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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Review: The Host by Stephenie Meyer

The Host


The Host Series, #1


by Stephenie Meyer


Publisher: Little Brown and Company (May 2008)
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Format: Hardcover (619 pages)
Source: Purchased
Purchase: Amazon Print | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Summary
Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, didn't expect to find its former tenant refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

As Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of Jared, a human who still lives in hiding, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she's never met. Reluctant allies, Wanderer and Melanie set off to search for the man they both love.

Featuring one of the most unusual love triangles in literature, THE HOST is a riveting and unforgettable novel about the persistence of love and the essence of what it means to be human.


At A Glance
LOVES!!!! I loved almost everything about The Host. I am totally going to fangirl all over this review because I can't help but squee every time I think of this book.

The Good
Holy Crap! I don't even know where to start. Oh, oh, I know. If you hated Twilight, never fear, The Host is 100% better. Twilight for me was a fun story about obsession more than love that was badly written. The Host is very well written and has way more substance and character development.

I could go on and on about The Host and character development. That's what made this book The Bomb. Oh yeah, I still use that 90's phrase. I'm bringing it back! Each character made me feel so much emotion, so much joy, so much sadness that it felt like I was part of the story. I actually cried near the end of this book. Cried! Me, the unemotional robot actually cried! Stephenie made me care for everyone. They were all multi-dimensional characters with their own stories, even if their individual stories were not outright told. They had obvious depth and unique personalities. I had to know what was going to happen to them, what was going to happen next. It was a "keep reading or die of deprivation" scenario. Yup, I was that dramatic while reading this book.

The concept was somewhat unique. Sure, we have movies and books with alien's taking over the human race, but The Host felt different. Because it's from the alien's perspective and how she comes to love the humans she is meant to dominate. We have Melanie, the body, the human, and Wanderer (Wanda), the soul, the alien. Though Wanda has control of Melanie's body, Melanie refuses to let Wanda take complete control. She will not be silenced. So Melanie does the only thing she can, she shares memories of the man she loves, Jared, with Wanda. Wanda slowly falls in love with Jared through Melanie's memories. But it's when they set out to find Melanie's lost love that the story really begins. Because this is not a story about an alien takeover. This is a story about friendship, love, and sacrifice. It's about what a species is willing to do for survival. It's also about finding out who you really are and what you are willing to do for the ones you love. The Host is more complex than it seems.

Wanda was one of the best characters ever. She has lived many lives, in many bodies. But it's Melanie, a girl who won't give up, that changes her outlook on life and humanity. Wanda takes risks for a love that has grown only from memories. But she finds mostly hatred from the rebels from which her "beloved" lives. Having Wanda fall in love with Jared because of Melanie's memories was simply genius. I felt horrible for her when she is attacked and treated like an outcast amongst the rebels, even if I knew that it was logical for them to be cautious of her. Wanda is brave beyond reason though. She is strategic in what she says, what she shares. She knows how to stay alive. And her compassion for others is admirable. It's still hard to grasp the close friendship Melanie and Wanda had considering the circumstances. Then Ian came into the picture and changes everything...for the better.

Melanie was also a very strong and determined character. She held on to her soul, her conscienceness and fought with Wanda for control over the body they shared. And her love for Jared was simply beautiful. It kept the whole story going. Jared was a little iffy for me at first, but I grew to love him like Wanda and Melanie did. He was somewhat hardened by the rough life humans now had to live, but he still held on to the kindness and compassion that seems to be ingrained into his person. Ian was a whole other story. He starts out as the bad guy (kind of) but he turns into the most amazing love interest ever. We should all be so lucky to have someone like Ian in our lives. He loves with wild abandoned and I admire him the more for it.

There was just enough action to keep my attention the whole way through. The Host was well written and the plot was well thought-out. The world-building was interesting and had me wanting to learn more. I love how Stephenie wrote a sci-fi book that had less to do with the human perspective. This was about the alien's perspective. It was less about a hostile alien invasion and more about human nature in all its glory.

I actually read this book years ago and I remembered almost everything about it even today. I reread/skimmed it for this review, but it was unnecessary. This book left such an impression on me that the whole story was imprinted into my mind.

