Newest Review: ... the Soul named Wanderer being inserted into a recently captured rebel human, Melanie Stryder (who escaped the invasion, and was on the ... more
Stephanie Meyer's first adult novel
The Host - Stephenie Meyer
Member Name: cerys82
The Host - Stephenie Meyer
Advantages: Engaging story, sympathetic protagonists
Disadvantages: Overlong, unconvincing in places
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.
Summary: An adequate debut adult novel