Monday 12 October 2009

Book Review: Stephanie Meyer – The Host

After reading Twilight by Meyer and enjoying it and then reading the three sequels and hating them, I was both intrigued by her novel for adults and at the same time convinced I should know better.

I read the book with a bias, which was that this woman really cannot write very well, but can sometimes throw out a good story and definitely create chemistry between characters.

In Host, earth has been overtaken by an alien race that survives by implanting itself into human bodies and taking over their minds. Most of the earth has been colonised and humans are almost an extinct species. One such alien presence is Wanderer, a seasoned traveller between planets and hosts. The novel opens as she is implanted with great care and awe by the alien race’s doctors or healers into the body of Melanie, a recently captured rebel human. Wanderer awakens shocked to find that Melanie is still present and with an awareness of her memories and feelings – her enduring love for her younger brother Jamie and the stunningly handsome survivor Jared (being a Meyer book, the hero has to be stunningly handsome and painfully obsessed with the heroine - obviously). Melanie and Wanderer set off to find Jamie and Jared.

I have to admit, the story is a good one. An interesting premise that keeps moving along at a reasonable pace. The slow and painful acceptance and understanding that grows between humans and the alien Wanderer and their gradual realisation of each others viewpoints and their own shortcomings is fairly well done and flows along with the story.

Saying that though, the writing is still not great and this impedes the story a little because you are keen to find out what happens next or how a situation will be resolved but are brought up short suddenly by a cliché (an uncle out in the desert called Jeb?) or a particularly clunky turn of phrase.

I found some of the characters a bit two-dimensional as well. If you have read Meyer’s Twilight books, then you have probably met variations of the characters already. There is the self-sacrificing, good-hearted but tortured heroine, who just doesn’t really belong amongst her own kind, there is the self-sacrificing, good-hearted but tortured hero who somehow still ends up beating the heck out of the heroine at various intervals (In Twilight, Bella also seems to get covered in bruises at every turn – I swear Meyer has a major masochistic streak). There is even the neat ending that had me so fed up by the time I finished the last of the Twilight series, which is not like me as I usually like a happy ending.

Despite this, much to my embarrassment almost, I was quite hooked and really wanted to know how the story turned out, maybe I have some kind of masochist streak which made me keep reading.


  1. You described my sentiments exactly whilst I was reading all three of the Twilight series...! I've had 'the host' sitting on my book shelf ever since, and didn't rush to pick it up after I had finished with the three! Now knowing the quality of writing is still not great, I think I might leave the book doing what it does best- collect dust!!! Lol ;)

  2. *groan. Umm Saalihah, it was *painful* to read this book. I find Myer's writing very slow and boring.

    Although the idea of The Host was a novel and interesting one, I skimmed through this book to get to the ending.

  3. Assalam-alaikam,

    I don't blame you.

    You can't even leave the book half way because you want to know what happens at the end, I would definitely encourage the skim-reading approach.