This is the most delayed written review from me on a favourite book of mine, because it’s been five years since I read it and still counting, including the re-reads. The Host is one of those books arranged next to the Harry Potter series in my personal library because that treasured part of my shelf is where my hand always reaches out when I want to escape from the drama going on around me (Recently added Pride and Prejudice to that area, though she’s technically been forced to sit with me as a source of comfort on my desk at the moment. Not sure when I’ll have the heart to let her sit away from my hands in peace)
People who have read the Mary Sue Disease post on my blog would have picked up the picture I have second thoughts about Stephanie Meyer’s debut series, The Twilight Saga, due to the abuse inflicted upon as well as inflicted by Isabella Swan and spoiling what would have been a fantastic saga had she been projected differently. Reviews on Goodreads and everywhere else have commented on Meyer’s writing style as purple prose but I disagree. Yes, I do. I actually love her style, which is why the Twilight Saga lives around the border of the treasured part of my shelf. I know I’m supposed to be doing a book review instead of giving a huge background, but unless I give it you, you probably won’t understand what made me love The Host so much. I sometimes pick up the Twilight Saga for a re-read. Why? Because though a lot of dialogues are projected wrong and certain topics shouldn’t be conversed, I never cease to be impressed with how wonderfully Meyer can string sentences together. Nor can I ever say I don’t love the way she can bring out emotions beautifully, in such finesse that you actually feel it or can envision the setting of the scene or the appearance of another person from the finesse of the description. Her writing really isn’t purple prose in my opinion, and I don’t care if people disagree.
The finesse is one of the reasons I’m infuriated with this series. Great writing and a great theme are spoiled by unnecessary agonising emotions and pointless surrender. And to be honest, I really enjoy it when Jake’s in the scene or the other werewolves are there as well. Their concept of imprinting is quite interesting.
So now that you know I really don’t hate Stephanie Meyer and that I wouldn’t probably run away from reading her future books just because Twilight didn’t win my heart, let’s move onto The Host. After seeing the blurb of it on the inside of my copy of Eclipse, I was immediately intrigued and wanted to get my hands on it at once. Bless the book fair a few months later for giving it to me.
Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, didn’t expect to find its former tenant refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.
As Melanie fills Wanderer’s thoughts with visions of Jared, a human who still lives in hiding, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she’s never met. Reluctant allies, Wanderer and Melanie set off to search for the man they both love.
If you’re looking for action, or a concise narrative, or are a person who can’t sit through so many pages of emotions, this really isn’t the book for you. Because I can summarise the events in less than five sentences for you right here.
But if you want to realise what it’s like to be human, if you want to know what it’s like to be utterly and immutably selfless and kind, you’ll immensely love this book.
Things didn’t make sense for me in the beginning, as I had to go through the first few pages thrice before understanding what was happening and what kind of views the soul species aimed to express. Two female souls (Wanderer and Melanie), complete opposites, fight for their right to own the body they are in together and one of them involuntarily falls in love with a man she has never met as the other shows her flashes of past memories. The thing with the The Host was that everything was so rational. Wanderer felt and did the expected things, Melanie’s anger and resentment wasn’t unreasonable. And what brought them together as well as the events that led to it was perfectly staged.
While Twilight’s love triangle is kind of head scratching, The Host’s love rectangle was wonderful. True, I don’t have high regards for Jared Howe, the man both Wanderer and Melanie are in love with, but Ian O’Shea was a priceless treasure. He bloomed gloriously as a character and became one of the page turners halfway through, keeping me at the edge of my seat at the impossible prospect of a relationship between two very different people.
Wanderer is one of those notable fictional female characters in my world. She’s a person with a character that doesn’t exist in this world at all, is someone we can never think of becoming, and I’m saying it in a good way. Because Bella Swan was that as well and the only difference was it was bad.
Set in a desert plain and away from the comfort of cosy homes, we see the struggles endured by the humans in hiding as they live in caves, use water from the river, go for monthly raids in order to stock upon food, drinking water and clothes and divide chores among themselves in order to go by their normal lives as much as possible. The survival instinct of the humans and the souls oppose to each other. There is justice on both sides but these psychological disturbances of both species act like magnets of the same pole, never uniting. But Wanderer’s makeup and love for the humans she begins to live with contradicts that. She, however, imposes attraction of the opposite poles in her relationships. Physical abuse and near death experiences trap her in every possible way but being a soul at heart, she is seen to forgive everyone. This character of hers invokes the comradeship of many that they are not ready to give her up.
Her association with Melanie and each and every reaction to every sensation felt listed out every single thing going on behind what we think of as a one second feeling. It was incredibly fantastic and I really loved Meyer for it.
The movie adaptation may not be one I’d watch over and over again, but will I read the book over and over? Yes I would! All because of the beautifully designed character of Wanderer, whose relationship with Melanie, Ian, Jared and Jamie were of amazingly different dimensions that I couldn’t get enough of.
News that The Host is going to become a trilogy has been circulating for a long time but I’m not sure when Meyer’s going to publish The Soul and The Seeker. My only message to her is to please get a move on and give us more on Wanderer, Ian, Melanie, Jared and Jamie.