Day 5: July 16th. Discuss chapters 25-30 (pp. 244-312)
As “homework” to read between 7/16 and 7/18 read 313-357 (Chapters 31-34)
She joins in with the community. She’s beginning to feel a bit more at ease with the others. Of course she’s not super-comfortable. She doesn’t think she belongs necessarily. But some of the tension has eased certainly. And now it’s more than just Jamie and Jeb and Ian that are welcoming and accepting.
She begins “teaching” the others about her kind, about the Souls, about the various planets she’s been on. The different hosts her kind have taken.
The men return. The ones who had been out scavenging for food and supplies. They are NOT happy to see Wanderer/Melanie outside of her prison cell. Not happy to see everyone so smiling, so relaxed, so at ease with an alien in their midst. They just don’t get it how a few weeks could make their friends, their family, their neighbors so changed in how they view the situation. Have they lost their minds? How could they forget that she’s not like them. She’s alien. She’s different. She’s THE enemy. Kyle is upset. But Jared is equally upset. He almost decides right then and there that she MUST be killed. Luckily, Jeb and Jamie are able to talk him out of it. But talk about tense!!!
Wanderer/Melanie returns (in a way) to her prison. But now her prison is storage. So she’s not quite back where she began out. The internal debate begins with Wanderer/Melanie as to if it’s better for Jamie for her to fight to stay alive, or if he really is better off without her. Her death would be the end of Melanie after all. Yet she can’t give Melanie back her body. They’re a package deal. And Jamie seems to be fine with that. And most of the others don’t know Melanie is even there. (Jeb does I think.)
Jared is once again a jerk. How could he treat Jamie like that? And we’re supposed to like him?
Wanderer/Melanie finds reassurance with Jamie and has a nice chat with Ian. Jared is still a jerk.
The big “secret” going on has something to do with Doc. She’s not quite sure what it is. But the reader can put two and two together and guess that it might have something to do with experimentation on souls/hosts. (After all, Wanderer was threatened with becoming an experiment and now Doc is locked away busy in work and the others are all hush hush.)
And this is where it gets tricky tricky. Jared “tests” Wanderer/Melanie by kissing her. What is that supposed to prove exactly? If Melanie is not in there then he’s kissing “the enemy” and if she’s in there what is the proper way to show that it is her responding to his kiss? Melanie responds with anger. She punches him. The scene is very violent. And no one is really happy. Jared. Melanie. Wanderer are all angsty here.
Wanderer/Melanie must have passed some sort of test. Now Jared is beginning to believe that Melanie is still alive. Melanie is too angry, too hurt, too betrayed (by whom???) to show herself. She’s left Wanderer for the moment.
Walter. Visiting him, her dying friend. Wanderer seems more human than ever.
So what do you think? Liking it? Loving it? Can’t put it down? Don’t want to pick it up? Too predictable? Just right? Satisfying? What do you think of Jared? Of Kyle? Can you see where they are coming from? Or are you on the side of Jeb, of Jamie, of Ian? Do you think it is the stories themselves that are working this magic on the community? Or is it the storyteller? Is there something about Wanderer that is just likable?
Share your thoughts!
What kind of book is Gem X? According to the jacket, it is a “gripping futuristic thriller” about the consequences of genetic engineering. Gem X is the story of three teens primarily. Maxo Strang is an Enhanced human. He’s got the wealth, the privilege, physically and materially he has everything going for him. Gala and Stretch are brother and sister. Both dreggies. Naturals. Their genes are still “clean.” And their clean genes are really the only things they have going for them. For it is these genes which they can sale to the Enhanced scientists for money. The Dreggies–all of them–are poverty stricken, prone to disease, lacking in proper food and water and medical care. Their lives are dismal–at least on the surface. They live in broken down buildings and often lack water and electricity.
Why do the Enhanced need ‘clean genes.’ Well, their bodies and minds sometimes develop flaws. Clean genes are needed to fix certain problems. These scientists are far from perfect though they like to play god with the human body. Natural “meshing” is not allowed. Touching is not allowed. Everything is done ‘virtually’ when it comes to dating. And genetic matches must be approved by others (not sure if it’s just the parents who get a vote or if the government/scientists must approve as well.) But the whole process is very cold and distant compared to what it should be.
Our story begins when Maxo discovers that he has a crack on his face. This combined with the revelation that all Gem X’ers are developing cracks (or wrinkles) on their faces. Something is wrong–desperately and dangerously wrong!
These stories connect–as you can imagine–and I suppose you could easily classify it as a thriller. It’s always moving.
The premise of this one was interesting. I can’t deny that. But at the same time, it failed, in a way, to work for me. While hypothetically interesting, I just didn’t seem to connect with the characters. I didn’t feel their angst, their pain, their confusion. Part of this could have been intentional. The Enhanced humans are supposedly free from being “bogged down” by emotional drama and whatnot. They’re very cold and calculating. Very me-me-me oriented. Maxo’s parents, especially his mother, is very cold, frigid, and just a horrible person. She has no heart and no depth. Maxo’s father is slightly more human. He does seem to care, but for the most part he has been too blinded to really realize how much he is lacking in the fatherhood department. There are other human characters, human adult characters, that just seem odd and out of place in this text. I was never quite sure what to make of them.
Singer has created a world that is very chaotic. A world that is complex. A world that has its own organization, its own vocabulary, its own status quo. The readers never really get an orientation to its history, its politics, its society, its science. And because of that it is a world that could be a bit too confusing to readers. I can’t and won’t speak for everyone. But I know there were elements that confused me.
© Becky Laney of Becky’s Book Reviews
I had a GREAT day catching up with some old friends I hadn’t seen in month! I met one of my baby reviewers, SnuggleBug, for the first time And I spent the time with other friends and family as well. The bad news? I didn’t get a chance to read THE HOST and post about it. And I am way way too tired to think about doing it tonight. (It’s 10:35 PM. Typically this time doesn’t find me exhausted. I’m a night owl after all. But today I got up by 8AM and I’ve been busy, busy, busy all day long. No reading time. No blogging time. No email time. So it was great to hang out with real people. And I loved it. I can’t regret having a day off now and then. I’ll try to have it up tomorrow. But it may just have to be a Friday thing. I might do two posts on Friday. Or not.
If you’re going crazy wanting to talk about today’s chapters then you can comment on this post and jump start the conversation.