The earth's been invaded by an alien species that take over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact so that 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... read more
Melanie "Mel" Stryder is one of few "wild" humans remaining on earth after invasion. After "insertion" into a human body, alien souls erase the human occupant and establish a claim over the body and mind. Wanderer is a soul who has lived on eight different planets previously, with Mel being... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
Melanie "Mel" Stryder is one of few "wild" humans remaining on earth after invasion. After "insertion" into a human body, alien souls erase the human occupant and establish a claim over the body and mind. Wanderer is a soul who has lived on eight different planets previously, with Mel being her ninth host body. Upon waking inside her new body, Wanderer is shocked by the power and vividness of human emotions, memories, and senses, and quickly learns that Melanie is not willing to give up the entirety of her mind.
The Seeker, who is in charge of Melanie's body, starts to worry about Wanderer's apparent lack of control over Melanie's mind. Wanderer is bombarded with Melanie's memories and her powerful yearning for Jared and Jamie, and soon finds herself feeling strong love for Melanie's former companions. She becomes desperate to find out whether they are still alive. On a road trip to Tucson, Melanie remembers her Uncle Jeb telling her about a secret hideaway he once made, and which Jared is aware of. Wanderer sets out to find the hideaway, with a vague sketch of the path from Melanie's memories, and is found by Jeb on the verge of death. She is taken to the hideaway, a complex of caves in which a group of rebel humans live, but is treated spitefully as they consider Wanderer a parasite in Melanie's body. Many of the humans believe she should be put to death and attempts are made on her life, most notably by Kyle O'Shea, despite the protection provided her by some of the humans, including Ian (who strangled her when she was first brought there), Jeb, and Jared (who experiences powerful, conflicting emotions towards his alien-possessed lover). Over time, Wanderer, now becoming known as "Wanda", becomes a part of the group's routine by working, eating, and becoming an unofficial history teacher by telling stories after evening meals about her experiences in former hosts on other planets occupied by the souls. During this time, Ian, Jamie, and many other humans befriend Wanda. The Seeker, still not convinced that Wanderer was killed in the desert, returns in a helicopter, but is unable to find the caves. Kyle tries to kill Wanda by throwing her into a boiling hot, underground river. Due to Wanderer's vigorous defense, he is unsuccessful and is about to fall into the river himself when his intended victim saves him. A tribunal is held and it is decided that Kyle is allowed to stay, though many of Wanda's friends are upset about this decision, particularly Ian, who believes that Kyle deserves to die after his plot to kill Wanda. Meanwhile, Ian begins to fall in love with Wanda. After discovering this, she is confused with her own feelings since she has been deeply infected by Mel's love for Jared.After spending more time with Ian, she realizes she loves him too, but Mel doesn't really like him.
The humans realize that Wanda can be of use to them as a raider, because she is trusted by other souls. Following a raid in which the Seeker is caught, Wanda decides to reveal her biggest secret: how to remove a soul without killing either the human or the soul, a procedure that Doc had been attempting unsuccessfully. She promises to teach Doc under two conditions: first, they must send the souls to new planets without harming them, and second, Doc must remove Wanda's soul from Melanie's body and bury Wanda, because "she does not want to be a parasite any longer". Wanda successfully removes The Seeker and sends her to another planet, and the body the Seeker was in is revived. Wanda then teaches Doc how to take out the souls himself.
Ian is enraged at the idea of Wanda ending her life so that Jared can have Melanie back. He forcibly takes her to his cave where they reveal their love for each other, but she sneaks away from him after he falls asleep, still determined to give up her life for Melanie. Wanda has Doc remove her from Melanie's body, believing that she will die thereafter, according to their agreement. However, she awakens in a new human body whose original owner was possessed as a baby and therefore has no suppressed human personality, and it is revealed that Jared and Ian forcibly prevented Doc from carrying out the agreement and that most of the humans want her to stay as one of them. The book ends with the rebels discovering another group of humans who also have a soul among them. This discovery suggests that humanity and souls together may still have hope for the future.
The worlds mentioned in the book are the Vulture World, the Dragon Planet, the Summer World, the planet of the Flowers, the Singing World (Bats), the Spiders, the Fire World, the world of the See Weeds, the Dolphins, the Mists Planet (Bears), the Origin, and of course, Earth.
