My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Several years ago, the Twilight hype started. Several years later, the Twilight hype died down. And in between that time, Stephenie Meyer published a book that would soon become one of my favourite books of all time: The Host. Many, after having disliked the Twilight series, refused to pick up The Host and I admit, I was reluctant as well. Still, I felt like this was a story that could prove to be entirely different and I’m glad I made that decision all those years ago.
The Host tells the story of a not-so-distant future where there’s been an alien invasion. Unlike most movies where the aliens are aggressive and only aim to wipe out human existence, the aliens in The Host are peaceful creatures. They take over the bodies of regular humans by inserting themselves into the back of their necks and attach themselves. Most humans fade away – others do not. The main character, Melanie Stryder, refuses to give up and fights her alien called Wanderer. While Wanderer tries to live her new life, Melanie still dominates her thoughts and is even capable of controlling her body. Once Wanderer (affectionately nicknamed Wanda) starts to feel compassion for the people in Melanie’s life – Jared, her lover and Jamie, her little brother–, things become problematic.
I always take the time to tell people why I love The Host so much, and that usually has to do with the fact that people cringe when they hear the author’s name. It’s a shame, because The Host is completely different from Twilight and deserves so much more attention. It tackles so many different aspects of life – fighting for the right to be who you are, fighting for family and love and even a little bit of discrimination. The remaining humans, the resistance if you will, quite literally spits on the alien race. They despise them, they take every chance they get to get rid of them, to kill them. Towards the end of the book, I genuinely felt conflicted in what I wanted the outcome to be – the aliens are always presented as the bad guys, but at the end of the book, I no longer felt that way.
There is a love story in this book and though some would classify it as having a love triangle, I… disagree. Though there is one body – Melanie’s, there are two women – Melanie and Wanda. And although Wanda is an alien, she still wants affection and love. Because of Melanie’s memories, she has these feelings towards Jared, Melanie’s lover and I guess that is why people saw it as another love triangle. Personally I find that a love triangle requires the other person to return the romantic feelings, and well – that’s just not the case here. I don’t want to give anything away, but if the idea of a love triangle is holding you back from reading this book: don’t.
The writing style of this book is easy to follow, yet very well written. It is immersive and yes, nay-sayer: completely different from Twilight. There is absolutely zero reason to compare this to Twilight, other than the fact that it is written by the same author, and to those who use that as an excuse not to read it: there are hundreds of authors who have written different series. The same reasoning isn’t used for them, so why apply this to Stephenie Meyer?
The Host is a well thought of sci-fi love story and I think it deserves a lot more attention and praise than it has gotten. Sometimes I wonder if the book would’ve gotten the same amount of hate if Stephenie had used a different name to publish it under, but I guess we’ll never really know.
I loved this book, I enjoyed it thoroughly and there will not be a time when I won’t recommend it. It might still not be for you, and that’s completely fine, but if you’re hesitant about reading this because of the author then I sincerely hope that you’ll change your mind one day. You could possibly really love this book – are you going to let it pass you by because of one of the other stories the author has produced?
There are so many stories to be told for you to enjoy – this could be one of them.