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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Book Review: The Host by Stephenie Meyer

This book is my October month's book club choice and is also part of my RIP challenge. And yet, another long read: 619 pages. This seems to be the norm for me lately.

I was unsure of this one. I have been greatly interested in reading Meyer's Twilight series. I sort of thought this was in the same genre but my friend Kerry mentioned it was not. It was more sci-fi...which is nowhere near the kind of stuff I like to read. Sure, I'm trying other things that are atypical of my preferences, but this one would be even way outside the outside rings of what I would want to read.

If you don't want to know anything about this book because you want to read it, do not read any further. Read the book and then come back and read my review and compare notes. I would LOVE that. :-)

So The Host is about aliens taking over the world. And it starts with Melanie Stryker and The Wanderer, who is the alien that gets implanted into Melanie's body.

Melanie, we learn, is a very strong human who has survived the 'invasion' of the alien beings into Earth. She fought hard to escape The Seekers, who are a brood of aliens who hunt for humans as hosts to their alien beings. When she discovered she would not be able to escape, she attempted to commit suicide by jumping into an empty elevator shaft.

But the alien species are way beyond the human technology for healing and they heal Melanie Stryker's body. They heal it well enough to put The Wanderer into her body. The Wanderer had chosen an older 'host' (Melanie is 21) vs. someone who is younger. It is difficult, according to the aliens, to take over the mind of an older host.

And we soon find that The Wanderer does have a difficult time. Melanie's memories are very vivid to The Wanderer. We learn a lot about how Melanie survived the invasion; how she has a younger brother Jamie; and more importantly, how there is the love of her life, Jared.

The Wanderer believes humans to be horrific creatures. We learn about how she has read articles about pedophiles, rape, murder, etc. This is what the aliens believe humans to be capable of and that what they are doing, using human bodies as their hosts to live out in this world, is a good thing.

These aliens have lived in other worlds. In The Wanderer's case, she has lived in about seven other worlds: the Bat word, the See Weed world (correct spelling), etc. She is an experienced alien and now, being in Melanie's body, she is having problems 'shoving' Melanie's persona back and taking over her, entirely.

From this brief introduction of the world of The Host, the story leads to Melanie's life and how The Wanderer is able to penetrate this life: a small sect of human survivors from the alien invasion. She becomes "Wanda" after she slowly becomes accepted into this encampment of survivors. Jamie and Jared are there, as well as her Uncle Jeb. They know what she is and eventually, they come to understand and believe that Melanie is still alive within this alien-embedded human body.

We read about Wanda's life, adapting to humans. She finds them kind -- not like what she expected or believed after all the cruelness she had learned to believe humans were. Eventually, she shares THE secret...the one secret that the humans needed to know to take back their world.

This book was wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I find Meyer's writing style brilliant, vivid, and simple. Simple in that: I knew exactly who the characters were without having to remember who was who, or who did what, and when. I could keep pace with the story line and did not find any point boring or overdone. When I finished, I thought: did I really read 619 pages? What could have been the fodder for all these pages when I didn't feel overwhelmed?

What I found to be really fascinating was, while Wanda was trying to decide if her human counterparts could be trusted, she thought of how the world was with aliens. No violence. No hate. Nothing but peace. People-with-aliens-in-them got up and went to work each day, trusted each other because they have no way of comprehending how to be violent (except The Seekers).

There was no money needed. People-with-aliens-in-them would simply go into a store, get only the things that they needed, and walked right out. 100% trust.

And yet, I wasn't sure if that sounded perfect or not. A world of "Stepford Wives" type living? Peaceful, non-violent? Versus personalities..."souls" for humans who are different in every sense of the world but not peaceful.

I never quite figured out what the right way should be...but Wanda had taught the humans enough to make sure that they could get their world back.

1 comment:

  1. Really great review. I read this one earlier this year. I think it will probably be my favorite book this year!! I loved it!