The Host by Stephenie Meyer

The Host is Stephenie Meyer's redemption for Twilight. If you have been reading Cracked Spines, you know that I did not hate the Twilight novels, but I was not particularly blown away by them, apart from the fact that not hating them surprised the hell out of me. I think it is a testament to Myer's writing skills that adults can actually enjoy such a tweeny group of novels. I am getting a little off-topic here. Sorry about that.

The Host is touted as a science fiction/romance novel, though I have to say it was simply science fiction. Yes, there is a bit of romance, but all human relationships are highlighted in the novel. No one form of relationship takes precedence over the other, so I am recategorizing (I make up words too.) it. I can do that because this is my article. Therefore, for the purposes of this article, The Host by Stephenie Meyer is a science fiction book and a good one at that. (I would not want anyone to think I enjoyed a romance novel that was not written by Austen or a Bronte.)

There are bits of The Host by Stephenie Meyer that are reminiscent of other (sorry) better science fiction novels. There is an invasion of the body snatchers thing going on in The Host that brings to mind Stephen King, not to mention a host of moviemakers (no pun intended). However, Stephenie Meyer makes her body-snatching aliens very kind with few exceptions (kind of like the sparkly, vegetarian bloodsuckers of Twilight). The personalities that she gives her aliens and their motive for invading Earth is what makes The Host stand out from other body snatching science fiction.

Without giving away too much, The Host is essentially about one of these body snatchers who cannot drive the human from the body she has snatched. Therefore, she is forced to share the body. Over time, she becomes sympathetic to the human's plight and sees the error of her species' well-meant ways. What follows from there is an adventure that takes the alien (Wanderer) and her host (Melanie) from being hated by the humans to finding her place among the few who have survived the alien invasion. Stephenie Meyer has done a great job of seeing human emotion through the eyes of a gentle soul from outer space.

Of course, there are a few things about Stephenie Meyer's The Host that could use a little more detail. Given that this is her first science fiction novel, I think that we can forgive her for not giving us more details about the alien invasion on Earth and more. What makes science fiction novels like Dune, Fahrenheit 451 and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (to name a few) so popular is that background of the novels, in my opinion. Sci-fi readers want rich history and detail. I still loved The Host by Stephenie Meyer, but I would be lying if I said it would ever be on par with those great classics. However, the potential is in Stephenie Meyer, in my opinion. I hope she starts to put more into the science part of her fiction and slightly less into emotional part. You may feel differently if you read the book.

If you have read The Host by Stephenie Meyer, let me know what you think about in the comments section. I would love to hear how others are receiving this book. Mind you, it is not new. It has just been horribly overshadowed by the Twilight series.

Shelly Barclay

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