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VINE VOICEon May 6, 2008
It's been years since parasitic aliens calling themselves "Souls" have invaded Earth and taken over. Once a "Soul" is placed in a human host, the alien takes over and suppresses the human's mind. But when Wanderer awakes in her new body, she finds that her human host isn't so easily overcome. Melanie, her younger brother, and the man that she loves have been in hiding; and she'll do anything to get back to them, even resist the alien parasite that has taken over her body.

The parasitic "Souls" are easy to dislike at first. But Meyer has given the alien race such a rich and colorful backstory that is truly fascinating. And Wanderer is a unique "Soul" who soon finds herself caring for the same people as her host, and finding herself torn between ties to her own people and the humans.

It's been a long time since I've read such a stirring, science fiction tale that has made me go through so many emotions. The Host is a deep and beautiful story, and very different from Meyer's popular, young adult series. This is a rare story that made me stop and think about the choices that are made and what I would do in their place. Intense, exciting, dramatic, and inspiring, I'd highly recommend this novel to any reader, not only science fiction fans.
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on May 6, 2008
In the future Earth has been taken over by a unique alien species. The infiltration was slow and undetected until it was too late. Now these aliens, known as Souls, live inside human bodies, which act as hosts for the invading parasites. Usually when a Soul is placed in a new host it is able to take full control of the body, pushing aside any remnant of the human consciousness that once lived inside.

After a Soul named Wanderer is inserted into her new host she soon realizes something isn't right. It seems the human who once inhabited this body refuses to give in and die. Melanie Stryder wants no part of Wanderer and is doing everything she can to fight back. Even though Wanderer controls the body, nothing she does is able to quench Melanie's spirit. She is always there, in her head, so to speak.

As time goes by Melanie's memories become Wanderer's and soon she finds herself longing for the people that meant so much to her host. Melanie left behind her brother and the man she loves, and now Wanderer has developed those same feelings. Soon Wanderer and Melanie begin working together to track down Melanie's loved ones, all the while being careful that they don't lead the other Souls to the humans who are in hiding. When they finally do find them, they must figure out a way to live peacefully with a group of humans who have grown to hate Souls. Emotions flare and relationships are tested in agonizing ways as two lives must share one body and as enemies must learn to co-exist and survive.

Stephenie Meyer has taken the publishing world by storm with her groundbreaking young adult Twilight series. The Host is her first stand alone adult novel and millions of readers are anxiously waiting to see how it stacks up. Having never read any of the Twilight books, I didn't know what to expect from a Stephenie Meyer novel. What I found was a fascinating story that is really unlike anything I have ever read.

While this story certainly has sci-fi elements, it is not what most would consider hard-core sci-fi. Meyer focuses more on the relationships of the characters and the intriguing dilemma of two lives sharing one body. Much of the book deals with Melanie and Wanda's complicated love triangle with Melanie's old flame and Wanda's new love interest. There is action and suspense laced throughout, and Wanda's relationship with the surviving humans is tension filled to the max. The novel's real strength lies in the character of Wanda as she is constantly pulled between her duty as a Soul and the compassion she develops from her connection with Melanie and the other humans. Indeed, Wanda is the most human character of them all.

Meyer's writing is top-notch throughout and never lags despite the massive page count. Readers who expect a fast paced storyline wrapped up in a mere 100,000 words may be disappointed. However, those who enjoy a steady paced tale that slowly builds into a powerful and emotional ending will love The Host. In the end we are left with just the right amount of closure, but also with a little taste of what is to come. I can only hope Stephenie Meyer will continue this incredible saga she has begun.
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on May 19, 2008
Just like Twilight is a vampire story for people who don't like vampire stories, The Host is a sci-fi novel for people who don't like sci-fi. Ultimately, this is a very human story about love, friendship, loyalty and family. It's moving and unique.

