“ Author: Stephenie Meyer / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 02 July 2009 / Genre: Science Fiction / Subcategory: Science Fiction General / Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group / Title: The Host / ISBN 13: 9780751540642 / ISBN 10: 0751540642 „
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After having the misfortune to read the first couple of books in the Twilight Sage, i was a little dubious to read The Host, fearing the same repetitive plot and predictability. However, after it being highly recommended by a friend, i decided to give it a go. It is amazing! So much better than the Twilight books, and at times it is difficult to believe that the same author wrote both.
First of all, the characters in The Host are so much more believable and their actions are relatable (in the sense of doing things for those we love, not the alien invasion!). Yes the story revolves around a love story, but the book is so much more than that and offers multiple twists and turns to keep you turning the pages.
The writing is also more elegant in this novel, the descriptions are so vivid that you can't help forming images in your mind of the characters and the settings, which are described with such beauty you'd hope they were real. With the type of language, this book isn't just aimed at young teenage girls, but invites an older audience. I would still say more of a female audience, but that is due to the love story etc. However, there are some moments in the book to attract a male audience, particularly when the writing is focused on the 3 male lead characters.
Overall, this has fast become on of my favourite books, and is written in a completely different style than the Twilight Saga. The writing is both witty and emotional at times and keeps you gripped til the end. I can only hope the film is produced to such good standards.
When one thinks of aliens invading and taking over Earth we have stereotypical images of dark, tall, slimy creatures shooting us with laser cannons and stealing all our resources to build another death ray. 'Souls' are the total opposite. They invade Earth for our own good; they eradicate crime, stop pollution and bring instantaneous cures to every disease and injury possible. The good doesn't stop there. Each Soul is perfectly loving, friendly, never violent, and is always sharing. They are happy to for fill their 'calling' so that society can function perfectly with no unemployment, and no homelessness. And they do all this without killing the human population.
So what's the problem you ask?
Well, as suggested by the title, the aliens use the human bodies as hosts, and take control of them. Human consciousness is destroyed and replaced. So there's the problem. By the time the humans realise what is happening, it's too late, your neighbour is already planning to invite you over for tea so he can implant another Soul into the back of your head.
The story starts with the Soul named Wanderer being inserted into a recently captured rebel human, Melanie Stryder (who escaped the invasion, and was on the run). Her task is to seek out Melanie's memories and discover how she has managed to survive for so long in a Soul run world.
Upon waking Wanderer is bombarded with human sensations and emotions, presented as being much stronger than bodies from other Soul controlled planets. As well as the extra senses and emotions, Wanderer is confronted with something she has never known on her eight other planets, a host consciousness: Melanie is still here. Her consciousness refuses to leave, and she guards as many memories as she can, so Wanderer cannot get the information asked of her.
The story progresses as a conflict between Wanderer and Melanie, as Wanderer strives to cope with this new planet and Melanie tries to come to terms with losing control of her body. Wanderer experiences Melanie's memories in her dreams, which reveal the existence of Melanie's brother, Jamie, and her lover, Jared. Melanie's emotionally charged memories bring Wanderer to care for Jared and Jamie, and ultimately lead to Wanderer seeking them out.
Upon discovering a human society living in underground caves in the desert, Wanderer finally finds Jared. The humans obviously despise Souls, for taking their world and this leads to abuse and death threats against Wanderer; Jared is no exception.
Wanderer (nicknamed Wanda) and Melanie are eventually (and grudgingly by some) accepted into the group, with few knowing of Melanie's existence. The rest of the book follows Wanda's growing love for the humans, and her insight into human nature, leading her to regret her species invading the planet. Wanda is eventually of huge use to the humans, as her identity as a Soul means resources are easily available to her.
The novel contains many important themes, which are explored from a different point of view, that of a Soul. Wanda's biggest insight is how humans love. She feels the deep emotional attachment to someone, the caring motherly feeling, and the physical pain of being apart from them. Whereas Souls love unconditionally, human love is very specific. Souls love every stranger on the street, whereas a human loves far fewer. Wanda discovers that loving only one person exclusively is far more powerful than loving everyone.
Another theme shown throughout the book is the ups and downs of human nature. We love in the strongest ways, and hate in the strongest ways. Perhaps one cannot exist without the other. The fierce yet fragile nature of humans is shown to be desirable and despicable at the same time.
A further theme covered is that of body image. Melanie experiences the horror of not having a body to call her own, which leads us to a sense that we should appreciate the body we have, regardless of its form.
As well as indulging everyone's childhood dream of building their own secret hideout in a cave the host gives a successful combination of science fiction, love, and moral significance. In my opinion, it really is a tragedy that Stephanie Meyer is typically known for writing the Twilight Saga. Admittedly they are excellent books; I just wish this one had as much recognition!
The Host is an excellent book for teens or adults. It incorporates aliens, love, secret desert hideouts, ideal medicinal cures and is probably the only novel to contain a love triangle with only two bodies!
Well I tell you something I only like seeing one 5.30 in the day but just recently I have been seeing both, as I get a very early train to get to University on a daily basis, and trust me staying awake that early knowing you then have to do a full day at university - well it is harder than it looks... So it takes something that will keep my attention to keep me awake enough to get through the hundred minute journey every morning - which in itself is a little bit of a mission considering I bore easily when I'm tired. So my first option was my MP3 player, but then that wasn't enough to keep me awake, so my last choice given I was on a train was getting a book out to keep my brain awake!
~*~ Who Is Stephanie Meyer? ~*~
Well if you don't know Stephanie Meyer I would be a little surprised, but not shocked - she is the very rich lady who happened to pen a lot of the girls' favourite 'Twilight Saga.' The lady with an English degree, that came up with her Twilight idea, from a dream she had many years ago. Meyer was the best-selling author of both 2008 and 2009, by selling almost thirty million books - by god that is a lot of paper! Looking at the statistics in just 2009 and 2010 she earnt around ninety million dollars... Now I wouldn't complain at that kind of money just for writing about a dream, I have enough strange ones of those! This book is Meyer's first attempt at an adult novel, or as adult as it's going to get in this day and age... For the lady who has three sons she has a bit of a knack for writing slightly feminine books! It is safe to say Stephanie Meyer has been a very lucky woman, to get where she has, and she has a great imagination which is something that she has proved by writing an adult book that has sold relatively well, it's no Twilight but I am grateful for that!
