Old School Thursdays: The Host

Another one from 2008 I believe. I’d finished reading the Twilight Saga not long before this and was still waiting for Breaking Dawn. Also, by this point I wasn’t a big science fiction reader unless it was Dystopia or largely labelled as Horror.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer is a science fiction novel described as “Science fiction for people who don’t like science fiction.” Something of which turned out to be a very apt description (if more science fiction was like that I‘d be more inclined to read it). I don’t usually read science fiction unless it has some deeper meaning to it or a psychological aspect to it. Basically I’m not a science fiction nut when it comes to literature (unless it’s dystopian then gimme, gimme, gimme).

Synopsis

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away.

Our world has been invaded by an unseen enemy. Humans become hosts for these invaders, their minds taken over while their bodies remain intact and continue their lives apparently unchanged. Most of humanity has succumbed.

When Melanie, one of the few remaining “wild” humans is captured, she is certain it is her end. Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, was warned about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the glut of senses, 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.

Wanderer probes Melanie’s thoughts, hoping to discover the whereabouts of the remaining human resistance. Instead, Melanie fills Wanderer’s mind 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 begins to yearn for a man she has been tasked with exposing. When outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off on a dangerous and uncertain search for the man they both love

The story itself doesn’t start off slow but it does feel slow to get into at first. It’s like warming up to it. By the time you hit the 50 page mark you feel the story building at a steadily increasing pace and yourself getting wrapped up in it along the way. By the 100 page mark I didn’t want to put the book down.

If you’ve read the Twilight saga like I have and enjoyed it like I did, but want something a bit more adult, more detail, but still with some love interest then perhaps you should check out The Host. Like The Twilight series, Meyer once again sucks you in and has you loving the characters but the difference here is that it has more depth.

I’ve noticed a theme here with Meyer, she explores emotions and delves so deeply into them that you’re affected by it. Although on the surface this is a story about an alien invasion from body snatchers, underneath it’s a story about humanity. It’s described as a romance (and yes there is romance) but the way I saw the love story was as a love for humanity.

The ending was excellent and is also one of those endings that can be open ended enough for a sequel, but what I really like about that ending is that the book as a whole can be a stand alone novel and stay that way without lacking anything.

I really don’t think The Host gets anywhere near as much attention as it should, especially being overshadowed by Twilight which is a shame because there are probably a lot of people out there who would enjoy it, but are missing out.

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