I picked up The Host about a month before the movie came out, and I watched the movie first. This was probably a good choice because had it been the other way around, I might not have enjoyed the movie for all the changes made to the story.
I started reading the book in my usual way, taking one chapter at a time between other books, but within a few days, I was skipping my other books to read several chapters at a time. I got about a third of the way through and I could not stop. I read the other 440 pages in one night, finishing around 7 AM with burning eyes and a sore back. And it was totally worth the discomfort. If I have any complaints it would be something like, “Why isn’t Meyer working on a new book by now?” Seriously, I don’t care what she chose to write next. She could do a western and I’d give it a shot.
The Host is the story of Wanderer, a planet-hopping alien with a proud history among her people as an explorer of new worlds occupied by the souls. (Not the proper word for their race, but their terminologies change from planet to planet depending on the language of their current hosts.) Wanderer is placed in the body of Melanie Stryder, but quickly discovers that her host is still aware and fighting against her attempts to access Melanie’s memories. Wanderer is meant to turn these memories over to the seekers, the soldiers of her race, so that any remaining humans she knows can be located and converted.
This is an alien invasion story in the final stages of the war, and the souls have mostly secured the entire population by this point. What I like is how the story takes place from the perspective of the enemy coming to understand that their “peaceful” invasions are a nightmare for the hosts they occupy. There’s also an intriguing glimpse into alien societies due to Wanderer’s long life of planet-hopping. Among her people, she is revered because she’s been to eight other planets and lived one life cycle on each. So she works as a teacher to her people, many of whom have never traveled to more than one planet. Read the rest of this entry »