Published by Little Brown and Company on May 6th 2008
Genres: Young Adult, Science-Fiction, Post Apocalyptic
Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, didn't expect to find its former tenant refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.
As Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of Jared, a human who still lives in hiding, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she's never met. Reluctant allies, Wanderer and Melanie set off to search for the man they both love.
Do you know that feeling when you’re standing in a book store and the name Stephenie Meyer sparks an inner conflict of epic proportions? Well, my curiosity won. The Host is a typical alien-invasion sci-fi with a pretty intriguing idea, and well, I have to admit, it was kind of enjoyable in a trashy kind of way. Besides the usual teenage angst, there is actually a bit of a philosophical background: If you’re sharing your brain with an intruding soul, who has the say over your body?
Let me put it right out there: The first ten pages bored me to death, so I did what naughty little girls do and skipped the first forty pages of this book until the plot finally picks up. From the point where Wanderer/Melanie are introduced to a hidden human society, The Host is an entertaining read. The title has a double meaning for this book, as the word host refers to planet Earth hosting an invading species as well as Melanie’s body being a host to Wanderer’s soul/mind.
So since I understood the story perrrfectly without having read the first 30-50 pages of the book, I’m just going to take the liberty of assuming that those chapters were redundant. And if there was no essential informationt to be missed there, then that’s a pretty bad sign, since the first fifty pages usually determine whether someone will keep reading or not. And because this wouldn’t be a Stephenie Meyer novel without one, The Host has, of course, a love triangle filled to the brim with angst, angst, angst. That was to be expected from the YA Mother of Hyped Love Triangles, I guess. Naturally, the characters’ thoughts mostly circled around angst, superficial crushes, and more angst. The heroine, Wanderer, was so selfless it was painful to watch, and seriously, enough with the Bella Swan copies. We’ve had our filling of selfless, all-sacrificing heroines. This behaviour defies every sense of self-preservation nature has ever invented, so that’s that. Although, I have to admit, this kind of altruistic behaviour was more believable coming from an alien than an ignorant human girl.
The world-building wasn’t great but existent and therefore satisfactory. The plot meandered between slow-going and action-packed, and from time to time, the level of suspense was so high I forgot to breathe. Meyer’s writing isn’t literature heaven but it was serviceable, for a sci-fi anyway. Most of all, I enjoyed the idea of two personalities having to share the same body and the conflicts that emerge from that rather unfortunate and unique situation. And I loved Jamie, Melanie’s brother.
Have you noticed how I didn’t mention the two love interests with even a word? Well, I guess I’ll just keep it that way, as one of them is smart and the other is bulky, and they’re both not that impressive.
If you enjoyed Twilight, I have no doubt you’ll enjoy The Host. In certain aspects, The Host certainly trumps the good ol’ vampire love story. If you’re looking for a light, alien-featuring sci-fi in the Young Adult section, then The Host will not make for a bad choice. Alternatively, I’d recommend The 5th Wave, which I myself highly enjoyed.