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Not Twilight

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So you know how I feel about Twilight. Oh, and I have one correction to make to that post. There is also a novella available that takes place during Eclipse: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. From the reviews, it sounds like I may not be missing much, and after the disappointment of Breaking Dawn, I really don’t care anymore.

This post, though, is about Stephenie Meyer’s “other novel”, The Host.

Now this one I liked a lot. It is told in the first person perspective by a being called Wanderer. Wanderer is a “Soul,” a small, silvery, centipede-like creature that needs a host body in order to survive. Her people explore the galaxy looking for inhabited planets to populate so they can experience lives as different creatures. Her people have occupied Earth by capturing and using humans’ bodies. Only a few holdouts remain, living far away from population centers. When one of them, Melanie Stryder, is captured, Wanderer is given her body and the task of learning from Melanie’s memories where the other resisters are. However, Melanie’s consciousness refuses to simply fade away, and she won’t allow Wanderer to access the information her people want from her head. I can’t go into much more detail of the plot without spoiling some of the surprise of it, so I will just say that Wanderer and Melanie have to learn to work together to ensure their mutual survival.

I really, really enjoyed this book. In fact, it’s one of the few books I’ve re-read since getting my Kindle. I love the concept – aliens that conquer not by killing but by becoming. Wanderer’s people are not like the pod people in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, with scary monsters who want to consume the world. The Souls are gentle; they are appalled by the war and conflict that humans created and have turned the planet into a Utopian society. Of course, I also liked Meyer’s take on vampires. Say what you like about vampires who survive on animal blood and sparkle in the sun, at least it was a new twist.

There were some weaknesses in The Host, too. The character development was uneven. Wanderer, Melanie, and some of the other characters were wonderful, but some of the antagonists were very flat, with no back story or explanation for why they were the way they were. I really thought that some of that would be explained by the end, but it was left hanging. Also, I’ve heard that it was meant to be the first book of a trilogy. After Twilight, I honestly hope that Meyer leaves this book as a standalone novel. It ends perfectly, in my opinion – not happily ever after, but still satisfying. I believe that it’s fine to leave some things to the readers’ imaginations rather than trying to wrap everything up and put a bow on it. There is also a movie in the works, which I’m not sure how to feel about.

So, bottom line, I recommend checking out The Host if the premise sounds intriguing. I really think you’ll find that it’s worth it.

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