Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. Our world has been invaded by an unseen enemy. Humans become hosts for these invaders, their minds taken over while their bodies remain intact and continue their lives apparently unchanged. Most of humanity has succumbed.
When Melanie, one of the few remaining “wild” humans, is captured, she is certain it is her end. Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, was warned about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the glut of senses, 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.
Wanderer probes Melanie’s thoughts, hoping to discover the whereabouts of the remaining human resistance. Instead, Melanie fills Wanderer’s mind with visions of the man Melanie loves – Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body’s desires, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she has been tasked with exposing. When outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off on a dangerous and uncertain search for the man they both love.
Melanie Stryder is one of the few surviving “humans” left on earth, but one misstep allows her to be captured and brought to the hospital for implantation. The “souls” are such tiny creatures but when they are implanted in the back of the neck will take over your body and your mind. Wanderer (“Wanda”) can’t understand why Melanie just doesn’t disappear like she should. Melanie just wants to get back to her brother, Jamie, and her love, Jared. Wanda might not be able to take over Melanie’s mind, but soon she is absorbing all her emotions, and together they set off on a quest to find Jamie and Jared who they now both love. But can two separate identities survive in one body, or does someone have to go.
This books deal with the prejudices and fears of a quiet alien invasion in a less terrifying way than say Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It is a very interesting storyline. Although I would never call it “action packed,” the ever changing dynamics of the story held me captive. How Melanie and Wanda learn about each other and grow to accept each other. How the survivors deal with, fear or accept Melanie/Wanda. It is such an ever changing dynamic, that (although my family thought I was crazy) as soon as I finished this story, I started it again. I read it again so I could catch exactly when each character started to re-think the world and people around them and what exactly was it that made them start to think instead of just to fear and react. Melanie’s reactions to all the happenings are different than Wanda’s reactions. So you truly have two separate characters in one body and they both change and grow as the story goes on. And there is also the added interest of the love quadrangle, two men, one in love with Melanie and one in love with Wanda, so who gets the girl (and which girl do you get)?
This was a great story. Definitely worth reading.
Rating: 5 stars
Favorite Scene (slightly reduced):
I waited for him to say something more, but he was quiet. “Was there something that you wanted?” I asked.
He didn’t answer right away, but I could feel him struggling, so I waited.
“If I asked you something, would you tell me the truth?”
It was my turn to hesitate. “I don’t know everything,” I hedged.
“You would know this. When we were walking…me and Jeb…he was telling me some things. Things he thought, but I don’t know if he’s right.”
Melanie was suddenly very there in my head.
Jamie’s whisper was hard to hear, quieter than my breathing, “Uncle Jeb things that Melanie might still be alive. Inside there with you, I mean.”
My Jamie. Melanie sighed.
I said nothing to either of them.
“I didn’t know that could happen. Does that happen?” His voice broke, and I could hear that he was fighting tears. “Is Melanie still alive, Wanda? Please.”
He was probably a tool. The old man could have sent him just for this.
He’s suffering. Melanie cried. She battered ineffectually at my control. But I couldn’t blame this on Melanie if it turned out to be a huge mistake. I knew who was speaking now.
“She promised she would come back, didn’t she?” I murmured. “Would Melanie break a promise to you?”