The Host by Stephenie Meyer

(Cover picture courtesy of Stephenie Meyer’s website.)

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away.

Our world has been invaded by an unseen enemy.  Humans become hosts for these invaders, their minds taken over while their bodies remain intact and continue their lives apparently unchanged.

When Melanie, one of the few remaining “wild” humans, is captured, she is certain it is her end.  Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, was warned about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the glut of senses, the too-vivid memories.  But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn’t expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

Wanderer probes Melanie’s thoughts, hoping to discover the whereabouts of the remaining human resistance.  Instead, Melanie fills Wanderer’s mind with visions of the man Melanie loves—Jared, a human who still lives in hiding.  Unable to separate herself from her body’s desires, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she has been tasked with exposing.  When outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off on a dangerous and uncertain search for the man they both love.

One of the most compelling writers of our time, Stephenie Meyer brings us a riveting and unforgettable novel about the persistence of love and the very essence of what it means to be human.

I received this book as a late birthday gift (coincidentally, it was from the same friend who gave me The White Queen) and after I’ve read it a few times, I’m glad I didn’t spend my hard-earned money on it.

The Host is supposed to be a novel about love, loss and what it means to be human.  It is none of these three.  It is a long, rambling novel that could have been written in less than 300 pages, rather than the 600+ pages of my hardcover edition.  The plot is slow, with many pointless subplots that go nowhere.  Wanderer would have been a decent character if she was stronger and well-developed, but she was not.  She is your stereotypical gentle alien who is horrified at human barbarism.  She practically went catatonic when she saw some of the experiments conducted by the “wild” humans on souls.

The idea that the aliens (or “souls”, as they’re called) have taken over other planets and live through the natives is an interesting one.  However, it is at the height of hypocrisy that the souls are depicted as good, despite the fact that they take over people’s bodies and extinguish their host’s soul, killing them.  Humans are depicted as horrible creatures even though all they want is freedom from the souls.

I give this book 1/5 stars.

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