They say the first step in confronting addiction is to admit you have a problem. So, I am going to be complete honest with myself and anyone else who might be reading this blog. Not only am I a reading addict, but Stephanie Meyer is like my own personal gateway drug. Seriously. I used to be a lit snob in the worst way. Last summer when I was laid off, someone suggested I read the Twilight books. Other than a brief stint with Ann Rice as a teenager, I had no experience reading vampires, YA or romance. Twilight changed me. I became a new person… someone I didn’t recognize. Suddenly, I couldn’t get enough of the blood sucking vamps. I started perusing the YA sections of the local book stores. I even went to started attending RWA meetings and went to the Romantic Times Convention. This I blame on Stephanie Meyer.
Now, about The Host – I first picked up a used copy about a year ago when I was getting into her vamp books, but knowing that it is a sci-fi, I wasn’t too motivated to read it. I don’t read sci-fi. Honestly. However, given my recent experience with The Passage, I gave The Host a shot. And the result? I’m falling back in love with fictional characters!!!! Ian makes me feel like Edward did. I couldn’t put the book down, and I never wanted it to end.
One of my fears with reading sci-fi is that I was afraid it would be hard for me to get into, but Meyer sucked me right in to The Host world. In summary, this is the story of Earth after a group of parasitic aliens take over the human race. These centipede like parasites are implanted into the brains of a host human and they take the body over. Most human “souls” just fade away, leaving their memories for the parasite. However, when an alien named Wanderer is implanted into a host named Melanie, something goes wrong. Melanie doesn’t fade away. Her strength of character and love for her boyfriend and little brother urges her to hold on. Now, there are two souls in one body. Wanderer has the gut wrenching decision of whether to switch bodies, thus killing Melanie, or helping Melanie find her lost human family.
This might sound confusing… and as a writer, I can’t imagine taking on the task of two separate souls in one body while showing both thought processes… but Meyer pulls it off brilliantly. She uses different fonts to keep the reader from being confused and it all flows really well. Perhaps Meyer’s biggest talent comes in her ability to handle complex and confusing emotions. Melanie’s love her Jared and Jamie bleeds over into Wanderer and causes her to feel the same things. At the same time, when Wanderer gets close with Ian, Melanie begins to feel close with him also. These feelings cause the women to be jealous of each other, while at the same time, they form a bond of love themselves. It is all really much easier to understand when you read the book. Don’t let me two minute summary scare you off from this book. I strongly recommend it.
Overall, I give The Host…
Plot – 4 bookmarks (Very original and complex.)
Character Development – 5 bookmarks (I can’t express enough how well these characters were written.)
Love Story – 4 ½ bookmarks. (Again, very complex.)
Age Appropriateness – This is not supposed to be YA, but lots of teens will want to read it because of Meyer’s other books. I don’t think there is a lot in it that would be objectionable to parents. There are some intense make-out scenes, but no real sex to speak of. There is some violence, but the context excuses some of that. Keep in mind though, this is meant for adults, so teens might not like it as much as they might hope to.
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Rachel Bilson (Melanie/Wanderer), Ian Somerhalder (Ian O’Shea), Kellan Lutz (Kyle O’Shea), Jared Leto (Jared), Mariska Hargitay (The Seeker)