Book Review : The Host by Stephenie Meyers
Earth has been taken over by aliens, and it all happened before the humans could do anything to stop it. The aliens, known as Souls, have inserted themselves into humans’ brains suppressing the consciousness of the former occupant of the body. Wanderer has been given the body of a wild human as her host to discover the location of other renegade humans. However, there is an unexpected problem, Melanie refuses to relinqish her mind to Wanderer. In a test of wills Melanie feeds Wanderer images of Jared, the man she loves, to disuade the alien from hunting down her family. Melanie’s plan works too well when Wanderer falls in love with Jared. Ultimately the love that drives both Melanie and Wanderer help them form an alliance as Wanderer leaves everything she knows in the search for the wild humans. Finding Uncle Jeb and the other humans opens a new set of problems for Wanderer and Melanie because they might be killed out of fear or prejudice. Jared poses the greatest threat because he doesn’t believe Melanie could still exist even though Jamie, Melanie’s brother, can see the truth.
Adult Point of View
I was quite leery to read The Host fearing that it would be Twilight bundled up in an alien package. Thankfully The Host is not an exact copy, though there are some personality traits shared by Wanderer/Wanda and Bella that I would describe as a sense of helplessness. Jared and Edward also share superficial characteristics, they are both described as being exquisite in a masculine sense and are also both very controlling. However, Melanie is sassy and strong. Ian is initially prejudice to the parasitic host, but is able to grow and change from violence to becoming a defender. I really disliked Wanderers name being morphed into Wanda for short, it’s just not a good name for a romantic lead. I also don’t like it when characters names start with the same letter or rhyme, for example, Jared and Jamie, Jodi, Sunny, Lacey, Mandy and Candy. The first 50 pages had me wondering if I could read this book, but it became more interesting by about page 100.
I felt like Meyers used a better style of writing in this novel for adults. Even so, her writing style is not really about action moving forward and the reader gets caught in lots of insignificant details. It has slightly more adult content, with some cursing (and there would probably be a lot more cursing if the earth really was taken over by aliens) and situational ethics. For example, when is a young woman old enough to have an intimate relationship with a man if the world as we have known it has ended? The characters are obviously sleeping together without being married, but nothing is explicit. I find it disturbing that Melanie can compartmentalize Jared being abusive to the body housing the parasite, and still continue to love him. The level of brutality and inhumanity that Jared shows, even when he suspects that Melanie could be present, is unconscionable. I get so discouraged over images that promote women staying with abusive men. Though The Host is written for adults, it is more innocent than a lot of the books written for young adults, and so I have included it in both categories knowing that many older teen girls will enjoy it too.
The Host is a lot less about science fiction than it is about a relationship festival. Relationships explored include, how humans have treated the earth, how humans relate to other humans with violence, the love of a mother and child, love between species, love of a man and woman, love grown old, the relationships of friends, relations of enemies and even the relationship we have with ourselves. I cannot imagine a man would enjoy this book because it intentionally pulls out heartfelt scene after poignant scene to string along the reader’s emotions. Meyers also throws in a few good twists and turns in the plot which kept me turning the pages, and since I am a woman I like love stories and relationships.
I liked the perspective of how a parasitic host, which was so peace-loving, could persuade themselves that taking over other sentient beings was morally acceptable. I enjoyed seeing the morals that Wanda lived by play out, and that she was even willing to die to live her principles. I enjoyed The Host because of Meyer’s ideas and fresh perspective.
3.5 out of 5 stars
- the Mother
Teen Point of View
I thought this book was very unique.
I didn’t like the name Wanda for the soul Wanderer. It didn’t seem fitting and I didn’t like the feel of it. I liked the twist at the end, but thought some things were a little too predictable. I really liked Ian’s character even though he wanted to kill Wanderer at first, but he changed his perspective quickly. I think this book could be enjoyed by teen girls and maybe guys too if you push it.
I thought it seemed ironic that Wanderer seemed so weak when her race described her as so strong. I thought Wanderer needed more of a backbone. I liked Melanie’s character and wished we had more input on her thoughts. I didn’t like Jared except when he was in Melanie’s memories. Out of them he seemed totally different and brutal and harsh.
4 out of 5 stars
- the Teen