The Host, by Stephenie Meyer
Stephenie Meyer’s new book, The Host, is about aliens, the way her Twilight series is about vampires. The Host is being billed as Meyer’s first novel for adults. I was therefore expecting more from this book than from the vampires. However, this book is written in almost exactly the same style as the teen romances found between the covers of the Twilight series. Once I stopped expecting literary fiction and accepted that the only thing that made this an “adult” book is the fact that the main character is twenty-one rather than seventeen, I enjoyed it more.
The world has been taken over by aliens. Aliens who inhabit the human bodies and live exactly the way humans do. Sort of. Without all the violence and money. Anyway, Wanderer, our hero alien, has previously lived on eight planets and has decided to give the newly conquered earth a try. She gets inserted into Melanie’s body. Melanie was a human insurgent, who tried to commit suicide rather than be used as a host. Most humans fade away when an alien is inserted into them. Not Melanie. Melanie and Wanderer are forced to coexist in the same body, sharing the same memories and experiences. They eventually unite in their hatred of a Seeker (an alien who hunts down remaining humans) and fall in love with the same human. They go off in search of the human and find romance, adventure, and true happiness.
The story is good, even, dare I say, spellbinding, if a little treacly. The main characters, Melanie and Wanderer, are well drawn. But, at 600+ pages, this novel could have used a trim. In spite of the length, I cruised through the slow patches. The major theme–the nature of humanity–was nicely touched on but not wallowed upon. I thought the desert setting was very effectively used. Finally, in the interest of full disclosure, I must note that I think the author should have stuck with the first ending and not ventured on into the happy-let’s-see-how far-I-can-stretch-believability ending. Overall, worth the read.
The Host, by Stephenie Meyer [rating:3]
(I’m excited to meet Stephenie Meyer on Friday!)