~*~ Brief Plot ~*~
The story revolves around a fictional species called 'souls' that have been intercepting the planet for many years, taking over human bodies and making them their hosts, only problem is since their arrival there has been pockets of human resistance hiding away, keeping themselves free from being taken over and suppressed by a soul from another planet. The only problem is their latest host (the human they possess) is from the resistance, and even though she has been caught she isn't giving up without a fight! With so many things at risk, the soul tries to take over, but at what cost to herself and both species?!
~*~ Characters ~*~
Wanda/Wanderer - The soul that invades Mel's body, who like most souls, has an inherent need to be peaceful and calm, given her name from the pure amount of planets she has lived on in souls, but has plenty of issues to deal with during her time inside Mel's body. As you can imagine none are simple and can't be resolved simple enough!
Mel - The body that Wanda lives in and uses as her own, a member of the resistance to the souls and their insertion, she was never likely to make life easy for her soul regardless of the problems it causes her...
Jared - Mel's lover and protector, another one of the resistors of the species - who becomes harsh and bitter after Mel's initial disappearance but continues to look after Mel's younger brother Jamie...
Jamie - Mel's younger brother, that she managed to flee with, he has his conflicts with Jared over the body of Melanie but retains some kind of love for his sister, regardless of her current state...
There are plenty of other characters but I will be here all night if I talk about them all - it is just so easy to get lost in the lives of these characters and feel like you are right there!
~*~ Is It Good? ~*~
Well I started reading this book on Tuesday of this week 15th of February, and finished it this morning 18th of February, and considering it was the first book I have read in a long time I just swept through it, faster than I'd read in a long time! I can't believe I got through almost six hundred pages in just four mornings, but the bonus is when I arrived at the train station at the other end, I was awake, sort of anyway!
The characters in this book, at the beginning are quite distant - admittedly they are not in the story for long, but long enough for you to form an opinion, they are not main characters but you sit there reading it and thinking oh I could cheerfully slap you (lol.) The main character is easy to read in a way but because the characters keep changing perspective, if you are half asleep you will probably not realise - unless you notice the change in font. The problem with that is to distinguish it there are 3 different types of font and it takes some getting your head around first thing in the morning. On any normal day paying normal attention it wouldn't be too difficult to get your head around. As the story progresses more and more characters are introduced and all with individual relationships you need to keep a track of.
The pace of the story is fairly quick, at times you wonder where weeks in the story have gone to, and in the latter stages of the book - a few hours, thing is when you are going from one chapter to another, it's normally nice to have a sense of the time passed, but with a few chapters in this book, it goes from one day to weeks later in the space of changing chapters, so you have to make sure you keep reading else you will not realise it's been a large time jump. A chapter close to the end is the one that annoyed me the most, it was only a jump of a few hours, but it was the most disorientating moment in the book. I know it would be a waste of pages to write about nothing exciting but at least give us a hint woman!
The story itself I have to say is very much one that once you start reading you can't put down. I have spent the past few mornings in battle with myself, about whether I should stop reading and just look out of the window, or carry on reading - funny thing is my mind was battling with itself to read or not read. Eventually I gave in to the story and ended up reading all the way to University. The thing is, the story flows so quickly through the chapters, you feel like you are reading loads when in fact you can read five chapters and only read forty-five pages. So as I say it is quite fast flowing, but that's the way I enjoy my books - not to say the plot is captivating, but it has a certain charm that means, you want to find out exactly what is going to happen. Especially the closer you get to the end, as it really leaves you hanging right to the end, to find out what is going to happen to our 'Host.' To be honest even I was surprised by the outcome of the plot, but I'm not about to spoil it for anyone of course.
Overall, this is a great book, by a great author - as even though I promised myself I wouldn't compare it to Stephanie Meyers' other books, considering they are such a strong series alone. It is in its entirety a difference species, here we have no mention of blood and gore, but a heavy emphasis on how confusing we are as a species ourselves, and that one line that will stick in my head 'you just don't know how much time you have.' It does actually make you think for a split second without actually realising it. It is nice to see though that Meyer can write about something other than vampires, it proves her diversity and that she has a deeper imagination about something that, although fantasy seems very real when you are reading about it. I've often sat on the train in the morning reading the book, feeling as though I were in the caves with all the characters, feeling their emotions and pulling the facial expressions they would be. I noticed I was doing that when people sat near me started giving me funny looks, and no it wasn't just me not having put my face on yet!
The main character is written in a different way to how Bella was written, as you actually come to feel sorry for the soul and begin to want to change its fate close to the end. I have to say in this book I didn't find one character I hated, everyone seemed to have their place however small and insignificant it is. It's quite hard to explain why this book is so good, it just has that power to captivate your imagination and throw you right into it, make you feel like you belong with the characters. Not so many books have pulled me in quite that far, and even though it's totally fiction, there is a tiny part in the back of my head that could imagine something similar happening with our society being the way it is now. I don't know whether that is just me having an over active imagination but it's a book that definitely affects you.
The imagery of the other planets that the soul has been on previously is painted so well that you could almost imagine them being out there in the galaxy somewhere. There are no explicit descriptions of how each character looks, so it is easy for them to become of your imagination - that is until the film comes out.. Yes I'm sorry she has done it again, sold out another fantastic book to the media mill, a shame really, but I am excited to see if it will live up to my expectations. If not I will just go back to thinking about the characters how I expected them to look in my little mind.
It is almost 600 pages long and I have to say they were the best way to spend this weeks' journey to University, now I just need something for the next three weeks!
~*~ Availability ~*~
Available at all decent book stores and all decent online retailers... I can't tell you how much it will be because it varies so much from if you buy a brand new copy to a used copy off eBay or Amazon - just trust me that it is worth buying if you like the sound of it!
