The Host Paperback – Sega, January 8, 2013
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"The Lost Girls of Devon" by Barbara O'Neal
From the Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestselling author of When We Believed in Mermaids comes a story of four generations of women grappling with family betrayals and long-buried secrets. | Learn more
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About the Author
- Item Weight : 1.24 pounds
- Paperback : 656 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9587585100
- ISBN-13 : 978-9587585100
- Product Dimensions : 5.5 x 1.75 x 8.25 inches
- Publisher : Back Bay Books; Media tie-in Edition (January 8, 2013)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : 0316218502
- Best Sellers Rank: #896,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Wanderer, or Wanda, as she's known in the novel, is my favorite of the characters. It's not just because I like her name, or how it symbolizes the totality of who she is (and the kind of person I'd like to be when it comes to travel). It's because I adored her spirit. In spite of being a soul, part of an alien race that takes over various planets through their insertion into the planet's inhabitants, Wanda is kind, considerate, generous and intelligent. The sincerity of her choices was appealing, and easy to like, so it's not surprising that I grew really attached to her.
Ian and Jamie would tie for my second favorite character in this novel, as they're both important parts of Wanda's story. Jamie is the little brother of Melanie, Wanderer's "host". Through Melanie's memories and her own interactions with him, Wanda grows to love him and it's really sweet to see how he responds so honestly and sincerely to her. He was always able to distinguish between the two - Melanie and Wanda - which was certainly great. Ian also ended up having the same ability, even though initially he was against Wanda's presence in their little band of humans. Witnessing his transformation and watching his regard for Wanda really grow as the story progressed made it easy to like him as much as Wanderer did.
Honestly, the book's beginning was pretty rough. It took a few chapters before I felt invested enough to keep on turning the pages, but once it clicked, the feeling of needing to know what happened next stayed with me up until the end. Meyer did a great job with the story-telling, combining romance, friendship and a bigger conflict. Instead of filling this book with physical action scenes, Meyer chose a slightly quieter route where she convinced readers to care about these characters and then presented us with a moral conflict that fits the context of their story. Doing so could have potentially backfired, but it definitely ended up working well.
If what I've said in my review isn't enough to convince you to read the book, maybe the knowledge that I actually teared up while reading it will. I was that emotionally invested in Wanderer's story, and Melanie's too! Meyer caught me off guard with how good I found The Host. If you're unsure whether or not to give this book a try, let me be the first to suggest you give it a chance because you might just be surprised like I was.
Though this is more for young adults rather than teens, the story has changed my view of life and humanity in ways I did not expect. I highly reccomend this book and this hardcover edition.
The fact that this story is completely possible in some distant future is what I like the most though. That, and the fact that it's not your typical science fiction/futuristic story. It's more about the discovery of the true essence of being human.
About the prose and the story itself--compelling, marvelously written, gets you real emotional at times, makes you identify and sometimes scream out loud... it's all that and more. Buy it! what you waiting for?! Don't watch the movie, read this!
Top reviews from other countries
I love the characters and how you feel like you could be Melanie wanting your body back but over time falling in love with this body snatcher and then not wanting them to leave.
The love triangle is so complex and so innocent that it made me think of the way I love the people in my life.
The discription of the people and the scenery from this first person basis just sucks you in so that sometimes you can't physically stop reading because your stuck in the same place.
Reading how Stephanie accidentally fell in to writing this book goes so well with the story she wrote.
Although I'd love a sequel to this book or even a whole series I wonder if leaving this as a stand alone novel actually allows our minds to embrace the important things in life and realise how unimportant some modern day technology really is when it comes down to true happiness.
The story is not gripping and hasn't particularly stayed with me. I know I stopped reading several times, not because I was bored per se but because I wasn't hooked, either. I was not absorbed, and was easily distracted from it. It's terribly heterosexual (as one would expect, to be fair), with a bunch of the tropes inherent to that (plus some good old fashioned nonsense about how important it is to reproduce, if memory serves? being a mother is apparently the highest calling ever in all her worlds), and Meyer does love to describe things repetitively or use excessive detail. She seriously needs a ruthless editor, but when you sell as many books as she does, I guess you also get to keep as many of your words as you choose, even if they're pointless ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
All this said, the notion of the Souls is interesting (if arguably somewhat derivative), the description of the camp Wanderer ends up in is genuinely interesting, and albeit with several large pauses, I did finish the book and somewhat enjoyed it? I cared enough about the characters and was interested enough in the backstory of the world that I wanted to know where things would end up. The characters themselves aren't the most vivid I've ever read, but compared to poor old cipher Bella Swan, they're practically in technicolour. If it were some unknown writing, I doubt it would have got much attention; it would have been edited into shape so it would probably have less flab, but it still wouldn't have got any awards.
(It doesn't hurt that for the most part, the terrible pseudo science of Twilight was conspicuous by its absence. I think some moments had me side eyeing and thinking "just say it's alien tech, please!" but I don't recall any moments of cringeworthy nonsense like the vampire chromosome debacle.)
In short, if you can forgive Meyer for the crime that is the Twilight Saga, and you want some light entertainment you can get lost in for a while without having to engage your brain very hard, The Host is worth a quid. It is not about to set the world on fire, and if Meyer weren't attached, I don't know if it would ever have been published, but she is and it was, and unlike "Beau" and "Edythe" and all the other nonsense that's fallen from Meyer's fingers to milk the cash cow, this one is... okay.
You get right inside the head of Wanderer, in the book, as the story is told in the first person from the alien's point of view. The result is a few surprises that either don't come across well in the film (e.g. the degree of mistrust and mistreatment that Wanderer/Melanie experiences from Uncle Jeb's "guests"), or else aren't touched on at all (e.g. the fact that Wanderer is a female of her species). You also find out much more about Wanderer's past hosts, and get a better sense of the tussle between Wanderer and Melanie, and of the way they gradually forge a bond of friendship. The love-triangle (or maybe that should be love-quadrangle) between Wanderer/Melanie, Ian and Jared is explored much more effectively in the book than in the film, and is, in fact, the real core of the story.
One point worth making is that this isn't strictly a science-fiction story. It's really a love-triangle in which one of the people just happens to be an alien living inside the head of the woman who is at the centre of the triangle.
I watched the film again, after reading the book, and realised that it's actually quite a superficial and tame adaptation. Maybe someone will remake it, at some point in the future, and find a way of bringing out some of the more subtle aspects of the plot.