I'll admit it: despite having read multiple positive reviews for The Host, I assumed it would be sort of awful. It is, after all, by Stephanie Meyer, the woman who wrote the Twilight series. Therefore, I figured it would be fun to read, and yet annoy the living daylight out of me, and make me kind of want to pluck my eyes out. I am quite pleased to say that I was wrong. Yes, the book was fun to read so I got that part right. But it was not at all annoying. In fact, it was quite good.
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.This is definitely one of those books where the reader spends a lot of time with the main character, so you better like her if you want to read the book. Fortunately, I liked Wanderer quite a bit, and found her to be sympathetic, especially since she really could have been the bad guy in this situation. I liked Melanie, too, though she's a secondary character in her own body, and can be a bit bratty when she is asserting herself.
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.
The one big drawback to this book is that it is pretty long - the library copy I read weighed in at 2 lbs and 619 pages, not exactly easy to slip into my purse. I didn't really notice, though, until about halfway through. I struggled to keep going for a bit, but pretty soon, the big climax sucked me back in and the ending was totally satisfying. So don't let the length put you off, is what I'm saying. I think non-science fiction readers might enjoy this one in particular would enjoy The Host, as it doesn't feel like sci-fi, even though it definitely is.
Buy The Host: A Novel by Stephanie Meyer on Amazon.
One more thought about The Host: according to the publisher, this is Meyer's first book for adults. Uh, why? Not that I'm saying that adults won't like it (I did! Then again, maybe I'm not the best judge of age appropriateness), but I don't think it's particularly mature. Actually, even though Wanderer is an adult, Melanie is only 17, and while she's forced to grow up, she still seems a lot like a teenager to me. Is it because there's some assumed se x? (No one actually does it in the book, or anything, you just kind of assume that certain people are.) If I hadn't read that it was for adults, I might have thought this was YA.