Title: The Host
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Publisher: May 6th 2008 by Little, Brown and Company
Format: Hardcover, 619 pages
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.
This book is so unique, so unlike anything else out there, you simply must give it a try.
Body snatchers have invaded our planet and they’ve just about taken over the world. The good news? They are peaceful and only do good. The bad news? Well, they take over your body.
Wanderer, one of the Souls (aka body snatchers) is implanted into the body of Melanie, a member of the resistance, a group of humans who are fighting the Souls. Only Melanie doesn’t quietly disappear like she’s supposed to. She sticks around and she and Wanderer begin duking it out for control of her body.
“You… She… she’s still that… present?”
The appalling truth tumbled from my lips. “When she wants to be. Our history bores her. She’s more dormant while I’m working. But she’s there, all right. Sometimes I feel like she’s as present as I am.” My voice was only a whisper by the time I was done.
“Wanderer!” Kathy exclaimed, horrified. “Why didn’t you tell me it was that bad? How long has it been this way?”
“It’s getting worse. Instead of fading, she seems to be growing stronger… She hasn’t taken control. She won’t. I won’t let that happen!” The pitch of my voice climbed.
Complicating matters is Melanie’s memories of her boyfriend Jared, and her little brother Jamie, both hiding out with the insurgents. With Melanie unable to control her body, she has nothing to do but think about her life, exposing Wanderer to those memories. Even at night, Wanderer experiences Melanie’s life through her dreams. Though she fights it, Wanderer finds herself intrigued with these people, especially Jared.
Wanderer decides she must meet Jared and though letting her do that puts him and the entire resistance in danger, Melanie can’t help but agree. She needs to make sure he is okay.
We follow their travels as they search for where the resistance is hiding out. We’re treated to flashbacks to how the Souls took over, how Jared and Melanie met and how Wanderer ended up where she is. Once they do find the resistance, will Melanie and Wanderer finally be safe? Can they trust the resistance? Can (and should) the resistance trust them?
Once they find where the resistance is hiding out, the story takes another turn as Melanie/Wanderer try to find out where they belong. Not quite human and not quite Soul, it is difficult for them to find out where that place is. And these feelings that Wanderer finds herself having for Jared, are they real? Or are they Melanie’s memories and feelings?
The plot is so different, I never knew what was going to happen next. There were a few spots where it got a little long (especially the trek through the desert), but it picked back up quickly. There are elements of mystery (Will Wanderer give them all up? Will the Seeker find them?) and action. The dialogue and characters are excellent, very real. Nothing fake or stilted. Especially the (inner) dialogue between Melanie and Wanderer. It could have been hokey, with the two “people” inside 1 body, but Meyer manages to strike the perfect balance. The romance is also different – with 2 people in 1 body caring for 1 guy (and that’s before the second guy shows up!), it’s quite a lusty triangle.
The Host is an amazing, un-put-downable story. The writing is vivid and the characters are real and full. It’s a long one, but I found myself hurrying to find out how it ends and wishing it would go on and on.