Despite not enjoying the Twilight movie when I watched it last week, I was nonetheless intrigued by this unconnected novel written by the author of that popular series. At its most basic a conventional sci-fi novel, The Host takes a familiar principle ~ that of alien invaders taking over the bodies of humans a la Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers ~ and gives it a modern and original spin. These aliens mean us no harm, instead they have come to save our species from itself!
Melanie, a lone human searching for a lost relative, is on the run from a band of "Seekers", aliens set to hunt down anyone who has not been transformed, when she plunges down an elevator shaft. The Souls, as they describe themselves, are able to save Melanie and it is not long before she is implanted with the alien being known as Wanderer. But where normally the human personality becomes lost upon implantation, in Melanie's case she remains firmly trapped inside her own mind and a prisoner of her own body; forced to share it with an alien lifeform she considers to be her enemy.
Wanderer finds herself in turmoil; her thoughts and actions gradually being shaped by the presence of Melanie WHO SHOULD NOT BE THERE! And it is because of Melanie's influence that Wanderer eventually sets off on a fool's journey seeking a remote hidden outpost where not just Mel's Uncle but also her little brother and her former boyfriend are in hiding. Uncle Jeb has formed his own little human community out of sight of the aliens and it is here that Wanderer and her unwanted passenger soon arrive.
At first there is much mistrust among the other humans who doubt Wanderer's true motives in coming to their settlement but slowly she is able to win most of them around. But still, the group find it harder and harder to remain hidden especially when a Seeker who had taken a special interest in Wanderer and Melanie begins trying to track them down!
This is a very clever and accomplished novel that, whilst still staying true to conventional sci-fi stereotypes, also manages to bring something new to the table! Meyer is a highly competent writer and reading this has almost convinced me to give her Twilight series another go! True, I was not impressed by the film but if her writing is as good there as it is here, then I fancy at giving the novels a go!
If I had a couple vof issues, it was only that Meyer seems to have been given pretty much a free rein here in the wake of Twilight and that there are a few places where a heavier handed Editor could have trimmed something off the back of the 600-odd pages this story takes to cover! Also, the novel ends just as a potential new story arc begins ~ leaving much very open to interpretation. The end of this was almost like one of those American shows that ends without being re-commissioned for a second season leaving much unanswered. And that is a shame as it kind of brings the rest of the book down a notch!
Overall this was a lot better than expected and fairly light reading. I enjoyed the concept and many of the characters and would like to see a return to this world in the future. As it is, it leaves me with a bit of hope that maybe, just maybe, I might have underestimated The Twilight Saga and that maybe the films are a poor example of the novellisation being transferred to the big screen!
The Host is the first 'adult' novel by Stephanie "Twilight Saga" Meyer.
It tells the story of Wanderer an otherworldy being whose kind have invaded Earth and more-or-less taken control. Her 'kind' do this by capturing human beings and surgically inserting themselves until they take over the soul of the body that they have invaded. It is a fight for survival rather than an evil overthrowing for the most part.
Wanderer is a well respected example of her species, having travelled amongst many planets on missions without ever settling, thus her name. She is given what is perceived to be a particularly tricky assignment, that is the taking over of the body of a young woman called Melanie. She has been given this particular task as it is believed that by invading Melanie's memories she may be able to lead the alien beings to a number of still-existing humans.
Wanderer has a particularly tough time once she has been inserted as Melanie's still present soul just will not give up, berating and manipulating the 'invader' at every turn. Wanderer begins to feel everything that Melanie feels, including her love for Jared one of the last humans left and who she has been brutally removed from.
Under this influence Wanderer eventually finds herself powerless to resist and cajoled by Melanie sets out on a perilous journey across deserted land to find Jared. Just in the nick-of-time they are found by a renegade band of surviving humans, but will they believe that Melanie is the overriding force in the body or see her as being inhabited and a lethal threat to their species.
There is no getting around it, this is a long book even by Meyer's standards. It comes in at over 600 pages. There is no doubt that Meyer really enjoyed telling the story but it does somewhat inevitably drag quite badly in places. The dialogue is quite clunky and obvious at times That said, given the pace of the later part of the book - the earliest section actually feels quite rushed. Because of this, it is really difficult to believe in the main character's true and undying love for Jared - this is a particular surprise as few authors that I have read can truly express aching desire and loving obsession that way Meyers has done in the first Twilight book.
As for being an adult novel - I am not sure that it really goes far enough for that. There are some genuinely unpleasant and shocking moments during the book but for the most part they are in keeping with the dark tone of the rest of the book. And, like the Twilight books the undercurrents of romance are rather chaste.
It is not all bad though. After all, despite its length I did manage to finish it She does a good job of describing a small partially civilised world and fleshing out the many characters within it and their relationships. Wanderer/Melanie is certainly not as grating as Bella in the Twilight series comes to be., thereby making her a lot more sympathetic and I did genuinely feel concern for her towards the end and wonder how it could all end up okay for her given the bleak surroundings.
In conclusion, there is a good story here underneath it all but Meyer could certainly benefit from the work of a proficient editor if writing any more 'adult' novels of this ilk.
The first thing to do when you pick up a copy of The Host by Stephanie Meyer is to cast aside all your previous experience of this author and start the book with a open mind. The Host is nothing like the Twilight series; it is a complete new story and has nothing to do with teenage vampires.
The earth as we know it no longer exists. An alien species of parasites (souls) have taken over the minds and bodies of all the humans on earth. The aim of the souls is to take over the mind of the humans and use them as a host so they can experience human life for themselves. There are only a few humans left living on the fringes of society evading capture. Melanie Stryder and her younger brother Jamie are in hiding with Melanie's boyfriend Jared.
Unfortunately Melanie is captured by Seekers (souls who search for humans) and is then implanted with an alien soul of her own. The implantation does not go according to plan and the soul called Wanderer wakes up to discover that Melanie is still in residence in the back of her mind and is refusing to fade away.
Wanderer fights to silence Melanie with little success as Melanie is desperate to get back to Jared and Jamie. Melanie manipulates Wanderer into searching for Jamie and Jared by showing Wanderer her memories of how much she loves them. Wanderer feels she has no choice but to search for Jamie and Jared no matter the cost to herself.