The Bad
I almost gave The Host my rare 6 stars, but I had to concede that it wasn't perfect. Close, but not quite. The beginning is slow, as well as other parts of the novel. I still wanted to continue reading, I just wish more happened in certain areas.

The Snuggly
Stephenie labeled this book as Adult but it's not. It has a YA feel, especially in the romance department. We only get some kissing and touching. But the sort of love triangle was freakin' awesome. I really didn't know how Stephenie was going to handle the relationships in this book since it was all very complicated. But she did an excellent job of giving us a satisfying resolution for each couple. Jared and Melanie, Wanderer and Ian, it was all so romantic and crazy at the same time.

Final Thoughts
The Host is one of my favorite books of all time. It may not be perfect but it's pretty damn close, for me at least. You will grow to love each character with ease. And the storyline will leave you wanting more. Trully, this is not a book to be missed. Highly recommended.
Quotes
“It's not the face, but the expressions on it. It's not the voice, but what you say. It's not how you look in that body, but the thing you do with it. You are beautiful.” 

*****

“I love you,” I whispered.
“Don't say that like you're saying goodbye.”
But I had to. “I, the soul called Wanderer, love you, human Ian. And that will never change, no matter what I might become.” I worded it carefully, so that there would be no lie in my voice.
“If I were a Dolphin or a Bear or a Flower, it wouldn't matter. I would always love you, always remember you. You will be my only partner.” 


*****

“I held you in my hands, Wanderer, and you were beautiful.” 

*****

“You are the noblest, purest creature I've ever met. The universe will be a darker place without you," he whispered.” 

34 comments:

  1. The Host is one of my all time favorites! :D
    I LOVE, LOVE Ian, and I also feel the need to squeee every time I think of this book ;)

    Unfortunately, I did not learn to love Jared as much as you did, mostly because the way he treated Wanda was so ugly to me. I understood it, of course, but I felt so connected to Wanda it was still hard to forget. Seeing him have a 180 change we he learned Melanie was still there amplified that, as his kindness was never truly directed to Wanda, but for Melanie. As Wanda's such an amazing person, that rankled...

    So, I'm Team Ian all the way. The guy's just amazing. Wish I had an Ian... ~sigh~

    By the way, what do you think of the upcoming movie? I've seen the trailers and I am PETRIFIED! They changed so much, and that's only from the glimpse we've seen! The seeker's a freaking cold headed, rational, tall, blonde, white-wearing woman! What's up with that!?
    And it seems like... like Wanda ends up in the desert because of a car accident?!
    I'm so scared they're going to ruin the book :<

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    1. I totally see your point with Jared. Though I did come to love him, I found it hard to forgive him for a long time.

      I am totally seeing the movie. I am very excited. But yes, all the changes scare me. I really hope not too much is changed but I also understand that movies are different from books and need certain things to make it a great movie.

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  2. Agreed! I loved te originality of the concept and the writing flowed incredibly well. Great review, Jen!

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    1. Thanks. The writing was pretty great. I was surprised.

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  3. Fantastic review. The Host is one of my favourite books. I loved it when it first came out, and the 5x times after that I read it. The story was so compelling, the characters so in depth, and the romances to die for.

    Ian....
    Who wouldn't love him? *sigh*

    I am seeing the movie on Thurs, hopefully it's just as good as the book.
    I remember thinking years ago, that if you hadn't known that it's by Stephenie, you couldn't tell its by the same author as twilight. I adored her Twilight series, but The Host is in a whole new league, like seriously!

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    1. I agree. It's like she didn't even write it. It's night and day to Twilight. I so hope the movie is good because the book really set high standards.

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  4. I am so glad that you loved this! it is one of my most favourite books ever and 1 million times better than twilight! Yay!

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    1. So happy to hear it. I know you are hard to impress so I am so excited to hear you loved this book too.

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  5. I've avoided this one because of the whole Twilight hype. Even though I read all four of the Twilight books and liked them. Maybe I need to give this one a try. After your great review, it sounds like a definite!

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    1. If you liked Twilight, you will drop dead love The Host. It truly is amazing. It cannot be missed.

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  6. I am so happy to find another person who loves The Host as much as I do. I know when I was in high school everyone would make fun of me for reading The Host saying I was a vampire fanatic...I kept trying to explain that A. the host is not a vampire book, and B. The Host was waaay better than any Twilight book...in my opinion. So glad you liked it and you have such a dead on review!! Great review, I couldn't have said it better myself. Are you planning on seeing the movie?

