I have to start out by saying that I’m a little ashamed of myself for reading a Stephenie Meyer book, let alone enjoying it. Part of me can’t forgive her for the damage she did to the world of dark fantasy by taking vampires from a subtle metaphor for deviant behavior and turned them into some sort of analogy for white male supremacy. That’s a rant for another day, though.
I decided to give The Host a chance because I was threatened with violence and fire if I did not. It is a friend of mine’s favorite book, and during a particularly mean spirited anti-Meyer rant I had one evening, she decided to let me know that I was not allowed to judge her based on the Twilight series (which in all fairness I’ve read 1 page of, unless you count the Reasoning with Vampires Tublr). I can be quick to judge an author based on how atrocious the opening of a book is, and then compound that with how horrid the inevitable crap movie based on the book is. If I was unfair to Stephenie Meyer, then I should probably be locked away for a hate crime committed against Christopher Paolini (although, in fairness, he committed a hate crime against the English language first, followed by a raping of the fantasy genre’s puppy. He deserves our ire.)
I may have been unfair to Meyer though. Her writing (craftwise) isn’t any worse than J.K. Rowling, and I am a huge fan of the Harry Potter series. My problem with the Twilight series is the incredibly thinly veiled Mormon overtones combined with the rather obvious, “Forget the poor Native American that loves and protects you with all of his heart and soul, go and marry the rich, abusive white asshole” lesson. I actually don’t have a problem with vampires sparkling in the sun on a personal level. She was trying something new. I don’t blame her for that.
But I digress.
The Host is not part of the Twilight Saga. It does not have sparkly vampires or fairy wolves in it. It has pod people, sort of.
The book is told from the point of view of Wanderer, a member of an alien race known as “Souls” in English. Basically souls are parasitic worm monsters that attach to the brain of intelligent creatures and replace their personalities with their own. The book itself takes place years after the Human race has fallen to the Souls, with only a handful of resistance fighters left.
Wanderer finds herself waking up from a long sleep in cryogenic stasis to discover that she has been put in the body of a member of the resistance, and that her body, Melanie, isn’t at all okay with that.
As you can imagine, wackiness ensues from there. The book deals a lot with the themes of found family, betrayal, and the difference between spiritual and physical love, as well as the nature of emotion in general.
I enjoyed it, probably in no small part because I listened to it as an audio book read by the wonderful Kate Reading, who has a smooth voice that hypnotizes and compels. In general, the story was somewhat predictable, including the ever present “Meyers Love Triangle.” The characters themselves were investment worthy, though. I liked learning more about them and I actually began to care for them as characters. It was a pretty big change from her other primary protagonist, who was written to be so generic and bland that any girl could pretend she was actually the one being wooed in the Washington woods.
Bottom line, it’s worth picking up and reading. If you think that Meyer’s should be strictly punished for what Twilight has done to the world, then read The Host and consider it her attempt to make it up to you. I assure you, this is a sci-fi story that doesn’t go out of it’s way to ruin all other sci-fi stories ever written. It’s just a book about some characters that have real depth to them living in a really messed up situation, and trying to survive.
In the end, I dug it, and that should be enough of a reason to add it to your list of books to get to sooner or later.
If you’d like to check it out, you can get it as an audio book read by Kate Reading here, or pick it up a hardback copy on [amazon_link id=”B004R10ANA” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Amazon[/amazon_link].