Writer: Stephenie Meyer
Genre: Science Fiction
The premise: it seems like the typical body-snatcher story, but it's the farthest thing from. Told from the POV of the alien, the member of a race calling themselves "souls," we learn that the soul is inserted into the human body where it takes control of the brain, scours the host's memories for clues to the whereabouts of other "wild" humans, and then continues to lead a human's life. The host's personality is supposed to fade away. Unfortunately, Wanderer isn't so lucky. Melanie is resilient and relentless, hiding the whereabouts of the people she loves most in the world, once meeting these people via Melanie's memories, Wanderer falls in love too. A mutual enemy makes Wanderer and Melanie allies, which launches them on a journey to find those Melanie loves. It's a journey that teaches both Wanderer and Melanie what it means to be human, and what it means to be a soul as well.
Buy the Paperback: it's close to "Worth the Cash" but I really think it depends on how you approach this book. For Stephenie Meyer fans, the book's a must. Yes, it's slower than Twilight and the narrative voice is different, but it's still MEYER. She said in an interview, and for once I liked what she said, that she takes scary ideas and turns them into love stories. This is no doubt a love story, but not a simple, sappy, or sentimental one. She's also said this book is SF for people who don't like SF, and that's another great description. This is actually a great introduction to SF as a genre: you explore known themes (what does it mean to be human) but in a setting that's both tangible, real, and not overwrought with SF conventions or info-dumps. Now if you're an SF reader, then it's a little more tricky: those who like SFR will probably really enjoy this book and how Meyer resolves that particular conflict. Those who like soft SF/dystopian SF will probably also like this title, but just know there's not a whole lot of time in the 600 + pages spent on discussing the souls and their technology, though it is covered and I appreciate that. What drives this book are the relationships and the themes. Sometimes, especially toward the start, I thought Meyer was getting a little TOO preachy, possibly forcing her own morals onto the characters (in one of Melanie's memories, we learn Jared won't sleep with her because she's not yet eighteen and he's 26 or something--admirable, but not too realistic, especially in the world she's created where real human contact is so hard to come by), but overall, the theme of taking the path of least violence worked out pretty darn well, and I was surprised by the solutions that brought about the end.
And it goes without saying that if you like your SF action-pack or science-packed, you just need to leave this book alone. Since I read it all, I find I'm glad I read it and plan on reading the sequel that I heard is coming one day. However, I'm not sure I needed to read it in HARDCOVER, because it lacks the sheer addictive quality to the story and narrative that, say, Twilight had. But it's also a little more mature as far as characters go, with a bit more depth in terms of theme and personal responsibility. This makes for a nice adult SF debut for Meyer, and since I did spend the money on the hardcover, I'm glad. :)
The full review, with spoilers, may be found in my LJ. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome. :)
REVIEW: Stephenie Meyer's THE HOST
Happy Reading! :)