Truthfully, I wasn't expecting to like it much. I read the excerpt available on Stephenie's website a few months ago and wasn't overly impressed, but because it's SM and I'm a big fan of the Twilight series I decided to give it a shot. I'm so glad I did! I found the storyline compelling and fascinating from the outset - unlike other readers, I did not find the beginning slow at all (or any part). I thought the entire novel flowed very smoothly. I enjoy quieter moments in stories because those are often when you really get to know the characters and it makes the action sequences more meaningful. Once again, SM has created characters we can relate to and care about.

I've read some of the negative reviews and all I can say is that everyone has different taste. I didn't find this story lacking in any way - it's very different from Twilight but in my opinion just as good. In fact, thematically, I think it's better. We have a much stronger herione this time and get to explore a friendship between two women (Melanie/Wanderer). And while Wanderer is peaceful and self-sacrificing, no one could argue that she isn't a very strong herione who chooses to do things because they are right and ethical. For those who thought Bella was such a rotten roll model, Wanderer should make them happy. Even though this is considered an adult book, it's perfectly suitable for teens.

I'd say this is Stephenie in her best form. The entire novel from start to finish is well written, though provoking and weaves complex emotions into a fascinating storyline. She has proven herself to be an excellent storyteller (much like Wanderer). Bravo, SM!
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on May 10, 2008
Let me start off by saying that I'm not one of those pathetic, zombie-like Twilight fans. I'm perfectly aware that based on the Twilight series, Stephenie Meyer is HARDLY the next J.K. Rowling. Bella was whiny and uninteresting, Edward was nothing but a pretty face, the plot was nonexistant, and vampires don't glitter. Saying that, that's why you should believe me when I say the The Host was fantastic.

I purchased The Host out of pure curiosity. The story seemed different, and everyone seemed to praise that the writing quality was far better than Twilight. Once I began reading it, I didn't put it down. I could tell by page 15 that Stephenie Meyer has grown immeasurably as a writer. It's almost hard to tell that it's by the author that created Edward Cullen. The descriptions are vivid and beautiful in this story, both the physical ones and emotional ones. These are especially poignant. Let me explain...

When I first heard the plotline of this story, I burst out laughing shamelessly. However, once again, bear with me because the book is worth it. Basically, at some point in the future, body-snatching aliens (known as "Souls") overtook earth. Through surgery, they inhabit human's bodies, killing only their spirit...basically, all of the humans are dead, but the aliens have kept their bodies intact and now inhabit them. Wanderer, a soul that's earned her name from the great number of bodies she's lived in, has been warned that life as a human is difficult. Not only are their senses vivid, but the emotional range of being a human is even more painful. The situation isn't helped by the fact that the former tennant of Wanderer's human body, Melanie Stryder, is somehow holding on. She refuses to fade away, filling Wanderers head with visions of the people she loves, who are still in hiding. Soon Wanderer is torn between her allegiance to the Souls and the love she feels for the humans.

Basically, it sounds out there, but is fantastic. Though the beginning is very slow, I urge you to continue. Stephenie Meyer paints a fantastic image of the setting -- the scorching desert -- and makes use of Wanderer's unfamiliarity with human reactions to explore her relationships beautifully. This is without a doubt what makes this books special -- at its core, it is a book about love. All kinds of love, not just the superficial fairytale romance explored in Twilight. It describes the maternal love Wanderer feels for Melanie's younger brother, the appreciation for her eccentric Uncle Jeb, the friendship she developes for Mel's former comrades, and the romantic interest she soon developes for Melanie's former boyfriend, Jared. What really puts the icing on the cake is that Stephenie illustrates how love is really a double-edged sword. Not only does she go into the depths of how wonderful having the love of so many people feels, but she describes the pain Wanderer feels when she contemplates their love for Melanie versus her herself.

