What an interesting story! I didn’t quite know what to expect from this new effort by Twilight author Stephanie Meyer but I loved it. Meyer doesn’t disappoint when it comes to writing an intriguing story. The plot is original and quite thought-provoking. I had no clue what would happen from one moment to the next and found myself skipping ahead a few sentences to make sure nothing bad was going to happen. Yes, my heart raced as I read and I was nervous for the outcome of several close calls. It’s difficult to read about human rebels encountering an alien force that has taken over Earth. Makes you all kinds of jumpy!
Surprisingly, the protagonist is not who I assumed it would be. The title doesn’t help much in figuring that out either. The “host” refers to the body the soul named Wanderer inhabits. The body belongs to Melanie, a young woman caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Earth has been invaded and slowly but surely, all humans are being taken as host bodies to the parasitic souls who have come to help—they want to make the world a better place according to their standards. I actually happen to like the souls’ standards of peace. There’s no need for money as people trade fairly; police are non-existent as violence becomes a thing of the past; and trust is a given because souls are all part of one community.
What I love most about The Host is we get both sides of the fight. Melanie is still with Wanderer (meaning her consciousness hasn’t faded away per the norm) and the two are able to speak to one another. It’s a rare occurrence but in this case, it’s a good thing. Melanie and Wanderer are able to work together to find Melanie’s brother, Jamie, and boyfriend, Jared. This is when the story gets interesting. Wanderer, having access to Melanie’s memories, sees the loved ones in Melanie’s life as her own. This evokes emotions in Wanderer she’s never experienced, like love. She learns humans have a wider spectrum of emotions than any of the other host bodies she’s inhabited.
This book has everything: suspense, mystery, and a love triangle. It made me question decisions I would make, the nature of humanity, and the power of love. I think love is what truly changes Wanderer’s mind about her race’s hostile takeover of Earth. She loves as Melanie does and consequently, the people Melanie loves. Oh yeah, it goes there. But not only that, another human rebel/survivor named Ian falls in love with Wanderer. Not just the body, but the essence which inhabits the body. He loves the parasite he cannot physically see.
We don’t find out how things end as far as the takeover goes, but we are left with a bit of hope—hope that the two races can coexist on Earth. While I would have liked to get a little more from this tale, I am happy with the way it ends. Although it reads similar to Meyer’s other storyline in the Twilight series, it is a bit more on the adult side. No, there’s no sex, but there’s a lot of kissing and feelings that are described in a way to insinuate what isn’t written. While I love how descriptive Meyer is, I think she might have gotten lost in some of the detail where the souls are concerned. There should be a sequel though, because I’m dying to know the future of the characters. I’ve come to care for them and feel like I need closure.