This book is really well written and flows better than the Twilight series. The concept of an alien species taking over the minds and bodies of humans in such a subtle way that nobody realises what is happening until it is to late is brilliant and I sincerely hope Stephanie Meyer continues the story of Melanie, Wanderer, Jamie and Jared as I felt I could of continued reading this book when I got to the end. The book does finish with a bit of a cliff-hanger so fingers crossed.
I really enjoyed that as a reader you were able to see and understand the reasons behind the souls taking over the planet and also sympathise with the few remaining humans struggling to exist. The book does have a very strong love story flowing through it and a moral line that through tolerance there is acceptance and understanding.
In this book Stephanie Meyer shows us that she is able to write science-fiction just as well as, if not better than teenage vampire love stories. In my opinion this book is well worth a read whether you liked the Twilight saga or not.
I am under the impression that this book is currently in film production so I am looking forward to seeing that in the near future. There is a lot more plot to this story than what I've mentioned but I did not want to fill my review full of spoilers.
The official author website is jam packed with information about this and her other books and is well worth a look www.stepheniemeyer.com
Thanks for reading
Meyer's latest title is a real departure from the world of Twilight, both in style and content. The Host is a gritty science-fiction story focusing on the humans fight to stay and alive and recapture their world back from an invasion of body-snatching aliens.
This novel is a real page turner. Focusing on the struggle of the main character 'Wanderer' as she tries to cope with Melanie, the human host whose body Wanderer has been implanted in, but whose mind will not fade away.
The reader is swept along as Wanderer, sparked by Melanie's feelings tries to seek out the man Melanie loves. As a result she is captured by Melanies Uncle and taken as prisoner by an underground group of Human survivors. Meyer adds a real twist in the tale as Wanderer becomes a part of the group, forging loyalties with her human captives and becoming a part of the human resistance.
The writing is fluent and compelling. Meyer couldn't have made this book more different to the Twilight Saga! This is a story that really grabs yo by the collar and shakes you. A story that leaves you wanting more and really sets your brain thinking in overdrive!
I must admit that despite being far beyond the target age that the Twilight saga novels have been written for, I have greatly enjoyed reading about the adventures of Bella, Jacob and Edward. I was actually rather disappointed when I got to the end of Breaking Dawn, the final book in the series, and had to hand the collection of books back to my granddaughter. It was some weeks later that I realised Stephanie Meyer has written another novel, The Host, and upon seeing it on Amazon I promptly ordered a copy.
The Host is not a continuation of the Twilight series, it features similar characters and the 'otherworldly' theme of the novel means you will probably see a few similarities between the books but unfortunately none of the characters I've come to know so well are in this story.
The basis of the story is that an alien life form have invaded Earth, the aliens (or 'Souls' to give them their correct term) are a peace loving nation and rather than act destructively they are more parasitic. A Soul is a thin silvery worm who upon arriving on Earth will be inserted into a human body, thereby controlling that body and vanquishing the human psyche. The problem is that there are some pockets of resistance, humans who realised early on what was happening have formed into groups and refuse to allow the Souls to take their bodies.
Melanie Stryder is one such human, after her father was taken over by a Soul his body led them to Mel and her younger brother Jamie. They escaped detection, realising that this was not their loving father who was trying to entrap them, and had been on the run for some time when Mel was eventually captured by the Souls. The book begins as Mel attempts to take her own life by jumping into a disused lift shaft, she is taken and nursed back to health before an extremely experienced Soul, Wanderer, is implanted into her body.
It's not a complex tale, the Souls have found over time that humans who were aware of their presence before the mass insertion into host bodies have developed some resistance to the Soul who will eventually be placed into their body. Such a thing occurs for Melanie, when Wanderer is inserted Mel is still there in her head. At first this lessens the enjoyment of Earth for Wanderer but eventually the two become friends, both with the same aim of preserving the body but for altogether different reasons. Wanderer, of course, wants to make a success of her time on Earth and is determined not to become a 'skipper' (a Soul who changes host body midway through the life cycle) and Mel simply wants to find her still human brother and boyfriend.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Host, it took a little time to get into the tale because it's such a farfetched notion. More so than the vampire theme of Twilight actually as I think over time we have come somewhat desensitised to vampires, whereas in previous times they have been portrayed as terrifying murderous creatures and certainly not the romantic species they have become in recent years. The Host, however, looks at an actual alien invasion. Oh, not the horrific scenes as you'd see in Independence Day and other Hollywood blockbusters but still terrifying when you sit back to consider the implications of the people of our planet being used to host anything other than our own conscious.
Meyer isn't a terribly good writer, but she is a wonderful story teller. I found myself becoming more and more engrossed in the struggles of Wanderer and Melanie, and strangely I realised I was rooting for the parasitic Soul just as much as I wanted Melanie to succeed in her quest to find Jamie and Jared. The dual character of Wanderer/Mel is wonderful to watch, the Souls are an extremely gentle and sensitive race so the internal conflict between the two is amusing and also rather poignant.
The author tells the tale in such a way that you will begin to look kindly upon Wanderer, I was always aware of the fact that she is the 'bad guy' in the story but frankly she's such a kind and thoughtful person that this quickly ceases to be the case. Despite wanting Melanie out of her head in the beginning of the book, Wanderer soon accepts that like it or not Mel is there and she grows to love her, eventually helping her find her human companions and learning to live with them in a complex cave system in the desert.
Another character of note in The Host is Jeb, Melanies rather strange old uncle. The caves belong to him and he rules with an iron fist, Jeb is a kindly man but carries a rifle in a manner which tells the reader than he would not think twice about using it should he believe their cover is about to be blown. It is Jeb who refuses to kill Wanderer when she first appears at the caves, realising that to destroy the Soul would also mean killing his niece. As time wears on he is loathe to keep Wanderer prisoner within the caves and puts his own life and authority on the line to help bring her into the close circle of humans, needless to say they are all frightened of having a Soul within their midst but eventually she does become accepted as someone trustworthy and extremely helpful to their small community.
