Friday, November 7, 2008

Book Review: "The Host" by Stephenie Meyer

The Host—by Stephanie Meyer
What is all the fuss about?—and a small spoiler alert.

By Melissa The Librarian

Science Fiction is not exactly my forte. Although I have read a few sci-fi works recently, I haven’t had a chance, or the time, to invest in Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Series. So I thought I would read her first adult novel, The Host. (She is currently one of the most popular author’s out there, with the first Twilight movie coming to the big screen in November.) The novel begins with a soul called the Wanderer, who along with her species, has invaded Earth and taken over the lives of all humans. The alien invasion doesn’t mean to cause us harm, in fact, they are probably the most polite aliens ever created (E.T. aside.) They just want to experience the everyday lives of humans; however, taking over the planet and invading bodies has caused our extinction—with a handful of survivors.

When the Wanderer is implanted into her human host, she soon discovers that she is not alone and Melanie Stryder is still occupying in her own body. Plagued by memories from Melanie’s life, and struggling to fit in her new role on Earth, Wanderer sets out on a journey to find out if Melanie’s young brother and love interest, Jared, have survived the occupation. As the story progresses, Wanderer finds herself living underground with humans who accept her, despite the fact that she is an alien. Although there are protests from some of the survivors, the humans still bring her into the secret and fragile world, and treat her as if she was one of their own. Yet, there are still dangers floating very close to Wanderer. She knows some of the humans would relish in her death—revenge for the human race! The aliens have also sent one of their own to find out where and why she has disappeared. Wanderer is also dealing with the fact she and Melanie are sharing the same body, as well as thoughts. When all these elements collide—fear, confusion, love, and hate, the Wanderer and Melanie struggle to understand each other’s feelings for the circumstances they have been unwillingly thrust into.

I thought that The Host had an opportunity to be a more exciting novel, especially towards the end, but it never quite developed. Meyer is writing to a adult audience for the first time, and I believe she tried a little too hard trying to convey her thoughts about the decency and struggles human race. Her story sounded very familiar to me, without being able to directly apply it to another movie or novel. It moved very slowly without ever turning into something that conveys sympathy or excitement to the reader. I felt that The Host would have a climactic ending, since it’s over 600 pages, but the story just trickled. In all, the novel never reached the potential I thought it would contain, but then again, I am not a science fiction reader. I tend to gravitate to other genres, such as biographies and Victorian fiction. This was a new and different read for me. So although I was not impressed with the work, others may love it because it is more in tune with their taste. I just wish it had been a little more flavorful for me.

(Thanks for the review Melissa!)

1 comment:

Beth said...

i, for one, loved the host. at least the first time around. the third and latest time, it was a bit dull, but thats only because i knew what to expect, im sure. and most of the conflict is internal, which may be why it seems to be missing.