to go on this journey, like a Cormac McCarthy novel but if a whiny teenage girl showed up at every other sentence to comment on how slow-paced it was.

Which one? I demanded.
The bigger one, she told me. […] C’mon, she urged me. Let’s get going! It will be dark soon.
With a sigh, I pulled the largest shrink-wrapped flat of water bottles from the shelf. It nearly hit the floor before I caught it […]
Melanie [said] I’ve carried heavier loads than this.

Okay. Real talk, guys. Nothing happens in this chapter. Like I read a lot of monotonous and uninteresting crap for this blog and have to make it funny, but literally nothing else happens in this chapter aside from the sort of thing I just described. It’s actually just Wanderer and Melanie arguing about the best way to start on their journey into the desert, with a one-off debate about the merits of communism.

I can’t get used to not paying for things, she said, changing the subject. […]
what’s the point of money when everyone is perfectly honest?

Then they talk about water and the sun and stuff and nothing happens.

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Posted in: The Host