Saturday, October 2, 2010

Book Review: The Host, Stephenie Meyer

This is something new I thought I'd do. I read a lot of books. A couple a week generally. And occasionally one jumps out at me in a way the others fail to. It is on these books I'm going to do reviews. If you hate books, just ignore these posts.

The Host is an adult novel by the author of the Twilight series. It is NOT a vampire novel (just want to make that clear up front). The Host is actually a science fiction book. Now generally speaking I am not a sci-fi fan, however Stephenie Meyer has a special talent for creating empathy for characters most would generally hate. It is her gift.

In The Host Earth has been taken over by a race of parasitic Aliens who attach themselves to humans via insertion to the spinal column and brain. They have taken over about 12 other worlds and we are their latest conquest. Once a 'Soul' (as they call themselves) takes over a human, the personality that was once that person is squashed, and the 'Soul' is now the owner of the body.

Very occasionally a 'Soul' is transferred to a resistant host who fights back.

This is the story of Wanderer (Soul) and Melanie (Human). Melanie is strong and her love for her partner and younger brother keeps her alive and kicking when Wanderer takes over. Neither one is willing to disappear so they need to co-exist within Melanie's body.

Eventually Melanie's yearning for her lost loved ones takes them in search of other human survivors.

Straight away my empathy was for the Souls. Up front I saw the Humans the way they did, as angry, violent beings who were mindlessly killing each other to extinction. I had to keep reminding myself that these Souls were the bad guys that were killing us all! To me, that is Stephenie Meyer's gift to writing. The story may fall flat in places. The odd love triangle (or square in actual fact) is a bit of a reach for me. And there is a large chunk of pages where not a whole lot happens. Yet your yearning for these characters keeps you turning the pages - all 625 of them.

The Host is what I would call light-weight sci-fi. Not too far fetched that only die-hard Trekkies would enjoy it, but with enough of the science fiction to slip into the genre and get a non-science-nerd actually reading it.

I genuinely enjoyed this book, and highly recommend it to all. If you're already a Stephenie Meyer fan you'll enjoy her writing style even though the story is different for her. If you're not yet a fan, give it a go.


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