Wanderer and Melanie Almost Die In The Desert, And The Book Almost Ends Right Here: The Host Chapters 11 and 12

Posted on June 21, 2013 by

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I just had a thought, and I’m curious if any of our readers would be interested in this. Since I’ve finished my English major and actually have time to read now (oh, the irony), I have a really long list of books I want to read. But I co-run a fairly popular books blog. If I were to start a “Good Books, Good Times” series of bonus posts that would function as a sort of book club, encouraging people to read along with me and we could all share our thoughts as it progressed, would anybody be interested? I don’t know exactly how this would play out, but I imagine it would be similar to what this blog looks like normally, just with less criticism because I’d hopefully actually like the book. Would there be any interest for this? Leave a comment! I’d like to hear what you think!

As far as the bad books I know you’re here for go, the next two chapters of The Host are just Wanderer and Melanie slowly dying in the desert, and then they don’t die. It is one of the most disappointing moments I’ve ever encountered in literature.

Chapter 11: Dehydrated

The car runs out of gas and Wanderer is in denial about it, like basically everything she does, and instead just lets the inevitable happen to her and then gets upset when it does. She’s a really hard character to have any feelings towards.

“Okay! You were right, you were right!” […] I was still unwilling to leave the car, though it was useless to me now. When the gas ran out, I had let it roll forward with the remaining momentum

Melanie spends most of the chapter (as well as most of the chapters before this) trying to get Wanderer to stop dicking about and do stuff although she is completely unable to do anything but wait and hope things happen, which – in a really weird, surprisingly deep way – actually makes Melanie a really good metaphor for what it’s like reading this book.

I loaded the water, one bottle at a time, into the pack, my motions unnecessarily deliberate; I added the remaining granola bars just as slowly. All the while, Melanie ached for me to hurry. […]
C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, she chanted

Except now let’s focus on Melanie’s plan for a moment, namely “what the hell is it?” Because her plan is to try to find out if Jared and Jamie are still alive and not captured, and the only way she can do this is by leading an enemy that she has no control over to them?

being here, so close… It seemed like I had to try. Please – and suddenly she was pleading with me, begging me, no trace of resentment in her thoughts – please don’t use this to hurt them. Please.

Melanie is like that kid who you would play checkers with in kindergarten who would knowingly make a really bad move and then beg you not to take advantage of it.

Please I had to use a fire Pokemon

“being here, so close… It seemed like I had to use a fire Pokemon. Please… please don’t use a water move. Please.”

And that’s basically 75% of these chapters. Melanie begs Wanderer to do things and Wanderer just kinda doesn’t give a shit. So we can skip over most of the dialogue and internal monologue. Be comfortable in the knowledge that you’re not missing much.

Melanie keeps pointing Wanderer towards various, not-especially-descriptive landmarks and Wanderer describes their journey through the desert like a really bad Cormac McCarthy novel- oh, wait, I made that joke last week. SEE. NOTHING HAPPENS IN THIS BOOK. They come across a house and both argue that neither humans nor souls would live in a house that shitty (okay, Wanderer says that “souls live for society”, but basically the same idea) so they determine it must be safe to check it out. Although they also realize during this exchange that if they were to run into, you know, literally anyone, they’d be killed immediately, so Melanie hopes they find a weapon soon.

I shuddered at her thoughts of sharp knives and long metal tools that could be turned into clubs. No weapons.
Ugh. How did such spineless creatures beat us?

I’ve been wondering this this whole novel, because the entire premise depends on this apparent contradiction. Unfortunately, Wanderer’s philosophical answer – much like everything Stephenie Meyer has written in this novel – is more so “false profundity” than it is “actual answer for how any of the events in this novel have actually taken place because seriously it doesn’t make sense”:

Stealth and superior numbers. Any one of you, even your young, is a hundred times as dangerous as one of us. But you’re like one termite in an anthill. There are millions of us, all working together in perfect harmony toward our goal.

Which still doesn’t explain how parasitic alien creatures incapable of infecting their host in their natural state have been able to take over the human race, but whatever, ants and shit.

I know I use this gif pretty frequently, but can you really fault me?

I know I use this gif pretty frequently, but can you really fault me?

They find supplies in the hut, so they keep living. Guess we can only hope they die in the next chapter.

Chapter 12: Failed

Oh! That’s a pretty promising chapter title!

“It’s impossible! You’ve got it wrong! Our of order! That can’t be it!” […] My body was drying out, and this ache was my muscles protesting the torture of it. I knew that I couldn’t keep going much longer. […] it wasn’t until I felt my eyes pricking for tears that couldn’t come that I realized I was laughing.
“There was… never… ever… anything out here!”

Wanderer and Melanie talk about how going out into the desert with enough supplies for a one-way trip for something that might not even be there was kind of a bad idea the whole time and begin to embrace death. Seriously. This entire chapter is them embracing their imminent death.

Except with no Woody Harrelson and with two Stephanie Meyer female leads.

Except with no Woody Harrelson and with two Stephanie Meyer female leads.

Melanie is okay that she died trying to protect Jared and Jamie, although since she could have accomplished the same thing by not dying and just never leading anyone to them, she really didn’t. Wanderer regrets everything.

At least I died trying. And I won. I never gave them away. […] I tried to keep my promise… I die for them. […]
“Then what am I dying for?” I wondered

They talk about the afterlife, because, sure, let’s add that as a theme of the novel. Why the fuck not.

Do you [Melanie] still believe in something more, even after all of this? My thoughts raked over her memories of the end of the human world.
It seems like there are some things that can’t die.

Although Wanderer’s “there ain’t shit when we die” is pretty entertaining.

What do you think is out there? she asked me as we marched on toward the end. What will you see, after we’re dead?
Nothing.

Also some CRAZY SHIT GOES ON:

I could feel her now, not just in my head but in my limbs. My stride lengthened; the path I made was straighter. By sheer force of will, she dragged my half-dead carcass toward the impossible goal.
There was an unexpected joy to the pointless struggle. Just as I could feel her, she could feel my body. Our body, now

It’s unclear, but I guess the implication is that Wanderer has given up complete control over Melanie’s body and sort of given some of it back to her? Either way, after this point Wanderer stops using “me” and “my” and starts saying “we” and “our”, like she’s 1) schizophrenic, or 2) the Queen of England.

They lay die to die and keep dying a little longer until they’re rescued, because the book just couldn’t end right here, could it?

“Uncle Jeb,” we croaked in surprise. “You found us.” […]
“Well, now,” he said, and his gruff voice brought back a hundred memories. “Well, now, here’s a pickle.”

Pictured: The plot of the novel, apparently.

Pictured: The plot at this point in the novel.

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Posted in: The Host