The Book’s Basics
Title: The Host
Author: Stephanie Meyer
Series: There are rumoured to be further books, but none have been released. It works as a stand-alone.
Genre: Science Fiction
Length: Audiobook time: 22 hours 58 minutes
Initial Reaction: There are a lot of sappy parts, but I loved them.
Earth has been invaded by aliens that meld themselves with people’s brain stems and take over their bodies.
Wanda is one of those aliens. Melanie is the human whose body has been taken over, but she is not giving up without a fight.
Melanie leads Wanda to a holdout of humans who mean a lot to her, but they can’t tell the other humans that Melanie is still alive in case they think it’s a lie and kill Wanda/Melanie.
With a determined alien trying to find them and take over Melanie’s body for herself upping the stakes, there is danger on every side – including from within.
Who would I recommend this book to?
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys science fiction and romance. Because of the complexities of Wanda being attracted to a human and Melanie being in a relationship with a different human but then both of them sharing a body, created a lot of funny and tense moments.
It’s an easy read and I found it enjoyable.
I did not enjoy the movie adaption of this book.
I read the book and watched the movie as part of the bookclub and there was someone in the chat who enjoyed it. But for me, some of the best parts of the book was not in the movie.
For movie adaptions, sometimes a lot has to change, but if the core feeling of the book is lost then I believe that the movie did not work.
There were changes that they implemented in the movie that were unnecessary and that didn’t make sense, giving the movie a different feel than the book.
There was a nice scene with some glowing bugs, but was not enough to save it.
Writer Craft Notes
I am an unpublished writer, but I would like to be published some day, so when I read a book I am trying to be more aware of the author’s craft and what I can learn from them.
There was a lot of tension in this book, but I really enjoyed it. It kept the story interesting and made the characters have more life to them. Even though it is very much a sci-fi story (no getting around that as there is futuristic technology and a literal alien invasion), it focuses on the human response and tenacity. I think this is pretty common in sci-if – no matter how many alien species or space ships there are in a sci-if story, the focus will be on the human impact and response, even if the characters themselves are aliens.
Ultimately, the stories are being written by humans (more than likely) for humans, and so the human condition will always play a big role in these stories.
I also enjoyed the amount of times Wanda was alone in her thoughts thinking things through. It helped to understand her and it made her feel more dynamic. When I write I worry about slowing down the pace too much, so I’m glad that Meyer did it so well so that I can learn from it.
There was one main thing that I did not like in the book and it came at the end, so this is a spoiler.
Wanda gets her new body, but the way that she is infantilised at the end as young, inexperienced, and child-like while simultaneously being sexualised by Ian and her lying about her age so that he thinks that she’s older so won’t be reluctant to have sex with her compounds the creepiness of this part of the book. And these weren’t passing parts, they were stressed upon.
I think as writers we can get wrapped up in the world and the characters, but I think it’s important to be aware of how characters and situations come across so that your themes aren’t undermined and your characters don’t come across as creepy or inauthentic.