Frankly, The Host is 620 pages of silliness. But it's amazingly entertaining silliness! It's not a terribly fast paced novel and you might find yourself becoming bored of the day to day details of life in the caves, I didn't personally as I found the novel very easy to read and gripping even when there is little happening. The majority of the characters I liked as the pages went on, there are a couple who didn't seem to fit the story very well for me but these were on the very periphery of the story and thankfully I didn't encounter those often. There are none that I would actually say I disliked, although Jared didn't have the character I expected and I got the impression that the author had unsuccessfully modelled him on Edward Cullen.
I completely recommend The Host to lovers of the Twilight saga, and to anyone else who is looking for an original novel to read. The majority of the characters are young adults (Melanie herself is just 20 years old) so they will definitely appeal to the teenage market that Stephanie Meyer writes for, although having said that as an older person I still very much enjoyed reading the story and found I could relate in some small way to each person within the tale.
I read The Host within around a week and at some points I found myself unable to put the book down. It's not that it's the most exciting story I've read, but the characters and their plight led me to feel some empathy towards them and I really wanted to carry on reading to find out what happened to them. The Host is written in the first person with Wanderer as the narrator; this was perfect for this particular story as it enables the reader to really understand what life is like not only for the humans, but also for the gentle Soul who only wants to help make their lives easier.
You can buy a paperback copy of The Host for just £3.82 on Amazon, this is an excellent price in my opinion for such an interesting and thought provoking novel.
The Host - Stephanie Meyer
A Whole Host of Great Reading
I am a huge fan of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight Saga which features the supernatural in a way that is very different to many other books of the same nature. When this series finished, I felt that I wanted more and not long afterwards I found that Stephanie Meyer had written a one-off book, completely unrelated to the Twilight Saga, called 'The Host'. I was not sure at first whether to read it as the synopsis did not attach itself to me as the Twilight one did, though in saying that I did not get into the Twilight series until much later than many of my friends so with this in mind, I felt like it was certainly worth giving it a try.
Stephanie Meyer was born in 1973 in America and is best known for her series of vampire romance books in the Twilight Saga. She was named Author of the Year in 2008 and became the biggest selling author of the year having sold over 29 million books in that one year alone. A few critics have hailed her the best vampire novelist since Anne Rice, though there are other such critics such as Stephen King who said that "the real difference [between J.K. Rowling and Meyer] is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer, and Stephenie Meyer can't write worth a darn. She's not very good." Though even Stephen King went on to say that he could understand the appeal of her books.
Stephanie Meyer's books to date include the following;
1. Twilight (2005)
2. New Moon (2006)
3. Eclipse (2007)
4. Breaking Dawn (2008)
* Prom Nights from Hell (2007)
* The Host (2008)
* The Twilight Saga: The Official Guide (2009)
After the success of the Twilight series, Meyer decided she wanted to write a more adult focused science-fiction novel and went on to write 'The Host' which was published in 2008. (Though the Twilight series was apparently aimed at the non-adult community, I admit that even as an adult I love it!).
It is always difficult not to give too much away in a synopsis of a book as if you are like me, you will hate a book being ruined before you have even brought it, so I will give away nothing and only outline as much as the back of the book gives away.
The Earth has been invaded by parasitic aliens who have taken over most of the humans who occupy the planet, forcing themselves into the brains and bodies of their human hosts causing a near complete wipeout of the human race though there are few that are strong enough to refuse to fade away into nothingness.
Wanderer is an experienced 'soul' who has moved in to the body of Melanie. She understood the challenges she would face in a human host, though did not even dream that a human could resist and refuse to relinquish possession of her mind.
Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with her own visions and memories of the man she loved, a human man who still lives in hiding. Soon Wanderer can not separate herself from Melanie's strong emotions and overwhelming desires and begins yearning for a man she has never even met and as outside forces make the two 'souls' unwilling allies, they go in search of the man they both love.
The write up on the back of the book did not immediately make me want to pick up the book though after holding out for a while I felt that I would give it a go.
INVASION - THE BEGINNING
Although I do not want to make this review a comparison to the Twilight Series, there is always some expectations when reading a further book of an author, especially when the first book/s were ones that were loved.
The overall story is not at all like the Twilight series as can be seen in the short synopsis above, though the story is similar in the way that it is written in the first persons view with the first persons thoughts and feelings. Of course in this case, the first persons thoughts and feelings are not of only one person as the body and mind are in effect shared by two souls. In the main, the story is written from Wanderer's perspective, though we find a lot of inner mind conversations between the two souls which is written easily and without confusion, using the italic font to separate from the main flow of the story. This is easy to read and easy to understand straight from the beginning.
At first I found the story very hard to get in to. This is not overly due to the writing style as it is a similar writing style of Meyer's first books, though more to do with the story not really explaining much at first causing great confusion to the reader. This is not always a bad thing in books though in this case there was no real excitement found in the first hundred pages give or take. I found it a real struggle to continue reading the book though I am glad that I did as after the very beginning the story does start to pick up and with help of Melanie's memories and Wanderer's explanations and conversations both with her own kind and with other humans, we start to get a better picture of what is going on and how the world got to this point.
The book is very descriptive and sometimes a little too much so that I feel that it starts to detract from the main story line too much, though as it is written from the perspective of Wanderer it is made more bearable and easier to comprehend once the character is better known.
There are many characters which become part of the main characters throughout the book though at the beginning we are really reading a one/two person story of Wanderer, the parasite alien inhibitor, and Melanie, the human host. At first we do not really get a sense of knowing these characters and this is quite a while before any real history of the characters is explained, Melanie through memories and Whisperer through her teachings. When we do start to get to know the histories of the characters, we are able to begin to empathise with both characters, even though you do not want to straight away. It can be very confusing to begin with though this confusion soon wears off as more characters are introduced.
The flow of the beginning of the book is not very straightforward and jumps all over the place which makes it hard to keep up with what is happening. This is possibly one of the reasons myself and it seems many others found the beginning very difficult to read.
The main point about the beginning of the book that I would like to get across, though, is do not give up. If you can get past the 80-100 first pages then the story evens out and you will be very happy that you struggled through.
COMPELLED - THE MIDDLE
Once the story gets going, you find that this is one of those books you can not put down. For some, the first person story telling may be difficult to pick up, though those who have read the Twilight Saga will be used to this style of writing.
