The HostTitle: The Host

Author: Stephenie Meyer

Date Finished: 08/03/13

Re-Read? : Second time read

Challenges? : No

Overall: 4/5 – rather good

This is the second time I have enjoyed Meyer’s lesser known work, The Host, and I am glad I read it again.  I first read it in late 2010 and since I heard about the film coming out this March, I decided I would re-read it.  This was a good idea, because I really enjoyed it the first time (much more than I expected to) and I didn’t remember many details, as it is actually quite a long book.

The plot is centred around Wanderer, part of the race of ‘souls’ who now rule Earth – they are inserted into human bodies and become the minds inside.  This obviously sounds very far-fetched, but after a few chapters, it becomes clear that everything has been well thought-out and you just kind of accept the absurdity and move on.  The plot is definitely the massive strength of this book, as there are so many unexpected twists and turns that you never really have a clue what is going to happen next.  To maintain this excitement for a 600+ page book is really good writing by Meyer, who I think is slightly disadvantaged due to the prejudice against the Twilight books.  Even if you don’t like them, I would still give this a try.

The characters are slightly less endearing – they are all very unrealistic and I guess this is where you hear echoes of Twilight; the people involved are always so quick to offer to sacrifice themselves for the people they love…literally all the time!  The relationship between Melanie and Wanda is brilliant and I also think the development of Ian’s character is really well done, but overall the characters are a bit too silly for me.  On the other hand, they are all very unique and memorable so maybe I am just being fussy.

The American setting is slightly dull, until we hit the desert!  The way Meyer manages to interweave some really good description into the action is proved by the fact that I could really imagine the setting under the desert.  I am very interested to see how my perceptions compare to the film sets when the film is released/when I actually get around to seeing it (I still haven’t even seen The Hobbit!)

Meyer’s writing style does exactly what is says on the tin: this book is very action-packed and at its heart, a love story so consequently the prose is very emotive and often includes snappy speech.  Some of the way the characters express themselves is very exaggerated I think – ridiculous outpourings of love or complete antipathy are rather common!

Overall, even though this is obviously not usually the type of book I read, I would seriously recommend it to anyone who is after a good story.  It is probably not one that will become what school students study and analyse in 30 or 40 years, but it does the job and kept me reading.  However, if you do read this book, make sure you persevere well past the first 150 pages or so – both times I read it, I found it very slow-moving up to then (afterwards it’s action packed until the end).

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