12 April, 2015

REVIEW: THE HOST by Stephenie Meyer

Title: The Host
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Series: The Host
Genres: Science Fiction, YA, Fantasy
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Source: Physical copy
Pages: 620

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PLOT SUMMARY: 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.

A friend of mine recommended me this book a few years ago after all the Twilight mania. She said it was a strange book but she liked it so I decided to give it a try without expecting much and I'm thankful for that, otherwise I would have been extremely disappointed.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer, tells the story of Melanie, who is part of a human group resisting the alien invasion of Earth, and her struggled for maintaining her identity even thought a soul, named Wanderer, has been inserted into her body when caught by the other souls. Her consciousness won't fade away, however, and her thoughts and memories move Wanderer to love the people Melanie once loved. This leads Wanderer to set out to find her host body's family, and what follows is the story of her time with the humans of the resistance movement. The Host is cataloged as "science fiction for non-science-fiction people" since the science fiction aspect is that it involves aliens who possess technology well advanced beyond humans’, but it's primarily a love story even though it doesn't get as deep as it should into the relationships between characters.

There's friendship and familial love as well as romantic love although love is not well reflected in the plot because of the background in the book, where they’re suppose to be fighting in a war against the aliens they spent a lot of time together and still the writing doesn't reflect the affection connections between the group.
“Walter was brave. He wasn't afraid to die, he wasn't afraid to live, and... he wasn't afraid to believe. He made his own decisions, and he made good ones.” (Meyer, 355).
There is no evidence written that can confirm what the quote says because characters are not well described.

This leads to the second point:
Though the premise is interesting, the story itself falls flat. The action picks up two-thirds of the way through the book. Many of the characters, including main ones, seem like caricatures and stereotypes.
"‘You want something, Ian?’ ‘Sure, kid. I want you to tell Jared he's shameless.’ ‘Huh?’ ‘Never mind.’" (395).
Meyer has a tendency to cut phrases and explanations for actions that could have a great impact in the book’s plot which doesn’t contribute neither to the development of the characters’ personalities or the enjoyability while reading it.

Also descriptions of backgrounds and, furthermore, other planets are ridiculously unbelievable although they provide an excuse to think more about other possible lives in space and gives extra credit to the author for her imagination. There are thirteen different planets described in the book and all of them have similarities with the Earth’s species.
“The Dolphins live under water, but it’s more dense than the water here on Earth. They look like dragonflies. Depending on their age, they have three, four, or five sets of wings. The wings help them glide through the thick waters. Because they have wings, they fly through the thick water rather than swim.” (312)
Mainly for these reasons Stephenie Meyer’s book could be a fairly good choice for young teens or people who wonder about lives in outer space and could be catalogued as a Young Adult book. However, mature readers would not enjoy Meyer’s love-drama-fantasy plot due its lack of information and interesting characters. Meyer focuses too much in irrelevant details such as some of Wanderer’s emotions and inner debates between what to do or not do with her life while she forgets about the relationships, descriptions and personality development of the characters. Is curious how well she makes readers know about all the other Planets but don’t have a chance to know any of the main characters’ background and personalities such as Jared and Jamie’s, who ironically are the closest characters related to Wanderer/Melanie, the main one. Honestly, paying around $20 for it would be paying double the amount it deserves, it would only be worth it in long boring summers or extra time given during vacations. If looking for a good enjoyable book, this is not the one.


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