As more and more characters are introduced, we begin to understand more about the Earth as it is in the story as well as understanding more about not only the two main characters of the host and soul but also begin to get to know other characters, past relationships, present relationships and conflictions within this new world. There is quite a bit of description still within the book though by the middle of the book I was used to this and it actually made the story more solid.
The story line begins to take a darker turn by the middle of the book though is written in a very subtle way, though in a way that is still very easy to visualise. The main action takes place in the same area so as the book continues, there is no real need for too much descriptions except for with the new characters that Melanie/Wanderer meet.
You also begin to notice that all of the chapters are very short in this book, some only three pages long at most. At first this was a little off putting though Meyer writes the 'conclusion' of each chapter really efficiently and ends each one the same as she beginning the next; with anticipation and excitement.
The flow of the story is certainly much better as we enter the middle stage of the book. Instead of jumping around and causing confusion, it flows nicely through the pages and makes it much easier to follow. Once I got to this point then this is where I really started to enjoy the book. Even when gaps in time are within the story lines, the writings are done in such a way that it still continues to follow on easily without getting lost or confused.
By the time I reached about 2/3 of the story I knew where I wanted the book to go though I just could not see how my wants could work out. This made me even more desperate to keep reading and a couple of late nights as I just could not put the book down!
WELDED - THE END
The middle of the story flows nicely into the end part of the book with no real distinctive change in flow or setting as there was in the beginning which is great. There is no huge action scenes as such though there is much more subtle action which leaves the reader wanting more.
With everything established well throughout the book, you begin to need to know the ending. I feel that the end of a book is extremely important as I have read some great books and then got to the end and found myself asking what the point was as it had no proper ending or the ending was such a disappointment that it put a downer on the whole book. In the case of 'The Host' this certainly did not happen.
With the last book in the Twilight saga, many people were disappointed with the ending. At first, I was slightly though when I reread it I found that it was a fitting ending and loved it. With The Host I found that it was not quite the same feeling. With this book, I loved every part of the ending. The only thing I was disappointed in was that this is a stand alone book with no sequel!
The ending does leave a little opening for a sequel, though as everything was wrapped up well and all unanswered questions now clarified, I can not really see Meyer creating a sequel. As much as I would love to have a sequel, I think that it would possibly ruin the book.
The story is set somewhere in the future though no real time stamp is placed upon the story making it a great timeless book. The story is set over a period of approximately a year or so, though as time within the story line is not easily calculated, it is not certain really how much time does pass between beginning and end. There are some small references from Wanderer and other characters to enable us to see that time has passed. Though, which enables more understanding of the story as a whole.
The book contains 617 pages which took me four days to read. It would have taken me less time if the beginning had flowed better and if I was able to sit and read more though this is not possible with an energetic two year old in the house!
As already mentioned above, the flow of the story is difficult to begin with though after the first 100 pages, the structure is much more steady and flows easily.
The language is very similar to the of the Twilight saga and you quite often get a feel that the conversational parts are not quite true to life, though I got used to this really easily.
Throughout the book there are a few main characters within the book apart from the narrating main character/s of Wanderer and Melanie. As I do not want to give too much away, I am not going to outline in detail too much of the characters though to give a small insight I will mention a couple of things about the main characters within this book;
Otherwise known as the Soul and the Host body, Wanderer is the main story teller of the book not only in the sense of it being written from her point of view, though through this character we get an insight of how the world is both on Earth and on other planets. Wanderer is a natural story teller - a teacher being her calling, and this is used well within the text as a way of explaining things that we as the reader may not completely understand. Melanie also plays her part in the explaining via memories which give an insight from a human perspective of the invasion and other characters in her own life. This dual character communicates between one another via thought and this is also written very well without detracting from the story at all. Even though perhaps at first you may not want to, you do start to empathise with both these main characters in conflicting ways.
I do not wish to name the other characters as I feel that it will give too much away, though there are two groups of characters, both of which are written completely different;
The first group being the aliens, or the souls. These characters are only explained through Wanderer's knowledge of them with no real background information given which works well as these characters are not the subject of the main story. Yes, they are half of the problem in the story line though there is no real reason to know everything about them. They are seen as the enemy and by not having their backgrounds makes the reader able to dislike them easier.
The second group is the humans which are spoken about in both forms; as the Hosts and also as humans themselves. Many of the main characters later in the book come in this group and through both Melanies memories and thoughts and Wanderer's observations as well as some conversational descriptions, we get to know the backgrounds of the characters very well. This is not too in your face and comes into the open very subtly and not all at once. There are varying amounts of information from the characters - the more information given, the bigger the character and the more you start to empathise with them whether it be in a good or bad way.
Overall, once you get past that first struggle in the story, the characters are well written and well rounded and really give a sense of community and real life through them.
Of course, the main focus within this book is obvious; Supernatural. It is more of a subtle supernatural and science fiction book, though, and therefore very enjoyable to me. My husband has not read the book but by the description he said that it sounded something like 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers'. I have seen a few parts of the film and read what it is about and although there is a dim similarity in the idea it is nothing like it which is good as my opinion on that was not high at all. Perhaps the idea came from something like that though the book takes on a whole wider story line.
There is some action within the story though not explosive action, more of a subtle and sometimes dark action between characters. Although the story as a whole is not a horror or thriller, it does have many dark moments within the story line and between characters and has some small amount of shock factor though not enough to bring any tears or anger to me whilst reading. Yes, it was written with some emotional parts though not emotional enough for any real emotions to surface within me which made it an easy read.
One of the bigger genres hidden within the story is that of different loves. The love/hate between host and soul, the loves between lovers, between family, between friends. All conflicting emotional loves which make the story very rounded. It is NOT a love story by any means and perfectly encompasses themes that we can relate to in our own ways; love, co-operation, identity, compassion and humanity and above all else challenges what it means to be human through concepts of what is good and what is evil.
PRICE AND AVALIABILITY
I actually borrowed the copy of this book from my local library for free, though they only seemed to have one copy available which is a shame. I will certainly be wanting to buy this book, though, as I would love to eventually reread it.
