Author of the best selling teenage vampire romance novels known as the Twilight saga, Stephenie Meyer has branched out to adult literature with her latest novel, The Host. In The Host, an alien parasitic species has ventured to Earth in search of living hosts. This alien species essentially survives by traveling the universe and inserting themselves into viable living organisms, be it plants or animals. The alien being then takes over the body of its host and basically conquers the soul that inhabited the host into non-existence.
The Host is the story of the alien known as Wanderer and her host, Melanie Stryder. Wanderer knew humans exhibited an incredible range of emotions and that the memories of her human host would be vivid. What Wanderer did not expect, however, was the inability to conquer the soul of her host. Melanie exhibits rare and incredible strength and determination and resists completely succumbing to Wanderer's invasion into her body. The two souls therefore exist side by side within one body. While Wanderer dominates and controls the body, Melanie uses every ounce of her power to influence Wanderer's decisions through suggested thoughts, shared memories and dreams.
Hiding emotions and thoughts from each other is near impossible--including the intense love Melanie has for her younger brother Jamie and her one true love, Jared. The intensity of Melanie's love for Jamie and Jared is incredibly strong, and soon Wanderer finds herself loving these two young men as her own. Ultimately, it is this love that drives Wanderer into the desert in search of her and Melanie's loved ones. Wanderer's search is not in vain and she 'finds' Jamie and Jared living unbeknownst to Wanderer's kind in a hidden shelter with a small group of other rebel humans. The presence of an alien is most unwelcome within the shelter, so Wanderer's arrival stirs quite an upheaval within the human colony. Obviously tremendous complications arise for Wanderer and Melanie and a tale of unparalleled moral and emotional dilemmas ensues.
The Host claims to be the "science fiction novel for people who don't like science fiction," and I whole heartedly agree with that claim. While the basis of the story's premise is clearly rooted in science fiction, The Host is more a story about love, compassion, and understanding more than it is about anything else. Meyer takes the reader on an amazing roller coaster ride of emotion and drama that explores the complications of human love through various forms of relationships-- family, friends, and lovers.
In the beginning of The Host, I, like Melanie, resented Wanderer's presence in Melanie's body, finding it to be a rather disturbing violation of another living soul. I empathized with Melanie's extreme sadness she grieved for Jamie and Jared and the life she shared with them. I felt her frustration over not having control over her body and now essentially being a part of the enemy, worrying that she would betray Jamie and Jared to the aliens always seeking host bodies. And although I still wanted Melanie to have her life back, I didn't want Wanderer to suffer, either as I soon began to care about Wanderer as she began to demonstrate strong human emotions such as guilt, fear, compassion, loyalty, and love. Surprisingly, Wanderer became a soul who truly exemplified humanity and deserved life as well.
The Host is an emotionally deep, poignant story that roused a huge range of emotions in me. I was often sad, frustrated, angry and worried for both Melanie and Wanderer. Several times I found a stray tear roll down my cheek before I even realized I was crying, it moved me so strongly. Yet for every tearful moment throughout this story, there is an equally uplifting and hopeful one. This thought provoking story teaches compassion, sacrifice, and unconditional human love in ways I never imagined.
I'm giving away a brand new hardcover copy of The Host by Stephenie Meyer, compliments of the Hatchette Book Group Publishers. The rules are as follows:
- To be entered in the drawing for the book, leave a comment about why you would like to receive this book.
- Comment must be posted by Sunday, June 22, 9:00 pm EST.
- One commenter will then be selected at random from the comments.
- You must leave a name. Anonymous entries will not be qualified.
- Prize must be claimed by Sunday, June 29, 9:00 pm EST or it will be forfeited and a new winner will be selected.