The emotional aspect of this novel is beautiful and I guarentee you won't regret picking it up. In the end, Stephenie poses the timeless question: To be or not to be? For, as she illustrates, light cannot exist without shadow, relaxation without exhaustion and love without loss. As the particularly lovable character of Wanderer finds out, it seems like a tough question, but the answer is more obvious than it appears.
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on May 17, 2009
Meyer really lost her talent after Eclipse. I agree with the other reviewer's who claim that the book never really changed, because it didn't. The biggest thing that happened was `Wanderer' leaving the alien world behind, which, really, we were all expecting anyway.

I'll try and sum it up for those of you who are thinking about purchasing this book:

Melanie, one of the few humans left on Earth who hasn't been implanted with a tiny alien worm that somehow is able to attach itself to a brain and feel as though they are their host's body, is captured and implanted with Wanderer, an alien who already has a bit of a reputation from jumping from planet to planet so much.

Wanderer is assaulted with Melanie's memories, which are, in fact, the most exciting part of the book. The only reason that I actually bought the thing was because I read the excerpt online and thought that the story would be about Melanie. I was wrong.

Instead, we get a rather unlikable alien as our narrator, who is frustrated with Melanie for not fading into the background like she should. The memories are of Jared, a man she loves, and Jamie, her little brother. They jump around, but the main gist is that she was in hiding from the aliens, met Jared while stealing food from an empty house, and fell in love with him.

The only thing I can admire about Meyer's writing is that she seems to have accepted that she can't write out the actual process of people falling in love. This was a rather shaky possess in Twilight, but The Host skips right over Melanie's falling-in-love.

The memories, much to my disappointment, stop once Wanderer decides to leave the alien world behind. She takes off into the desert to find the man she realizes she loves too.

From this point on, the story is so hopelessly mundane, and changes so very little, I was constantly checking the pages left to see if I had actually made any progress, or if I had just been reading the same page over and over. It's almost mildly exciting at first, but then drops and becomes rather disgustingly boring.

The only reason I actually finished the book was because I, like I always do, got caught up with what was happening and wanted to get to the non-existent exciting part so bad I managed to convince myself that I thought it was good. I almost fell for it, too, but then once I closed the book and really started thinking about it, I realized that I had no really liking for the book.

So, get the book it you think that you'll disagree with me, but don't be disappointed when it turns out to be, I realize now, just as frustrating as Breaking Dawn.
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on May 16, 2008
No Stephanie Meyers books seems complete without a few things; A beautiful heroine, a moderately (to very) controlling male lead, and a martyr. On those counts 'The Host' doesn't disappoint. Set in a world invaded by aliens, our heroine 'Wanderer' finds herself in an odd predicament, the original owner of her body just wont leave! So here comes 400 pages of inner monologue. Seriously the book was MUCH longer than it needed to be. Kind of like the roaming in the woods part of HP 7. I don't know about you but 600+ pages of a book with very little action got to me. Also, much like the 'twilight' series the climax happened not with a bang, but a whimper.

It's not a bad book. It does have it's touching moments. Obviously it was good enough for me to get through the whole thing. The last book I read that was that long was Deathly Hollows. It just seemed to take a very long time to get to the exciting parts. I found myself skimming whole sections where 'Wanda' (I found it very hard to take her seriously with that name) fought with the inner trappings of being human. The sad part was that even the exciting parts weren't all that exciting. There never seemed to be any big threat. No real antagonist. Everything just seemed far to easy. Maybe she's setting it up for sequels, maybe not, I don't know. It left me feeling very unsatisfied in the end. Like eating a salad when you really want a big mac.

In the end, Stephanie Meyers has become literary crack to me. I know it's bad, and I KNOW I should just walk away,but I keep coming back.
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If I could give this a three and a half stars, I would. But seeing as though I cannot, three (in this case) is better than four.

Like most people who read this book, I liked the Twilight series and decided to give this a read just for curiosity's sake. And I was so glad I decided to get this from the library rather than buying it.

I'll begin with the positives.

