The Host Review - The Better Stephenie Meyer Novel
by Stephenie Meyer
Published in 2008
Sometimes I feel like The Host is seen as the ugly stepsister of the Twilight series, especially considering the huge fan base that Twilight was able to generate. Being that as it may, I honestly think The Host is an extremely underrated book that should be read by all Stephenie Meyer fans. The idea behind it is so completely unique and the good news to those who hate Twilight is that there are no vampires or werewolves anywhere in this book.
The Host begins with the world having been invaded by “souls” who are like parasitic aliens that are implanted in hosts which were once human bodies. The soul then takes over the brain and consciousness in order to be able to fully function as if that body were their own. When Wanderer is implanted into the body that once belonged to Melanie, she immediately notices something is off. She can still hear Melanie in her mind and while Wanderer’s assigned Seeker tells her to surgically remove Melanie, Wanderer finds herself protecting Melanie in her consciousness. Melanie accidentally reveals some memories of her brother Jamie and boyfriend Jared, which causes Wanderer to become even more sympathetic of Melanie.
Following directions given by Melanie, Wanderer gets lost in the desert. Jeb finds her dying body and even though he realizes Melanie has been taken over by one of the souls, leads her to their caves hideout within the desert. While most of the group wants to kill her, Jared, Jamie, and Ian all agree to keep her safe once they find out Melanie is still alive within the consciousness. She becomes integrated into the community later being known as Wanda. After being attacked by Ian’s brother, they are both sent to the infirmary where she finds mutilated dead bodies of failed soul extraction experiments.
She is later almost found by her Seeker who is then brought inside the hideout. Wanda then shows them the best way to remove souls from within a host while still keeping both the host and the soul alive. She then asks the Doc to do the same to her so that Melanie can have back the body and life she had before, even if that means she doesn’t get to be with them anymore. Wanda says her goodbyes and Doc goes through with the surgery. Surprisingly, Wanda wakes up in a new host and looks at Melanie who is now completely herself. They tell her that the body belonged to a host that never regained her consciousness and can now allow Wanda to officially live amongst them.
Final Rating & Thoughts: 8/10
I actually loved this novel way more than I liked the entire Twilight series! Stephenie Meyer did an excellent job with coming up with such an original idea such as this. While this could have easily become a horror story, I liked that she switched it up and made Wanda into a character that I could easily sympathize with. Meyer also did an excellent job with making Melanie into a strong character that I could also sympathize with and feel bad for. By the end of The Host, it made it as conflicting for the character to decide if they should extract Wanda and give the body back to Melanie because we were rooting for both Wanda and Melanie. Melanie was the original owner of the body, had a family who loved and cared for her, and was an overall independent young woman who was at the forefront of missions before she became a host. However, Wanda was gentle and kind, usually putting other people’s’ needs before her own and would have been willing to die in order for Melanie to be reunited with her loved ones. It made it so difficult to decide who should get the body!
The main thing I didn’t like about this book is that there were times that it felt very uneventful and even boring. There was too much time spent on how well she got along with the people in the hideout or too much time spent in the beginning of her mentally fighting with Melanie and it got repetitive. For a book with 400-500 pages, I think at least 20% of it could have been cut out in order to stay focused on the important aspects of the story. I actually almost didn’t finish the book when I was halfway through because for a while I didn’t think it was going anywhere.
Thank goodness I continued reading though because I really did end up enjoying The Host. Even as creepy as the romance between Ian and Wanda was while she was still in Melanie’s body, I thought it was interesting for such a romance to exist between a human and a soul. Their relationship was so new to Wanda who didn’t really understand the attraction and human-like emotions she was feeling towards Ian which I think only added even more complexity to the character. I would definitely recommend this to Stephenie Meyer fans or just those that are looking for something a little different in their read. This isn’t the most complex read in the world but it is very satisfying. The story is captivating and the characters are complex and the situation with the souls and hosts are just so unique and I wouldn’t have imagined the same author who wrote Twilight could have written something like this. The only thing I am bummed out about is the fact that this book didn’t get a sequel...but it did get a movie so I guess you win some you lose some.