Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Host

I have a love/hate relationship with the Twilight series.
I love to hate them.
Actually, that isn't quite true.
There are worse books out there.
But Twilight is not anywhere near deserving of the popularity it has received.
Stephenie Meyer, besides not being that great at crafting a plot, is an appallingly bland writer.
Her characters lack substance.
Her dialogue is pathetic.
Not quite George Lucas pathetic, but close.

So why on earth would I choose to read another book written by her?
Well, since I'd already read two by Cassandra Clare, I suppose I didn't think the mind-numbing experience could get any worse.


The Host is about a human teenager named Melanie and the "soul" that inhabits her. This soul, named Wanderer, has been brought from outer space by others of her kind and placed into Melanie's body, where she is supposed to access Melanie's memories and tell the other souls where the rogue humans are hiding. But Melanie won't disappear. She blocks the memories that Wanderer needs and launches others at her; memories of a young man and a boy surface in Wanderer's dreams.

Wanderer has lived in eight other host bodies in her lifetime, on nearly all the planets her kind has occupied. But none of those bodies can compare to the experience of a human one. She feels things more than she ever thought possible. She even begins to sympathize with the humans. And when the Seeker that wants to find the other humans threatens too strongly, Mel and Wanderer suddenly become a team. What happens after they find the other humans is not at all what they expected.

I'm going to stop here, as per my rules for not giving anything away. That, and somehow Meyer manages to be complicated and bland at the same time and I just can't regurgitate the whole story.


The themes of humanity, life, love, and even death, are strong in this novel. That much I will say for Meyer, despite the fact that she wrote an entire series about a vapid girl who wanted anything but to be human. The story itself was good, I liked it. The dual character of Melanie/Wanderer was okay, but they were far too much like Bella and her talking to herself that for awhile it was hard to like her. There were a few other characters I liked quite a lot, like Jamie, Mel's younger brother, and Jeb, the man in charge.


So, onto Meyer's writing. First of all, this book does not deserve to be in the adult section of a library; it's clearly YA. I expected something...more mature, maybe. I don't know. I guess I didn't really expect anything, coming from the author of Twilight, but still.
Second, this is NOT a science fiction novel. No. No, no, no. It just isn't. The actual sci-fi parts of the book felt...tacked on, at best. The idea of a parasitic race is a great starting point, but it is not developed enough for it to truly be believable. Sorry, but it isn't.
Third, Meyer should learn some different descriptors for physical attraction. Everything burning, and feeling like fire on her arms just doesn't cut it for me. When characters kiss each other in novels, I usually catch the sexual tension, or the strong romance, or whatever it is. Not so with the way that Meyer writes. I tend to just laugh....
Fourth, Meyer needs to stop writing in the first person. I know this is a story that pretty much makes it mandatory, but that didn't make it any less painful.
Fifth, the book was twice as long as it needed to be.


Originally, I was going to give this book 4 stars, but then I realized that just could not get past the shoddy sci-fi and the bad writing. Great premise, of course, and I actually loved how the book ended, though it still raised some questions. I give it 3 1/2 stars, because I can't complain about it in quite the same way as Twilight.

Though if there are any sequels...I just might. This book is fine on its own.

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