Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. Our world has been invaded by an unseen enemy. Humans become hosts for these invaders, their minds taken over while their bodies remain intact and continue their lives apparently unchanged. Most of humanity has succumbed. When Melanie, one of the few remaining “wild” humans, is captured, she is certain it is her end. Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, was warned about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the glut of senses, 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.
Wanderer probes Melanie’s thoughts, hoping to discover the whereabouts of the remaining human resistance. Instead, Melanie fills Wanderer’s mind 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 begins to yearn for a man she has been tasked with exposing. When outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off on a dangerous and uncertain search for the man they both love.
This is one of my favorite books and one the best parts about it is that there’s no Edward in it. It was way better than her “other books” and I know several Twilight fans who would back me up on that statement. Anyway! The Host has been declared a Science Fiction novel for “non-sci fi” readers and I would have to agree. Regardless, I still feel that it was an original, well written story that was super fun to read. In a way, The Host is more of a gateway novel for novice Sci Fi readers that opens them up to harder books within the genre.
The story is told from the perspective of Wanderer the parasite-like alien who has taken over the human body of Melanie. That sentence alone might scare off timid non-sci fi readers, but hang in there it’s not as bad as it sounds. Melanie is still very present in the mind that is now shared with Wanderer, something that’s not suppose to happen. Melanie fights to guard her thoughts from Wanderer and the others “souls” in effort to protect the ones she loves from meeting the same fate.
However strong Melanie is, she cannot keep everything from Wanderer. She lets thoughts slipped by of her younger brother Jamie, her boyfriend Jared, and her family members living on secret property yet to be discovered by the souls. These memories start to change Wanderer’s perspective on humans and cause her to struggle with her identity as a soul. The two begin to trust each other little by little, their relationship leads them on quest to find the people they love without being discovered by the other souls.
The Host starts off with a fast paced first chapter and then slows down for about 100 pages. Don’t be discouraged by this, just keep reading because you will soon not be able to put it down. I loved Melanie’s and Wanderer’s characters and their relationship to each other. Melanie’s character is is passionate, caring, and a true fighter. Wanderer, despite being an alien, is the real heroine in this story. She is unselfish, innocent, and self sacrificing. It was fun and sometimes sad to see them work through the challenges they faced with their one body. Their relationship is rough at first but soon the two become good friends and their conflicting presences make the story that much more interesting.
Overall, The Host is one of my favorite books and I hope that others will like it as much as I did. Meyer pulled me into the story and I devoured the pages (after those pesky first 100 pages). I’ve even reread the book twice (yeah I liked it that much). I recommend The Host to readers who are ready to dip their toe into the waters of Science Fiction. I also think readers of Young Adult will enjoy it as, even though it is considered and ‘adult’ book, it is not that far of a stretch from the YA genre.