The RRP of the book is £7.99 though you can buy this for as little as £3.82 new or £1.98 used from good old Amazon.
Although the beginning could have been improved greatly, once you get past that slow stage in the book, it becomes a book you really can not put down. Of course, the style may not be for everyone though personally I really enjoyed it. In comparison to the Twilight saga, it is slightly more in depth and more compact a story as it is a one off book, though if you liked Twilight then you will love this book. Some of my friends have commented that they actually prefer The Host to the Twilight Saga, though I am not too sure yet. As I know the Saga more I still tend to lean towards that over The Host though this book is still very high up on my top reading list.
Would I recommend this book? Certainly!
I first heard of Stephanie Meyer through the Twilight movie, and after reading all 4 books in the Twilight Saga, I was excited to find she had written The Host, and I can only hope she writes more books very soon.
This book is very different from the Twilight Saga, and maybe a little slow to get into for a short while, but trust me, it is so worth the read once you get into properly. I got completley lost in this book and read it in one day, and was quite sad when I had finished it, I wanted to continue reading it!
The characters are well developed, and you really get to know the characters in the book, and not just the main ones either. I truly think that Stephanie Meyer is a genius for what she has thought up here.
Hearing the original idea of alien invaders inside human hosts for this book is not a new concept, but the way Meyer has written this book and portrayed said invaders, is a totally new way and is quite refreshing and different to what I expected when I read the synopsis.
The ending was a little dissapointing, but it does make me think there may be a follow up book, as it was quite an open ending. I do hope there is a second book as I will happily read it. I also hope that they make this book into a movie, as I think it would be played out quite well on screen, given the right actors.
There is quite a few emotions to be felt throughout this book, and I found myself torn as to who to side with for some of the problems that are encountered, and some of the arguments that occur tore me into two!
I recommend that anyone and everyone read this book, its fascinating and no one should miss out on it.
I think that you either love the writing of Stephenie Meyer or hate it. I fall into the first category. I know that she is no literary genius - but I don't care - I love her stories and old fashioned take on romance etc and think that she tells a good tale plot wise. I was feeling a bit low after finishing the Twilight Saga, but steered clear of this novel because it seemed so different - all about aliens. I read a few reviews which said on the whole that it was great - if you could stick longer than the first 80 pages, which were hard going, so I decided to give it a go and I am glad that I did.
The plot focuses upon earth after it has been invaded and largely taken over by aliens. The alien race are called 'Souls', which are inserted into the human life form and suppress the existing human consciousness and lead their lives in the new 'Host' body.
The story centres on the human Melanie Stryder who as been taken over by the alien 'Wanderer'. Melanie refuses to fade away and Wanderer struggles on believing that she is a bit of a failure for not overpowering her host more successfully. Wanderer sees the thoughts and memories of Melanie and slowly becomes attached to Melanie's younger brother Jamie and her boyfriend Jared. Wanderer goes against her own kind to help Melanie seek out her family. Yet, how can this end in anything but heartbreak? Even if Melanie/Wanderer finds her family - surely they will kill her anyway? I don't want to give any more away, but suffice to say that what first appears to be a love triangle, slowly involves a fourth character - very confusing...
As most other reviews state this book is difficult to get to grips with at the start. Mainly because the whole concept of two characters sharing one body makes it difficult to know who is talking at any one time. The whole ideas surrounding the alien race and their lives are also difficult to get to grips with at first. It is one of those stories when you read only to understand later on - so persevere and you will get there and get into the style of writing.
As usual there are many characters to get to grips with and at first you believe that Melanie will be the main protagonist, only to find that it is Wanderer who you begin to feel for. Stephenie Meyer writes romance in an old fashioned way, with much emphasis on feeling, emotions and doing the right thing. The story unfolds and you really do not have any idea of what the ending will be nor how a satisfactory ending will be achieved. I think it is a sign of a good book, when you try to work out your own plot and ending, but I just couldn't seem to find what the right one would be.
It is good how the aliens are not represented as 'evil' and in actual fact it is humanity which is brought more into question. After I got past the first 80 pages or so I couldn't put it down and am a bit embarrassed to say that I did cry a little near the end. It is going to be made into a movie due to come out in 2010, so it will be a great year for Meyer - I just hope that she gets around to writing some more as she has expressed the desire to write a trilogy, which I would love to see. The book certainly ends in a way that there would be plenty more to write about.
I didn't think I would like this as much as Twilight, but in the end I found that I liked it just as much, if not more and could see how Stephenie Meyer had grown and developed herself as a writer. Her ideas may not start off with the most original concept, but the direction that she takes them in I think genuinely are.
I would recommend this book for anyone who likes romance and also 'end of the world as we know it' type scenarios - there was no content that would also put off a teenager reading it, apart from the heavy going first few chapters.
For anyone reading this who has read the books, my favourite characters are Ian and Wanda - see not giving anything away there lol!
The book is available from Amazon for only £3.82 which I think is a fab price.
Several months ago I read an entry on Stephenie Meyer's official site by the webmaster, controversially stating that his favourite of her novels was The Host, the stand alone adult fiction novel which has no connection to the famous Twilight Saga. I thought he was talking nonsense, but it was enough to cause me to buy The Host. Now, around four months after buying it, I've just read it - I was scared to in case it let me down after how much I loved Twilight.
The Host tells the story of Melanie, a human, and Wanderer, a soul - a species of alien who live in host bodies. They have colonised Earth, and have taken over the population's bodies. Wanderer is inserted into Melanie, a member of the small human resistance, but soon realises that instead of only having access to Melanie's memories, Melanie is alive and kicking in her mind. Soon they go off in search of Melanie's younger brother Jamie, and the love of her life, Jared.
The first thing I realised about The Host is that it has a completely different feel to it than I expected. I read the blurb on the back - aliens taking over human bodies and running Earth, that sounded pretty dark and futuristic to me. But it's not. Aside from a few small additions by the souls, such as shuttles and medicine to fix everything, Earth is completely recognisable as it is today. Except for the lack of war and violence - souls are a peaceful, trusting species. I thought that Earth would be in tatters, all broken and burning like in the movies, but it was in fact a very light and happy place.
