Book Review: The Host

     Amy here! I've been looking for something to review for a while now, but I think I've finally found it! Today (or whatever day you're reading this) I bring you a review of The Host by Stephanie Myer. As per the norm for her, it is a romance novel, but unlike Twilight, it's done right!

     Firstly, the setting is much different from her other books. It takes place after an alien invasion has conquered earth. The aliens (called 'Souls') implant themselves into human minds and take over the human body, also gaining all the memories and experiences of their hosts. These kind of aliens are quite interesting, but not because of the parasite/host relationship, but due to how they act as a society. Instead of being a power hungry race, they are kind and gentle. Once they take over, earth is a utopia, where money has been eliminated, replaced with a system where you can take whatever you need from stores, and everyone just does their jobs without the need for pay. It's interesting to debate whether or not this utopia justifies the means in which it was brought about, and this topic is constantly debated in the book.
     The two main characters are very engaging. The first main character is a Soul called Wanderer, due to the many planets she has visited. She is kind and selfless, just like the other Souls. She is always in contrast to the violent and hot-headed Melanie Stryder, who is Wanderer's host and has no control over what Wanderer (and, by extension, she) does. Melanie is usually trying to force Wanderer into doing what she wants, like leaving the organised society of Souls to seek a hidden group of human survivors in the middle of the desert. Other characters include Terra, one of the only truly unpleasant Souls ever, Jared Howe, Melanie's boyfriend from before she was captured by the Souls, Jamie Stryder, Melanie's younger brother who is more open-minded about the Souls, Kyle and Ian O'Shea, brothers who hate the Souls and what they've done to the human race, Uncle Jeb, a paranoid eccentric who was one of the few prepared enough to survive the invasion, and Doc, the only doctor available to the human survivors. These characters, with their different personalities, and how they clash and flow together, are the central focus of the book.
     The story, as I mentioned just then, focuses on the characters and their interactions, and usually on if and how Wanderer will survive in a nest of potentially violent and hateful humans. It also frequently questions what side of the war is right: The Souls, who made the first move, but have an extremely utopian outcome if they succeed, or the Humans, who retaliate violently to claim back the earth so that we can go on just how we used to, with all of the problems of the past. The constant arguing between Wanderer and Melanie gives us both sides of the argument at any point in time, effectively reminding us of the conflicting views, which are very utopian (Souls) and dystopian (humans). But unlike usual dystopian portrayals of humanity, it is not presented as a bad thing, just as a natural part of what makes us human. The main message seems to be that without the bad, good cannot be fully appreciated. As I mentioned before, there is a heavy romantic subplot, but instead of weighing down the book, it actually improves and adds to the story, bringing in some important plot elements without completely overriding the plot.
     The Host is a fun story to read, that shows a lot of talent when it comes to writing techniques, especially things to do with shared consciousness and a general trapped feeling for the main characters, and one of my favourite books. If you're into deep moral implications and romantic subplots, go check it out!

Like what you read? Want to see more? Then check out other things by Amy over at her blog where she writes her own fiction! Or see her profile for a list of reviews that she's done!

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