Thursday, June 26, 2008

One Fantastic Book for your Heart AND Soul


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

26 comments:

Melody said...

Wow! What a great review, Stephanie! I've this book in my pile, but just haven't got around to reading it yet! I guess I'm intimidated by the thickness of the book, hehe. ;)

Stephanie said...

Melody - It may be long, but I wished it wouldn't have ended!! I devoured it!! Such a wonderful book. It makes me almost sad than I finished it!!

Amy said...

Thanks for this review! I just bought this book and the book store clerk was less than enthusiastic when I was checking out which dampened my own enthusiasm. :) So it's good to read some excitement.

Marg said...

I just finished this myself, and I totally agree! Fantastic book, that most people who read will love! And Ian is one of my favourites as well!

Stephanie said...

Amy - I've read a few reviews from people that are big fans of the Twilight series. They just can't get over it. Then again, I don't have that bias in my head, and I just loved The Host. Completely and Totally! Besides, this book is geared towards adults, not YA like the Twilight books. I really hope you like it!!

Marg - Ian was my absolute favorite! Him and Jeb. Funny thing is, I actually liked Wanda better than Mel. I'm glad you liked it too!

Marg said...

I liked it so much, it's my first 5/5 read for the year. I am a bit stingy with that grade, but this book deserved it.

jenclair said...

I enjoyed the first in the Twilight series, but was bored by the second one and had written Meyers off. After this review, I am definitely going to have to give her another chance!

Debi said...

Though I originally planned to read the Twilight series, I just could never make myself do it. I'd even bought the first book, but I ended up giving it to Annie (and she of course loves the series!). But something about this one just has me thoroughly intrigued. If I wasn't already sold on giving this one a try, your fabulous review would have done the trick!

Rhinoa said...

This is the second positive review I have read of this today and it seems to be better than the Twilight series which can be a little hit and miss. I can't wait to steal my best friends copy and finally get around to reading it!

Melissa said...

I agree, 5/5!! I was not expecting that. I'm a huge Twilight series follower and was hesitant to try her new book...but it was so much better than I had hoped for...and it MAY even rival Twilight...gasp, I know.

Stephanie said...

Marg - I'm pretty stingy with my 5/5's too. This year I had one Charles de Lint and this book.

Jenclair - I do hope you read this book. I thought it was fabulous. Of course, now that I've gushed about it, I'm going to feel guilty when someone doesn't like it!

Debi - I'm not even sure what is holding me back with Twilight. I love vampires. But this one is a book written for adults, not teens. And maybe that's why it appeals to me more. Whatever the reason, I loved it.

Rhinoa - Just fantastic! I got lucky with getting it from the library, but I knew there was still a list of people wanting it. So I picked it up right away. I just couldn't stop reading!! I can't wait to see what you think about it!

Melissa - I'm with you. I didn't expect to love this book as much as I did. I'm glad you did too.

Kailana said...

Wow, you and Marg gave it a five out of five. I am going to the bookstore right now and seeing about picking up a copy. I need a really good book. Everything has been boring me lately.

Bookfool said...

Oh, darn, now I'll have to get my mitts on The Host, for sure. It sounds fabulous. Thanks for the terrific review -- I've been wondering about it. I have just read the first of her vampire books. You really should rush right out and find a copy of Twilight. It's really good. You'll love it.

Suey said...

Great review! I'm linking you to my review of this. Oh, and welcome to the Stephenie Meyer fan club! :)

Chris said...

Whoa! a 5/5! Don't worry, you're not the only one who hasn't read the Twilight series ;) I'd like to read them too though. I plan on reading the Host next month for Becky's book club and I'm REALLY looking forward to it and I don't even know if I can wait now after reading your review. I know I have extremely similar book tastes to yours and this sounds incredible. Yay for great books!

Trish said...

Wow, I'm going to have to give this one a second thought! I have been a little resistant to the Twilight series (not for any good reason), but your review makes me really interested in this book. Thanks Stephanie!

Joy said...

I enjoyed the first Twilight book, but the second fell flat for me. I haven't read the rest. I will now put this on the consider list. :) How could I not with such raving remarks!?! Thanks, Stephanie!

Kailana said...

Book bought and started. You are a bad influence, but that might become debatable depending on how much I like it. Considering I want to murder Bella when I read the Twilight series this book is going pretty good so far.

Stephanie said...

Kelly - Yeah!! I REALLY hope you like The Host. I'm going to feel bad if you don't. But seriously...it's the best book I've read all year!

tanabata said...

I loved Twilight (have yet to read New Moon or Eclipse) but wasn't sure I wanted to read this one. I've never really been a fan of alien stories but your review has made me think I might actually like it. :)

Andi said...

Catching up on blogs because I'm SO. FAR. BEHIND! Very glad to see you loved this one. I'll be picking it up when I finish my two current reads.

S. Krishna said...

Seriously, the EXACT same taste in books - I loved this one! I have read the Twilight series though, I did enjoy them.

alisonwonderland said...

wow, stephanie! if i hadn't already read The Host, i'd been heading for the library or bookstore right now! nicely written review!

thanks for stopping by my review. i'll be linking to yours.

Anonymous said...

I am glad I found your blog, I wrote down a list of books that I must read, I am glad you found the host to be a such a good book, being an huge twilight fanatic! and just finshed reading breakin dawn I could not give up reading anything else written by Stephanie Mayer even if its not related to Edward and Bella. lol

I am going to go pick up The Host today ,

and Yes gasped when I read you have yet to read the twilight saga.
The first one will leave you wanting more , my heart pounded as as I turned every page, the second one starts of kinda slow but you cant help but feel the pain, I bawled my eyes out the last time I cried over a book was over the ending of the shadow of the giant.
and the 3rd and 4th book are also amazing I cant wait until you read them for yourself and fall in love.

margotreehugger said...

Thanks for your review. You've now left me with even more determination to read this!! :)

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