Friday, 14 March 2014

The Host - Stephanie Meyer

Plot: 

Earth has been overrun by a new type of species, and human beings are ceasing to exist. The species are souls, inserted into humans as a way to tame the violent and aggressive nature is contained in them.

Wanderer takes on Melanie Stryder's body, ready for the challenges of human emotions and memories. Instead, she's met with the voice of Melanie, not willing to fade away. Melanie fills Wanderer's mind with constant images of a man and a boy, and soon Wanderer builds an attachment to strong to ignore.

Review:

I'm going to have to thank the #AYEARATHON read-a-long for pushing me to read this. This month's topic is Twilight, but that meant I could still read something else from Stephanie Meyer. Why I waited this long to read The Host is beyond me, but boy am I glad I did.

The Host is pitched as a sci-fi romance, and I can see why it's labelled as that. The whole souls moving from planet to planet, and latching onto nerves etc. can have a sci-fi feel to it, but that wasn't really a dominant part to the novel. Instead, the plot places a lot more emphasis on humanity, morality, justice and decency. It really opened a lot of questions on how humans react and interact with each other, subconsciously as well. Furthermore, it explores the relationships that expand beyond just female-male love. I liked the depth of plot that Meyer planted in this, which surprised me because I kept questioning myself as to whether this was the same author as the Twilight series. I'm not saying I hated that series, it's just that it lacked a rich plot.

Meyer was able to also create very moving and relatable characters. I liked basically every single character that cropped up, because they each had a backstory that helped play a role to the plot. It wasn't hard to grow attached to even the very minor characters. Whilst Wanderer and Melanie played the central role, the others weaved in and out seamlessly, creating such a warming atmosphere. I'd have to say I got a little annoyed with Jared but that's because I was diagnosed with second-lead syndrome. Hate it when that happens. Still, in the end I was beaming with the love that exuded from their "family".

What I loved most was that Wanderer was allowed to stick to her own personality from start to finish. She learnt new things, especially with emotions, but in the end she managed to adapt to that in her own way. I feel like there's really no way to explain it without spoiling it so I might stop here. (Also, I'm starting to sound wooden  so moving on).

Another strong factor was that it explores relationships a great deal. It's not even just the relationship between a boy and girl, or that of blood ties, but just general relationships that can sprout anywhere. It's a testament to how much humans can become attached to someone after constant interactions and the strong emotions that resound despite having nothing to tie them down to. The Host really represents how much humanity can be good as well as bad, and it was very interesting to read. 


The use of different species also portrayed how different beliefs can clash but there are always reasons behind it. It's not that we should be made to accept someone's personal beliefs, but that we should learn to respect it and be open-minded. That was really the growth for each character in the book as well.

Ultimately, The Host was thought-provoking, fast paced and entertaining to read. It made for a great read with some amazing characters, and the messages behind it really stuck with me. Don't ignore Stephanie Meyer if you didn't like the Twilight series because this was way beyond that. It's also the first book (I'm pretty sure) that I'm rating 5 stars for this year. That should say something.

Note: This is actually the first book of a series, with the sequel being released in 2015 (apparently).

Rating: 5/5

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