Review: The Host by Stephenie Meyer

The Host by Stephenie Meyer – Back Bay Books – Novel: Contemporary, Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult – Buy it here – Our rating: Four Pipes

 Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. 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.

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.

I didn’t think it was necessary to review the Twilight series on the blog because everyone’s either reviewed it, read it, or committed to not reading it. However, I was so impressed by Stephenie Meyer’s newer title, The Host, that I am writing this review as more of a public service announcement than anything else. So, here goes: The Host actually deserved to be the #1 National American Bestseller: it was surprisingly fantastic, and any lover of science fiction, romance, and dystopia will probably enjoy it.

The Host’s plot centers on a girl named Melanie Stryder, who lives at a time when Earth has been taken over by parasitic organisms, called souls, which use humans as hosts. Most of the time when humans are occupied, their mental presence is lost; however, when Melanie is occupied by a soul called Wanderer, something happens. Wanderer finds herself having feelings for Jared, a human who has resisted occupation, a human that Melanie loves, and finds herself forming an alliance with Melanie that changes both of their lives, and the new Earth order, forever.

Once you begin reading The Host, you can tell that it’s nothing like Twilight. Melanie and Wanderer are real characters with real emotions, experiences, and motives, and Meyer infuses their complex relationship with a delicious balance of suspicion and trust. The novel’s minor characters run the gamut from eccentrically entertaining to downright creepy, and wonderfully color the book’s almost 600 pages so that not a single one’s boring. There’s not a single dithering scene of angsty teenage love in The Host; instead, there’s a healthy dose of action, violence and suspense that truly makes this book a page-turner.  It’s not as hardcore SciFi as some seasoned genre readers might prefer – it really could appeal to anyone interested in general fiction – but that’s part of The Host’s appeal. Meyers balances the best of SciFi, romance, and drama in The Host, certainly making it worth the read.

– Kristen

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