The idea of this book--alien "souls" who travels from planet to planet, parasitically taking over the inhabitant species and learning about their ways of life that way is pretty interesting. Meyer did a good job concocting alien species that didn't sound too run-of-the-mill sci-fi; likewise, for the people who dislike sci-fi, they weren't too overwhelmingly "Spock".
I also loved the personalities of some of the characters. Melanie, the human who's body is being controlled by Wanderer was very fun to read just because she was the most noticeable of the cast, and didn't really have a counterpart character from the Twilight series.
The ending of this novel was very touching as well. Probably the best part of the whole book, and thus the only reason I managed not to hate the story after reading it.

That being said, now the negatives, which are unfortunately greater in number.

First off (as many people have stated), the book takes much too long to get interesting. I struggled through the first half, persevering only because I knew that Twilight had started the same way. But Twilight got interesting thirty-something pages in, while The Host took much longer than that.
Second, Wanderer! Oh my goodness. She wouldn't have been too much of a problem if I had never read the Twilight series, but all while I was reading, I hardly noticed any differences between her and Twilight's Bella. The two are almost identical in personalities, it's frightening. They're both martyrs, soft-spoken, stubborn, obsessively in love with a man they have hardly any experience with, slightly masochistic and emotional. It might be because Meyer had written this book while she still had Bella on the brain, but that's hardly an excuse to create a near carbon copy of her character. Bella's sarcastic humor in Twilight/New Moon/Eclipse was one thing that saved her from being overwhelmingly annoying, and since Wanderer lacked that characteristic, that's exactly what she becomes after awhile.
And she isn't the only one. Aside from Melanie (and Jared in some aspects), a lot of the characters can be found lurking somewhere in the pages of the Twilight series, tweaked just a tiny bit. Even minor characters like Sharon and her mother reminded me greatly of Lauren from Twilight in the sense of their role only as the jealous/angry character who despise the protagonist, even though she's a good person who obviously does not deserve her rage.
Likewise relating back to Meyer's first book was the romance between the main couple (Wanderer/Melanie/Jared). This novel was pegged as one intended for adults, but partly due to Meyer's religious beliefs, it honestly reads about as "adult" as Twilight. The only difference I noticed was in the description of the more romantic scenes between the characters; a lot more adjectives revolving around "fire" and "burning" than you'd find in Twilight or Eclipse.

Overall, this book is a good read if you have nothing else pressing to do. But the lack of original characterization, a plotline that isn't nearly as engaging as it could have been, and the (very) frustrating beginning and obvious plot twists make it into a story that's good for one read and nothing more.

Here's to hoping that Meyer's future books can give us something a little more.
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on August 2, 2009
I absolutely loved Stephanie's first book of the Twilight series. Since that book, though, the rest of Stephanie's books have been a disappointment - this one in particular. The Host has a great start, but everything else falls flat after that. The characters are completely one-dimensional. There is pretty much no plot. It is way too long. The stories about the other planets are boring and un-imaginative. Humans are made out to be complete monsters even though Wanda's alien race completely took over the planet.

If you have a daughter, please keep her away from these books. There are tons of pages filled with the beating of an obviously helpless woman at the hands of big burley dirty men. She is continuously threatened and beaten, and then at the end of the story - the men who are doing the beating are redeemed and rewarded with women of their own. It is truly disgusting. Perhaps Stephanie is trying to say "See? It's better to NOT beat women!" But it comes off as "If a guy beats you continuously, and then he stops one day, just forget about it and treat him like he's a great member of society."

The complete fragility of all of Meyer's women characters is ridiculous and a bad message for the young girls that they target. In Twilight: It's ok to have an over-age guy completely stalk you. Don't worry about college or even LIVING, just get the guy. You are completely weak and helpless as you are, so you better just become like him. In The Host: It's ok to be in love with an over-age (AGAIN) man who tried to strangle you. Oh yeah, make sure to lie about your age so that you can date an older guy. Also, be friends with the other people who beat the crap out of you for the whole book. They're good people. Even Mel, the "strong one" went on like nothing had happened with those men. Just turn the other (non-scarred) cheek, right?!
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on June 21, 2008
I am glad there were so many who enjoyed this book, as it's always great to find a book one loves.

