Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Book Review: "The Host," by Stephenie Meyer

Having nothing better to blog about, I've decided to do amateur book reviews. So, without further ado:

Wow. And I thought I was imaginative. "The Host" has to be the strangest book I've read in quite some time, but also the best. Meyer weaves her tale in the midst of a terrifying backdrop, where the human race has been taken over by an alien species, "Souls," which, once implanted in to the cervical spine of their "host," take control of that person's brain, memory, and body. The invasion took place over a period of years, the implanted aliens using the stolen memories of their host's life and personality to assimilate themselves into our society until, at last, our society no longer existed.
Well, almost. A few humans were canny enough to put two and two together and retreated into the wilderness to avoid falling victim to the high-tech bodysnatchers. One such survivor is twenty-year-old Melanie, who, along with her younger brother Jamie and boyfriend Jared, has been ekeing out a fairly good existence, staying on the fringes of populated areas and out of the hands of the "Seekers," the alien equivalent of police.
All that changes when Melanie's attempt to contact a cousin she believes may still be human leads her into the hands of the Seekers. Now, Melanie becomes the host for Wanderer, a well-travelled soul who has inhabited many other lower life-forms on other planets, and looks forward to the complexities of life in this body. But Melanie refuses to cede her mind and body so easily, and an intense battle for control between Wanderer and Melanie continues for over a year.
Finally, overcome with Melanie's emotions and memories, Wanderer heads into the desert, where Melanie believes Jared and Jamie may be hiding. After nearly dying in the desert, Wanderer and Melanie are found and rescued by a group of rebels--including Jamie and Melanie's beloved Jared. Jared, however, is unable to hide his loathing for the creature who inhabits and controls his lover's body, and Wanderer, who has been deeply affected by Mel's intense love for him, feels rejected.
Gradually, though, Wanderer, now affectionately nicknamed Wanda, is accepted into the fold, and develops feelings of her own for another human rebel, Ian.
As the love quadrangle between two men, one woman, and one alien (shared out between only three bodies) intensifies, and the rebels' tenuous hold on survival weakens, Wanda is faced with a devastating choice; allow her new, beloved human family to fall victim to their greatest fear, or betray her own people by revealing the secret that could save humankind.
I cannot even begin to express how awed and impressed I was by "The Host." Meyer's talent for "humanizing" monsters, as previously demonstrated in her immensely popular "Twilight" series, is so adroit that readers may find themselves wondering whether humans wouldn't be better off in the hands of these peaceful yet egotistical interlopers. And her ability to create inner conflict and suspense is nearly matchless; I had to leave my half-finished book in my car overnight so I wouldn't be tempted to stay up all night reading. I anxiously await "Breaking Dawn," and any other novels this talented author cares to share with us.

No comments: