Book Review: The Host
By: Stephenie Meyer
Published by: Little Brown and Company
Release date: May 6, 2008
Genre: adult science fiction
Anyone who knows me very well at all knows that I am a Twilight fan. As such, I was concerned that I may not like The Host as well as I had the Twilight saga, which made me a little nervous about reading it. As it turns out I had nothing to worry about.
I completed my first reading within a week of having purchased the book (at a book signing. Go ahead, be jealous.) I wanted to re-read in advance of the movie's release, and again, I was worried that I may not love it as much as I had the first time, having just met the author and having been anticipating Breaking Dawn for months. Wrong again.
This is a completely different piece of writing from the Twilight saga- a more mature piece, with nuances and complexities that qualify it as adult fiction rather than YA. This is sci-fi rather than paranormal. This one is primarily set in the desert of the US Southwest, rather than the Pacific Northwest. And even though Melanie and Wanderer reside in the same body, they are separate characters- so there isn't a love triangle, in my opinion.
It's beautifully ironic that, in writing a novel with a main character who is an alien being, Meyer manages to explore so much of what makes us human. The alien perspective lends refreshing objectivity to observations of human behavior, while also allowing the narrator to experience human emotions for the first time, since she's in a human body and influenced by a human consciousness.
On my second reading of the book: I already knew the plot, so I was able to slow down and appreciate the little things. There is some gorgeous description, both of setting and relationships. There are some great little bits of character development, and some wonderful asides that round out the storyline. I tend to chew through to the dialogue, so it was great to focus on the rest of it this time. And I still say it's a great read. If you're at all interested, I encourage you to give it a try.
Summary from Goodreads:
Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. Earth has been invaded by a species that takes over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and 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 overwhelming emotions, 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.
Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts 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 yearns for a man she's never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.
Featuring what may be the first love triangle involving only two bodies, The Host is a riveting and unforgettable novel that will bring a vast new readership to one of the most compelling writers of our time.