Thursday, September 13, 2012

Review - The Host by Stephenie Meyer

The Host (The Host, #1)The Host
by Stephenie Meyer
Hardcover, 619 pages
Published May 6th 2008 by Little, Brown and Company


Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. Our world has been invaded by an unseen enemy. Humans become hosts for these invaders, their minds taken over while their bodies remain intact and continue their lives apparently unchanged. Most of humanity has succumbed.

When Melanie, one of the few remaining "wild" humans, is captured, she is certain it is her end. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, was warned about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the glut of senses, 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.

Wanderer probes Melanie's thoughts, hoping to discover the whereabouts of the remaining human resistance. Instead, Melanie fills Wanderer's mind 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 begins to yearn for a man she has been tasked with exposing. When outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off on a dangerous and uncertain search for the man they both love.

PRE-Review Comments:

I've been reading though some review blips on Goodreads as I do after writing my review and I feel like I need to respond. *ahem*  Everyone -n- their dog compares The Host with Twilight (or "sparkly vampires" if they don't like Twilight.) So I feel like I should remove that portion of my opinion. Maybe we could discuss similarities and differences on a wrestling mat some day. Wouldn't that be fun?  I also noticed that there are lots of 5-Star reviews sprinkled with 1-Star reviews. Most books have lots of 4's & 3's with some 5's and a 1 or 2. Not so middle-ground with Stephenie. 'Cause she's "successful"?

Most of the 1-Star reviews mentioned "not being able to get into it". Obviously this is valid. The first part of the story - with all the dreaming-visions - is choppy. Even though the story is told from one perspective, these moments make it feel like multiple perspectives and multiple time periods. Choppy. I liked the effect because it fit with Wanderer's adjustment to Earth. Plus, I like sci-fi a lot. AND... the best part of a story to me is character development. These are all great examples of complaints that would clue me in that I'd like this book even though these reviewers didn't. 

I hate giving this book 5-Stars after so many other people did. I'm just not comfy in a crowd. I prefer to be the lone sheep on a wild mountain baa-ing my unique opinion to the world. What? It's a great picture of me! So, it's a darn good thing I wrote the following review before seeing that "tearing up" is a big confession. (Never mind sobbing. Oh, dear.) Maybe I'm an emotional sheep, or something. Maybe it's just the first few weeks of a new school year. I think it's Stephenie's writing style. Something inside me just twangs in tune and the words melt away 'til I can't see 'em anymore... and I'm grateful that someone somewhere wrote a great hero that is not an Assassin, as much as I love assassins. That this author dares to claim the name of Stephenie Meyer is almost sad. She's too famous to review. I'm going to lose followers or start a secret club that snickers over our copies of The Host after midnight on Fridays. Both extremes don't fit with my lonely sheep point of view.

It is with some trepidation that I let this review out into the published world of book blogging. *shudder*

My Review:

Oh, wow. Just….. wow.  My eyes feel like they’ll be red and swollen for days. And my heart couldn’t be more swollen, either. So full of embracing all that it means to be HUMAN. Wow.

I think I love Stephenie Meyer. She treated my emotions like a soul and transferred me from some cryo storage into this emotional story of hers - so vibrant.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to cry so often! I cried at the dentist when I shouldn’t have tried to read my book. I cried at the football field – I found a private corner near a fence of blackberries and sobbed to my heart’s content. I cried in the early morning hours when I snuck out of bed before everyone was up to read just a little bit more. I cried… and cried… and, good grief, cried some more. I laughed, too. Laughed, snorted, blushed… it was ridiculous. It’s just a story!!

I cried over being misunderstood, ostracized, hated. I cried over loving Jamie – who is also absolutely real to me. I cried over Jared and impossibilities and then Ian and who knows what all else. Each huge emotion was experienced for the first time and so darn vivid!! This book is like a celebration of what it means to be human – to feel emotions, to be irrational and self-sacrificing. 

I loved the way I did not like Wanderer in the beginning. I was as irritated with her as Melanie was. I loved the way she proved her worth throughout the story, how I fell in love with her as Melanie did. I always loved Melanie. She felt so raw to me. Just like I would have liked to have been in her situation.

And for not liking Wanderer at the beginning, it’s amazing how urgently I wanted to shout out her goodness by the end. That’s a bit of a spoiler, I guess. If you haven’t read The Host, forget that part ‘cause I went in knowing ‘nothin’ and now I feel like I want to carry this book with me everywhere I go, like a precious cryotank. “In here is an experience so precious, I can’t set it down!

I loved Jared at the beginning. He glowed in the memories and dreams. In person, not so much, which was absolutely perfect, showing the disconnect between Mel and Wanda. I loved how Ian grew on me, so frightening at first. And Jeb – what a character! This is such a unique community. I’ve never imagined a world or hide-out like described, but I could feel it, touch it, smell it.

The writing. If I had known that vivid memories had a different font. That two people’s thoughts would carry on a conversation in italics while real-time action continued steadily. That Myers could just throw in an empty page or two when it suited her… it all added up to this complicated, multi-sensory experience (especially with crying every other chapter.) The fluidity of writing pulled me under so I was drowning and didn't know it. I swear, the words melted away. *sigh*  

Does she have an obsession with weird love triangles?  I didn’t make that question up… there’s an interview in the back of my print copy. I quote:
“I have no idea what sparked the strange foundation of a body-snatching alien in love with the host body’s boyfriend over the host body’s protest. I was halfway into the story before I realized it. Once I got started, thought, the story immediately demanded my attention. I could tell there was something compelling in the idea of such a complicated triangle.”
See? Maybe “obsession” is a strong word, but weird fits comfortably!!

My Rating: 5 - Wow!!  I have to rate this book a 5 'cause I'm having trouble pulling my brain out even a day later. And I wish I was still reading it. I'm thinking of how soon I can get away with REreading it, which pushes this book to the rare 5.5. Almost. I'm glad it's in my library thx to Uniquely Moi.

Cover Commentary:  You know, this didn't wow me 'til it was in my hot lil' fingers. Then the eye pops and the weight feels significant. I have a paperback copy and it's great quality even after 4+ readings. Maybe better, even. It feels so loved.

About the Author:

Stephenie Meyer
Um... this is Stephenie Meyer. She wrote the Twilight books as well as The Host and is working on the movie for The Host. There's tons of fun info about her on her website BIO. Her Goodreads page has lots of fun tidbits like how she calls her three boys "monkeys on crack". I'm sorry, chimpanzees. I have three boys, so I might know what she's talking about if I knew what crack was. :-D

Find & Follow:

Hey! I'm a "new follower"! Lol. I've just joined hundreds of thousands of fans following SM on FB & Twitter. (That's a LOT of followers!!)

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