Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Did it live up to it's hype? I'd say yes but in a totally different way than what I expected. I really didn't know what to expect to be honest. I sort of imagined very soft sci-fi with over the top romance which I really wouldn't have been able to stomach. Well there's some of that in there, but it's presented nicely for the most part, though a few of my complaints lie in that section as well. But we'll get to that later. Overall this was a really fantastic book! It kept me hooked throughout once it got going and it had some wonderfully written characters that I found myself truly caring about. And I have to say that Meyer does an exquisite job of world building. I could've listened to her tales of other worlds all night long! Stephanie Meyer paints a picture of a world that has been taken over by alien beings called souls. They've come to our world because we have ruined it with violence and neglect as they see it. The souls are inserted into humans and Earth goes on functioning seemingly like always only the bodies walking around looking human and performing the tasks of humans are inhabited by alien beings. Wanderer is one of the souls who is inserted. She's inserted into the brain of a human named Melanie. Melanie is different though, she's resistant to Wanderer and refuses to disappear like the other humans have. Wanderer hears all of Melanie's thoughts, lives her memories and shares her loves. Wanderer learns that Melanie's lost love, Jared and her brother Jamie are probably still out there and may still be human and they set off together in the same body to find them. To say more would be too much as the story becomes quite powerful as Wanderer learns just what the human race is and how our emotions work. On the back of the book, Orson Scott Card gives Stephanie Meyer high praise and I see why he would. She's a very similar writer to him, though I think she has a few more novels to go before she's up to that ranking. She can write a sci-fi novel, that's for sure, but like Card, she's able to write Sci-fi that's extremely readable and extremely human. One problem that I have with some sci-fi is that it feels alien when you're reading's just plain hard to read. But not The Host. She creates a world that we can see ourselves in. Surroundings that we can feel, smell, and almost touch. And the alien worlds that she describes are just amazing. Her characters are also wonderfully creative just like Card's. They're never robotic. Each one is clearly defined and each one forms some kind of bond with the reader whether it's a love or a hate relationship. I had a few problems with the book, but they were really nothing compared to the overall enjoyment I had. I thought that some of the romance scenes were ridiculous, but then again maybe that's because I'm a guy. I thought that they just didn't fit and that the book became a romance novel all of a sudden when they happened. They were just cheesy. I think she could've developed them better. I think part of the problem with them is that she's still writing romance scenes for teens! She marketed this as her "first adult book" and I think she forgot that sometimes when she was writing it. It read very YA to me at times. I think the romance would've been much more believable and not so juvenile at times had it been written as a more adult relationship. Though at times, the emotional scenes were just that...quite emotional. That's really my main complaint. It felt very YA and I think it would've worked better as an adult book when it came to romance...something more like The Time Traveler's Wife. Now that I'm complaining about Meyer's writing being too YA for me (even though I really like YA lit) I think I'm going to try the Twilight series :p

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