As for me, however, I have to agree with the other one-star reviewers who found "The Host" to be incredibly slow and boring. I did think the very end got a tad more interesting, but it didn't make up for the previous 3/4 of mind-numbing boredom through which one has to wade to get to that point. I found it impossible to be interested in the story and didn't feel much or any empathy for the characters. In fact, Wanda/Wanderer's incessant stories about her previous lives with Bears, Claw Beasts, and all the rest got very tedious and annoying after a while.

Finally, as another reviewer alluded to, I thought it totally ridiculous when Wanderer took such personal offense at the humans' attempts to remove her parasitic family members from other humans. It seemed rather hypocritical to call the humans "monsters" for trying to save themselves when Wanderer and her kind had effectively taken over and killed entire species for their personal benefit.

So, sorry to those who loved "The Host", but I really did not enjoy this book at all. I found Meyer's "Twilight" series very entertaining, but wish I had passed on this one.
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on June 4, 2008
So here we have Host. Why did I buy it? I was outside my home state of Arizona wandering the country. As I was visiting Lovecraft's grave in Providnce I passed by the book store and Host literally caught my eye. The cover looks at you. Very strangely I might add. I gleefully commited that sin of picking a book out by its cover. A wise choice! (Also the bookstores made sure to decorate their establishments up and down with it. Someone has a good marketer!)

The story isn't 'original', but then again, nothing is these days. The trick to writing great fiction is taking the stories we all know, and doing something very different with it. Why read Beowulf when you can read Grendel instead? Why read about the last human on Earth hiding from the aliens. How about read about the alien?

The story is told from the perspective of a parasitic alien fused to a host whose consciousness has not 'gone away' like it is supposed to. Wanderer, the alien and her human host, Melanie, are quite literally stuck with each other and it causes complications both ways. And there in lies the gem of this story.

I hate xenos. I generally wish to purge the galaxy of all alien life-forms in the name of glorious humanity. Don't you? No? Traitor.

Anyways, I learned to 'hate' these aliens. Silent. Stealthy. And the idea of aliens taking your body, and absorbing some of your memories but crushing you in the process! Terrible. The idea you could be still aware and trapped within! Horrible. The echoes of your life joined with theirs! Sickening. And yet the aliens were so darn nice it was hard to wish them ill. The moment any of the alien characters were developed I found it quite difficult to picture them up against the wall in my mind's eye. So I had found myself utterly conflicted during the entire book. Just like the main character. Clever on so many levels! It is hard to 'pick' sides during this story and that will keep you voraciously reading in search of some closure or some definative answer as to 'who is right'.

The setting amused me. I live in Arizona and the idea that people are hiding out at the old Civil War 'battlefield' site Picacho Peak, amused me to no end. The conspicuous lack of guns in the hands of humanity (what is left of it), confused me. It's Arizona! If you don't have a gun, don't worry your neighbor has three.

The book is written by a female author and you can tell. I mean no offense. Quite the contrary. The story is about emotion, internal dialogue, internal dialogue (not a typo!) and less about action and description. I don't think a male author would have pulled it off the same.

Worth a read? Absolutely. By the time you are done, you'll be suspicious of anyone who is nice, always carry a flashlight (hopefully a gun as well) and have an escape plan. Strikingly similar to your Zombie Doomsday plan. Avoid urban areas. Avoid noise. Carry poison or a at least one bullet for yourself. You get the idea? Don't have a Zombie Doomsday plan? Oh my, well, you'll be a nice neighbor I'm sure!

Anyways, go enjoy Host! It should be looking at you right now. Literally. Accolades for an author I've never read before, thanks for the read Mrs. Meyer!
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