I know, I know. I just reviewed Twilight, so why the heck am I reviewing another Stephenie Meyer book so soon? Well, two reasons:
1. The Host is nothing like Twilight.
2. The trailer for the movie was recently released, and it is weird and kind of confusing. So if you are one of those people who saw The Hunger Games recently and wondered what that weird trailer with all the eyeballs was about, I am here to enlighten you.
The Host is the story of two characters: A human, Melanie Stryder; and an alien, Wanderer. The kicker is that they’re both inhabiting the same body.
Melanie was one of the leaders in the human resistance, fighting to keep Wanderer’s alien race from taking over their bodies and consciousness, even after the aliens — or “souls,” as they refer to themselves — have already conquered Earth.
Obviously, she fails.
Wanderer is surgically inserted into Melanie’s body, reboots the hardware, takes a look around…and discovers Melanie’s still in there. Her consciousness, which is supposed to be snuffed out when a “soul” sets up shop, is very much present. And cranky.
What follows is an internal struggle between Melanie and Wanderer, as both fight to take control of the host body. And things only get more complicated when Melanie convinces Wanderer to seek out her allies in the resistance, bringing them both face-to-face with Melanie’s brother and boyfriend.
First off, yes. This basic plot device has been used before: aliens who come to Earth and take control of our bodies. But really, most interesting plot devices have been used before. As long as it’s interesting and the author’s spin is unique and fun, I don’t care.
As for the book itself, I really enjoyed The Host. Ms. Meyer has come a long way from Twilight. Gone were most of the endless, repetitive descriptors; the grammatical errors; the absurdly cheesy metaphors. No, her writing is still not the gold standard against which all others can be measured, but then again, neither is the writing in most of the books I enjoy. But I can honestly say that if I didn’t know, going in, that this was the same woman who wrote Twilight, I would never have guessed it.
That’s a good thing.
Technicality aside, it was a good read. The pace was a little slower than that of your average YA novel; but then again, this technically isn’t a YA novel (although it’s perfectly appropriate for a teen audience). It’s definitely more character-driven than action-driven. There were parts that dragged, but I never got bored. And I have a bone to pick with part of the ending (Meyer left it open for a sequel, which is fine, but how she did it I found a bit creepy).
I don’t want you to think The Host is all plodding inner monologues, though. There’s definitely some good action and suspense in it, as well as a hefty helping of romance. Twilight it is not, but don’t be fooled: Meyer is a sucker for love triangles. Although, to be fair, The Host has more of a love square.
Bottom line: I enjoyed The Host. It’s not “great literature.” It’s not going to change the way you think about anything (unless you have very strong views about alien colonization. No judging here). But it’s interesting, it’s exciting, and it made my heart race and my tummy flutter at all the right times.
I found myself thinking about it after I finished (always a good sign). I’m looking forward to the sequel (The Soul, which Meyer may write someday if she feels like it) and for the film adaptation. Even if the trailer is weird.
Content Guide: contains mild violence