“It’s not the face, but the expressions on it. It’s not the voice, but what you say. It’s not how you look in that body, but the things you do with it. You are beautiful.”Ian O'Shea
“You never know how much time you'll have.”Melanie "Mel" Stryder
“You. Will. Not. Leave. Me.”Ian O'Shea
“I held you in my hand, Wanderer. And you were so beautiful.”Ian O'Shea
“The best four letter word in the world is Hope.”Uncle 'Jeb' Jebediah
“Wanda?" Kyle said. "Yes?" "I'm sorry." "Um . . . why?" "For trying to kill you," he said casually."'Guess I was wrong." Ian gasped. "Please tell me you have some kind of recording device available, Doc." "Nope. Sorry, Ian." Ian shook his head. "This moment should be preserved. I never thought I'd live to see the day that Kyle O'Shea would admit to being wrong. C'mon, Jodi. That ought to shock you awake.”Ian O'Shea, Wanderer/Wanda, Kyle O'Shea and Doc
“Ian looked at me for a long minute, then turned to scowl at Jared. He barked out each sentence like an order."Her name is Wanda, not it. You will not touch her. Any mark you leave on her, I will double on your worthless hide."”Ian O'Shea
“And my tenth life began.”Wanderer/Wanda
“I could describe us, but could not name us. I sighed for the lost knowledge...”Wanderer/Wanda
“Dont worry, Mel. Miracles dont work that way. I'll never lose you, I'll never let you get away from me.”Wanderer/Wanda
“Eight full lives. Eight full lives and I've never found anyone I would stay in a planet for, anyone I would follow when they left. I never found a partner. Why now? Why you? You're not of my species. How can you be my partner? It's not fair. I love you.”Wanderer/Wanda
“I, the soul named Wanderer, love you, human Ian and that will never change no matter what I might become. If I were a Dolphin or a Bear or a Flower, it wouldn't matter. I would always love you, always remember you. You will be my only partner.”Wanda
“Ian? Ian, where am I? Who am I?" "You're you. And you're right where you belong. I held you in my hands, Wanderer. And you were so beautiful.”Wanderer/Wanda, Ian O'Shea
“You and I won't lose each other, I will always find you again. No matter how well you hide. I'm unstoppable.”Jared Howe
“He squeezes my hand,and my heart punches against my ribs. It's like pain, this pleasure”Melanie "Mel" Stryder
“Jared punches Kyle and right after that it goes:"Um," Doc said in a mild voice, "medically speaking, I'm not sure that was the most helpful thing for his condition.""But I feel better," Jared answered, sullen.Doc smiled the tiniest smile. "Well, maybe a few more minutes of unconsciousness won't kill him."”Jared Howe, Doc
“"here you go, Wanda" Jamie said his hands full of granola bars. "Thanks," I (Wanda) said, taking the bars. "Here you go..." Ian was here, his hands also full of bars. "Beat ya," Jamie told him."Oh," Jared said appering on Jamie's other side. He also had too many bars for one.”Wanderer/Wanda, Jamie Stryder, Ian O'Shea, Jared Howe
“I didn't let you fall because I'm not like you. I'm not saying that im not... like humans. Because there are humans here who would do the same. There are kind and good people here. People like your brother, and Jeb, and Doc... Im saying that im not like YOU personally”Wanderer/Wanda to Kyle O'Shea
“Neither hell nor heaven could keep me apart from you Melanie”Jared Howe
“Who's got the crush on a wrom bro? You gonna call me stupid?”Kyle O'Shea
“You stupid jackass.”Ian O'Shea
“I'm going to hurt her? I'M GOING TO HURT HER?! You hypocritical swine!”Ian O'Shea
“And I started to cry again, realizing that it must be changing him, too, this man who was kind enough to be a soul but strong as only a human could be.”Wanderer/Wanda about Ian O'Shea
“Life and love would go on.”Lily and Wanderer/Wanda
“But if you try cuddling up to me tonight...so help me O'Shea.”Jared Howe
“My first instinct was to wave Andy ahead and make Ian carry me away. This was human mourning, not mine.”Wanderer/Wanda
“There was no hatred in your heart" I whispered "That you existed is proof that we were wrong. We had no right to take your world from you, Walter. I hope your fairy tales are true. I hope you find your Gladdie.”Wanderer/Wanda
“What was it that made this human love so much more desirable to me than the love of my own kind? Was it because it was exclusive and capricious? The souls offered love and acceptance to all. Did I crave a greater challenge? This love was tricky; it had no hard-and-fast rules - it might be given for free, as with Jamie, or earned through time and hard work, as with Ian, or completely and heartbreakingly unattainable, as with Jared.Or was it simply better somehow? Because these humans could hate with so much fury, was the other end of the spectrum that they could love with more heart and zeal and fire?”Wanderer/Wanda
“Does Jeb always have to get his way?" "Pretty much, yeah.”
“Thank you, Wands. My sister. I will never forget you.”Melanie "Mel" Stryder
“It's strange how love and life go on.”Lily
“How sad. How frightening. To be filled with so much hate that you can't rejoice in the healing of a child...”Wanda
“It’s not the face, but the expressions on it. It’s not the voice, but what you say. It’s not how you look in that body, but the things you do with it. You are beautiful.”Highlighted by 258 Kindle customers
“In so many millennia, the humans never did figure love out. How much is physical, how much in the mind? How much accident and how much fate? Why did perfect matches crumble and impossible couples thrive? I don’t know the answers any better than they did. Love simply is where it is.Highlighted by 168 Kindle customers
“Even if we all want you here, you don’t belong until you decide you do.”Highlighted by 131 Kindle customers
Perhaps there could be no joy on this planet without an equal weight of pain to balance it out on some unknown scale.Highlighted by 123 Kindle customers
“No point in ignoring the truth. Doesn’t make it worse to have it said out loud.”Highlighted by 100 Kindle customers
“If I were a Dolphin or a Bear or a Flower, it wouldn’t matter. I would always love you, always remember you. You will be my only partner.”Highlighted by 94 Kindle customers
This place was truly the highest and the lowest of all worlds—the most beautiful senses, the most exquisite emotions… the most malevolent desires, the darkest deeds. Perhaps it was meant to be so. Perhaps without the lows, the highs could not be reached.Highlighted by 93 Kindle customers
“There was no hatred in your heart,” I whispered. “That you existed is proof that we were wrong. We had no right to take your world from you, Walter. I hope your fairytales are true. I hope you find your Gladdie.”Highlighted by 90 Kindle customers
He squeezes my hand, and my heart punches against my ribs. It’s just like pain, this pleasure.Highlighted by 78 Kindle customers
Happy and sad, elated and miserable, secure and afraid, loved and denied, patient and angry, peaceful and wild, complete and empty… all of it. I would feel everything. It would all be mine.Highlighted by 66 Kindle customers
About the Author
Followed by The Seeker.