The Host by Stephanie Meyer
I thoroughly enjoyed the Twilight series, but did not realise Stephanie Meyer had also written The Host.
So before tearing off to the cinema to watch the new film adaptation I set about reading the book.
The verdict? I was not disappointed! It is a science fiction/romance novel set in the future.
Earth has been colonized by the Souls, a parasitic alien race which inhabits human bodies, suppressing the original personality.
The only difference in their appearance being that a soul’s eyes will reflect light like a mirror.
Melanie Stryder, one of the last free humans alive, is hiding with her younger brother Jamie.
On a raid to find food, she meets Jared Howe, another human, and the two fall in love.
She and Jamie stay with Jared in a cottage that he and his family built before the invasion.
After a few years Melanie sees her cousin Sharon on TV. She suspects she is still human and decides to go find her, but is seen entering an abandoned building.
Melanie is chased by a group of Seekers, or Souls intent on capturing rogue humans.
To avoid capture she throws herself down an elevator shaft, but fails to commit suicide successfully.
A Soul named Wanderer is inserted into Melanie’s body with the hopes of accessing her memories and finding the other humans in her group.
However, Melanie remains aware after the insertion and blocks her memories of the surviving humans from Wanderer.
A Seeker is assigned to Wanderer in case she remembers anything about the humans, but Wanderer begins to be influenced by Melanie and falls in love with Jared and Jamie.
They leave their home and go into the desert, following clues Melanie’s Uncle Jeb left for her to find him.
Melanie had told Jared about the clues, and hoped he and Jamie had figured them out to reach Jeb.
They follow the clues, but run out of water in their pursuit.
Near death from dehydration, Wanderer is found by Jeb and taken to a series of desert caves that serve as a hideout for dozens of free humans, including Jared and Jamie.
The humans are unaware Melanie is alive after Wanderer has possessed her body.
During the following interrogation, Wanderer refuses to tell them Melanie is still alive because she is afraid she will be killed as retribution for trying to deceive them.
The aliens in Meyer’s The Host are contradictory critters: on the one hand, gentle pacifists who don’t bother with money because they just take what they need from shops, on the other, ruthless invaders of not only other sentient species’ planets but their bodies, too.
In Melanie’s body Wanderer is bombarded by intense memories and dreams that centre around a man named Jared, whom Melanie loved.
It turns out the Souls are often drawn to other Souls who occupy the bodies of the humans whom the people their own bodies belonged to once loved.
There is a lot of tension from the conflicts between the characters and the internal conflicts in Wanderer’s heart.
It is a true love story and the moral dilemmas at the heart of the story are quite compelling.
The book kept me up until the wee hours of the morning.
In the course of the story, Wanderer ultimately becomes so self-sacrificing, sweet and sincere that at times it was a bit difficult to believe.
Also, though some of the humans initially wanted to kill Wanderer, her eventual acceptance seemed too quick and too thorough to be entirely believable to me.
When the ending arrives, I really started to feel for Wanderer.
The ending is very heartwarming and it is a great ending to the book.
As the reader you start to feel for Wanderer but you will also find yourself in conflict by wanting Melanie to come back.
At the end of the book Wanderer has a selfless plan which even the humans start to disagree with, as they start to like her.
Both ways the ending is a good one and you start to see the future for the human race!
Reading the book makes me want even more to go see the film.
The book is fantastic! I do hope the film lives up to its standard.
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