In a future that strongly resembles Invasion of the Body Snatchers, humans are an endangered species. A militantly peaceful race of extraterrestrials known as "souls" has decided that the passionately violent humans don't deserve to live on the Earth. So they have calmly taken over the vast majority of human bodies.
Sometime after the aliens have gained control of the planet, a soul known as Wanderer is implanted in the body of a young human fugitive named Melanie. But Melanie has not gently left her body; she is still sharing it with Wanderer, making the soul relive her worst memories and feel disturbingly intense human emotions while fighting desperately to hide memories of her human family. The two reach an uneasy truce when Wanderer decides to follow Melanie's memories into the desert to try to locate her family--lover Jared and brother Jamie.
Oh, Stephenie Meyer, what am I supposed to do with you?
I admit, I generally get fully involved in Meyer's plots against my better judgment(the big exception being with New Moon). She writes a riveting story, but then the females are--well, not. Riveting. Or interesting. Or really much of anything except helpless around their men. As in multiple men per woman.
Wanderer irritated the absolute heck out of me. I admit, I didn't notice it too much with Bella until New Moon but Wanderer hit me right away. I know she's supposed to be all peace, love, and happiness, but come on. You can't faint every time someone looks at you the wrong way. And she's always so--almost happy at the thought of giving her life or getting hurt to protect someone she loves. I'm not joking. It went beyond martyr complex. Way, way, way beyond. By the end, I was ready to throw the book against the wall and give up. Five hundred pages of reading time down the drain. But I stuck with it and I can't say that I regret it.
Melanie would have been an awesome character, but she's not in the driver's seat, either in her own body or in the story. The few times she manages to break through Wanderer's control and act on her own, it's obvious that she's got a temper, she's not afraid to fight, and she's not afraid to love. Please write a book with that kind of character next time, Ms. Meyer.
And then there's this really weird love triangle/square. Yeah. I'm over the triangles in general but this one got crazy-weird. How do you even make a love square? I would have said it wasn't possible, but I have now been proven wrong.
The aliens have Seekers, souls who search out the "wild humans." There's one Seeker who becomes obsessed with Wanderer, following her around all day and generally giving both her and Melanie the creeps. That storyline had a lot of potential but it was a bit of a letdown. It caused the climax but after all the buildup I expected there to be some sort of huge confrontation between them.
Despite all that, I tore through the darn thing. It is an easy read, but even then, my reading speed is nothing compared to what it once was. This should have taken me a good three weeks and I finished it in two. I just needed to know what was going to happen next. Once I gritted my teeth and decided that I was definitely going to finish, I needed to know what was going to happen at the end. It becomes obvious further out than it should have, but I had all kinds of scenarios going through my head. I wanted to see which one would be the "official" version.
I found it intriguing to see the world the souls had created and the way the humans were surviving. I see room for a sequel in explaining the Origin of the souls. Wanderer tells a little of their history, but there are some "distressing" parts that she glosses over. "The Vultures were...not kind." (Paraphrased) And that's all she says. What were the Vultures and what did they do to the souls to turn them into interstellar parasites? I confess, I want to know.
Stephenie Meyer seems to be a polarizing figure. I think you knew before you read my review whether you were ever going to read this or not. Fans will not be disappointed.
Will you be seeing the movie? I'll probably pass it up.
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