About the book:
The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed. But Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, 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. Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts 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 yearns for a man she's never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.
It's no secret that I did not jump on the Twilight bandwagon. I put my name on the hold list at the library for The Host, however, because I wanted to see if Stephenie Meyer had improved in her storytelling. I'm happy to say, "Yes, she did. To a point."
I would like someone tell me what her fascination is with sappy, overly dramatic dialogue, 17-year old girls and over-protective older men who carry them while running? Because there are some definite similarities here.
I find it interesting that this novel is pegged for "adults" where the Twilight novels were pegged "young adult" as I don't see a great deal of difference, except for one main fact: Wanda and Melanie are likeable. Thank goodness. If one of them had shown up as whiny and annoying as Bella, I never would have finished the book. Well, I would have finished it, but only to say, "I told you so."
While I found a lot of similarity to the Twilight novels in her storytelling and in the details (over-protective older men, teenage girls, dramatic sappy dialogue, etc.) this was a much better story. Far more developed than I would have expected. It still takes her a long time to get to her main points, but I wasn't as bored with this one in the beginning as I was with Twilight.
I found the storyline fascinating: that aliens who invade other planets and take over the species, invade earth and take over the human bodies and then live as humans. Wanda is one of those aliens, a "soul" who takes over Melanie's body, only to find out that Melanie isn't quite ready to give it up. This is where Meyer's storytelling has improved. She crafted a story where the romance was secondary to the main plot, and I think that is why this book is so much better than her earlier attempts. She explores the idea of a person's soul or spirit and how an individual is defined as much by that spirit as by their physical body.
I thought her character development was well done. I liked these characters. I cared about them. I don't need to tell you that I never cared about Bella. I enjoyed the complexities that the storyline created. Wanda was affected by Melanie's memories and feelings and couldn't help but love the man Melanie loved. Then, when she found herself caring for a different man, the conflict is believable. The humans have a difficult time accepting Wanda, but when they do, she truly becomes one of them.
The novel ends neatly, with hope. Predictably there is room for a sequel, which I no doubt expect.
I'd actually re-read this book. I won't re-read the others.
Thanks to my local library for having a copy I could borrow. You can purchase your own copy here.
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