Thursday, June 26, 2008
Not having read any of the Twilight Series (yes, I heard the collective gasp from the crowd!), I didn't have any expectations coming into reading The Host by Stephenie Meyer (624 pgs, Little, Brown and Company). I don't have any of the bias that a lot of readers will have. I didn't expect to find a book that I would fall head over heels in love with. But that is exactly what happened!! If it's any indication on how wonderful this book is, I read over 600 pages in 2 short days....hardly pausing for sleep!! I read The Host for The End of the World Challenge, The Stephenie Meyer Mini-Challenge (see...I'm PLANNING on reading the Twilight series!), and The Pub '08 Challenge.
In a time when Earth has been almost completely taken over by aliens, there were a few rebel Humans left in existence. The aliens, or Souls, have done a systematic take-over of this planet. They are a parasitic creature that can not live without a Host body. When they are inserted in a human body, their "soul" takes over. You can tell by the silver that shines in their eyes.
Wanderer is unlike most souls. She has lived on 8 other planets in 8 other host bodies. And yet, she has never found a place that she could truly envision herself at home. Hence, the name Wanderer.
Melanie was a rebel human. Along with her little brother Jamie, and her true-love Jared, she was carving out a small existence for herself. But when she saw on the news a person that looked like her cousin Sharon, she knew she had to find her and see if she was still human. That's why she went to Chicago in the first place. But when she was caught by the Seekers, the souls that were scouring the planet for the last of the humans, she knew she would rather die than become one of THEM. Unfortunately for her, the attempt of suicide failed. Her body was healed, and Wanderer was inserted into her body.
But unlike all the other Hosts that Wanderer had taken over, she couldn't lose Melanie. Melanie was such a strong human, she refused to let Wanderer completely take over. Mel was still there with her, talking to her and making her miserable. Wanderer knew all of Mel's memories and feelings. As much as Mel tried to block her thoughts, Wanderer would dream of Jared and Jamie. Soon, Wanderer finds herself longing to find the Humans that meant so much to Mel. On a trip to Tuscon, Mel remembers a map that her Uncle Jeb had drawn for her, and the two of them set off to find out if Jared and Jamie have survived.
But when Wanderer is found by the group of rebel Humans that include her family and friends, it isn't pretty. No one is sure what to do. They want to hate the alien that has taken over Mel. But things are not always as it seems. And Wanderer isn't the typical soul.
Can I tell you now how much I LOVED this book?? Although sci-fi in nature, it is so much more than that. It's a story of love and understanding, acceptance and humanity. This book is so deep and so beautiful that I'm having a hard time putting down in words my feelings for it. Melanie is such a strong human, but there were times that I just wanted to throttle her. She had become jaded and pessimistic during the occupation....and rightfully so. But she didn't think things through very well. Wanderer was such a beautiful and kind soul. Altruistic was a word that was used frequently, and for good reason. She would rather die than cause pain to other person or soul.
The cast of characters in this book is large, but my favorite would have to be Ian. He was one of the rebels that initially wanted to kill Wanderer. But spending time with the soul, he realized that to be human didn't always mean being a body without an alien presence. Stephenie Meyer has put together a brilliant novel. Her focus is more on relationships than on the alien presence, and is amazing to read. And the relationships are complex. There is a really weird triangle with Melanie/Wanda/Jared. Then you thrown Ian into the mix and it gets weirder yet. There are some seriously hard scenes to read. And as the end nears, as a reader you can see how difficult it is going to be to end this story well. You come to love the soul as much as the human. In fact, they come to love each as much as they do themselves.
If you are a fan of the Twilight series, I beg you to give this book a chance. I can't imagine anyone being disappointed in this story. I can't remember the last time a book completely left me so emotionally drained. I laughed, I cried, I cringed at times. But I wouldn't take back a second of it! This book was Freakin' Fantastic....and I'm telling you: GO READ THE HOST!! 5/5