The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Did it live up to it’s hype? I’d say yes but in a totally different way than what I expected. I really didn’t know what to expect to be honest. I sort of imagined very soft sci-fi with over the top romance which I really wouldn’t have been able to stomach. Well there’s some of that in there, but it’s presented nicely for the most part, though a few of my complaints lie in that section as well. But we’ll get to that later. Overall this was a really fantastic book! It kept me hooked throughout once it got going and it had some wonderfully written characters that I found myself truly caring about. And I have to say that Meyer does an exquisite job of world building. I could’ve listened to her tales of other worlds all night long!

Stephanie Meyer paints a picture of a world that has been taken over by alien beings called souls. They’ve come to our world because we have ruined it with violence and neglect as they see it. The souls are inserted into humans and Earth goes on functioning seemingly like always only the bodies walking around looking human and performing the tasks of humans are inhabited by alien beings. Wanderer is one of the souls who is inserted. She’s inserted into the brain of a human named Melanie. Melanie is different though, she’s resistant to Wanderer and refuses to disappear like the other humans have. Wanderer hears all of Melanie’s thoughts, lives her memories and shares her loves. Wanderer learns that Melanie’s lost love, Jared and her brother Jamie are probably still out there and may still be human and they set off together in the same body to find them. To say more would be too much as the story becomes quite powerful as Wanderer learns just what the human race is and how our emotions work.

On the back of the book, Orson Scott Card gives Stephanie Meyer high praise and I see why he would. She’s a very similar writer to him, though I think she has a few more novels to go before she’s up to that ranking. She can write a sci-fi novel, that’s for sure, but like Card, she’s able to write Sci-fi that’s extremely readable and extremely human. One problem that I have with some sci-fi is that it feels alien when you’re reading it…it’s just plain hard to read. But not The Host. She creates a world that we can see ourselves in. Surroundings that we can feel, smell, and almost touch. And the alien worlds that she describes are just amazing. Her characters are also wonderfully creative just like Card’s. They’re never robotic. Each one is clearly defined and each one forms some kind of bond with the reader whether it’s a love or a hate relationship.

I had a few problems with the book, but they were really nothing compared to the overall enjoyment I had. I thought that some of the romance scenes were ridiculous, but then again maybe that’s because I’m a guy. I thought that they just didn’t fit and that the book became a romance novel all of a sudden when they happened. They were just cheesy. I think she could’ve developed them better. I think part of the problem with them is that she’s still writing romance scenes for teens! She marketed this as her “first adult book” and I think she forgot that sometimes when she was writing it. It read very YA to me at times. I think the romance would’ve been much more believable and not so juvenile at times had it been written as a more adult relationship. Though at times, the emotional scenes were just that…quite emotional. That’s really my main complaint. It felt very YA and I think it would’ve worked better as an adult book when it came to romance…something more like The Time Traveler’s Wife.

Now that I’m complaining about Meyer’s writing being too YA for me (even though I really like YA lit) I think I’m going to try the Twilight series :p


16 Responses

  1. Great review Chris! I was wondering what you would think. My husband hopes to read this one. He read Twilight and New Moon and has absolutely no desire to read Eclipse. He thought New Moon was way cheesy!

    I agree with what you say about the romance feeling YA. I think that she was trying to keep it clean but in the process lost some of the adult emotions that should have come into play. Even though Wanderer is really old, Melanie and Jared aren’t very old at all. Barely over twenty? Well, I’m not sure but that’s how I pictured them.

    I’m not huge into other worlds. That’s when I actually thought, okay, let’s get on with it! I don’t care! But that’s the non-sci fi part of me talking.

  2. I keep reading about this book and I’m dying to read it except that the book of Meyer’s that I actually *have* on my tbr pile is Twilight. And I’m saving that for Carl’s next RIP challenge. So I’m thinking Host will have to wait awhile. I *did* however buy Tamsin by Peter S. Beagle because your review made it sound so good.

  3. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Some of the romance bits did feel cheesy. Not all of them, just some of them, I probably have higher tolerance since I’m a girl 🙂 I didn’t particularly like the violence in connection with some of these awkward love scenes. I guess I just don’t like guys beating up on girls and it ending in smooching, or vice versa.

    I can respect Meyer not wanting to write sex scenes, but agree it would have probably felt more natural to have the book go there. I think it is more of a faith/religion thing then a YA thing in Meyer’s case however. (I guess the fault would be in that its premarital???) Plenty of YA authors go there 🙂 So it isn’t just that as a convenient excuse.

    I know you haven’t read Twilight, but I do feel that especially with Twilight it sizzles more than The Host–as far as chemistry goes–even though nothing technically happens. So it’s not that she can’t write romantic scenes. It’s just in this book they all seem a bit awkward and out-of-body.

    I am curious as to what you’ll think of Twilight if/when you get around to reading it. It’s definitely romance. But it’s suspenseful romance.

  4. Oh, good, I can handle a YA feel. Must get a copy!!!

  5. Glad you enjoyed this one Chris… but we were forewarned that you did lol…

    I am not a sci fi “reader” (rather watch a sci fi movie anyday!) but it does sound nice to have a sci fi story that isn’t always a “space war” of some sort or another. This has just a touch of the old “invasion of the body snatchers” feel lol.. but without the fright and add in romance… you know what i mean!

  6. I’m glad you enjoyed it overall. The reviews I have read so far have been mixed so I am looking forward to reading it and seeing for myself if I enjoy it. I hope you like the Twilight series. You should get them finished just in time for the last one Breaking Dawn to come out.

  7. I certainly love the cover on this one and was wondering how it would be viewed from someone who likes science fiction. Great review Chris, gives me a really nice feel on what the book is about and whether or not I should pick it up. Meyer has certainly taken the world by storm and it will be interesting to see how her skill grows as she continues to put out more and more novels.

  8. I heard The Host is actually more “adult” than the Twilight series. Not sure what that means. Is there The Sex in The Host?

    Good luck with Twilight. I’ll wait for the movie. If I catch it.

  9. Well, thanks for the heads up. Sometimes it’s just nice to be forewarned…takes some of the disappointment out. I don’t think it’s just that you’re a guy…I have a very strong feeling that the romance parts will turn me off, too. But it does sound like the book overall is definitely worth a go. Thanks Chris!

  10. She seems to be getting a lot of great reviews for The Host, which is great for her. I’m curious what you will think of Twilight – personally I really enjoyed the series.

  11. I personally found this to be my favorite book of the year…so far. I haven’t read Twilight, so I didn’t have any of those preconceived notions about The Host going in. I just loved it!!

    Must be a guy thing!

  12. I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

  13. […] I should just quit it because I have no reason to be. But I heard good things about it (here and here) and thought I’d give it a try. So far so good, really […]

  14. I had not realized that this wasn’t a YA novel. I admit I gave up on the Twilight series after the second book, but I have heard many good things about this one, and your review has made me consider giving it a try! Great review, Chris! I’m sorry I’ve been so behind on my blog reading – this summer turned out to be pretty crazy. But I’m enjoying catching up on your blog!

  15. Spot on with this write-up, I actually assume this web site needs far more consideration. I’ll most likely be again to read way more, thanks for that info.

  16. You made some respectable points there. I appeared on the web for the issue and located most individuals will go along with along with your website.

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