The Host (The Host #1)
by Stephenie Meyer
Hardcover, 619 pages
Published May 6th 2008 by Little, Brown and Company
characters: Melanie, Jared Howe, Ian O'Shea, Wanderer, Jamie Stryder
Details from Goodreads:
The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed. But Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. 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.
Reading about aliens is new to me -like a child seeing thing they first notice, curious and vivid- so I dont exactly know what to expect. Some of my friends said that its not worth reading, but curiosity overpower me. Lol. I dont know if its just me or the book or the book with audio in it, but the book is really good, though its thick and i think theres a hundred pages that should not be in here.
Narrative is fluid, the novel easy to read and the characters likeable and believable. When Melanie and Wanderer first discover the underground cavern of hiding humans, the story becomes more interesting as it tackles issues such as violence within a society or community, and how humans deal with conflict and adversity. It gives insight into the human race’s potential to work together as a strong unit or destroy each other.
One major strength of this novel is the way Meyer builds her character. Bella in Twilight annoyed me; she was too angsty, too emotional, too wrapped up in Edward (which is perhaps reality for some teenagers, but not something that needs to be promoted, in my opinion). In The Host, the main character is actually two: Wanderer (or Wanda), the host invading the human body; and Melanie, the human who just won’t let the soul take over. Wanda and Mel are as different as night and day: Mel is strong, persistent, courageous, all those good traits needed to fight to survive. Wanda is gentle, self-sacrificing, and kind, all good traits needed to be a soul, since their goal is to create a peaceful civilization. Wanda and Mel contradict each other in many ways, but that works, as all their strengths can work together to ensure their survival. I love Mel’s spunk, and I love Wanda’s ability to love.
As for the ending of the novel, I found it superb. I cried the first time I read it. In the end, Wanda knows she must be removed from Mel’s body in order for Mel to have her life back, including being with the man she loves, Jared. Wanda is also in love, however, with a man named Ian; while she wants to be with him, she cannot stand the thought of taking over another body, of destroying another life. She convinces the doctor in the compoud where they’re hiding to let her die and bury her on Earth. However, he goes back on his promise, and they find a host body where the original human can no longer be found. In the end, Melanie gets her body (and Jared) back, and Wanda gets a new body (without harming another human), and gets to stay on Earth and be with Ian.
As far as overall theme in the book, I walked away from reading it, hoping that one day, I could love like Wanda and Mel do. The two of them have deep, self-sacrificing love for their family. They fight hard for the people they love. They fight for what is right. This kind of love isn’t the overwhelming, passionate love of Edward and Bella (which is nice, but not always so realistic). Instead, this is the kind of all-encompassing love of a woman for her brother; for the kind, old gentleman dying of cancer; for the man she loves. It’s kind of hard to explain the difference to someone who has never read both books, but there is a definite difference, and in my opinion, The Host is far superior to Twilight (although I love that book, too).
Stephanie Meyers magical skills of story weaving cannot be denied. The Host is fresh, compelling, and at some points so disturbing you will have to put it down and watch a cartoon for a while.