Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review: The Host by Stephenie Meyer

The Host

Author: Stephenie Meyer
Series: The Host, #1
Blurb: 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.

Featuring one of the most unusual love triangles in literature, THE HOST is a riveting and unforgettable novel about the persistence of love and the essence of what it means to be human.


Review

This was incredible. I mean, truly incredible. I have a love/hate relationship with Twilight where some parts of it I absolutely loved and other parts I absolutely despised, but The Host? Loved it.


Short Summary:

Melanie Stryder lives in a world over-run by another species called souls. They take over your mind, pushing you out and keeping your body as a host to survive. Melanie thought she and her brother Jamie were the only two humans left on earth until she meets Jared and falls in love, finally feeling secure in an uncertain world. Then one unfortunate day, Melanie is caught by the Seekers and a soul is inserted into her body. The soul, called Wanderer, takes control of Melanie's body, but not her mind. Melanie continuously thinks about Jamie and Jared, wondering if they are okay and if they are still themselves. Unable to stop herself, Wanderer begins to long for them. Together, they search for a hidden camp where Melanie believes humans, and probably Jared, are hiding in hopes of finding the man and boy they both love.


What I liked:

There is so much to this story it's impossible for me to tell you everything that I loved about it. And really, I loved everything. The Host is a book that will draw you in and with every turn of the page you're learning more and more about a world that has been taken over by a different species, and the only way to tell if the body is still human or "one of them" is to shine a light in their eyes, which shows a line of silver around the pupil if a soul inhabits the body. This whole idea is so fresh and different from anything I've read. It's all very complicated and there is so much to it that I can't even explain it all without giving away parts of the story. It's slow-going at times, but that's a huge part of the story that has to be there. It has to go slow in order to understand the world that Melanie and now Wanderer live in. It has to go slow to show how the relationship between Melanie and Wanderer changes throughout the story as they journey to find these two humans that they both love. And no matter what Wanderer did to push Melanie away in the beginning, Wanderer can't get rid of her or her thoughts. I won't go into any more details about relationships because that will give away SO MUCH of the story but I will say that I love how all of the relationships progressed throughout the story. And making things more complicated is that Melanie's/Wanderer's Seeker is looking for her/them throughout the entire book. She knows that Wanderer didn't get lost in the desert and die; she knows she's still alive and she searches and searches for her without giving up, later causing a lot more trouble than she's worth.

One thing that was a nice surprise was that the book was NOTHING like what I thought it would be. I actually thought that the main character in the book was Melanie. From the way the blurb starts out to the trailer for the movie, it appeared to me that Melanie would be the narrator instead of Wanderer, or at least a switching back and forth between the two characters' narrations. But actually it is Wanderer who narrates the story, and Melanie just kind of helps Wanderer along, with a few flashbacks of Melanie's memories from before Wanderer took over. Don't get me wrong, Melanie is a VERY important character-just as important as Wanderer. Without Melanie, the story would have taken a very different turn and probably one that no one would have wanted to read because this one gives you hope for humankind, whereas the one without Melanie probably would have ended with an entire takeover, with no humans left to inhabit (which is how the souls want it). Anyways, I'm giving away far too much of the story!! There are several other things that took me by surprise but I definitely won't be going into those details. Instead I'll leave you with one word-or name I guess I should say: IAN.


What I didn't like:

There really wasn't anything that I didn't like. I mean, at times the story felt like it was going a bit too slow, but as I said earlier, the slow pace was absolutely necessary to get the point across and show how the world has changed, how relationships have changed, and how the humans have changed within the time that the souls took over. In order to learn how the takeover happened, how Melanie came to be alone with her brother and how she found Jared and then got caught by the Seekers, the book had to move at a slow pace-sometimes going into flashbacks from Melanie's memories to Wanderer learning how to deal with Melanie's presence in her mind and never being completely "alone". I didn't really like the slow pace, but it was something that was necessary.


Conclusion:

There's so much more that I want to say but I really don't want to ruin the book for you if you haven't read it. All I can really say is that you need to read this book. If you're not a fan of Twilight--in fact, if you HATE Twilight--I recommend this to you. It's entirely different. Where Bella is weak and dependent solely on Edward, Melanie and Wanderer are both strong in their own separate ways and they use the love they have for those around them to empower that strength and help others. I will say that there is a love triangle but it's so unlike any love triangle you've ever experienced before, you'll probably enjoy this one. I know I've gotten a little tired of them but this one is so new and different it doesn't feel much like a love triangle at all. It feels more like a hopeless situation where you wonder how they're going to get out of it. I finished reading this book several days before writing this review and I'm actually having a hard time forgetting the story. I still think about it and wonder where Stephenie could possible take the story after what happened at the end and I'm very curious to know what happens. And if this review hasn't at all convinced you to read the book, I'll leave you with a quote to think on. I used it as my teaser for Teaser Tuesday and if I hadn't read this story, I would be utterly confused.
So mortified, so humiliated. I was horrified at myself, at the violence I'd allowed to flow through my body, whether consciously or not, but that was not why I was sobbing. I was sobbing because it had been a test, and, stupid, stupid, stupid, emotional creature that I was, I wanted it to be real.

I rate this book:

!!Spoiler Time!!

This is a place for me to freely discuss parts of the book without spoiling it within the review. If you haven't read The Host, I strongly recommend skipping this!!

Favorite Quotes:

“Eight full lives,” I whispered against his jaw, my voice breaking. “Eight full lives and I never found anyone I would stay on a planet for, anyone I would follow when they left. I never found a partner. Why now? Why you? You're not of my species. How can you be my partner?”
“It's a strange universe,” he murmured.
“It's not fair,” I complained, echoing Sunny's words. It wasn't fair. How could I find this, find love–now, in this eleventh hour–and have to leave it? Was it fair that my soul and body couldn't reconcile? Was it fair that I had to love Melanie, too? Was it fair that Ian would suffer? He deserved happiness if anyone did. Itwasn't fair or right or even…sane. How could I do this to him?
“I love you,” I whispered.
“Don't say that like you're saying goodbye.”
But I had to. “I, the soul called Wanderer, love you, human Ian. And that will never change, no matter what I might become.” I worded it carefully, so that there would be no lie in my voice. 
“If I were a Dolphin or a Bear or a Flower, it wouldn't matter. I would always love you, always remember you. You will be my only partner.” 



“What was it that made this human love so much more desirable to me than the love of my own kind? Was it because it was exclusive and capricious? The souls offered love and acceptance to all. Did I crave a greater challenge?...Or was it simply better somehow? Because these humans hate with so much fury, was the other end of the spectrum that they could love with more heart and zeal and fire?” 



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-Kelly