Monday, June 20, 2016

The Host by Stephenie Meyer | Book Review

First Published: 2008
Young Adult, Sci-Fi
Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, didn't expect to find its former tenant refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.
As Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of Jared, a human who still lives in hiding, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she's never met. Reluctant allies, Wanderer and Melanie set off to search for the man they both love.
The Host is by far my most favorite of Meyer's novels, and one of my favorite books in general. Every time I re-read it, which I do about once a year, I am filled with the same emotions I did the very first time I looked between those pages.*
The premise of this book is like nothing I've read before. Aliens have been used and used again, but how many times do the authors make the aliens better than the humans? Make them a race that has barely any violent tendencies, that treats everyone as equals. A race that has no such concepts as thievery or crime in it. 

You must be wondering what kind of conflict could exist in such a perfect world. Well, mix in some human rebels, an alien who sympathizes with them and two people living in one body and things get a lot more interesting. 

Now, before starting the real review I would like to address the first 100 pages of the book, because some will find it very hard to get past them. Like my mother. Well, get past them. They are absolutely necessary to the plot, and from the second reading on I understood the real beauty and perfection of them, but they are admittedly slow. Don't give up. Read on. You won't regret it! 
Now that we've got that out of the way, my absolute favorite character in this novel is Wanda, the alien main character. Wanda is a pacifist who protects who she loves fiercely and always puts them first. Even if it might have disastrous ramifications to herself. I don't always love self-sacrifice, but here it was done perfect.

The dynamics between her and Melanie were very interesting, especially because through Melanie's memories Wanda learns to love those Mel does. So while Melanie is the complete opposite of Wanda in many ways, they can both agree that their family and loved ones come first, which makes them fit like a glove despite their differences and work together. 

Now, it wouldn't be a Stephenie Meyer novel without some romance in it, right? Well, there is that in this book. And I loved how it played out. At first I was very scared I will hate it because it presents itself as a very complicated love triangle at first glance, but it's not. It never was, as you come to understand at the end of this perfect novel.  

Jared, Melanie's boyfriend, is one of those love interests. To summarize him - he's a jerk. Maybe not to everyone, but certainly to Wanda. Does he have an acceptable good reason? sure. but Wanda has been nothing but a doll the entire time so I really couldn't learn to like him. Especially when the only times he was nice to Wanda, it was for Melanie and no one else.  

There there is Ian
the guy is major swoon!
He reigns at the top of my Book Boyfriend List. As the story goes on, this character develops into one of the most wonderful, loving and kind guys I've ever read of. The guy's freaking awesome! Honestly, he is the first of the rebels to open himself to the possibility Wanda isn't bad and from then on I was in love
Two other noteworthy characters are Jamie, Melanie's adorable brother and Jeb, the Dumbledore of this book. Wise, mysterious and eccentric, he gives Wanda the change to earn her place among the rebels and has earned my eternal love for it. 

And the ending... 
it so beautiful *sniff*
Everything about that ending was beautiful. From what Wanda chose to do to the proof of how much the rebels became her family - and she theirs. It was heartbreaking and courageous and stunning and sad and I can't even with this ending.

*Re-visiting this review made me unable not to re-read the book again. So... I did. 

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