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    1. Hehe, thanks. I agree, a lot of people made fun of me too since everyone assumes it is the same as Twilight. But The Host is in a whole other league.

      I am so seeing the movie. I am so excited it's not even real.

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  7. I tried to read this when it first released, but I stopped after 20 pages. I couldn't get into it. I've been thinking of picking it up again because I really didn't give it a try... lol That was back when I first started reading YA and I was like what the heck is this! But yeah :) Awesome review! I'm seriously contemplating giving this another go.

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

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    1. The beginning is slow so you have to give it another chance. It really is amazing. I swear. Read it up to when Wanderer joins the rebels. You will be hooked.

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  8. Wonderful! I am sooo glad that you reviewed this one. Based on what it was about, I wasn't sure that I would like it. I also hadn't read The Lux Series yet and just didn't know how I felt about reading about aliens in general. Based on all you've said though, I will be wanting to read this one sooner than I thought. I am excited about the movie coming out as well - what do you think of the casting for it based on how much you love the characters? Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven.

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    1. This is way better than the Lux Series. But both series don't really feel alien-ish. So you will like them

      Some of the casting I am not thrilled about. I didn't see Melanie the way the girl playing her looks and the seeker with blond hair is totally not like the girl I knew in the book. But I bet once I start watching the movie I wont even care.

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  9. You read my mind! That's how I felt about this book so much! It is now one of my all time favorites. I thought this book was going to be completely different. The story was more than I hoped for and deeper then I could imagine. I never did get into Twilight. Edward and Bella got on my nerves. So I'm hoping that the movie is along the same lines as the book. One of the best reads I've read in a long time :)

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    1. The story really surprised me. It really is one of the best reads. So happy you agree :)

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  10. Sounds like all the cool kids will be reading this one. I'm putting on my TBR pile as I type. :-D

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    1. LOL, true. You should read it for sure.

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  11. I remember loving this book when I read years ago after TWilight. It was so different from TWilight. Even the Love triangle was amazingly handled!! I loved Ian and Jared and really hated how they treated Melanie when they first found her. I don't remember everything but I do remember the ending lol

    I have reservations about the movie though. I really like the sci-fi aspect, but I think we all agree some dialogue sounds better in a book, but if actually said on screen, the cheesiness will make you cringe. Or maybe that's just me? I love the 2nd quote you picked, but I wish they won't act that out on screen. Or maybe the actors will surprise me and actually do it amazingly so that I'll cry.

    Now I want to go back and reread this book!

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    1. I do get scared about how this book will come across on the big screen. But I bet it will be altered accordingly.

      But yeah, a lot of scenes can come of cheesy in the movie is not done right.

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  12. Sounds good. I've been wanting to see the movie, now I think I'll read the book as well.

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    1. Even if the movie isn't great, you should try the book.

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  13. JENNNNIIIIFERRRRRR! Seriously, this book. RIIIIIGHT? It's the last thing I ever would have expected after Twilight but... it's good. I loved it, too :D

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    1. I was wondering what you thought of this book. So happy you liked it too.

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  14. Glad you enjoyed so much. I suppose I should try this again. I didn't like it the first time around but I think I just wanted Twilight 2.0. The character development and improved writing sound great.
    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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    1. I would be interested to se what you thought of it the second time.

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  15. I completely enjoyed this book when I read it forever ago as well, which was shocking to me, cause I had no idea what it was about when I picked it up. I don't know about making it into a movie though since most of the character development happens in Wanda/Melanie's head and feelings. Your review makes me want to read it again! :)

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    1. I know, the character development is very tricky so I don't know how it is going to translate on the big screen.

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  16. Wow. I've got this one on the shelf. A friend ended up with two copies and gave me one. But I've not got to it. *sigh* Darn time!

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    1. OMG, you so need to read it. It's amazing.

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  17. I am giggling because i wrote a review that hasn't published yet and actually gave a 6...I am not alone..now about the Host..i have this book, its been in my tbr pile forever! Holy crap Jen, you have me looking for it, your gushing review has me drooling!!!

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    1. LOL. I know, I couldn't help but gush. This book hit me hard.

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