“I’m afraid it’s too much for her…”
As the Soul rests, adjusting to the new body, she overhears the Healer and Seeker engrossed in a verbal battle. They argue over the means by which the Seeker sought out the Host and question if she is part of a larger rebel group. The pair also discusses the turmoil and tremendous amount of pain the Soul, called Wanderer, must suffer as a means to acquire the desired information. The Healer, by his very nature, is focused on Wanderer’s comfort, while the Seeker is anxious to begin the next phase of her mission.
Within their conversation, the Healer and Seeker lay out the current state of the world and its once human population. The Souls, as they are called on Earth, outnumber the humans by more than a million to one. Though there are remaining pockets of evading humans, Wanderer recalls what she has been told of the once tumultuous planet: “As was the way of the soul, harmony was universal now” (18).
Souls, as is their nature, can only speak the truth. Though some, such as the Seekers, may need to bend this truth as required by their Calling, there is rarely a reason for Souls to lie to one another. Among the Souls, stories of a new planet, Earth, spread, including those of human Hosts possessing enough strength to overcome the invading Soul.
Wanderer admires the Healer for allowing her the time to adjust to her new body, but, in spite of her slight recoil from the Seeker, she is willing to aid her mission. Though she wishes to fulfill her duty, she pauses a moment, afraid the violent memories she must encounter and of the voice she heard in her head. With a breath, Wanderer delves into the memories: a stolen car, the Chicago streets, her cousin Sharon…
“I hit a wall.” (20)
In an uncharacteristic fashion, the Soul feels anger at the mental block. The machines in the room register her awakening and as the Seeker approaches she welcomes Wanderer to Earth.
The first few chapters have shed some light on Souls and their Callings. Based on what was presented here and in the previous chapters, which would you prefer to be: a Healer, a Seeker, or a wandering Soul?
Here's a question from The Host reading group guide: The souls are morally complicated creatures. On the one hand, they are "all things good: compassionate, patient, honest, virtuous, and full of love" (page 3). On the other, they survive by taking over the bodies and minds of unsuspecting hosts. Does the parasitic nature of the souls overshadow their virtuous qualities? Did you sympathize with the souls, or did you view them as the clear enemies of humans?
Other questions? Comments? Sound off below.