Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that takes over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed. Wanderer, the invading ‘soul’ who has been given Melanie’s body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too-vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn’t expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind. Melanie fills Wanderer’s thoughts with vision of the man Melanie loves – Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body’s desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she’s never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.
Wanderer was unconscious in the desert until Jeb (Melanie’s uncle) found her. He kept her prisoner and gave her pet name ‘Wanda’. Soon the pages were filled with Wanda’s daily encounters with the human in hidings. Tested through many trials and tribulations, Wanda self sacrificial nature shines through. Jamie was the one who loves her as she is, Wanda and Melanie. She was needed to comfort Walter who is dying in cancer and in pain. Kyle wanted to fling her across the ravine to kill her, but she saved him. She imparts her knowledge of the outer space and did her share of chores, yet slept in dingy hole food store and refused of comfort food. Beaten up and badly bruised by Kyle and most notably Jared.
The idea of an alien in a human body is intriguing. So incident such as Jared trying to kiss Wanda and Melanie’s body resisted with all her will to get Jared away from Wanda’s reach was bizarre. The character I really like is Ian. The endearing Ian who stood by Wanda and cared for her through thick and thin was a better choice than Jared. But as they say, love is blind.
Wanda’s is put through bigger test when she went out to raid medicine to save Jamie, after she cut herself and get Jared to hurt her face, this bit gets a little bit stupid. Wanda’s ‘seeker’ – a hunter who is responsible for a soul was caught by Jeb and it was up to Wanda’s decision to keep her or not. Wanda had decided to impart her skills in separating the soul from the body, but the souls can be saved by freezing them in a cryotank. She sought the human doctor’s agreement that he will perform the same operation to free her soul so that Melanie could live again. So that she could be separated from Melanie. Melanie objected vehemently. The only person that would hurt most from this decision is Ian.
It gets more interesting when the reader is privy to Wanda’s soul experience with Ian, which she loves with her heart and soul; and Jared, which she loves in body and mind, when both men kissed her. Heart, soul, body, mind, how do we differentiate them, any wonder why our psyche is in conflict when we fall in love with two men / women? Which part of us is in love with A and which part is in love with B? is it possible to love two people equally?
The book said it is a love triangle involving only two bodies, that’s true if Ian is not in the picture, but effectively, it is still a three bodies, 4 souls kind of love triangle. As Wanda goes under Doc’s knife to separate her soul from Melanie’s body, regardless of the tribunal held to decide Wanda’s fate, what would happen to Wanda, what would happen to Melanie? Well, you will have to finish 617 pages to know the answer.
Verdict : 3/5
What I like most about the book:
Easy reading, page turner. A diversion from my usual travel writing, factual reading and read about alien abduction!
What I like least about the book:
It’s too silly and stupid actually. Maybe it’s YA (Young Adult) stuff, I’ll save this for an ultimate judgement until I read Terry Pratchett’s books. Which is another YA book.