The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Reviewed by L.D.Y.

Hardcover, 631 pages, 2008

Rating: 10/10

Reason for Reading: I’ve never considered myself a ‘sci-fi reader,’ but before Harry Potter, I never considered myself a reader who would be into children’s books about wizarding school, so I knew I had to take a chance when Stephenie Meyer and J.K. Rowling were compared as success stories (though The Host is Meyer’s first adult novel).

Synopsis: They call her Wanderer, because of how many bodies and planets her spirit inhabited before she found herself on her current home of Earth. Her species has taken over the host bodies of most of the human race, except for a few incredibly strong people like that of Melodie, her current host body. In fact, Melodie is proving so strong that she’s not vanishing, and Wanderer can feel her strongest feelings taking over her own – namely, the love of her younger sibling and of her boyfriend, Jared. Torn between these odd feelings of love and the very nature of her species to take over all humans, Wanderer decides to set out to find Jared, unsure of which urge will prove stronger – and if it will even matter when she finds some of the planets’ few remaining humans, who would kill to retain their humanity…

Why you should read this book: Well, consider me thrilled, impressed, and fully converted. I didn’t just like a ‘sci-fi’ book, I loved it. Maybe it’s because I’m an outsider to the world of sci-fi, but I’ve always envisioned the characters as secondary to fighting off aliens from world domination, which would be done with ridiculous – and boring – techno-babble; but Meyer has created an alien that acts as a better study of human nature than most books in general. Love, hope, fear, anger, longing, loyalty – it’s all explored in a suspenseful story that refuses to let you rest. Imaginative and clever, Meyer mixes your sympathies for characters in ways that you wouldn’t expect while everyone fights and claws for the last of human existence, letting you wonder exactly what is worth the effort. Part love story, part survival adventure, and wholly well-written and suspenseful, there’s a little something in The Host for almost every reader.

Why you should avoid this book: This is an unusual sort of love triangle to say the least, but don’t avoid The Host simply because you don’t like the more traditional sci-fi label – there’s almost nothing in the way of techno-speak and violent war. I’d actually be more inclined to warn you away if that’s what you wanted from a sci-fi book.

Opening paragraph:

The Healer’s name was Fords Deep Waters.

Fabulous quotes:

The electric bell rang, announcing another visitor to the convenience store. I started guiltily, and ducked my head behind the shelf of goods we were examining.
Stop acting like a criminal, Melanie advised.
I’m not acting, I replied tersely.

‘Tell me,’ he insisted, his eyes tight with frustration and deep unhappiness.
Was I truly a coward? I would rather believe that I was – that my fear of
pain was stronger than anything else. The real reason I opened my mouth and spoke was so much more pathetic.
I wanted to please him, this human who hated me so fiercely.

Also recommended: The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger; Season of Passage by Christopher Pike.

Also by this author: Twilight; New Moon; Eclipse; Breaking Dawn.

Author’s website:

Fun tidbit: Meyer’s book Twilight will be released in movie form towards the end of 2008, and fans can further delight in the cameo she’ll have.

Would I read more by this author? I’m going to try and get my hands on her Twilight series, yes.

&#169 Lisa Yanaky 2003-2008

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