The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Narrator: Kate Reading
Series: The Host #1
Published by Hachette Audio
Genres: Science Fiction
Length: May 6, 2008
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Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. Earth has been invaded by a species that takes over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed.
Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.
Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves - Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body's desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she's never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.
Featuring what may be the first love triangle involving only two bodies, The Host is a riveting and unforgettable novel that will bring a vast new readership to one of the most compelling writers of our time.
I’d like to start off this review by stating that this novel is nothing like Twilight so whatever hang-ups you may have about Stephenie Meyer’s original series should be set aside. As an avid reader, I’m a firm believer in that “the book is always better” saying so when I found out that there was a The Host movie in the works I couldn’t resist bumping this novel to the top of my to-be-read pile. Saying that I’m glad I did would be a gross understatement; I was glued to my ear buds from the moment I first pressed play!
The Host is unlike anything that I have ever read thanks to its emotionally complex story, unique POV and unlikely love triangle. This is one of those books that when you’re done reading it, you’ll need to take a moment to let it all sink in. I really enjoyed the two-characters-for-the-price-of-one aspect of this novel; it gave a whole new meaning to the “we” and “our” possessive pronouns. In this instance, instead of talking about a group of people the author is referring to the two minds in one body which made for one heck of an interesting first person POV. Kate Reading does an excellent job of sounding “other” while narrating from Wanderer’s perspective and human while reading from Melanie’s. Her voice is mesmerizing and definitely helped to make this 23 hour audiobook just fly by.
Normally, love triangles are one of my biggest pet peeves in fiction but Meyer’s is so outside of the box that it’s impossible not to get caught up in the characters’ emotions. Imagine having two people inside of your head who are in love with different guys! Not only that, but Wanderer and Mel’s psyches become so closely intertwined over time that it’s a challenge (even for them) to determine which feelings belong to whom. Throw some good old fashioned jealousy into the mix and you’re left with one incredibly complicated predicament!
A lot of really interesting questions surface in this book but the one that I personally found the most fascinating was what it means to be human. In the beginning the answer is pretty clear cut: humans = good and souls = bad. However, as the story progresses that line becomes progressively blurrier. Does the answer simply come down to a matter of genetics or is it a person’s actions that determine their humanity? By the end of this book I was surprised by how much my opinion of Wanderer had shifted. Although, it’s important to note that she’s not a typical soul so even though she won me over, the rest of her race did not.
The Host is an emotionally charged story that redefines the classic love triangle and take the first person POV to a whole new level. After finishing this novel the first thing that came to my mind was how in the heck are they ever going to make a movie out of this? I have a sneaky suspicion that as usual, the book will be better than the film.