I didn't expect The Host to captivate me like Twilight had - I read that in one sitting the first time, I loved it so much. This didn't happen with The Host, possibly because it is quite a hefty book, but also because it took me longer to get drawn into the story, But once it had me, I struggled to put the book down. I found a few times that I had been reading for an hour and a half instead of half an hour like I intended. I missed most of Strictly Come Dancing last weekend because I couldn't tear my eyes away from the pages of The Host.
The story of The Host really is excellent, and, I think, very original. I may be wrong, but I've never come across what the blurb describes as "a love triangle involving only two bodies" before. Once more characters were introduced, I really found myself torn as to what outcome I wanted for Melanie and Wanderer, and I think that is a sign of a good book. If I had decided early on what I wanted, I could have been disappointed. As it was I was changing allegiances with almost every chapter, and right up until the end, I had no idea what the final outcome would be. In fact, there are a few shocks on the last few pages which came as a complete surprise to me.
One thing that I've always said about Twilight and Stephenie Meyer is that while she tells her stories and sells her characters beautifully, she's no master of the English language, and that the likes of J.K. Rowling are better writers than her. Now for some reason I can't quite put my finger on, I think that The Host better demonstrates her writing ability than the Twilight Saga does. It is a beautifully crafted story, and it is excellently written. I'm not sure it's prize winning standards, but it is an excellent piece of writing, and I've come away from it with an elevated opinion of Meyer and her skills.
As you can probably tell, I adored The Host. I'm not quite ready to agree that it's her best novel (despite the writing skills in this, I love the Twilight stories too much), but it had me wavering for a while. I stated at the start of this review that The Host is a stand alone novel, and for the moment it is, but Meyer does actually have plans to continue it into a trilogy, and it is to be made into a movie (www.stepheniemeyer.com), which is a rather exciting prospect.
The Host is excellent. Even if you're an ardent Twilight hater, don't hold it against Meyer completely, because The Host is far removed from the teenage world of Twilight, and you'll be missing out if you don't give it a go.
People who hated twilight will love the host. Seriously, I think Stephenie Meyer decided she was sick of glittery vampires and thought she'd try her hand at something completely different, and boy did it throw up something good.
The host is a lot rawer and grittier than the twilight saga but again it explores some interesting concept like sharing minds and feelings and the extent of human compassion (and alien compassion!). I have no idea how the author comes up with her ideas, because as far as I know, there is nothing else like this book.
It is very well written, aimed at mid teens to young adults and gives a view of a sort of apocalyptic world, where humans no longer have control, which is a great topic to get young people thinking (it made me think). I found it easy to sympathise with most of the characters, as there is not really a distinguished "baddie", the boundary lines are blurred.
Overall, I would recommend this book to any twilight haters or just anyone who wants something a bit different.
The book I am reviewing is "The Host - author Stephinie Meyer"
I feel that this is a book that can be read by all I would have classed it as a science fiction novel that people like me who don't usually read this genre of book could enjoy.
This is a story about human emotions, love and Melanie's fight to survive as the two have to learn to share the one body while living with a group of humans in hiding who detest the souls that inhabit the human bodies.
The main character within this book is Melanie Stryder who is a woman who refuses to fade away and leaving her body and mind to its new host (Wanderer). Melanie fills Wanderers head with overwhelming emotions that she has never felt before and memories of the human Melanie loves. Throughout the story the two enemies soon become allies and go in search of what it is they both want.
When I started this book I couldn't put it down I was curious to find out what would happen next as the book is filled with many twists and turns. Meyer has filled each page with emotion both happy and sad that helps to keep you intrigued.
In conclusion this is a book that I would recommend that was read. Like her other books when you start reading this you wont want to put it away again.
Its not often that an author can create a master piece and make another work of art with just the same amount of flair as the first time. But the host is perfect proof that it can be done. Famous for the twilight saga, Stephanie Meyer took a break from her vampire love story and went in a different direction with an alien invasion. Not my everyday book but it was certainly a memorable one.
It begins with a confusing introduction to the main character wanderer. An alien soul that has been inserted into its host. With the whole earth being invaded by these creatures, wanderer is one of millions that has been inserted, however she is not part of the majority who has done so without the consequences. Melanie, the host, is still conscious and wanderer is finding it difficult to separate her own emotions from Melanie's.
The human emotions are too much for wanderer to cope with. Unable to fight them off and feeling herself weaken to the love she feels for Melanie's partner and brother, she betrays her own family to find them. Using Melanie's guidance, they reluctantly work together in there search.
After crawling across the desert for days they are finally found by Melanie's family. However with the scars from the insertion it is clear to them that she is no longer human and they face another challenge. Not to be killed. Trapped inside their cave as the enemy with no way of explaining Melanie's existence, wanderer has the impossible task of getting the hosts family to trust her.
Rapidly losing all hope, Wanderer suffers through her isolation with the aching thought of her inevitable death. Her short visit to earth has taught her all about the human kinds history of revenge and violence so she cannot see any other end. The only thing that keeps her going it Jared, Melanie's partner. Seeing him is her only hope of surviving but is his love for Melanie strong enough to let her body stay?
The book shows her struggle through making the decision between her own family to the human family. A heart breaking story with an ending that I wouldn't have ever guessed. Something which every book that I have read recently has lacked.
Although an alien invasion doesn't seem to really sound that original, Stephanie Meyer gives the originality by not only showing the story in the aliens point of view but to show how the strange relationship between the enemies can form and progress. This was what saved the book from being the same as all the other science fiction stories. It filled you with unexpected emotions and allowed you to sympathise with those you wouldn't normally think about.
Seeing it in the aliens point of view made it very unusual to read. It helped you understand how our violent world would be perceived by others and almost dragged you over to their side. The only downside to this was it was rather confusing try to understand which words were Melanie's and which were wanderers. It was difficult to keep reading when I had no idea what was going on!
Overall its certainly a book that a lot of you should consider reading. Stephanie Meyer has definitely continue her streak in success and wouldn't be at all surprised if the host follows in twilights footsteps and becomes another excellent film.
Thanks for reading!