Wanderer/Wanda: Wanderer is the invading soul that inhabits Melanie Stryder's body. She received her name due to the number of planets she has lived in, having never settled on one she truly liked. She is later nicknamed "Wanda" by Mel's Uncle Jeb and her brother, Jamie. Like all souls, she is naturally inclined to do good and is disgusted by violence. She feels incredibly guilty about the unrest her presence causes amongst Melanie's loved ones, and throughout the book she puts others before herself. She feels an initial affection for Jared, Melanie's lover, and Jamie, Mel's little brother, due to the memories she was fed by her host, and eventually develops her own relationship with both of them. She also grows to love her host, Mel, like a sister, and, when Mel appears to have disappeared from the body they both inhabit, is incredibly upset by her apparent disappearance. She eventually forces Mel to reawaken and promises to give her back the control of her body. She falls in love with Ian O'Shea and feels guilty that she was unable to reciprocate his feelings earlier.She became very confused as her body (Melanie) wanted Jared and she could not respond well to Ian's feelings.When asked, Wanderer estimates her age at "Thousand of years, maybe. I lose track of the years spent in hibernation" and looks like other souls—a luminous, silvery, "living ribbon" entity— but because she inhabits Melanie Stryder, she bears all of Mel's physical characteristics. Later in the book she is implanted in the body of another girl, who is petite and delicate with golden hair, freckled skin, grey eyes, and a dimple in her chin, formerly named Petals Open to the Moon, or Pet for short. Pet was sixteen,turning seventeen in two weeks when Wanderer was implanted into her. In that body she cannot do much for herself: '...They gave me the easiest chores and then, half the time, took the work right out of my hands anyway. Worse than that, I needed the help." The main character of the novel.
“And my tenth life began.”
“I could describe us, but could not name us. I sighed for the lost knowledge...”
“Dont worry, Mel. Miracles dont work that way. I'll never lose you, I'll never let you get away from me.”
“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.”
“My first instinct was to wave Andy ahead and make Ian carry me away. This was human mourning, not mine.”
“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.”
“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?”
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