Monday, June 11, 2012

Book Review: The Host

Book Description from Goodreads:

"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."

Warning! This review is filled with spoilers!

Title: The Host
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Year of Release: 2008
Genre: Science Fiction & Romance
Part of a Series?: Possibly, Stephenie said that she might write two sequels. I definitely hope so! I think she will!
Sequel(s): According to Goodreads, the sequels would be called The Soul & The Seeker
Recommended by: My friend Brittany
What motivated you to read this book?: I saw the book on Goodreads back in January when I first got an account. I knew of the book from several years ago, but prior to actually reading about it on Goodreads, I had no intention of reading it because I thought the concept of aliens invading humans' bodies seemed creepy and disturbing. However, when I saw it on Goodreads, I thought it seemed interesting and figured I would read it eventually. Then approximately 3 weeks ago, my friend Brittany told me that I should read it. She told me a little bit about it & I was intrigued even more than I had originally had been. Therefore, I decided to read it sooner than I thought I would.
Book Version: Hardback, First edition
Where did you get the book?: My school's library
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Orginal?: Yes, very original
Preditable: For the most part, no
Review: I honestly don't know where to begin, but must I say that it was not what I expected at all. I thought it would be really good, but it ended up being so much better than that. Words cannot describe how much I loved it. I literally could not put it down for days, and whenever I wasn't reading it, it was continuously on my mind. (And still is.)

Throughout the story, I was constantly conflicted about whether I felt sorry for Wanderer or Melanie. Being human, my heart felt for Melanie who was no longer in charge of her own body. That would be very frustrating, living trapped inside your own body, but without a say in what it did. Her memories of when she was on the run with Jared and Jamie were heart wrenching for me to read because I wanted so badly for her to be with the two of them when she couldn't be. I also felt pain for Wanderer, most commonly known as Wanda, as well. As much as I wanted Melanie to be in control of her own body, I grew to love Wanda & was nearly in tears when Wanda had made her choice at the end of the story.

Stephenie Meyer was able to describe emotion so powerfully, that I felt many emotions while reading this book. I was filled with complete happiness, giddiness, sorrow, pain, anger, frustration and annoyance. One moment I was laughing out loud, and the next I was on the verge of tears.

I really love the character development of all of my favorite characters: Wanda, Melanie, Jared & Ian. None of these characters were the way they were at the beginning of the story. Wanda went from hating the fact that Melanie was still within her body and doing everything she could to annoy her and push her out (She almost got a new host!) to loving Melanie, worrying about her, and even willing to sacrifice herself for her. Melanie was the same. She went from hating and annoying Wanda to loving and caring for Wanda. She didn't want Wanda to sacrifice herself for her. Jared went from wanting Wanda dead on the spot to tolerating her to caring and loving for her. Finally, my favorite character Ian, went from being extremely murderous to a compassionate, loving individual who truly accepted Wanda for who she really is. (I found his change of heart the most surprising.) It was also interesting how he went from being a minor character to a main character as the story went on. Most importantly, I really liked how the characters all grew to love one another. Wanda, who originally hated humans, thinking that they are murderous, unkind, and violent, ended up in a community of humans who grew to love her the way she loved them.

Ultimately, my favorite part of the novel was the romance. I really liked Jared right from the start. The way he smiled and always held Melanie's hand (in her memories). It was really cute. It made me so sad though that Melanie couldn't be with him anymore. However, I did think it was kind of funny and strange that he kissed her within minutes of realizing that she was human. I guess, though, with it being the end of the world and your own species becoming extinct, you never know when you are going to die, so you have to make the most of everything. But still, the things he told her about how he would rather die than leave her after only knowing her for four weeks seemed kind of strange. I still thought they were good together though, despite their 9 year age difference. Then, of course, when Wanda shows up at the cave, Jared hates her and wants to kill her. That justified his feelings for Melanie. (However, it was over four years later I believe.) I understood completely. I'd have difficulties too if someone I loved had been invaded by an alien.

Ian. I loved Ian. I was really surprised with his sudden change of heart when it came to Wanda. He was one of the first people to accept her into the human community, much earlier than Jared did. His protectiveness of her, in addition to his extreme kindness made me like him before I realized that he was going to be a love interest for Wanda. (I was like "add him to my list of fictional crushes!".) I was starting to think that he liked her, especially when he kissed her forehead! That was so cute! I really liked how after he admitted his feelings for Wanda that he was so patient and understanding when Wanda was confused about how she felt towards him. I also thought it was adorable when he sobbed when he realized Wanda's decision about leaving. The exchange between the two of them during that part was one of my favorite parts of the novel.

I did have one problem though with the romance. It felt as though Wanda chose Ian only because Jared already had Melanie. Like Ian was a rebound or something. Whenever he touched her she simply thought it was nice, but whenever Jared touched her, she described it as being like fire. Later on though, she described his touches and kisses with more feeling. So, perhaps, he was not her rebound. No, I don't think so.

This book really made me think about humanity. Humans really are cruel, deceptive, nasty, and even murderous. However, as shown in the book, some humans are caring, compassionate, loving, honest, and moral.

All in all, I loved this book and I highly recommend it.

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