Monday, June 22, 2009

Review: The Host

Summary: The author of the Twilight series of # 1 bestsellers delivers her brilliant first novel for adults: a gripping story of love and betrayal in a future with the fate of humanity at stake.

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed.

Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves-Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body's desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she's never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.

Featuring what may be the first love triangle involving only two bodies, THE HOST is a riveting and unforgettable novel that will bring a vast new readership to one of the most compelling writers of our time. -- Little, Brown & Company

I am one of those rare individuals who has not read any of the TWILIGHT books -- GASP! I guess I'm interested in reading them, but I think it's only because I don't want to feel left out. Having said that, I've had plenty of opportunities to read them and still haven't picked them up. I'm not sure that they even appeal to me -- I just feel as if I should read them to know what all the fuss is about.

So, when the opportunity came to read THE HOST by Stephenie Meyer, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for me to give Ms. Meyer a try. I have to admit that the premise of this book did interest me more than teenage vampires, and I had heard from many fellow bloggers that this was definitely her "best" book. I was a little intimidated though, because this book is pretty darn big and weighs a lot -- it's over 600 pages. I had been assured by many not to worry because THE HOST is a quick read. After finishing this book, I agree with them -- but only to a certain extent.

I did end up enjoying THE HOST; and the more I reflect on it, I find that I like it better and better. However, I had a heck of a time getting into the story! It could be that I had other things going on in my personal life that kept distracting me, but it took me about 150 pages to become involved with this novel. I really appreciated the storyline and the characters, but I just felt as if the first quarter of the book took entirely too long to develop. After I finally got into the story, I really enjoyed reading it and found myself caught up in the characters' lives. And then I understood what everyone was talking about -- THE HOST actually was a very quick read.

I have a huge appreciation for the story that Ms. Meyer created within the pages of THE HOST. I am not a big fan of science fiction, and I was a little worried that I wouldn't be able to get past that; however, I didn't have that problem at all. In fact, I thought this book dealt with so many relationship issues and social commentary that I didn't even really consider it "science fiction." I loved how Ms. Meyer created the concept of a soul living inside a human host; and I thought the twist on the story that the human mind didn't just disappear when it was invaded was wonderful. Having the interactions between the human host Melanie and the soul Wanderer made for terrific reading as well as presenting many ethical dilemmas.

This book actually contained a lot of adventure and action as the humans struggled to hide from the Seekers and stay safe. I think these stories definitely intrigued me and kept my interest, but I think I really liked all the characters' interactions and personal relationships even more. I was amazed by how much thinking I did about human nature while reading this book (and even when I wasn't.) I especially enjoyed seeing how humans were perceived by the hosts. This book definitely pointed out to me many of our "human" characteristics -- some good and others not so good!

I actually think THE HOST would make a wonderful discussion book for book clubs. I was pleasantly surprised by how deep this book was and the serious subject matters that it addressed. I also found myself wanting to talk about it with friends as I read it just to get some feedback on my ideas. There are many themes to delve into including: basic human nature, maternal bonds, romantic love, free will/choice, sacrifice, and loads of ethical issues. It is a fascinating book on so many levels.

THE HOST is currently on tour for the entire month of June so you can see lots of opinions about this novel. Yesterday, Marta at Marta's Meanderings reviewed THE HOST; and tomorrow you can see a review at Wrighty's Reads. You can also read an excerpt of THE HOST.

A big thanks goes out to Miriam from Hachette Book Group for allowing me to participate in this tour.


bermudaonion said...

Don't feel too bad, I haven't read any of the Twilight books either. I'm glad you ended up enjoying The Host!

Lauren said...

I'm glad you liked the host! Admittedly, it's one of those books I never finished. I got to page 100 or so and just gave up. The thing is - it's JUST LIKE Twilight. The characters were the same and I wasn't quite sure what made it more "adult" than the series. Regardless, it's a book I'd like to finish one day. Esp since people seem to really like it.

Laughing Stars said...

I read this book, and I liked it much better than the Twilight books. I thought the themes The Host explored were interesting.

Beth F said...

I was hesitant to read this one because of the sci-fi genre (not really my favorite), but your review has made me reconsider.

Meghan said...

I've been waiting to see if this book got better for you! I'm glad it did in the end. I agree that the relationships and thoughts on humans versus souls were really the most interesting part of the book.

Nise' said...

I just brought this book home Saturday and am so glad to read your review. I had been going back and forth on whether or not to to read it.

Kristen said...

I too haven't read Twilight but feel almost as if I should simply to be able to join the conversation. I'm not sure this one is any more appealing to me than Twilight is thugh. :-/

Cheryl said...

So glad you liked this book.

thekoolaidmom said...

I've read all the Twilight books, and Breaking Dawn just burned me out on Meyer. It looks like an interesting story, and I'll probably read it before the years out.

I enjoyed yuor review :-)

Book Escape said...

I read The Host when it first came out. I really liked it. I passed it on to my husband and he really enjoyed it, too.

I know what you mean about it taking time to get into it. My mom said it took her about 100 pages before she was hooked, too.

Of course, I'm a big fan of the Twilight books. I think Ms. Meyer does a great job in describing relationships.

My review for the host is here if you're interested.

Jo-Jo said...

I love it when you find you enjoy a book even more after you have thought about it. I haven't read anything by Meyer yet, but I'm hoping to read Twilight this summer.

Serena said...

I really enjoyed this book much more than the Twilight series. I'm glad you liked the book. I don't think you're the only one that took a while to get into the story. I think others did as well, though I was hooked from page one.

Serena said...

psst...I added your review link to my post here: