THE HOST by Stephenie Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I just finished reading Stephenie Meyer’s, THE HOST – and I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.
Earth has been invaded and taken over by a new species of alien souls that believe the hostility and murderous ways of humans, has become detrimental to our planet. But these souls need human bodies in order to survive - and they attach themselves deep within their host - utilizing their bodies, their minds, and their memories...while leaving the human they’ve possessed, rendered utterly useless. For most humans that have been occupied, they fade away completely, almost from the very moment the host takes control. But for some, they fight their way to somehow stay connected to the shell of their body, never truly giving in.
Melanie Stryder - one of the last human occupants of Earth - will do whatever necessary to resist being taken hostage. These vile beings have managed to overtake everyone that Melanie knows and loves, with the exception of her younger brother Jamie – and she has reason to believe that a small handful of her relatives might still be alive and hiding, somewhere out in the deserts of Arizona.
It’s up to Melanie to protect her and Jamie from succumbing to the catastrophic demise of the human race, while trying to find the last of their family - or any other humans for that matter. And she does so, by hiding them both outside the surrounding alien population – only risking her life when necessary, to steal food and whatever else, to keep them both alive. It’s during one of her attempts to gather more food, that Melanie is attacked – unbeknownst to her, by another human - who thinks that she just might be an alien too. After a brief struggle and a mad escape, Melanie flees – only to be caught again, as the man stammers to explain that his name is Jared Howe. And it’s then that he realizes that he’s just found another human amongst the millions of alien souls…and he’s not about to let her go.
Over time, as Melanie, Jared, and Jamie learn to rely on one another to survive – it’s then that Melanie realizes how important Jared has become to her very existence, as one of the last humans on Earth. But it’s just a matter of time before Melanie is captured during a mission to find one of her long lost relatives – and it’s then, that her body is taken over by a soul, named Wanderer.
Wanderer has lived many lives, on many plants – more so than most other souls – but this is her first visit to the planet known as Earth. Her existence, as well as those of all other souls, is a life of gentleness – never needing to resort to anger or aggression to further their needs. And it’s because of this that Wanderer is caught off guard when Melanie fights against being occupied and refuses to surrender her mind.
It’s then that Melanie begins to fill Wanderer’s thoughts with memories and dreams of Jared, and the life she once had. Before long, Wanderer finds herself longing for the arms of man, she’s never even met - and as the two of them become the most unlikely of allies, they find themselves on a quest to find the man they both love and the younger brother they’ll do anything to protect.
THE HOST is a story of unusual circumstances of love, the struggle just to exist, and the persistence to overcome. I thoroughly enjoyed Meyer’s first attempt at writing a novel for adults - and at times, I found myself contemplating what I would do, if I were Melanie. While there were a few moments within the story that struggled to move along – there were more times that I found myself emotionally caught up with the decisions being made. And that ability to make the reader completely immerse themselves within the story, is what Meyer’s is known for.
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